Today’s Challenge: The First Page

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?

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. No “info dump” or scene that could easily be pitched. The characters should be moving somehow, even if they’re actively grappling with a dilemma.
  3. 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. 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 (Monday, September 14, 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 12 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15.

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!

Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #SYTYCW15, and follow @HarlequinSYTYCW.