5 Ways To Keep Me Reading Your First Chapter
Camp NaNoWriMo 2014 has officially launched! Whether you’re writing a new novel, tackling a screenplay, or finishing an existing piece of work, Camp is a writing free-for-all. For those of you still on your publishing journey before Camp, Blair Thornburgh, assistant editor at Quirk Books, explains what makes her stop reading a manuscript:
I was recently at a conference where an editor detailed her method for critiquing a first draft. The complicated process was as follows:
- Start reading it.
- When it stops being compelling, stop reading it.
- When you stop reading it, draw a line on the page and write “This is where I stopped reading”.
Brash. Ballsy. Take-no-prisoners.
But what specifically makes an editor grind to a halt and refuse to go on? Opinions differ, of course, but as far as I’m concerned there are some pretty basic “don’t”s that make me want to close a document while I’m reading a sample chapter:
This is 100% true
This tweet sounds as though introverts consume the souls of others before they engage in social events.
This is 100% true
I got the opportunity to go through my college library’s special collection of Irish literature. This is some stuff I liked. Some poems from James Joyce, a letter from Samuel Beckett, and the opening quote from an Yeats book hand printed in 1893. I even touched Samuel Beckett’s slippers. Swoon.
depression is when you don’t really care about anything
anxiety is when you care too much about everything
and having both is just like whatHaving both is staying in bed because you don’t want to go to school and then panicking because you don’t want to fail. Having both is wanting to go see your friends so you don’t lose them all, then staying home in bed because you don’t want to make the effort. Having both is insanely hard and sucks to deal with.
Conversations with Seamus
Me: “I wish we had pretzels.”
Seamus: “You wanted Doritos, so we got those.”
Me: “Yeah, I had some. Now I want pretzels.”
A problem with the job market: I just explained how to change font size in a Word document to my father, but if he and I were to apply for the same office job, he would get it because his resumé shows “more experience” within an office setting.
That time when a story appeared on a wall.
He loves the snow.
Madden has some new winter booties, and he’s not sure how to handle them.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I plan to use my English degree to teach, I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a job. There are other ways to use an English degree, people! Be creative.
"I’m writing a novella that I’m hoping to get published."
"What’s it about?"
"It’s about these two kids from Seattle, who sneak out of the house early in the morning and take a 5 AM bus to Portland."
"What happens after that?"
"I don’t know. But that’s kind of the point."