Monday, January 25, 2010

What First Page sessions are like

Kristin Nelson posted about a first pages session she did with Kate Testerman (both are agents, and Kate even came to one of our conferences).

If you're considering a First Pages session at our upcoming conference, read this so you know what to expect.

An excerpt:
-out of the 20 we read, Kate and I would have asked for sample pages from just 1 of the projects read. That’s actually pretty good! I have done this workshop where I wouldn’t have asked for any. And what was really interesting is that everyone in the room knew it while it was being read. The audience’s attention was caught and engaged. You could tell by the reaction. People leaned forward in their chairs a little while listening. They reacted when it was funny. People just paid closer attention. So the workshop attendees sensed it just as we did. Fascinating. You folks know more than you think you do.
I've been to a bunch of first-pages sessions, and think some of these would go better for writers if we were sure to read our pages aloud to a critique group. Not to friends. Not to family. But to people who are telling us whether we're ready yet to submit. You really can hear when the writing rises off the page (just as you can hear the unintended comedy of over-written sentences and misplaced modifiers, which is super-painful).

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