Write Opening Pages that Grab Readers’ (and Agents’) Attention — April 3 Webinar (with Critique!) by Agent Victoria Marini

UPDATE: In September 2016, Victoria moved from Gelman Schneider to Irene Goodman Literary. We have updated her submission guidelines and categories below. 

Strong opening pages are essential to getting your novel noticed by an agent. First pages often dictate whether an agent requests a manuscript or rejects the query, and first chapters can mean the difference between capturing and sustaining a readers’ attention or losing it entirely. As an agent with Gelfman Schneider / ICM Partners, Victoria Marini has been selling Adult and Young Adult Fiction for years. She’ll share her first-hand knowledge of what she looks for in the opening pages of fiction, and what she lets go.

Learn how to create opening pages that capture attention, sustain interest, and ultimately compel readers to keep turning the pages. Develop authentic characters readers will care about, set pacing and plotting that will streamline your storytelling, and avoid the common mistakes that downgrade your craft. This new webinar is called “Let’s Begin: Write Captivating Opening Pages that Grab Readers’ (and Agents’) Attention,” and it all goes down at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 4, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes.


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All registrants are invited to submit the first 1,500 words of their manuscript for critique. All submissions are guaranteed a written critique by Victoria Marini. Sign up for Victoria’s new webinar here.

Please Note: Even if you can’t attend the live webinar, registering for this live version will enable you to receive the On Demand webinar and a personal critique of your material. Purchasing the On Demand version after the live event will not include a critique.


  • How to pique interest
  • The importance of demonstrating your authorial voice
  • Ways to set a foundation for your narrative
  • How to build the narrative on that foundation
  • How to stay focused and keep the storytelling streamlined
  • The various elements of conflicts and inciting events
  • The difference between Action and Action!
  • Pitfalls that will bore, tire, irritate, and generally put off readers. Sign up for Victoria’s new webinar here.


Victoria Marini began her career as a literary agent at Gelfman Schneider and ICM Partners before joining the Irene Goodman Agency in 2016. Originally from rural Pennsylvania, she once worked in an orchard, where she broke the tractor, got lost in the corn, and ate all the food. After that, her only option, after earning her degree in English and Comparative Literature at Pace University, was to stay in New York and get bit by the publishing bug. This worked out remarkably well for her, as her list quickly mushroomed in her first few years as an agent. She is interested in both Literary and Commercial Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult fiction. From contemporary to magical realism to sci-fi/fantasy and dramatic suspense, she is always looking for unforgettable off-the-page characters, compulsive stories, and unique voices. She is a sucker for weirdness, atmosphere, secrets, things that go bump in the night, a bit of whimsy, a twist of magic, or a dash of humor.


  1. Writers who struggle with beginning their novels
  2. Writers who are revising
  3. Writers who are querying or about to query
  4. Writers who want to strengthen their opening pages
  5. Writers with strong ideas, who need help implementing them
  6. Writers looking to improve their narrative focus
  7. Writers looking for ways to make “quiet” openings stand-out
  8. Writers who want to learn how an agent approaches reading


Sign up for Victoria’s new webinar here.

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