Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Agent Panel Insights

I attended a writer's conference in Boston over the weekend. Chuck Sambuchino was the keynote speaker. He did a great job of plowing through writing advice from author platform to how to write a solid query (the video above is how to do an in-person pitch), but the highlight of the event for me was the "Writer's Got Talent" session. 

About seven of the literary agents who attended made up a panel to critique first pages of anonymously submitted novel manuscripts. Chuck read the page until three agents held up their hands, then he stopped and let the agents explain why they would stop reading at that point. 

They were blessedly candid. One agent even confessed that certain words turn her off. She said she knew it seemed shallow to stop reading a manuscript at the word "shapely," for example, but when you're pouring through 200 plus pages a day, you are looking for a reason to say no.

I found their instantaneous critiques fascinating and enlightening. I also learned loads from the pages they commented on as to what worked and what didn't. Over-descriptive language was a sure sign of an author trying too hard. Verb tense shifts were another problem, and info dumping was a common error as well. And they didn't always agree with each other, which goes to show that the industry is subjective. 

I walked away from that session feeling less distant from the querying process. I also found I was often agreeing with the agents' assessments, which gave me confidence that I'm arriving at an understanding of what works well and what does not. And as you know, any confidence boost a writer can get is a welcome one. 

I also enjoyed the in-person pitches I had with agents. Both sessions went well and I walked away with two requests for manuscripts and loads of information on how to make my queries even better.

The conference was worth all the logistics that went into getting me there. 

Have a great week.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cromidon: The Invasion

Original art for the Cromidon Invasion.

I’ve been prepping for a conference I’m attending soon. I wanted to have 10 mostly sub-ready stories with their corresponding queries. I almost made it. I took out two—just not ready—and I am happy to say that I have six picture book queries, one chapter book and one middle grade novel query ready for the query critique session. Now I'm looking forward to making them better.

My little son has been busy too, writing his own 10-chapter story called CROMIDON Invasion. It’s sort of a Jack and Annie meet Aliens spin. 

With his permission, I will share chapters one and two (original spelling and grammar mostly intact):

Chapter 1: The Invasion

Hi. My name is Billons and I want to tell you a story … that hapend to me, ok. So I signd up for the Explore Other Planets, and it turnd out seviral million people had already signd up! Now I’ll explane what the ship looked like: Jigantick! 

More that 10000,125602597 rooms. Now I got a room mate whos name was Jill. Now Jill was vey, very kind. That’s what I liked about her. Were takeing off came a vouse from the speacer. their were beeping sounds lik this: beep! beep! beep! doomp!

once we herd the doomp their was hissing nousis and the ground was shaking “What’s happaning” said Jill “Were takeing off didn’t you here? I said “Oh” said Jill. Suddenly their was a wooshhh and we saw a puf of smoke out the window and then we soomed into space.

Chapter 2: Things on the Planet

the running stoped, the beeping stoped all we saw was the deep dark depths of space “wow” said me and Jill at the same time. It was quiet. then their was booming entering hiper drive came a vouce “Oh great” I said We amedetly looked out the window We saw colors of blu, red, and shades of green and tercous and aqua 

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! We scremed. It felt like a jigantick earth quake! We fell over I hit my head on the wall Jill hit her nose on the dresser then every thing stoped I was very dizi Jill looked lik she would vomet then the voice said calling Jill Munc then a man came and toke Jill by the hand and went away I looked on the tv we were on a planet! I saw Jill on the screen then I saw a little green alien runing toward her it atact her then she ran back into the ship and a few minuts later she was back in the room.

To be continued ...

And there readers, I will leave you in suspense of what might possibly happen to Jill and Billons in the CROMIDON Invasion

Have a great weekend. I’m hoping I will. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloweensie Vote


Alas, I did not place in the finals, but several great stories did. Click here to vote for your favorite: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-2015-halloweensie-contest-finalists.html

Have a great week.

P.S. Just got the results from the vote. I did get an honorable mention: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/11/2015-halloweensie-contest-winners.html