The First 10 Pages: How to Get (and Keep!) An Editor's Attention OnDemand Webinar

The First 10 Pages: How to Get (and Keep!) An Editor's Attention OnDemand Webinar

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  • You are looking to start off strong on a new project
  • You are looking to start querying a novel
  • You are preparing to enter a writing contest or mentoring program
  • You have received a few rejections from editors and want to understand how to revise their work
  • You are looking to stand out in an editor's or agent's inbox
  • You care deeply about the finer points of prose craft
  • You want to learn more about the publishing process and ‚Äúhow editors think"


First impressions count for a lot,especially when it comes to your novel manuscript. The first pages of your book need to introduce characters, describe setting, ignite the first spark of conflict, and set forth the all-important voice of your narrator. So it's no surprise that writers agonize over their first pages, and rightly so! But if you're seeing editors turn down your work time and again, with little explanation, it can feel almost impossible to divine just what needs to change on those first ten pages.

As Senior Editor at Quirk Books, Blair Thornburgh reads hundreds (if not thousands) of submissions every year, but only selects a few for publication. In this brand new live webinar, she'll take you inside the “editor's brain" to show you how to start with a bang, hook your reader onward, avoid jarring out of the story, and creating an immediate, must-read rapport on the page.

Learn the common mistakes writers make on those crucial first ten pages, and how you can revise to make your beginning stronger, tighter, and genuinely outstanding,for the right reasons. Go in-depth on what makes an editor know a book is “sellable" right from the get-go, and how to make sure your story delivers all the necessary elements of voice, character, plot, conflict, and setting without getting confusing, complicated, or cliché.


  • How editors read submissions, and why beginnings are so crucial
  • The key elements every novel beginning needs
  • The dos and don'ts of exposition
  • Why you should,and shouldn't,‚Äúopen with action"
  • The first-pages clich√©s editors dread
  • The writing rules you shouldn't follow in your first pages
  • How to ‚Äúpromise" your reader the story you're going to tell
  • Exactly when (and why) editors will stop reading
  • Why your critique partners and beta readers won't find all the faults in your first pages
  • How to understand partial manuscript rejections,and fix the problems you find


Blair Thornburgh is a Senior Editor at Quirk Books, where she has edited a wide variety of fiction titles for adults and young adults, including New York Times and international bestsellers. Named one of Publishers Weekly's Rising Star Honorees for 2017, she is also a graduate of Hamline University's MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her YA novel WHO'S THAT GIRL was published by HarperTeen in 2017, and her follow-up YA novel is forthcoming in 2019.

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

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