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Monday, November 23, 2009

The first page, part 11 - Query letters and critique partners

This is the last post of my series on things to look for in your first page.
Click here for part ten.

Use that first page with a query letter

Now, many people advise not to put anything into an envelope with a query letter except for the query letter. This is good, safe, and proper.

But if you are a trifle daring, why not include your first page?

After all, if you’ve spent all this time working on it and revising it and making every word count. It ought to be so fantastic that an editor skimming that page will shout, “I must read the rest of this novel!”

If you plan to include the first page with your query letter, that should also spur you to put more time and effort into that first page to make it worthy of that brief glance. After all, you’ll only get that one chance.

Utilize your critique partners

Every piece of writing could use another set of eyes to catch errors, or tell you if something you thought was clear as a bell is actually a bit muddled.

Take advantage of friends to go over that first page, to give feedback, to help you make it as sparkling as it can be. Use both writing friends and also non-writing friends.

Encourage brutal honesty, too—a comment that everything you write is brilliant isn’t going to be as helpful as a comment that a sentence is a tad awkward, or your heroine isn’t very likable because she does XYZ.

And by the way, critique partners typically love chocolate. :)

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