Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grateful for Brutal Honesty

Airfare to CO: $200

Cost of Conference: $300

Knowing first page is crap BEFORE sending to agents: PRICELESS.

It was the worst and best moment of my writing journey. Listening to an author, editor, and agent sit in front of a room full of writers while my first page was read aloud--anonymously,thank goodness. First off, let me give a big "thank you" to Ron Cree, the author who read all of the entries. I worried he would mispronounce Kindrily or Maryah but he nailed them perfectly. So for a few fleeting moments, I was happy and it was going well. Then...the panel all agreed my first page was bad. They had more to say about it but that’s the gist of it. The bittersweet part is that I had NEVER been happy with my first page, or first scene for that matter. But people said it was good. I love those people. They are my family, friends, even an avid reader I barely knew all said they loved it. So it was gut check time when three industry professionals agreed “they didn’t get it.” It was too descriptive, too many similes, too wordy. Saddest part, I knew all that but I didn’t follow my instincts. The priceless part is that my critique was my wake up call. I could fix it. I knew how to fix it. I knew I SHOULD have fixed it when I had the initial “doesn’t feel right” mantra whispering in the back of my head. And now…it is fixed. It's fifty times better than what it was and it sets the tone of the story more accurately and artistically. Funny how when you take out all the similes and lengthy descriptions it becomes MORE artistic. To that panel of three honest souls who did there job and basically said “this sucks” (and to Ron Cree for the meticulous reading). Thank you. Sincerely, thank you. To the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, thanks for hosting the event that led me to the conference room where three writing-world-pros told me the truth. A truth that saved me from sending out disastrous first pages to a bunch of agents. If the first page sucks, I wouldn't get very far. My first page sucked, but now it doesn’t. That one critique alone was worth any amount of money in the world. Lesson to all you aspiring writers...go to a conference and leave your ego at home.


  1. very cool how things work out, and how our guts really do know what they're talking about. Can't wait to read the new opening!

  2. Wow, at least they told you the truth!

  3. priceless indeed.great job

  4. I read a lot of first pages aloud at that session, and while I agreed with the panel on many of their points, you should know that YOUR PAGE was one of the few that really stuck with me. The imagery, (including the angelic voice) was not something I'll forget soon. Good luck with your writing. I hope to one day read the full book and find out what was really going on with Maryah.



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