How can you ensure your manuscript makes it to the top of the slush pile? Natalie Yates brings you an opportunity to find out what Zoë Plant thinks of your opening lines.


OPENING LINES gives you a chance to get some professional feedback so you can fine tune your submissions. Up to three or more entries will be chosen at random for feedback. If yours is selected, it will be published anonymously here in June with Zoë's response.

Zoë Plant - An Introduction

After studying Russian and Spanish at Cambridge University and living in Moscow for a year, Zoë started as an intern at the Bent Agency in 2014. She spent five years working as a literary scout and was named one of the '30 under 30' publishing professionals to watch at the 2018 London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards. Now, as an agent, she is delighted to have the opportunity to work with talented authors to bring their books into the world. 

She is on the look-out for commercial, exciting middle-grade and young adult fiction, full of pace and plot, but with something quirky or fresh about them. Perhaps a high-concept setting, an unusual twist or a voice that changes how she sees the world. Fantasy, science fiction, action and adventure and horror are her favourite genres. 

So, has your writing got that distinctive voice that will excite Zoë?

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 19th May 2019 for your chance to get your lines seen by Zoë. We’ll publish the results on 30th June 2019. 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.


Natalie has been a SCBWI member since 2015 and is now Networks Coordinator for the North East. When she is not working as a Teaching Assistant for a local secondary school, she writes for YA and is a member of the GEA North contingent. You can find her occasionally blogging and more often on Twitter.

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