OPENING LINES October 2018

Your all-important opening lines … will they hook your reader or not? This month, L.J. MacWhirter brings you a chance to find out what top literary agent Gillie Russell thinks. 

OPENING LINES gives you a chance to get some professional feedback so you can tune up your words. Three submissions will be chosen at random for feedback. If yours is selected, it will be published anonymously here in November with Gillie’s response.

Gillie Russell – an introduction

Meet Gillie Russell from Aitken Alexander Associates. Her passion is discovering new voices with a gift for good storytelling for children aged 9+. Perfect for aspiring SCBWIs! Gillie started her career at Methuen Children’s Books and was Publishing Director for Children’s Fiction at HarperCollins, where she published authors Michael Morpugo, Louise Rennison, Garth Nix, Darren Shan, Helen Dunmore, Jenny Valentine, Diana Wynne Jones, Derek Landy and Judith Kerr. Today her clients include Moira Young, whose debut novel Blood Red Road sold in the UK, US, Canada and many foreign territories, and the film option has been sold to Ridley Scott’s company Scott Free. It won the Costa Children’s Book Award as well as being shortlisted for many other awards. Other published debut clients include Tom Hoyle, Debbie McCune, Jane Hardstaff and Kevin Wignall.

How to submit your Opening Lines 

Please email and write OPENING LINES ENTRY in the subject line. Your email needs to contain:
• your full name
• title
• elevator pitch
• first few opening lines.

Make sure we receive it by 7th October 2018 for your chance to get your lines seen by Gillie. We’ll publish the results on 18th November. Remember, OPENING LINES isn’t a competition, so you are free to submit your story elsewhere.


If you’ve received feedback from OPENING LINES, how did it help you? If it led to you finding an agent or a publisher, we’d love to hear your story. 

L.J. MacWhirter (Liz) is an award-winning copywriter, man-loving feminist and planet-hugging activist. Her YA debut Black Snow Falling is "a wildly original Elizabethan fantasy" (Elizabeth Wein). Published by Scotland Street Press, it launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018. Agent Lindsey Fraser at Fraser Ross Associates.
Twitter and Instagram: @LizMacWhirter
Facebook: @L.J. Macwhirter

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