Author Tamela Hancock Murray

Letting Go of Your Babies

 

One of the worst mistakes writers can make is being too possessive of their words. They fight for each adjective, adverb, and conversation tag.

My early writing suffered from too many words. I once wrote an artist didn’t “really” understand the difficulties of making a living in his profession. The editor kindly cut all instances of “really,” “just,” “so,” “very,” and other weak words experienced editors call “weasel” words.

The cuts hurt, but I exercised restraint in venting only to my mother. I didn’t have a literary agent! She agreed with me. “If you cut out ‘really’ then you’re saying he had no idea at all!” Sharing offense is the job of mothers.

Weasel words are great in everyday conversation because they soften the impact of strong verbs and can make painful statements gentler to the listener’s ear, but they waste a reader’s time.  Embrace the power of a vibrant verb. You want your reader to feel every emotion, whether your goal is to offer a sense of relief and peace through nonfiction, or bristle with anger and fall in love along with fictional characters.

In my role of agent, I sometimes edit manuscripts and point out areas needing improvement. My writers know I am partnering with them to give editors their best work. Sometimes an author puts forth a convincing reason why an element should remain as is. If so, I relent.

But a literary agent is only part of the equation. In the hands of an editor at a publishing house, the stakes increase. The editor represents the publisher, who is paying for your work and will bring the book to paying customers. Expressing outrage is not the order of the day when talking with your editor. Choose your battles wisely, if at all, and be prepared to present airtight reasons for resisting changes. This is especially true for new writers but even veterans need to be respectful of the publishing professionals the Lord puts in their path.

When you do, you will be happier, your editor will be happier, and you will have a happy agent!

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

To Romance or Not to Romance

According to St. Teresa of Avila’s biography, the battle over romance novels has been going on at least since the 1500s:

Teresa’s father was rigidly honest and pious, but he may have carried his strictness to extremes. Teresa’s mother loved romance novels but because her husband objected to these fanciful books, she hid the books from him. This put Teresa in the middle — especially since she liked the romances too. Her father told her never to lie but her mother told her not to tell her father. Later she said she was always afraid that no matter what she did she was going to do everything wrong.

Those of us who write, represent, and publish Christian romance novels can be made to feel the same way when our brothers and sisters in Christ object to our efforts to provide readers with God-honoring entertainment.  I have spoken with authors whose pastors have derided their writing, read negative blogs, and heard conference speakers criticize Christian romance novels.

Read More

Happy to be Here!

HAPPY TO BE HERE!

I am thrilled to be a part of The Steve Laube Agency and to post my first blog entry. I have been asked lots of questions about my new venture. I’ll answer a few here.

Will you continue to represent Christian romance novels?

Yes, I will! Steve was familiar with my client list when I joined the agency and we both believe Christian fiction is a vital part of publishing.

I am passionate about Christian romance novels. The talent of my clients, the dedication of the editors, and the support of the publishers make this endeavor worthy and God-honoring.

Read More