Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Experience at Arthur Levine's Monday Intensive: Chapter One: The Great First Date of Your Novel

Arthur Levine, out-of-this-world editor and award-winning author, took twenty-seven authors out on a most-amazing first date. For Arthur this date was blind, not knowing who he'd meet until our first chapters hit his inbox. For us, we knew we were getting ready to meet the hottest guy around. I'm sure it's safe to say there was a whole lot of first-date jitters as we gathered and made eye contact with Arthur in the Pacific Room.

Thankfully, as soon as Arthur smiled and made us laugh, we all relaxed into the experience. And what an experience it was.

Arthur shared, with his many dates, ways in which a first chapter is like a first date. It really all boiled down to the question: Does your first chapter lead with, "This is what you're going to love about this me [this book]"?

Then things got personal. Very personal.

It was amazing to watch Arthur at work, as we all shared our beginning pages. The way he pinpointed what was working and what was not was a treat to listen to and learn from. We were then all asked to state what was our "best foot forward." Did we lead with it? Or something else? Did we begin in the right spot? Should it have been earlier or later? And Arthur gave us his own take on each and every beginning.

As the date came to a close, I know none of us wanted it to end. The sign of a most successful date. It went so well, I'm really quite sure it ended with a hypothetical kiss.

MWAH, Arthur! You certainly led with what we love about you, and you delivered to the very end.


  1. One on one with a real pro who wasn't afraid to show his real self on a first date. These are the best kind. I would be curious to know how many of the attendees submitted first chapters of "ready for submission" manuscripts and how many were works in progress. This can make a difference in how the writer uses the advice as it relates to the rest of the book. Would have enjoyed to part of this giant date.