"First Page Down"
All right everyone, I'm about to share with you a process I like to call the "First Page Down" approach (FPDA). This is where I know from the first page (give or take) of a book if I will be obsessed with it or not- and by obsessed, I mean obsessed. It usually works, and after a few paragraphs in the main character's POV I'm hooked. Here are a few ways the approach works:
1. No Sleep
After I read that first page, I know I'm doomed. No sleep for me tonight, I'm going to spend at least eight more hours blowing through the rest of this novel so that I can sleep peacefully knowing that I've exhausted all efforts. Not only that, but I'll spend at least thirty minutes laying awake in bed dreaming up different scenarios for the sequel. Yeah. First Page Down for sure.
2. I Feel Like I Know the Character
After that first page, I already feel like the main character is a good friend of mine. I'm already in his or her head, and after I've read a page of their innermost thoughts and feelings I get some sort of separation anxiety. It's like I have a Fictional Abandonment Complex, (FAC- more about this coming), and I can't possibly stop reading now. Yep...that's the power of the First Page.
3. And Finally, the Feels
If the first page of a book makes me laugh, cry, and wonder, all in a few paragraphs, it's got me. All of the feels. There's nothing better than the inner turmoil of a flawed main character with a snippy attitude and a mysterious past. Not to mention if there's any hint of supernatural powers/Greek Mythological secrets/dystopian societies...well, that's a darn good first page.
Now, granted, getting all of those bullet points on the first page is not exactly easy. I usually extend the FPDA to the first 3-6 pages, give or take. Needless to say, we all know when those first few pages of a good book get us, and the end result is usually the same: little sleep, little food, and numerous fangirl episodes at the end of each chapter.
Best and happy reading!