RT17 Writer's Workshop: Your First YA Page

We know we say it a lot, but the RT convention is great for so many different types of book lovers: especially aspiring authors. One of the workshops we're super pumped about is Ask a YA Editor: Does Your First Page Have What It Takes? YA Editors Weigh In. The panelists will read aloud and critique a selection of anonymously submitted first pages. That's right, real life editors, working for real life publishers, will potentially read your first page aloud and tell you what they think. WE KNOW. 

To get you prepared, we got two of the editors on the panel, Kat Brzozowski from Swoon Reads, and Whitney Ross from Tor Teen/Tor/Forge, to give you some pointers. That way your first page will be shiny and read to hand over on May 3 in Atlanta! 

Whitney and Kat's tips:

  • This is your 30-second elevator pitch! Make the most of it!

Angela Lansbury being fabulous.

Be ready to shine!
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  • Don't reveal the character's weakness in the first pages. The reader's not ready for empathy if they haven't even been properly introduced yet. 
  • Show don't tell!
  • Have your main character acting rather than reacting to the scene around them. 

The Nanny GIF, CeCe is surprised

Wait, what?! 
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  • Leave the character's full name and physical description for later. Let's get to know the character through the action, and disseminate information about them slowly. Leave worldbuilding, exposition and backstory for later pages. 
  • There's a reason everyone refers to the phrase "in media res." This ensures you grab the reader with something interesting right off the bat. AKA, start in the middle of a scene!

Man jumping off snow-covered cliff

For example, we really want to know what happens to this dude.
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Registration for the 2017 RT Booklovers Convention is now open! We can't wait to see everyone in Atlanta May 2 to 7!">

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