On Saturday, I spoke at Hawk Publishing Group's writing workshop in Tulsa. I enjoyed this because I also had the opportunity to sit in on a few sessions. Each time I've heard K.D. Wentworth speak has been rewarding. She makes me laugh and always teaches me something.
The nugget I'll share with you today is that she said that the first page of a novel or short story should include the character, context (setting), and conflict. The conflict should be the worst problem that character can have.
That's a lot to get on the first page.
And she's totally right.
Wentworth is the coordinating judge, which means she's the first judge, of the science fiction contest Writers of the Future. There is no entry fee and the prizes are big. The contest receives about 4000 entries a year.
Does she feel obligated to read all entries? No way. There's not enough time. She claims that the easiest way to weed through the stories is to look at the first page. If the story has character, context, and conflict on the first page, she'll continue. Otherwise, she'll toss it.
Whether you enter the Writers of the Future contest or are submitting a novel or short story to an agent or magazine, make sure your story doesn't get tossed!
Read this great interview with KD Wentworth to learn more about becoming a successful writer.