Openings

Hi. My name is Kristin. I am a writer. I want to be published.

You’d think that’s the way to start a query letter to an agent, wouldn’t you? Not the case actually.

They want a hook. A well delivered line to make your letter stand out amongst the piles they receive any given week. (Some agents state they receive upwards of two hundred letters a week! A WEEK! Makes my eyes hurt just thinking about it.) But more than a hook, they want a reason to keep reading past your letter. They want to be gripped by your story enough to want to read your book. Don’t we all?

Find your favorite book. You know the one with the worn-out binding and the cover with rippled edges from hard use? Mine happens to be right here. REBECCA.

Got yours? Good. Now open to the first page. Read the first line.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Just like that, I’m hooked. If this was my first read (instead of my sixth), I’d instantly want to know where Manderley is and why it’s chasing her into her dreams. I read further.

“It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.”

It really doesn’t get any better than this for me. I can SEE Manderley. And I know she is someone who once lived in this place. I immediately want to know why she no longer has access, and why it’s what she wants more than anything. (It wouldn’t be haunting her dreams if she was okay with their parting.) And listen to me, one paragraph into the book and Manderley has come to life again.

This is the goal of a writer. This is my goal. I will create another world with my writing. One that will enchant and thrill and mesmorize and make the reader want more like I want more.

What about your old favorite? Did it come to life for you too? Why?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to dive into DuMaurier’s world again…

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