My favorite event at Handsprings is the Friday evening EDITOR PANEL (this year with editor Alisha Niehaus at Dutton and Rebecca Sherman, agent from Writers House, and Tim Gillner, Art Director from Highlights/Boyds Mills Press.)
Attendees get to send in a first page from their YA novel, MG novel, or picture book and have it read anonymously for the panel to make comments on. The visiting agents/editors give tips, pointers and helpful information about what makes a good first page. What happens when and editor or agent reads that first page? What are they thinking, feeling – and will they want to turn the page?
I sent in the First Page of my WIP, IN A PARIS MINUTE, which I am completely revamping at the moment; a total restructure of the time line and events.
I was biting my nails wondering if the panel was going to tell me to go get a new day job. I envisioned comments like, “This writers thinks she can write YA chick lit from a teenage girl’s POV? Ha, ha, ha! It’s obvious she hasn’t seen her teen years in about 3 decades.”
I was worried I’d be laughed out of the room.
But the room laughed at my story, my writing instead - at least 3 times - during just one page! They laughed at parts I didn’t realize were even funny. I was dumbfounded and thrilled. Perhaps it was the deadpan voice of the SCBWI woman who was reading, I dunno, but I’ll take it anyway.
Then Agent Rebecca Sherman said, “This first page does all the things right we’ve been talking about. Establishes, setting, character, voice, situation. It’s a GOOD first page. No, it’s a GREAT first page. I’d want to keep reading.”
Alisha Niehaus heartily concurred - and said she loves anything to do with Paris. Score a big one for me. My first page got the best comments of the whole evening. I'm so psyched to finish this book now!
Here it is, dear blog readers:
They’re my new favorite food.
My new favorite souvenir.
My new favorite sin.
The Eiffel tower, the Louvre—all of them must-sees like the tour books claim—if you don’t mind heights that make you dizzy and enough paintings to saturate your brain for the rest of your life—but once I discovered La Patisserie the rest of Paris became mere backdrop for my indulgence.
Drizzled chocolate, sugar-dusted raspberries, flaky crusts with perfect crimped edges. I’ll have to run the
Kara and I even ate warm, oozing chocolate crepes for dinner one night while we analyzed French boys on top of the Arc d’Triomphe. If you’ve heard the expression, they’re to die for, well, I’m here to tell you, it’s true. Trust me. The crepes, I mean. Not necessarily French boys.
I've restrained myself from checking out Parisian males because I'm already taken--by Mathew Perotti, the hottest guy at Eleanor Roosevelt High via Lubbock, Texas.