Jul 10 2009
You don’t have hundreds of pages to persuade an agent or a publisher that your work is worth publishing. More like five. Since agents and publisher’s assistants and editors receive hundreds of proposals every week, time is not on your side. Your story has to be interesting immediately. If it feels like the story’s going nowhere, the reader will toss your manuscript and move on to the next.
To help you write sharper and more compelling openings, I’m starting a writing contest that will end on July 31. Both novelists and comic book writers can participate as many times as they’d like. If you’re interested, please post the following below…
- A two-sentence synopsis of what you’re writing.
- A sentence-long description of your target audience.
- The first five pages of a novel or comic book. (We won’t be picky about comic book formatting, but if you’d like to know more about how to format a comic book script, please see Dark Horse’s guide here).
The best openings will be featured in an upcoming article I’m doing about how to write effective introductions. Here are some questions to guide you.
1. Is there an interesting main character? In particular, how well has his personality been developed?
2. Is something at stake for the main character? Do we care about whether he succeeds?
3. Does the story feel like it is going somewhere?
4. Is the story clear and easy to understand?
5. Has the author demonstrated a strong sense of style?
6. If readers could keep reading past page five, would they urgently want to?
7. If it’s a comic book script, has the writer worked in interesting visuals?