If you're like almost every writer in the world, those first two pages of your new manuscript are hell to perfect, and they are so important to whether you get published or not. It's the first impression of your writing style (and your characters) an industry professional gets, so you better make them great!
At the recent South Carolina Writer's Workshop Conference in Myrtle Beach, I was one of a lucky 20 people you got to learn from one classy literary agent, Suzie Townsend from Fineprint Literary Management. Ms. Townsend took us through the essential parts and purposes of those first two pages. Here's what I learned:
The first two pages should:
1) Begin with a hook: A OMG first line that makes the reader stand up and pay attention.
2) Create an interesting character & plot.
3) Create a sense of intrigue.
4) Create investment in the characters.
The first two pages serve several functions:
1.)Establishes character's voice.
2) Establishes the conflict.
3) Establishes the tone.
4) Indicates the setting.
Then, she asked us to answer this question for our hook:
DOES YOUR FIRST LINE CATCH THE READER OFF GUARD?
She gave us several examples of FANTASTIC first pages. Here are just a few:
1) The Electric Church by Jeff Somers
2) Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
3) You by Charles Benoit
4) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This was an outstanding intensive workshop. Take a look at your first two pages with these things in mind, and see where you can improve!
THANK YOU SUZIE TOWNSEND for a AWESOME workshop!! Your clients are lucky to have you!