Friday, I attended two of Suzie Townsend's (from Fine Print Literary) classes, and I gained insight and ideas from each of them. Loved them.
First, she offered a Workshop Class on how to make your first two pages really stand out from the slush. Here are my notes:
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
Anticipate the pauses when someone is reading and make these your paragraph breaks.
Then she read many pages from participant and critiqued them. Imagine American Idol. (But Suzie is SUPER NICE, unlike Simon.) That was very productive.
Her second class featured strategies for writing a great query letter.
1. Main character
2. What happens to her
3. What choices does she make
4. What terrible thing will happen because of choices
The mc must decide whether to ________. If she does then ___________. If she does not then __________.
Sound stark not verbose. Make your point and then stop talking.
Every three lines, skip a line. This makes it easier to read in an email.
At the end of the class, Suzie went through each of our queries and offered significant feedback.
I was really impressed with Suzie, her skills, and her knowledge. If you're looking for a fabulous agent, I would highly recommend her. Check her out here: