Author Challenge: Submit your first page!

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Read on, and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #sytycw.

Are you up for the challenge?

From a great opening line to an intriguing character, snappy dialogue to an enticing setting, how will you get the editor to take notice, put down her coffee and clear her appointments for the rest of the day? Do you have what it takes to immediately captivate your readers and plunge them into your story on Page One?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when drafting your first page:

  1. Don’t get bogged down in eloquence. Just start writing your story. You can finesse your words later.
  2. Make sure your romance starts in an exciting place. Don’t have the heroine thinking about her entire life, where she was born, her first job out of college, how it went, why her first boyfriend left, and so on. The characters should be moving somehow, even if they’re actively grappling with a dilemma.
  3. Don’t forget to describe the physical elements of your setting and characters. Immerse us in the story.
  4. Remember that this opening page is a way to hook your reader. Show us what you’ve got! Great opening lines can live forever.
  5. Characterization is essential in a romance novel. Since your reader has to live with these characters for hundreds of pages, you should show the hero or heroine through action, dialogue, point of view—or all of the above. Make us have to take their journey with them.

Send us your first page at by 10:00 a.m. EST today (May 21st, 2015)! In the subject heading, be sure to write: SYTYCW First Page Challenge. A group of expert editors will randomly select five entries and get to work reading!

The randomly selected first pages and our critiques will appear on the website at 2 p.m.

Oh, and before you get started, here are a few things to remember:

  1. One entry per person, and please only from people who haven’t been published by Harlequin Enterprises before.
  2. And just keep in mind that by sending this in, you’re giving permission for the material to appear on our website.
  3. Good luck!

42 replies on “Author Challenge: Submit your first page!”

Hi A.J. I pasted mine into an email. The formatting remained except the initial indents so I hand added those. Good luck all!

Good luck everyone. I haven’t hit send yet and my heart is threatening to explode within my chest. Ahhh the joys of being a writer.

Good Morning,class! A word doc attachment is great for your first page, but the body of the email works too! 🙂 And many of our editors will be on Twitter today using the hashtag #sytycw so don’t be shy with questions and comments! I’m @Deirdre33.Have a great day!

Okay, might be a silly question. I write in Scrivener so not sure how many words I’m aiming for? How man in an A4/Letter sized double spacing?

Don’t stress over the formatting. What they are looking for is a story that stands out, formatting can be fixed.

Good luck everyone! Have fun today, I have to head to work! UGH

So sorry I’m going to miss this opportunity. I just read about this and unfortunately my manuscript is at home.
What a wonderful opportunity! Good luck to those who submit!

@ Tracy. Write another first page. I saw it too late as well and wrote the first page in an hour so what have you got to lose? I also pasted it in the email. Good luck everyone.

I pasted mine in the email as well. Congrats to everyone who has submitted or is going to submit by 10:00. Fingers crossed!!

Wow, it’s great to see everyone so pumped! One more hour to go so get those first pages to us pronto. Good luck to all of you.

For the Scrivener user Miranda Morgan, a page is usually around 250 words. Less if it is dialogue heavy, more if it is very descriptive. Good luck!

Is this a full first page or the typical partial almost half-day down like you would do on a new chapter page for a normal submission?

Thanks Mallee, just submitted. Happy writing muses to all. I’m off to bed. Look forward to catching up in the morning.

Best to make it a full page or around 250 words for this exercise. Good luck all who entered–the editors are busy critiquing right now.

Rushed in from working overnight. Even if I mine isn’t selected…I feel that I still won–I can use the free training.

Good luck to everybody. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and missed out, but what a great opportunity!

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