Kristin Nelson has a great post today on the top two reasons she passes on sample pages and, as usual, she’s spot on.The prime death knell with reading the first 30 pages of a manuscript is a lack of red meat. Sure, you may have a ton of action going on, or great dialog, but it needs to be a set up of the plot.
Kristin suggests that authors read their first 30 pages, and outline the plot points in a list list by chapter. Don’t summarize the chapter, simply list the action found in it.
Kristin says that if you find…
1) The work is missing a plot catalyst to really start the story (so there is a lot going on action-wise but no actual story unfolding).
2) There is nothing at stake for the main character.
…then you might think about going back to the drawing board. I run into this a lot, so I’m glad Kristin blogged about it. If your first 30 pages don’t give the reader a solid idea where the story is going and what’s at stake for the main character, then they’re going to close the book. *Ungently.
Take a look at your first 30 pages. Do you feel those pages set up the plot and present the high stakes for the main character?