- Enter those contests to support your local writing chapters. Know that if anything, you are being generous
- Enter contest that have clear rubrics.
- Judge contests for your local chapter to give back
- Contest coordinator, PLEASE!!!!!! Create clear rubrics
- Judges need to score manuscripts based on the quality of the writing and not just if they like the project or they know the authors. Along the same lines, if the story is just different, independently/self-published or has the current social cause in it does not make it better. See the prior comment about clear rubrics.
- Writing chapters and national organizations (PNWA, RWA, RNA, etc.), if you are unclear how to create an objective rubric, reach out to me. Let's create something that is fair for all authors.
Friday, July 30, 2021
Monday, July 26, 2021
Many authors seem to believe that the agent's single responsibility is to sell a story to the editor. It is the agent who does the business side of things. While this is certainly one element, one of the biggest roles the agent plays is working with the author to make the stories truly great. Now, I guess I should say that there are agents out there who do not do this type of work, but many do.
But here comes the great twist to this. It is not just the agent who does the developmental editing side of things. It really is a teamwork. It is the goal of BOTH the agent AND the author, to make that story truly the best it can me.
I am in the middle of developmental editing with three of my authors right now. In each case, after I have looked at their stories, I provide directions I think the story should go. This is not the final decision though. What they all know is that this is just the ideas I came up with when working through the story. The authors all have their own perspective. The idea is that we find the best direction.
In some of the cases, we are just problems solving a situation in the story. Many times, in the writing process, the author is faced with a predicament, and is unclear which way to go. It might be something ranging from a point of view shift to a full plot shift. At this point, together we talk through where we think the story needs to be a couple of chapters down the road, or what we need the characters to be doing, or how this fits with the theme or the character development. Again, still working to make that story great.
The thing is that, if yo believe we are just essentially a sales person/contract lawyer, you are missing the mark. We are your team member.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
When I opened the agency back in 2003, I had three goals in mind.
- To represent romance and women's fiction
- To increase communication between publishing professionals and writers
- To educate writers
Monday, July 19, 2021
There are a lot of times when authors will submit stories to me that sound amazing, but when I start reading the partial or the full, things completely fall apart. Sometimes, it is simply due to the fact they hyped up the proposal so much, they were literally describing a completely different project. In other cases, it comes down to the approach in narration, and that is writing in first person.
Let me say, from the start, that I am not against writing in first person. I do believe, however, that too many authors think this is easier to write and attempt it, missing the fact that this approach is a lot harder to be successful with than in third person.
For authors who think the story is easier to write this way, it is due to the fact that the author is really writing their book as if they are seeing it on a movie screen or hearing it in an audio book. When they take this approach, it is all about dialogue and hearing people talk. Of course this approach is going to be easier. You are just focusing in on what the people are saying.
But now, let us look at the difficulties.
When we are talking, we describe things when we feel the information is necessary to what we are doing at that moment. We don't describe things around us or react to things we see on a regular basis. Think about it this way. When you come in to your home at the end of the day, do you look around and admire the artwork, or the way the furniture is set up? Probably not. Along the same lines, when you come in and see your significant other in the kitchen cooking, do you immediately launch into a narrative about all of the great memories, or how someone looks? Again probably not (although we probably should). When writing in first person, the character is only going to describe things and say things out loud that matter at that given moment.
The issue then, with writing in first person, is two-fold. First, if the author does have the characters talking about these random things, it will feel really weird and forced. If your character does not include this information, then the reader will be lost and have to attempt to fill in the gaps on their own.
When writing in third person, that is where the narration comes in. It is the chance for the author to tell the reader, through the narration, what those characters are thinking and feeling.
Another issue with writing in first person is head hopping, and/or, inserting emotions and feelings into the head of the person not talking. The head-hopping should make sense. Only one person can talk in first person at a time, so if a second character starts talking, the author has to remember to see it only through the first speaker's eyes. Often they miss this. It is the second part that becomes the problem (and yes this also happens in third person). If I am writing in first person, I cannot tell the reader what the other character is thinking. I can "assume" I know, or react to what I see in their behavior and take a guess, but I cannot add that emotion into the story as if it is true. Writing in first person tends to have authors doing this frequently.
When we do see a story told in first person well, it is because the author has really thought it through and fixed those issues, because they knew how to.
If you are getting rejections where people are telling you the writing is forced, or the writing is lacking depth, and you are writing in first person, these might be the reasons for those rejections.
Just something to think about for a Monday.