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CONTENT

To help the author develop and create the best book possible. Material that has both commercial appeal and long-term value.

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To help the author determine the next best step in their writing career. Giving counsel regarding the subtleties of the marketplace as well as the realities of the publishing community.

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Recent Posts

The Value of SHOWmanship in Fiction

 

Recently, I’ve heard a few editors comment that they don’t worry about showing things in fiction, that they think editors and writers get too caught up showing when it’s really not all that important. Telling is okay. It’s just as strong and effective as showing.

I beg to differ.

Consider this from Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, a stellar book by Renni Browne and Dave King:

“Narrative summary no longer engages readers the way it once did. Since engagement is exactly what a fiction writer wants to accomplish, you’re well advised to rely heavily on immediate scenes to put your story across. You want to draw your readers into the world you’ve created, make them feel a part of it, make them forget where they are. And you can’t do this effectively if you tell your readers about your world secondhand. You have to take them there.”

Well put. When you tell a story—relate the information in narrative summary—you don’t engage readers. But when you show…readers are captured, captivated, and drawn in. They have the vicarious, sensory experience your characters have–and they care about what’s happening. And in the caring, readers discover, learn, and are changed.

Therein lies the power of fiction.

I was reminded of this just last week, as I worked with a delightful writer acting as her writing coach. This author is crafting a collection of novelized stories about women in the Bible. She hopes to show contemporary women what they have to learn from these women “of old,” and to give them new eyes to see familiar stories.

Her first story? Bathsheba. The opening scene? When she steps out onto the roof to take her bath. It was a nice enough scene, one that gave readers interesting information on the cleansing rituals of the day and that let us know some about Bathsheba’s background. But it was a lot of telling. So I gave the writer a series of assignments and set her loose on the scene.

Well! Let me tell you, that opening scene has come ALIVE. As I read her rewrite, I was transported to that rooftop. I smelled the fragrant blossoms around and in the bath; luxuriated in the silky oils she rubbed into her hair and skin; studied the night sky, worrying with Bathsheba over her warrior husband, Uriah, who was out on the battlefield and not safe at home. I whispered with her the ritual prayers, and then was rocked, as was she, by the terrifying sensation that someone was out there, watching…

It was night and day, folks. The story was so much more emotive, so much more powerful, being shown rather than told. So I encourage you, don’t give up on doing the work. Yes, by all means, tell when it’s right. But when you want to transport your readers, when you want to immerse them in your story and characters, put in the time and effort to show.

Your readers will bless you for it.

 

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News You Can Use – May 8, 2012

Traditional Advertising is Truly Dead – Not sure I agree with the over the top headline, but the article does make some excellent points. A quote from the article:

“The equation used to be: money x media = business.

The new equation is: time x media = business.

In other words, every company is a media company.”

Microsoft has invested in Barnes & Noble’s Nook – But before everyone gets excited, remember that Microsoft also invested in Yahoo in 2009 (in order to enhance the Bing search engine).

Ten Rules for Writing Suspense Fiction – In 1994 John Grisham credited this article for giving him the tools he needed to write The Firm. Save this one and refer to it often!

On Fiction and Literature – a great interview with Russell Moore. A quick quote from the interview:

“…good fiction isn’t a “waste of time” for the same reason good music and good art aren’t wastes of time. They are rooted in an endlessly creative God who has chosen to be imaged by human beings who create. Culture isn’t irrelevant. It’s part of what God commanded us to do in the beginning, and that he declares to be good. When you enjoy truth and beauty, when you are blessed by gifts God has given to a human being, you are enjoying a universe that, though fallen, God delights in as “very good.”

Why Men Should Read More Fiction! – a fascinating article. What do you think? Agree or disagree?

Design the Ultimate Home Page for your Blog – an extensive article with visual examples.

4 Ways to Grow a Twitter Following that Matters – an extensive article with numerous resources. Well done.

The top 10 most read books of the last 50 years (found on the First Things blog). Take heart, the Bible by itself was read more than the other top nine books combined:

 

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Write a Fan Letter Today

by Steve Laube

Everyone likes being appreciated. It is as simple as receiving a “thank you.” For the writer it is like a cold drink of water in the middle of a desert wasteland. The writing life is a bit like placing your words into a bottle and tossing it into an endless ocean, hoping that it doesn’t sink, and simultaneously hoping that someone somewhere will find those words and be touched by them.

Today, instead of waiting for someone else to tell you what a great writer you are, write your favorite author(s) a note of appreciation.  Because no one understands the anguish and crushing weight of the writing life better than another writer.

In Austin Kleon’s new book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative he has a section titled “Write Fan Letters.” He writes, “The most important thing is that you show your appreciation without expecting anything in return, and that you get new work out of the appreciation.” 

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Fun Fridays – May 4, 2012

Enjoy this clever three minute book trailer for the new prequel to The Godfather releasing next week (titled The Family Corleone).

No editors were harmed in the filming of this video. At least that we know of.

Watch past the credits.

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What Is the Agent Doing While I Wait?

You submit a great manuscript to an agent. Then you wait. And wait. And wait.

What could she possibly be doing?

Let’s say your baby jumped most of the hurdles and is near the top of the slush pile. (See the previous post on the Mystery of the Slush Pile) Why can’t the agent make up her mind? Might I offer a few ideas:

1.) Market changes can mean a shift in priorities. An agent may receive an email at five in the afternoon on any given Friday that opens up a new market or closes an old one. The agent may need to reevaluate and reassess her strategy. This does not mean agents chase the market. What it does mean is that, for example, if markets are trending away from a certain type of novel (Remember hen lit?) the agent may realize she’d better focus on the writers she already has rather than risking taking on a new client writing that type of book, no matter how wonderful. Or if a huge market opens up, the agent might focus on that category for awhile, shunting your wonderful retelling of Genesis to the side, if only temporarily.

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