Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Attention Writers: NO QUOTE PRIOR TO 1st CHAPTER

Another tip to the newbie, or any writer loving to add random quotes to their manuscript. 


Everyday we get hundreds of query letters, some good, some bad, and some ugly. But all of them are unique. Where we see repetitiveness is random quotes. This seems to happen at the opening of the first chapter. 

It's one thing to use quotes in a way that moves your story forward. Or if it's some kind of marketing at the head of each chapter, that also helps move the story forward. But, random quotes because they move you, the writer, or you think it helps readers understand where you or the character is coming from is a no-no.

When I am reading first chapters, I skip them, and so do the other interns. They're not needed, and for the most part only help alert us that you are a new writer, and that this is probably your first manuscript, and you haven't been told yet to drop the quote.

I'm telling you now, drop it. If you get picked up by an agent or publisher, and they ask you for random quotes (they won't) to add to the beginning of your first chapter, then by all means put it back in. For now, leave it out. 

When your manuscript goes to auction (don't we all hope so) then, you can blog about your awesome, kick-ass manuscript and use your favorite quote to help market yourself.

So, say it with me newbie, and not so newbie writers:


Okay now, query away...


1 comment:

  1. Random, no!

    One of the best examples I can think of for a quote that was absolutely essential and compellingly artistic is the John Donne poem at the beginning of Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." What's amazing about the quote is that it explains the title, captures the theme, and acts as a bookend when it's echoed again at the end of the book.

    I'm enjoying these inside-track tips you're sharing, Angie! Thanks so much!