The First Page: ‘Crossed Out’ by Kim Baccellia
The First Page is one of Literarily Speaking’s newest features. Here we get a glimpse into an author’s work and what better place to begin than the first page? Authors share their first pages and answer a few questions about why they started their books off the way they did. Today, Kim Baccellia will be sharing her first page from the paranormal young adult novel, Crossed Out.
Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia
The First Page
I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off. I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My box of paints and Sharpie pens lay close to my side. I had to get the design just right. Roses, or something plainer? It didn’t help that it was so cold in the garage.
Why was it so hard to help the dead go to the other side? It’d be a whole lot easier if they told me what they wanted on their crosses. Dead girl comes, asks for help, and tells me she’s into pink roses. Yes, that would make my job a lot easier.
But one thing I’ve learned is, life isn’t easy. Cliché, but true.
Figures, this was how I’d spend my time on a Saturday – sitting cross-legged on the floor in our garage, worrying about finishing a cross for some dead girl. In a few hours, Mom would drag me to Mrs. Swanson’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t really have time to decorate a cross.
And each time I tried to sketch, thoughts of the meeting drove any thought of the design out of my mind. I mean, how could I even think of helping others – albeit dead ones – when my own life was such a disaster?
Can you tell us what your book is about?
Stephanie is a rescuer—someone who helps murdered girls go to the other side. Then one of her rescues goes very wrong. Add a next door neighbor with his own paranormal gift and a new guy who might share her gift. It’s up to Stephanie to learn to trust or else she might be the next to become crossed out.
The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?
I wanted to show Stephanie doing what she does—making talismans for the dead.
In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?
It went through a number of revisions. Originally it was more Stephanie just talking. Another version had her talking more about her rescue responsibilities and how she struggled with it.
I ended up with the current version after receiving some awesome feedback from a couple other writers.
Was there ever a time after the book went to print you wished you had changed something on the first page?
What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?
You need to grab the reader on that first page. Some agents/editors say even that first paragraph. Most reviewers and readers don’t have time to go through tons of back story and expository writing. You need to have something hooky at the start. Something that will make the reader want to continue reading.
You can visit Kim Baccellia’s website at www.kimbaccellia.com.
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