April 28, 2009

Get Thee To A First Page Session!


I have previously written on this blog about First Page Sessions offered through the SCBWI. This information bears repeating, as it's a great experience and you can't beat the price. Last week I attended a N.J. SCBWI First Page Session in Princeton. What is a First Page Session, you ask? At these sessions, you bring only the first page of a manuscript (one typed page, double-spaced). It is submitted anonymously and the pages are read aloud to the editors and the entire group. (No stress involved, as no one know who belongs to what manuscript). The editors (usually two) comment on the first page. Would they turn to the next page? Does the writing/setting/character set this manuscript apart from the thousands of others in the slush pile? If it's a rhyming text - is it forced rhyme? Is the meter correct? Is it a great opening paragraph? How can it be stronger? This is valuable information, coming straight from the editors. Michele Burke, Associate Editor, Knopf and Crown Books and Allison Wortche, Assistant Editor, Knopf (a Random House imprint) offered great tips for the writers in the group. Solid, concrete information that will turn a first page into a gem. In today's market a first page must pop. Your immediate goal is to entice the editor to read page two - and ultimate goal of published.

1 comment:

taralazar said...

I posted about that first page session on my blog. There was a lot of great information for all genres! I liked the advice "avoid the whiny, unhappy displaced middle grade voice."