Your first 1,000 words must compel an editor or agent past the milestone where she would normally reject a manuscript.

The deeper you can force a publishing professional to read into your novel, the greater the likelihood she will eventually be interested enough to buy or represent it.

Here are a few pointers on how to make your first 1,000 words work:

  • Introduce the heroic character and give clear signals about his personality, appearance, flaws and strengths. Force your reader to care about this character.
  • Introduce, or at least allude to, the heroic character’s worthy adversary. Characterize her as well.
  • Present or strongly suggest the surpassing conflicts of the story. You may have several but certainly the most important should come into play early in the story.
  • Deliver evidence of the danger, suspense or dramatic irony you might have hinted at in the first 100 words.
  • Foreshadow crucial scenes to come in the first 50 to 100 pages to the point-of-no-return complication.