Why are the first 250 words of your manuscript so important?
Why do many agents not read beyond that point?
Why do readers pick up a book in bookstore, only read the first page, and then put the book back on the shelf?
Why does Amazon offer a sneak peak at the first page of many books?
ANSWER: Because if you can't capture a reader's interest in the first 16 lines, first page, or first 250 words, chances are ... you're not going to do it later on in the story either.
According to one of my favorite websites Flogging the Quill:
"[the first page] ... includes each of these ingredients ... The one vital ingredient not listed is professional-caliber writing because that is a must for every page, a given.
•Tension (in the reader, not the just characters)
According to one of my favorite literary agents Suzie Townsend:
Stand out from the slush!
As soon as possible:
1. Establish your character and voice
2. Establish the conflict and move the story forward
3. Establish the tone
4. Establish an indication of setting
5. Catch the reader off guard - to grab them and keep them reading
Goals of first two pages:
1. Create interest in the character and the plot
2. Create intrigue
3. Create investment
What do you think? Do you think it's necessary or POSSIBLE to accomplish these things in your first 250 words?