I promised to share literary agent, Sara Crowe's, words of wisdom from our one-on-one critique at the SCBWI Pocono Mountain Retreat. So here goes...
Sara had the first 10 pages of The End of Normal prior to our meeting. My OLD first 10 pages mind you. My, I-thought-they-were-the-bomb, first 10 pages. I was oh so wrong-o. Luckily, I also submitted a complete synopsis of my book to Sara. She gave me really strong and positive feedback on the synopsis. Things like, "Original ~ I think you have something here ~ I'd like to read this" Good feedback on the synopsis.
Then, we switched over to the first 10 pages. She was still encouraging, but, she said I definitely started in a place that didn't get the reader right into it. Too much telling, not enough showing. Too much back story - not enough action. Since my book is a thriller and all, she said I needed more excitement up front...maybe a prologue.
She seriously echoed Lisa Graff's talk on first chapters from earlier in the day. I told Sara that I already knew where I was going to start my book and I had some time-consuming revisions to do over Easter break. (side note: got the revisions done :)
I also told her that in the two hours of free time I had before meeting with her, I'd also written a killer prologue *kate says humbly* Teee-daaah...
The book glowed orange in the cave, illuminating the absolute blackness. Fear prevented him from stepping closer than his current ten feet away. But, he had to read from the book, death would be certain if he did not. His death.
No one followed him, not after all he’d done to prevent that from happening. Ten feet shrunk to five, and then he paused.
You’re doing this because you have to. Far too much is at stake.
With that understanding his body moved forward. The stone table where the book lay was now inches from him. The book pulsated with its complete knowledge of all. The book didn’t lie. He knew that.
He’d never been this close to its raw power before, not this close. Quickly, his eyes scanned the open book. Her name stood out. Finally knowing who it was he had to kill was a relief mixed with excitement.
He did the conversion in his head. Only twelve years old.
“I’m coming for you, Thaorode,” he said as he left the cave.
Maybe it would make his mother proud of him, he thought. For once.