Start Your Story Right: How to Hook an Agent in Your First Pages

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Tutorial Details: 

The first 30 pages of your book (let’s be honest, even the first 3) are supremely important in terms of catching the attention of an agent and an editor. If you’re serious about getting your book published, you have to be serious about making your work stand out in the slush pile. An agent won’t wait until page 40 or chapter 3 for your story to get going. It has to be excellent from the first paragraph.

So what does an engaging opening look like? And what are some of the common pitfalls and clichés to avoid in the opening scenes of your story? Literary agent Sara Megibow will examine all that . . . and more.

In this 52-minute tutorial video, you’ll learn:

  • How to avoid the dreaded datadump: The number one reason most agents stop reading! You can’t start your novel or memoir with a boatload of information. The story must begin with tension, trouble, or an interesting scene. Description and detail should leak out over time.
  • What superior writing and a unique beginning look like: Of course publishing is subjective – we all know this. But here are some tips for mastering these two “hot” skills. We will examine several successful openings to novels and memoirs.
  • What agents and editors do want: What agents and editors look for in terms of pacing, characterization, and plot . . . right from the start!
  • Early clichés and problems: Does your story start with a dream? Does the main character look at themselves in the mirror in the first few pages? Does your crime novel begin with a PI waking up from a hangover? These are all overused techniques. What else is overused in genre writing, children’s tales and storytelling? Sara will reveal lots more.

Note: This tutorial was originally recorded as a webinar. Critiques were only available to those who attended the live webinar. To see all upcoming live webinars, many of which include critiques, visit: Writer’s Digest Shop – Live Webinars

Runtime: 00:51:54