Don’t go making this man’s mistake. Read and learn what not to do or say.
Something to consider when preparing a manuscript to send off to agents.
No one reads more prospective novel beginnings than literary agents.
They’re the ones on the front lines, sifting through inboxes and slush piles. And they’re the ones who can tell us which Chapter One approaches are overused and cliché, as well as which techniques just plain don’t work.
Below find a smattering of feedback from experienced literary agents on what they hate to see the first pages of a writer’s submission. Avoid these problems and tighten your submission!
“I don’t like it when the main character dies at the end of Chapter One. Why did I just spend all this time with this character? I feel cheated.” - Cricket Freeman, The August Agency
“I dislike opening scenes that you think are real, then the protagonist wakes up. It makes me feel cheated.” - Laurie McLean, Foreword Literary
In science fiction
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Some great words of advice here. Never throw away your old stuff. Keep everything. Maybe, in the future, you can go back to it and realise you can use or recycle some of it.
Writing isn’t something you can sit down and do without training. It only looks that way.
I’ve noticed, of late, various posts and comments around the blog-o-sphere along the lines of ‘my book is good, because I got positive comments on Good Reads (or Amazon, or Smashwords), so why did an agent say it was terrible?’
Or ‘I got positive comments on Good Reads, but the agent said the book needed this-and-this-and-this…’
Why? There’s no soft way to say this. Fact is that neither writer nor on-line reviewer actually knew what constituted a good book – meaning not just an abstract measure of quality and authorial competence, but what’s required for a specific market.
Agents do. So do commissioning editors.
What’s happened is that the aspiring writer’s sat down and thought ‘I want to be a writer’ – usually, meaning ‘novellist’. They’ve then churned out…
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If like me you have problems writing one page synopsis’, then this might be of help.
Amanda Patterson, of Writers Write, has produced this info graphic to help people write them:
Source: How to Write a One Page Synopsis by Amanda Patterson, http://writerswrite.co.za/how-to-write-a-one-page-synopsis-1
This does reference the Basic Plot Structure, available here: http://writerswrite.co.za/basic-plot-structure-the-five-plotting-moments-that-matter. I know I definitely need to use this since I am horrible at writing synopsis’ and I hope this helps others.