Lady With a White Collar,
oil on canvas, 1936.
National Gallery of Canada.
Agent Nathan Bransford is marathon running his Stupendous First Page Contest on his blog.
The contest closes at 5:00 PM, Pacific Time today.
When I looked this morning 435 first pages had been posted on his blog. No doubt more have arrived on his My Space page.
I read over 200 before my scrolling finger began to ache.
The vast majority of the entries are very, very GOOD.
So good, it's depressing.
Were I an agent, I'd find myself knee-deep in partials.
And many of those that are not top tier, that make me itch for a red pen, have a solid, interesting story and need only firm tweaking to shine. (Which is why they make me itch for a red pen, I suppose.)
Those are not quite there yet -- but they will be.
Hardly a dud in the lot.
Nathan's contest gave me the best view and understanding to date of what comes across an agent's desk, of the competition from that top 5 - 15 percent that rises above the slush, and allowed me to see, briefly and dimly, submissions from agent's eyes.
Demonstrated, by example, why all the various advice about hooks, voice, and other technical stuff is correct, and especially why an agent might toss a perfectly saleable MS because they'd just read 15 queries about a spunky, mouthy YA protagonist.
Why one is always advised to query widely.
I recommend you read the entries with an agent's eyes in mind.
No dismissal of other posters here who may have entered their first page -- I habitually ignored the names of the posters, didn't even see them, so I have no idea if more of you have entered or not -- but one made me scroll back to see who had connived, for me, a particularly intriguing beginning.
Dave F, I thought your first page was excellent.