Monday, August 27, 2018

Tip Time

This month's tip is about choosing strong critique partners!

There are times when I've talked with both authors and clients about manuscript revisions/overhauls only to be told, "Huh, that's funny.  My CPs said everything was great."  

That, to me, should be the death knell of your writing group.

Of course, there WILL be a time when everything in your manuscript is great, but if I'm still spotting opportunities for improvement, so should they!  It's essential that your critique partners aren't yes men and that (as their name implies) they are critical readers with good knowledge of your genre and of the publishing industry.

Feeling comfortable with your CPs is important, too, but placing a higher priority on being friends is not going to do you any good in the long run.  You want smart readers who will challenge you and respectfully push you to make your work the best it can be and suited for the marketplace, not ones who tell you everything you do is perfect and no improvements are necessary!  That's what your mom is for!

There will pretty much always be room for improvement--your manuscript will go through rounds of edits you do on your own and with your CPs, and then again with your agent, and then again with your editor!  Making sure you have the right people to give you opinions from the get-go means you'll have a more polished, finished product by the time you get to agent and editor rounds--and that you'll leave us feeling deeply impressed by your skills!

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Joys of Agenting

This month has been a really great one for me!  I got an awesome deal for EM Castellan's IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN, which I've been describing as a YA Versailles with magic (makes you squeal, doesn't it?).  

I've also gotten to see covers for Shauna Holyoak's upcoming MG debut, KAZU JONES AND THE DENVER DOGNAPPERS, and Kalyn Josephson's upcoming YA fantasy, THE STORM CROW.  I love both of these covers soooo much--they're fantastic!  I can't share Kalyn's just yet, but Shauna's had it's cover reveal at the start of the month and it looks like this:

Too cute for words, right?  

It's been nice to have a fairly relaxing month, since the summer has been chaotic for me up until this point.  And also always fun to have a chance to step back and appreciate the elements that make working in publishing so rewarding!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Query Critique

Query critique time!  For everyone who enters (and those who don't) spread the word so that even if you don't submit a query, you encourage others to read and comment.  Thanks :)

If you're not familiar with how to enter, take a look at my previous post to read the rules.  Good luck!  

Monday, August 6, 2018

Tip Time

This month's tip is how about showing vs. telling, specifically how to eliminate all those flat, telling moments in your manuscript!

I think that "SHOW THIS" is the most common feedback I give my authors.  It's one of those things that worms its way into your manuscript, usually at the start or in any world-building situation where you get tempted to info dump on your readers in order to bring them up to speed.

However, telling moments mean you end up with writing that feels flat and boring--there is no action or immediacy to draw your readers in, and you keep them at an arm's length instead of letting them sink into an immersive experience with your story.

Fixing this can be overwhelming, so what I advise is this: go through the first three chapters of your story with a highlighter and mark each moment where you tell the reader something instead of show them, e.g. "I hated the way Brandon wrinkled his nose when he smiled" or "Kate felt elated as she walked through the park."  

Once you do that, then go back and change 80% of those highlighted areas to showing description that evokes or gives hints that let the reader infer this information, e.g. "I gritted my teeth as another ridiculous grin spread across Brandon's face" or "Kate turned up the music on her headphones and she danced through the park, her mouth fixed with a wide smile."

After awhile, spotting those telling moments will be a lot easier and you'll slowly ramp up your speed as you edit your manuscript.  It's not the most fun part of writing, but it's one of the more important ones and will help bring your story to the next level!