These are what I once learned from the First Pages Panel at New England SCBWI Spring Conference on a Saturday when people were still able to gather in groups.
(The cool editors involved were Katie Cunningham, Alyssa Henkin Eisner, and Diane Landolf)
Eight Hot Tips (Ouch! On fire!) To Writing A Good First Page
It’s cool to be funny. It’s cool to be poignant, but it is awesome to be funny AND poignant.
It’s good to have lovely language but not too much of it because then it’s easy to forget about character and plot. Yes, character and plot are actually important in children’s stories.
Every sentence should make you move towards the next sentence. Dogs eat cake. The martians have yellow hair. Journal writing is incessant. Those are examples of sentences that do NOT move forward.
A good strong voice is much better than a wimpy little voice. Voices are like superheroes. We want them to have muscle. They have to save us from evil plots and menacing back story.
Kookiness is good as long as it is kid-friendly kookiness.
Your first page shouldn’t be a character study. Your character study should be a character study.
Don’t stay inside your own head too long, Author Person! We need emotion and movement to propel us readers forward.
Don’t sound 87 if you are supposed to be 15. Adult voice or datedness makes us not connect with the narrative.
Come Write With Me!
I coach, have a class, and edit things.
WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.
Join the 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.
Link to Jose’s bonus interview. Jokes, Stuffies, And Using Your Weirdness for Good, An Interview with Jose De La Roca
Link to Caitlyn’s bonus episode. Books, Law School during Covid-19 and just being Kick Butt – Using Law to Create Lasting Change – Interview with Caitlyn Vanover
This week’s episode. Money Is Not the Enemy and the Habits of the Rich
Last week’s episode link. Emotional Insecurity Is Us and Farts are Everywhere.
NEW BOOK OF AWESOME
I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should.
And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter!
And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.
IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!
My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!