Monday’s Challenge: The First Page

Are you up for the challenge?

The key is getting started and sharing your story. First things first: a great opening line leading into a captivating opening page. How will you get the editor to take notice, put down her coffee and clear her appointments for the rest of the day? What are your characters saying to you? Don't ask me, write it down. 🙂

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  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 her second. The characters should be moving somehow, even if they're actively grappling with a dilemma.
  3. While your opening page is fabulous, grabbing us in from the start, 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 and this is your chance to show off.
  5. 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.

What do you do now? Fine tune your opening page and submit it to us at by 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday, September 15, 2014. In the subject heading, be sure to write: SYTYCW First Page Challenge. A group of expert editors will randomly select six entries to critique. They will then, sleepily, post the critiques online by Tuesday, September 16, 2013 by 10:00 a.m.(EST). Material will be shared on the website. Remember that our selections will be random. So without further ado, your job is to get in that chair and start writing!

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!

31 replies on “Monday’s Challenge: The First Page”

Do you want our first page as an attachment or cut and paste within the message of the email. Preferred font type & size? I know, I’m sweating the small stuff here ….

How many words, approximately? Normally my opening page start’s a third of the way down, but I’m guessing you don’t want that for this particular purpose? And double spaced? Or single spaced?

Hi, Everyone! I’ll answer your questions here:

How many words: approximately 250-300.
Font size: at least 12 pt.
Double spaced please!
Attachment or in email is fine.

Let the games begin! 🙂

Hi, and for those of us that subbed before the guidelines were put up…? ;o) will you take the first 300? Or should we sub again? Ta x

Is a cover page with identification re our name, title, address, category, etc., necessary, or do you take our name and contact info from the email?

Thanks for this opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great if we all would be winners?

After debating for a long time about whether or not I should enter, I decided to be brave and just finishing hitting SEND. If you are reading this, what are YOU waiting for? Send in YOUR first page, too! 😀

I am just now hearing about this competition due to someone posting it 30 minutes ago on Facebook. Is it too late for me to do the 5,000 words to enter?

I just found out about contest, it is Sept. 16 can I still enter and also do I skip front page and go to next step(Todays)?

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