"Manuscript Idol"

Saturday afternoon there was a “Manuscript Idol” session. It consisted of a panel of five agents and a MC. Writers had the opportunity to submit the first two pages of their manuscript. I threw in a couple of pages of Dead Frog on the Porch. The MC would start reading and would stop when one or more agents said they would reject the manuscript.  I watched in horror as most manuscripts didn’t make it past the first two paragraphs, some didn't make it past the first sentence, before they were rejected. It was a real eye-opener for me and I think every writer aspiring to be published should sit through a session like that. The agents would reject something based on one word, a cliché, over use of adjectives or adverbs, change in voice, or too much back-story. 

My stomach quavered, like I’d eaten a too hot vindaloo, every time the MC started to read a new manuscript. I was terrified that he would select mine and considered sneaking up and grabbing it back. Since I had had so much positive feedback, I couldn’t imagine what they would criticize and couldn’t bare the thought of negative feedback. I was simultaneously terrified that he wouldn’t select it and I would miss having my pages heard by some of the top agents in the US. Then the MC started to read my manuscript ...