Monday, July 11, 2011

First page critiques

Ah, the dreaded first page. I know many writers who struggle with creating the perfect beginning for their story, especially knowing that agents, and many editors, won't read past the first 250 words if they aren't drawn in immediately. Personally I like writing first pages. Beginnings have always been my strong point, so to speak (the WIFYR first page contest was the first adult writing contest I ever won). Mostly I struggle with the middle of the story rather than the beginning or end.

Working at Scholastic has given me a whole new perspective on first pages. I've read submissions, both from agented and unagented writers, and I've seen how editors react to different first pages. I've started to see what does and doesn't work and I've been jotting down trends in terms of how writers begin their stories. Armed with this knowledge, I've decided to start a new tradition of first page critiques on this blog. Here's how it works:

~Anyone (that means you) who wants a first page critique can email me with 250 (or so) words of a manuscript pasted into the email (

~I will critique the page and post it on my blog (you may remain anonymous if you so choose).

~Other people can comment with suggestions.

~There may be an agent/editor critique involved if I can get ten people to submit first pages.

I really hope somebody wants a critique, because I love reading other writers' work! Happy July 11, and I'll be back in a couple days with more exciting news from Scholastic!

P.S. Since Scholastic publishes Harry Potter, everyone who works there gets to attend an early screening of the last movie :).


  1. I do this over on my blog, ldswritermom dot blogspot, too, (I call it First Page Friday) and I have a national editor that critiques on Fridays. If you ever need any help, setting up, critiquing, etc., I'd be happy to. And how fun that you get an early screening of HP! Lucky! :)

  2. Whoa, I am so jealous of you for getting to see an early screening of the last HP movie!!! It sounds like working at Scholastic is really fun. :D

  3. So glad you're having a great time and learning so much Kate! And your first-page project sounds awesome!

  4. Kate, Can't wait to see the submissions and critiques. What fun!

    The Write Soil

  5. Such a totally awesome thing you're doing here, Kate. Looking forward to your next posts. :)