Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Finding an Agent

The question of a writer's lifetime: "How do I get a literary agent?"

I'm still on that quest, but I have some cool friends (James Dashner and Jeff Savage, to name two) who have agents. Unfortunately I don't write in their genres, so I can't bum an introduction.

But I've become more serious about looking for an agent. I just need to start writing some queries and sending them. Easy enough? No.

I actually met two really neat agents at a recent writer's conference. One was even interested in one of my manuscripts. She read the entire thing, then suggested some edits. So while I wait for my "real" book to come back from my publisher with my edits, I'm rewriting my unpublished thriller. I was kind of dreading it. The work. The drudgery . . . but I surprised myself today and found that I'm actually really enjoying it. I love the characters. I love the plot. I love the freedom that writing something newish brings me.

My first task is to develop the characters further. So I took the plunge and started putting together character sketches. I read about how to do it several years ago, but I've never actually done it. And I'm developing some cool threads by doing this.

Another task is to refocus the main hook. Yeah, that's a mountain to climb. I chose a few to consider, but as I've started rewriting, it's changed somewhat. I'm excited about it, so I hope that it will be a slam dunk.

Finally, I'm working on descriptions. I read a few national thrillers and of course, like always, I started getting bored with all the details. I guess that's what the reader wants. So that's what I've got to work on. Four different ways to describe a sidewalk. I'll just have to look at it as a challenge. The story can't all be action and dialogue, we've got to know what they are wearing, right? And how long the hair is. Well, I'm going to compromise. I'll add description as long as it doesn't slow the pacing.

Sound fair?

Meanwhile, I've started reading Miss Snark as of yesterday. Very interesting. Most of it is common sense, but some things have been surprising. She also has links to other agent/editor's blogs. I can see myself wasting a lot of time browsing. I'll have to find a good balance.

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