I have a great idea for my next story, but before I start writing I was wondering, what exactly do editors look for in the first couple of pages of a new submission? I really want to WOW the editor who reads my story, but wasn’t sure where to start and how to make my story stand out from the crowd. Do you have any tips that might help?
Those first few pages of your story are so incredibly important to not only an editor, but also a reader. That first glimpse into the lives and personalities of your characters is what will make readers read on, but also have editors excited about your writing!
But, how do you WOW an editor? Tina, this might seem like a scary task at first, but rest assured there are plenty of tips we can offer to help you make the most of those first few pages! We’ve grilled some of our dedicated (and we promise not-so-scary) editors, about what they look for when a new submission arrives in their inbox and here’s what we managed to find out for you…
- A catchy opening line made it to the top of many submission wish lists. We’re looking for something that is not only attention grabbing, but also something that excites us!
- Characters we want to know more about will keep us turning those pages! If your characters are interesting, likeable and have a strong conflict, you’re sure to have us hooked! Perhaps they’re funny, or sinfully seductive or just broodingly sexy…the possibilities are endless – and you won’t find editors complaining!
- It’s important to see dialogue and action between the hero and heroine in those first few pages of your story. We want to get a sense of who your characters are, how your characters interact and what stage their relationship is at. Description is great for setting up the world of your story, but be careful you don’t get caught up in just telling us what is happening – show us too!
- An interesting set-up between the hero and heroine will make a lasting impression on an editor and make for a stand out submission. For some editors, this means whisking them away into an extraordinary world and transporting them outside of their lives. For others, it’s seeing two characters who you’d never normally put together, thrown into an impossible and unpredictable situation; perhaps it’s a twist on a conventional set-up? Remember, editors are always looking for something that little bit different in submissions so don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
- For some editors, humour at the beginning or the story will have them eating up the pages of your story! But remember to keep everything you do true to the characters your writing about. If your hero and heroine meet in a hilarious way, tell us about it! But, if your hero and heroine have a shared past and broke up over something deeply emotional, humour on the first few pages might not be what’s right for your story.
- Our last top tip for what editors look for is good spelling and grammar. It’s great that you’re excited about your submission – we are too! But do take the time to show it the love and attention it deserves. That one last check before you submit can make a big difference, especially if you have any missed commas or letters!
Tina, we hope this insight into what editors look for in those first couple of pages has helped to give you an idea about how to start your next fabulous story! We love that you’re excited about your new story and can’t wait to see it!
The Sold Editors x