Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Page Shooter

There are so many resources out there for writers. Industry blogs, forums and websites comparing agents, advice from writers.  But it occurred to us there's something that might be missing.

As agents, we have to be grabbed by the very first page of a writer's manuscript. And that manuscript has to continue holding onto us all the way to the end.

Sometimes we get great queries, with concepts that sound fantastic, and then we read the first pages...and end up disappointed. Sometimes we don't even make it to the end of the first page before we decide to pass.

Which means that first page is just as important as your query.

About six months ago, I did a first pages intensive workshop at a writer's conference, and I looked at the first two pages of several of my favorite published books, and then I looked at the first two pages of the writers in the workshop and told them where I'd stop reading and why.

Friday, I'll write about first pages that work in different genres, and then I want to hear from you.

Starting today, anyone who's brave enough can send me the first 250 words of their manuscript (email firstpageshooter@gmail.com), and either Joanna or I will provide editorial feedback.

For more details, see the links on the sidebar.

68 comments:

Elizabeth May said...

This is a REALLY generous offer. I hope people take advantage of it. Agent feedback before sending out those queries is invaluable. I know firsthand how helpful Jo was with my first pages.

lac582 said...

This sounds like a really helpful topic! I especially look forward to distinguishing between what works for different genres, that's not something I see covered on the agent blogs very often.

lac582 said...

Hmm, got a bounceback from firstpageshooter@gmail.com... reading the sidebar to see if I missed something.

Kaleen said...

Thank you for such a generous offer! This is a great blog topic. Can't wait to read further posts.

Lori M. Lee said...

Thank you so much for the offer, and I look forward to reading Friday's post!

Manon Eileen said...

Thanks for this great offer! I'm trying to send in my little piece of manuscript but I, like lac582, got a bounceback :(

Looking forward to Friday's post, though!

Eliza Faith said...

WOW and sent!

thanks!

suzie townsend said...

The email should be working now! :)

Manon Eileen said...

Yay!

Loralie Hall said...

Such an awesome opportunity, thank you!

And I'm looking forward to friday's post ^_^

EM Parker said...

I love the title of this. It makes FPS take on a whole new meaning. Thanks for the opportunity.

Heather said...

Thank you ladies for this fantastic opportunity. I got brave and hit send! This is a great topic. I'm looking forward to Friday.

Josin L. McQuein said...

1 - you ladies are awesome

2 - you will never have free time again once word of this gets out.

:-P

spryng said...

This is awesome! Thank you for taking the time to do this.

Tina Moss said...

Great opportunity! Thank you for doing this!

Jared Larson said...

Way generous. Thank you.

Lynn(e) said...

i am so excited about this!! thank you guys so much!!!

Jolene Perry said...

WAY generous of you!!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome opportunity! Thank you so much for this!

Jason Kenney said...

Wow. Awesome of you guys to do this. Good luck with the buncha first pages coming your way...

lora96 said...

Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

I'm in.

I'm biting my nails.

Sierra Gardner said...

Do you only want the first 250 of a finished manuscript, or is it okay if we are in process?

baryshnitsa said...

I hope it's okay if I submit the first page of a book you previously rejected! This is a great opportunity for professional critique! (I know it's nothing personal; it's just like how there are lots of great names, but only so many you love enough to actually bestow on your kids.)

Cheyenne Hill said...

Nervous but very grateful for the opportunity. You guys rock!

Alex said...

Why this is wonderful! First two weeks in a row of flash fiction contests now this! Isn't Suzie just a whirlwind?

Robin Weeks said...

Very cool. Of course I'm in! Thanks!

Steena Holmes said...

You deserve chocolate for this! Thanks for the opportunity :)

mbeougher said...

Wow! A great opportunity I'm going to take advantage of. My email will be sent shortly. Thanks in advance.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Great opportunity! Thanks Susie! I'll send mine right now.

Kate Larkindale said...

You guys just rock! Thanks so much for doing this. May 250 should be winging their way toward you now...

Violet Ingram said...

Thank you so much for doing this.

abrielle1 said...

This is a really amazing opportunity. Thank you so much!

Kalen O'Donnell said...

Umm, you guys are like rockstars. Thank you so much! This is an amazing opportunity and resource!

dan said...

Thank you for doing this! What a cool opportunity for writers. Mine's sent. Looking forward to future posts. You guys are awesome.

Anna said...

What a great opportunity. Thank you!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a wonderful opportunity! Thanks so much! You guys are great!!

CNHolmberg said...

Thanks for the opportunity--I'm definitely taking you up on it!

Speaking of conferences, have you considered attending WorldCon this August?

KimberlyFDR said...

I'll be polishing my page tonight and sending it in! A wonderful opportunity. Thanks for providing it!

Anne R. Allen said...

This is wonderfully brave. I hope you've got some free time!

Melissa said...

Fantastic! Thank you!

Peace, Lena and Happiness said...

How cool. Thank you.

Gina said...

This is wonderful. Headed to my e-mail now.

Donea Lee said...

Since I often refer to my entire 1st chapter as "the devil", this will be immensely helpful!! Thanks so much for the opportunity. I look forward to any tips/help you can offer!

Tracey Neithercott said...

Such a great opportunity. Thank you both! I'm starting to wonder whether you sleep...

Samir Patel [starkalicious] said...

Thanks! This is definitely pretty exciting.

Cozy in Texas said...

I hope you get some wonderful reads.
Ann

Beckah-Rah said...

Wow that's a generous offer...hope you don't regret it (I say as I hit the 'send' button)! :D

David said...

Great idea! Sent. Then noticed one typo, but I won't resend it because I don't want to inundate you guys.

Great, great, great idea! I already finished in the finals of one of the Shark's contests. And while this isn't a contest, I'm happy to show you guys something I wrote with Suzie in mind. Dark Fantasy anyone?

Lindsey said...

Thank you for the opportunity! 244 words sent!

Kim said...

Sent! And thank you!

Jeanne said...

SWAK! Thanks for reading.

J.S. Schley said...

Wow. What a generous offer. I'm going to take advantage of it. :) Thank you both.

Danielle said...

I've already sent mine! Thanks so much for doing this! To reiterate a question that was already posted: Is it ok if your manuscript is in process?

Angie said...

Thank you for such a generous offer. I look forward to hearing the advice offered.

Cat said...

Thank you so much. This is just what I need.

Michelle said...

You guys are wonderful for doing this!! Thanks again. <3

S.P. Bowers said...

Wow and thanks! I'm sending mine now. Tear it up. :)

Kelley said...

Awesome and generous and amazing! Sent mine in yesterday. You ladies are fantastic.

Rebecca said...

I am quite literally quaking in terror, but I really think I should do this - maybe it'll help me get over my anxiety. I'll send my page along when I get home tonight. Thanks so much for the opportunity, ladies!

E.V.V. said...

This is really interesting but isn't it pretty subjective? You rejected my query, but several other agents are excited to read it. So I don't need to change my first page unless I'm changing it just for you, right? I don't mind that you rejected it - I understand everyone (and every agent) has different tastes.

Laura Maylene said...

E.V.V., of course it's subjective, but that doesn't mean Joanna and Suzie won't offer some very helpful constructive criticism on these pages. It's not about changing the first 250 words to match one agent's specific tastes -- it's about making the work as strong as it can be.

Remilda Graystone said...

SQEE! This is awesome! Just what I needed now. Thanks!

subtlegifts said...

Thank you so much for doing this!

Keisha Martin said...

I am so not brave but this opportunity is too awesome to give in to fear. Thank you soooooo much for the possibility of helping aspiring authors out.

rpoulin803 said...

You ladies are wonderful! My 250 words went out yesterday. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

careann said...

Thanks for this opportunity. Fingers crossed.

Carol Garvin

500wordsonwords said...

I go out of town once a year, and this is what I miss!

Thank you so much for the generous offer. I did send in my first page, but even if it doesn't get critiqued, I've learned my lesson: never take another vacation. Or at least not one where I can't read Confessions From Suite 500.

-Nate

Carian01 said...

N'aw, I missed it! Only now do I find this wondrous site.

Haha oh well :)

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?