10 Pages

After working on a novel for a month (NaNoWriMo), a year or 7 years, it all comes down to 10 pages.

It may not seem fair. It may not seem possible. But as my brother says, “It is what it is.”

Literary agents and publishers are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of writers and their manuscripts. So for newbies with no established street cred in society ie., fame, it’s all about 10 pages. The first 10 of your manuscript.

For writers of middle grade fiction the packet you send to find an agent usually includes a query letter and the first pages of your book. Those pages need to introduce your main characters to agents and future readers in a way that makes them want more, lots more. They need to care about your protagonists and the difficulties they face. You need to set the hook quickly and reel in your audience. Good story tellers have always done this and now its a 10 page appetizer that makes you hungry for the entire meal. 

Mine are ready to go and I’ll send them out after the holidays. Between now and then I’ll review those first 10 pages again.

Before the last review I’m reading a stack of first chapters. I like to study favorites to learn how to write better. I’ll re-read Greenglass House, The Matchstick Castle, Someday Birds and others. Then I’ll check my ten. They’ve already been edited and reviewed, but I want to be sure the magic is still shimmering in each word.

What books would you read to learn about first pages? What story hooked you right away and still pulls you back to enjoy more than once?  

Welcome to Writing Whidbey

I’ve been thinking about bees.

In The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, we see the bees flying for joy in Lily’s bedroom. They shine in the dark and fly “for the feel of the wind”. Those bees aren’t working, they’re soaring just for the pure joy of it.

That’s what I feel when I’m writing. Pure joy.

I’d like to share the fun with you. I’m just tidying up a middle grade adventure and there are additional stories in the works. So I’ll write about my writing.

I’ll also be learning about the business end of writing. That means professional groups, conferences, cover letters and first chapters, finding the right agent and working to make the book a success. Let me share my experiences with you and you can join in with questions and tales of your own.

As the blog develops I’ll include reviews of books that I dive into. Books about how to write, books about the business end of a novel, books that are fun to read and that have great form as well.

Since I live on an island that nurtures stories there will be articles about it as well.

Welcome to Writing Whidbey. I’m ready to fly are you?