>The Flash Moment

>To my great delight, I’ve been completely inundated with queries and proposals since I officially opened to submissions on Monday. Occasionally, I look away from my computer screen and I’m reminded that there’s a world happening beyond it–one that isn’t composed of letters in a row.

There are queries I know I’ll reject after the first sentence. But I read them through anyway–just in case. There are queries that have nothing technically wrong with them that I reject anyway because I can’t get excited about them. I’ve heard from writers all over the globe with stories spanning age groups and genres and oceans. I’ve been entertained, annoyed, excited, abused, uplifted and bored. I’ve requested tons of proposals. I’ve rejected more.

But just now, a proposal stopped me in my tracks. This author was so talented that I heard her voice in the very first short sentence. How inspiring. In everything I read, there is a specific moment when I get a flash of certainty that I’m in good hands, that I’ll come away from this just the tiniest bit different–or not. In this proposal, that moment happened in the first sentence. And I just had to smile.

What about you? Have you ever had The Flash Moment?

Posted on June 22, 2011, in queries, The Flash Moment, voice. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. If you fail to capture my imagination within five pages I am gone….!

  2. I remember my first Lit class at Mercy college, The nun had me read the line “I am familiar with the night” and try to carry it forward. Two pages later she stopped me and said that is how literature begins, by capturing the mind of the reader. I am an unstoppable reader, both e-books and paper turners.

  3. That must feel great. I am not in that line of work, but when I read I will stop and lose interest unless the voice hooks me. I must ask if plowing through crap all day influences your discretion? If you read all of the proposals that you pass, and compare them, is it different than when you read a pile that you rejected, and then one you accept? Is it a big fish in a small pond or is it really that good? What a difficult job you have. That business is fascinating to me.

    • Anon:
      I agree. If if the voice doesn’t hook me, my eyes will glaze over and I’ll eventually just want to put it down. Sometimes, after a while of reading queries and proposals that aren’t (shall we say) A-plus, any positive attribute will impress me and catch my eye. I’ll get all excited and then realize it was indeed a case of the big fish in the small pond. Then I’ll come back to it and be able to objectively assess it. For someone who doesn’t work in the business, that was a pretty spot-on observation.

  4. >I love those moments. Though I'm not an intern I still enjoy picking up a book and reading that first sentence. Immediately you know the reason that book sold was because of their voice. Such talent among the pages. Absolutely beautiful.

  5. >Ah, yes! My favorite part of being an intern and then an assistant, by far. And it is always, always, always about voice for me.

  6. >I love it when that happens. Frequently my Flash Moment comes with the first line or first page of a book. But often, that moment comes later, when a particularly evocative image or turn of phrase stops me. And I think, "Dang, I wish I'd written that."

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