What’s the site about?
The opening lines of your novel are crucial in getting the attention of an agent or publisher, or a potential reader on Amazon who’s browsing the “look-inside” feature. On this site a professional editor will critique the first few pages of your novel, and rate it a success, or a rejection.
Are the opening lines really that important?
Yes. An agent is looking for an excuse to reject your submission. A simple typo, or an out of place cliché, might give them all the excuse they need, however good the rest of your book is. Furthermore, you only have one chance to impress an agent with a manuscript. Unless they ask you to resubmit, your chance with that agent with that book is gone.
Why will this site help?
Because, unlike an agent or a publisher, I will take the time to tell you where I think you’re going wrong. Ever wondered why they rejected your masterpiece? Now’s your chance to find out.
Is the critique public?
Yes. Many writers make similar errors. This site aims to be a compendium of typical problems in openings to novels that writers can browse through. By doing so, hopefully they’ll avoid making those errors themselves.
Does it have to be public?
No, but then I’d be charging my normal rates for a private editing commission. Go over to editorial.ie to see what paid services I offer. An Opening Lines critique is free.
Do you critique all submissions?
I aim to try and critique every submission. Depending on how busy the site gets, I may have to pick and choose. If I do, I’ll aim to pick submissions that illustrate an interesting point.
What do the ratings mean?
A rejection means that I don’t think the piece is ready to be sent to an agent, or published. I’ll have explained why in the critique that follows.
A gold star means that I think the piece is good enough to submit, or publish, with very little amendment. There are no guarantees, of course!
A silver star means that I think the piece is very good, but there are one or two problems that might be easily fixed before it is ready to be submitted.
I submitted before and got a critique. I’ve now rewritten the piece. Can I resubmit?
Yes, but not within a month of submitting the original query. This isn’t a work-shopping facility, so please don’t abuse it. More to the point, if you rush your revisions, the chances are you’re writing something that you think I’ll like, and not what you want to write. If you are genuinely in a hurry, you met an agent at a conference and they asked to see your manuscript, there’s always the paid critique route.
Can I submit a short story?
This is really for novel, or novella length pieces. The dynamics of a short story, although not totally dissimilar, are different.
Can I submit poetry?
No, I can’t help you with poetry.