Make Your Opening Pop!

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! On Saturday, I will be attending the 2014 Colorado Writing Workshop run by Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest. Yay! And eeks! I’m a mixture of excited and nervous at this point. I’ve never attended a writing workshop before, so I’m a little out of my element. However, I’m confident I’ll learn a lot!

One of the many sessions scheduled during the workshop is the “Writers’ Got Talent” panel. If attendees wish to do so, they may submit the first page of their manuscript to have it (anonymously) read out loud and evaluated by a panel of agents and editors. As nerve wracking as this is, I plan on submitting my first page in hopes it will get chosen to be critiqued. I’d love to hear what works and what doesn’t by industry professionals.

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Ironically, I came upon this article by Margie Lawson this week: Margie’s Rule # 6: Make Your Opening Pop! In it, she discusses the do’s and don’ts of your story’s opening, as well as what turns agents and editors off. As I refine my first page before the workshop this weekend, I will be referring to this article to ensure I avoid making too many general “no-no’s” and blunders.

Margie’s Rule # 6: Make Your Opening Pop!

I’ve talked to dozens of agents and editors about what makes them stop reading submissions. We’ve chatted on planes and on yachts, in several countries, on several continents. We’ve chatted at luncheons and dinners and late nights in bars.

Some agents and editors shared general ideas regarding why they quit reading.

They said things like:

First paragraph didn’t impress me.
Story didn’t hold my interest. I wanted to skim.
Couldn’t connect with characters.
The writing was amateurish.
Many shared the dreaded, “I don’t know why, but it didn’t work for me.”

Aack! Not useful for writers.

Writers need to know what to avoid doing, and what to do. They need specifics…

To read the entire article and see all the genres, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Margie Lawson on Twitter!

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Photo credits: 

http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/2013/10/organization-why-word-count-matters/ 

http://joshuamowll.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/first-novel-first-chapter-first-doubts-10-strategies-for-starting-your-story/

http://rebloggy.com/post/reese-witherspoon-legally-blonde-ifc-movie-elle-woods-inspired-me-to-go-to-la/26794435369

The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! For some reason, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of talk lately about word counts. Perhaps it’s to do with NaNoWriMo approaching and everyone focusing on that crazy 50K-words-in-one-month goal? I’m not sure. Whatever the reason for the sudden hype, I think discussing the subject of word count is important.

word-countNow, do I think watching your word count every second of every draft is necessary? No. In fact, I strongly urge you against it. The more you focus on your word count, the less you focus on your story. However, watching your word count at certain points during the writing process–particularly editing–is important. Why? Because you don’t want to try and pitch your 140K YA novel to an agent. That’s just begging for rejection.

So what should a YA novel’s word count be? Or a thriller’s? Or another genre’s? Find out in today’s gem, courtesy of literary agent, Janet Reid. She gives us a quick, general breakdown of word count expectations, and what you should aim for when finalizing your manuscript.

The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

Here’s the rundown:
Sweeping, epic fantasy: 150K at a minimum. You can’t do it right in less.
Sweeping, epic, historical fiction: 120 at a minimum. More is better.

Science fiction novels: 75-125K

Romance novels:65-100K
Womens’ fiction: 100K and up

To read the entire article and see all the genres, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Janet Reid on Twitter!

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Photo credits: 

http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/2013/10/organization-why-word-count-matters/ 

Yes, Agents Google Writers

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Earlier this week, I met up with a fellow writer to discuss the importance of building their author platform (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). As we chatted, I explained to him how nowadays most literary agents expect writers to have these social media sites up and running before they’re published.

twitter-icon-with-books-230x299Ironically, the day I went to meet my friend to discuss this topic, I came upon an article by literary agent, Carly Watters. In it, she explains why building an author platform is so important. She also offers excellent tips for how to approach and handle various social media websites.

Yes, Agents Google Writers

Agents have changed their mind about an author after searching them online. Yikes! How do you avoid that? Making sure you don’t have websites or blogs that are ghost towns. Post regularly. And regularly can mean whatever works for you (once per week or once a day, but no less than a couple times a month!).

To read the entire article, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Carly Watters on Twitter!

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Photo credit: 

http://ingoodcompany.com/classes/using-social-media-to-build-your-author-platform/

How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Although I’m still a few months away from finishing my manuscript, I’m always on the lookout for useful tips, dos and don’ts, and lessons about the querying process.

writing_humour_synopsis-scaled500Today’s gem, courtesy of Writer’s Digest and the ever helpful Chuck Sambuchino, focuses on the dreaded synopsis…Oh, come on. Don’t deny it. You’re as “ugh” about this step in the querying process as I am. Thankfully this article makes it a little easier by giving us five tips to use as basic guidelines. So, before you sit down to write yours, check it out!

How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

1. Reveal everything major that happens in your book, including the ending. Heck, revealing the story’s ending is a synopsis’s defining unique characteristic. You shouldn’t find a story’s ending in a query or in-person pitch, but it does leak out in a synopsis. On this note, know that a synopsis is designed to explain everything major that happens, not to tease — so avoid language such as “Krista walks around a corner into a big surprise.” Don’t say “surprise,” but rather just tell us what happens.

To read the entire article, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Writer’s Digest and Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter!

Photo credit: 

http://writerswrite1.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/how-to-write-a-one-page-synopsis/

5 Things to Know When Pitching to Literary Agents

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! So, today’s gem is a bit broader, and perhaps many of us have heard some of these tips before, but I wanted to share them anyway. When it comes to literary agents, it’s always good to be aware and knowledgable about the big do’s and don’t’s.

literary-agentIf you’re interested in pursuing a literary agent someday, be sure to check out this post from author, Mila Gray:

5 Things to Know When Pitching to Literary Agents.

1. Make sure you’re pitching to the right agent.

Buy the Writers’ and Artists’ Handbook (in the UK). Identify those agents that rep your genre. Google them and find out what their submission guidelines are.

Check out who their clients are. This will give you an idea of how big a player they are — how much influence they have in the publishing world.

An agent with lots of high profile authors might not have as much time for you as an agent with fewer clients. On the upside a bigger agent will have more influence with publishers and be able to get your MS onto desks quicker.

Don’t go overboard with contacting every agent in the book. I contacted 12. I had 7 responses, two of which were very polite no thank yous, three of which were ‘we really think this has potential but we have no room on our list’, and 2 who wanted to sign me immediately.

I signed with the agent who I felt I had the best rapport with but she also happened to be very established with a great client list.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Mila Gray on Twitter!

Related Articles

What Does a Literary Agent Want to See When They Google You?

New Literary Agent Alert: Soumeya Bendimerad of the Susan Golomb Literary Agency

Advice For Writers From Literary Agents

Photo credit: http://www.jeffcalloway.com/how-to-land-a-literary-agent.html

25 Steps To Being A Traditionally Published Author

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Although I’m still months away from sending out query letters for my YA manuscript, I like to read and learn all I can about the publishing industry. I want to be as prepared as possible for when the next step in this arduous journey begins.

Today’s gem, courtesy of literary agent, Sara Megibow, is a goldmine of advice about the publishing process: 25 Steps To Being A Traditionally Published Author. In this article, author, Delilah S. Dawson, shares her experiences in a funny, honest, and inspiring way. I strongly urge all writers to check it out. Even if you’re contemplating self-publishing, you’re sure to take something away from this awesome article.

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6. OH MY GOD YOU FINISHED A BOOK! FIRE THE CUPCAKE CANNONS!

Congratulations!!! And BOOMCAKE!!! And you should definitely go out to celebrate with shrimp tacos and margaritas. Hell, I used to go celebrate every time I passed the 100 page mark. Finishing your first book is a major victory, and you shouldn’t let the fact that there are 19 more steps terrify you. Even if you put your book baby in a drawer and throw the dresser into the Grand Canyon, you will still spend the rest of your life knowing that you are capable of writing a book, and that is A Big Deal.

So celebrate. Look at your book. Stroke the screen. Tell Twitter. And then, like a hot steak in a cast iron skillet, let your book rest for a while by itself, preferably with a slab of butter melting on top. Because getting some distance from your work is an important part of this process.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Sarah Megibow and Delilah S. Dawson on Twitter!

Photo credit: http://bakermarketingservices.com/2012/04/can-i-reuse-other-peoples-blogs-on-my-own/

The First 250 Words of Your Manuscript

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! As many of you know, I’ve been in serious revision mode the past few weeks with the second draft of my YA manuscript. And as many of you know, those revisions have been on the slower side because I’ve been so focused on the first chapters of my story. They are so vital for so many reasons: capturing a reader’s attention, building a solid foundation, introducing characters, etc.

stock-footage-typing-chapter-to-writing-of-the-book-on-typewriter-video-clip-with-audio-a-sequence-ofTo help me along, I’ve been reading a wide assortment of articles from agents, publishers, and other industry professionals. I want to know what’s expected, what’s cliche, what’s annoying, what’s exciting, and so on. Today’s gem, courtesy of @KathyLLogan, is a perfect example of advice we should all read and learn from.

The First 250 Words of Your Manuscript

Openings are vital to getting someone to read your book, especially agents. A reader might give you some time since they paid for the book (I usually read three chapters to hook me if it starts slow, but if you haven’t grabbed me by then, it goes back on the shelf no matter how much I may love that author’s past works), but an agent has hundreds of other books on their desk that might grab from page one. Their job is to find books they can sell. Your job is to give them a book they can sell, and that means a great opening that hooks readers right away.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Katherine L. Logan on Twitter!