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WRITING ADVICE --favorites used most often, culled from decades of workshops, posted sporadically

WRITING A "WOW" FIRST PAGE

The first pages reading is my favorite part of the L. A. SCBWI Working Writers Retreat. It happens in two parts: on Friday afternoon, each attendee reads the first page of their manuscript to a panel of authors who give feedback. You have until Sunday morning to revise, then first pages are read again to a panel of editors and agents who give their critique and say whether they would keep reading the manuscript.

The Friday read of my first page did not elicit any editorial suggestions, which was satisfying. And it was useful to have compliments on the parts that worked best. But I took note of the “wow” moments of other writers’ first pages. Did I have a killer first line? No, not really. Did the scene hint at the past and future of my main character? A little. But the hints did not always point to the most important parts of the plot to come. I made a list of more elements to work into my first page to make it even stronger.

Did I knock their socks off on Sunday morning? No. Not really.  Read More 
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GOOD ENOUGH?

One of the most compelling things I've learned from watching Chef Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" is to not send sub par food out of the kitchen. But when is a work of art good enough? Sometimes not sending work out means a missed opportunity. Sometimes showing work too soon invites overwhelming criticism. Sometimes quality is just a matter of opinion.  Read More 
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