Awesome First Pages: How to Start Your Story Right

Awesome First Pages: How to Start Your Story Right

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You only get one chance to make a first impression,and that one chance with a reader lasts only minutes. It's no longer acceptable for a book to “get good on page 40." From your first sentence to the first pages of your novel, it's critical to hook readers immediately,whether that reader is an agent, editor, or patron in a bookstore. Not only do you want to quickly pull readers in with your story, you also need to establish your narrative voice as reliable, believable, talented, and authoritative.

So how do you best accomplish this?

In this webinar, instructor and literary agent Kate McKean shows you how to catch a reader's eye with your first sentences and pages. After sharing her own best principles, Kate examines first pages from published books to show you the dos and don'ts of opening your novel/memoir (including: never start with your main character getting out of bed), and the common mistakes that drive agents crazy and stop them from reading the rest of your work.


• Why it's important to hook the reader from the first sentence
• Why a prologue may do you more harm than good
• Common mistakes of first sentences and first pages
• Overused beginnings and clichés that can drag down a work
• The benefits and pitfalls of starting with action
• How to hone the compelling details of your initial story set up
• How writing awesome first pages is simpler than you think


Kate McKean is a literary agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency in Brooklyn, NY, where she has agented for 6 years. She earned her Master's in Fiction Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi before starting her publishing career, and enjoys both the creative and business aspects of her job. Her clients include the New York Times bestselling humor book I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?, YA and Adult fantasy writer Delilah S. Dawson, and blogger, designer, and creativity expert Noah Scalin. She is most interested in contemporary women's fiction, middle grade and young adult fiction of all stripes, craft, sports, and pop culture.


• Writers currently composing a novel who want to make sure their work gets read
• Writers who have been rejected by agents and editors, and want to evaluate why their novel didn't make the cut
• Writers who are getting page requests from agents, but falling short after that point
• Writers whose stories “get good on page 40"
• Writers who want a professional critique by a literary agent
• Anyone with non-novel publishing credits considering making the jump to fiction writing

OnDemand Webinars do not include a critique.

Writer's Digest does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.

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