I’m preparing a book proposal for a new craft book with the working title of Red Ink: How to Craft a Killer First Page. The book is based on the Killer First Page workshop I teach at writers conferences and what goes on here at FtQ.
While here on the blog you see first pages one at a time, a few days apart, the in-person workshops immerse writers in a rapid succession of first pages submitted by the workshoppers themselves. After reading several in a row, along with discussion of why they voted to turn the page or not, workshoppers begin to develop a feel for what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, they see how to apply those insights to their own work.
After the workshop at the Mendocino Coast Writer's Conference, a writer came up afterwards and told me, “When we got to mine, I voted against it.” And he was a very good writer, with smooth, accomplished prose.
Stephen King expresses the reason the immersion technique, both in workshops and here on FtQ, works to improve our writing.
In On Writing, King says,
“We need to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear of them.”
Exactly right. So submit your WIP for a critique and learn.
While none of the submissions I’ve gotten here are rotten, they are often on the mediocre side in terms of how well they do in the storytelling department—that’s why so many pages get No votes.
While I understand that it’s the holidays and we’re focused elsewhere, I encourage you to get busy on your WIP after the new year and glean the insights you’ll get if you sent your prologue or chapter for a look by the fresh eyes of FtQ. Here's how:
Submitting to the Flogometer:
Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):
- your title and genre
- your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
- Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
- Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
- And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
For what it’s worth,