Monday, July 30, 2012

Pitch Critiques #5 & #6


            It’s time for our last set of pitch critiques. Hopefully they help everyone. Please remember that this is very subjective, as is pretty much everything within the writing world.
            Without further ado, let’s get to it.
            Critique #5
Two teenagers on opposite sides of a magical war must find and kill each other to bring it to an end. 
This is a very interesting beginning. Not only is it the best part of your pitch, but it’s really your whole pitch in a nutshell.
Arianna finds Shane without realizing who he is, and she’s falling in love with the nemesis she has been hunting her entire life. Until he tries to kill her. Now they each have a choice – follow their hearts or follow their destiny.
The problem with the rest of this is that it’s telling me the same thing as your first sentence. I would have been more interested if it told me why the war would end if one of them kills the other. Then maybe a bit about how they begin to fall for each other.
Speaking of how they fall for each other, that’s a bit confusing to me. Does Shane know who Arianna is before he tries to kill her? If so, does he fall for her before or after he tries to kill her? These are vital issues that could help this premise really hit home.

Critique #6
As a Pure, sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure is told she can't befriend the dark Grey species, but when one small child in the underwater village breaks into her heart, Alphi will do anything to protect him -- even attack the village's Pure leader.  Desperate for the open-mindedness of a larger civilization, Alphi flees to her uncle’s magical city, but when he turns his wand on a defenseless Grey, Alphi has no place to turn -- until the Grey rebels attack her uncle; and when they do, she joins them. Fighting alongside the rebels is like a breath of fresh water, until her own mother joins the opposing side. Alphi scream for peace, but peace is no longer an option; war will come, and when it does, she will have to meet the bloodshed head on.
I’ll be frank here. This could have been a rockin pitch, but by time I finished reading the whole thing I felt like I had mental asthma. The whole thing is riddled with commas, semicolons, and dashes. Typically we use these to combine alike sentences and or allow the reader a small pause. In fact I use dashes myself for that all important dramatic effect.
What this tells me is that the writer has what I call Mini Synopsis Syndrome (MSS). Basically they’re too close to their story to see the basic premise.
Now before anyone starts grumbling about this, here’s an example of how this could read as a pitch:
Alphie is a Pure and has been taught her whole life to hate and distrust the Greys. After rescuing a small child that turns out to be a Grey, Alphie does what she can to protect him. However the cost of that secret turns deadly and Alphie will have to hurt those she’s grown to love in order to save the child she just met.
Is it perfect? Hell no, and I probably got a lot of things wrong about the premise of the story. However I hope this does show everyone something. Simpler is usually better when it comes to pitches. Not only does complex exhaust readers mentally, but it can also give the wrong idea of your story.

Auzy

Friday, July 27, 2012

What Liz Is Excited To Read Friday!

As you can surmise from the title of this post. I'm going to mention a book I'm excited to read!

I just received a shiny, new ARC from Washington Square Press (Simon & Schuster).

**Ahem** There may be like one spoiler, but it's like in the first chapter so I don't think it really qualifies as a spoiler.


Ten Girls To Watch by Charity Shumway follows the life of a post-grad writer-chic who gets accepted to several prestigious law schools then backs out, moves to New York City and for a year now hasn't managed to pick up a real job that doesn't involve temping or writing about lawn care. And the latter is the one she took on to pay the rent.

Still, when she gets the opportunity to write for Charm magazine. (Okay, she's not actually writing for them, just getting thrown a really, shiny bone!) She's given the opportunity to find and interview hundreds of inspirational women from issues as far back as the fifties, I believe? Thing is, no one knows where these women are. Now, toss in an ex-boyfriend she just can't stay away from and his brand spanking new girlfriend, a Brooklyn apartment with no air conditioning, and well, you've got yourself a recipe for coming of age and life at its finest. 

So far I'm on page 40. How do I feel about it? Dawn West (our main character) feels like a character I can relate to. Why? I'm a writer with dreams of NYC (gotta convince the boyfriend), and I'm a senior on the cusp of graduation going, "Holy moley, a 9 to 5 job? So how does that work?" Still, her thoughts, her worries, her life make her a character I get. Someone I can't help but like, someone who I hope is going to teach me some awesome life lesson about what on Earth to do when I graduate. Thus far it's a fun read. Don't worry, I'll post a review when I finish and you'll find out if I found something wonderful and life changing or if it's just a nice summer read!

It releases July 31st of this month :)

So what are you excited about?

~Liz


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pitch Critique 3 & 4

Hi, all! It's my turn to crit some pitches and here are our lovely volunteers. Up first we have, Relic:


Eighteen-year-old Princess Far is a Relic, someone who has visions from their past lives. In Aether, her so-called demonic abilities would constitute execution if her secret were exposed. When a dark group of magi pushes her kingdom into the world war, Far realizes she is the only one who knows the magi’s secret. But they also know hers. She must decide to stay quiet at the expense of thousands of lives or speak up at the expense of her own.


I like the first sentence. It's the second that I get hung on--this is a demonic ability? She's a demonic princess? I'm not sure if that's accurate but that's what I'm getting. I'm also not sure how she came by these deadly abilities as she is a princess. 
The dark magi push her kingdom into world war...how? As a princess, doesn't she have some control over the nation's politics? I know it's a short pitch, but referencing secrets that Far knows that no one else does--maybe tell us what the secret is? I do like the last sentence--I like the succinctness of your stated stakes. 
The only thing that I'd like to see more of is Far's personality. As is, we don't get much of that, and I think she'd have to be a complex character juggling her royalty with the demonic abilities. Show us that. :)




Okay, our second pitch! 


 Charley is a fifteen-year-old “one date wonder."   Plenty of boys like her, and she likes them, too, until they get too close.  Stricken by her parents’ bitter divorce, Charley won’t let anyone past her flirtatious, wisecracking exterior...except her best friend, Cat, so when Cat needs help from hundreds of miles away, she calls Charley.   Charley rallies friends, old and new, for a road trip rescue, but the journey leads them somewhere altogether different.  Forced to face her fears, her flaws, and her friends in the confining space of a station wagon, Charley cannot make her usual escape.


This first sentence pulls me right in. I also love the glimpses of Charley's personality. I'm not sure what the driving force is though--I want to know what Cat needs, and why Charley from so far away. I do like the stakes, but I think they could be more clearly stated--what her fears and flaws are. As it is, it's slightly vague. Give us more stakes and I think you have a solid pitch here. Good luck! 




As you all know, this is a subjective business. The thoughts here are my personal ones, and you can use or discard at your discretion. And thank you, ladies, for being brave enough to volunteer for this! :) 


N~

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pitch Critiques 1 & 2

First off I'd like to thank everyone for their submissions. We're by no means experts on the subject but after seeing a good amount of these with our contests, helping fellow writers with their queries and pitches, and writing our own, we feel we can give some helpful advice.


Thank you Kelsey for allowing us to critique this! :)

Genre: Adult Literary Fiction

Title: The Looking-Glass House


Pitch: THE LOOKING-GLASS HOUSE takes place over a nine month period in 1964 in Cline, Texas.  The main character, a young woman training for the sisterhood in a Catholic home for unwed mothers, gets caught in a web of corruption while investigating the local disappearances of young black men.  The danger is heightened by her teaming up with the sheriff’s son, a young man whose infatuation with her turns to rage when he discovers her secret: a love affair with one of the pregnant teenage girls.

I chose this one for a reason. It sounds a bit more like the detailed synopsis. A pitch needs to be sharp and punchy. Depending upon the genre of your novel, say chic lit, it can be funny and punchy. If it's a horror then creepy and punchy.

Although I will say that last line definitely holds an edge of punch. But who is this main character? Give me some characteristic about this woman that would lead me to believe she'd have an affair with one of the pregnant teenage girls? Here are my questions. How important is it that she's investigating? How does she get involved in this? It sounds like she's training to be a nun, not many tend to be sleuths so what sets this woman a part?

Also the first sentence can be completely omitted. It takes up a precious sentence that could be used to give a reader insight into who this character truly is. So my main tidbit is show us WHO this woman is. Also, her name would be quite nice :)

Thank you again Kelsey & I hope this proves helpful.

Our next critique is for Noel Hoffman. Thank you for submitting your pitch! :)

When it came time for the Serendipity Neighborhood Association to address the old, decrepit sign that hung at the entrance to their woods, it really wasn't surprising that they couldn't get anyone to take it down.  Because the south always carries their superstitions deep and the residents of New Serendipity were no exception.  So, after many days of fierce deliberation, and in light of all the strange occurrences that had happened in their town over the years, the highly conservative, mostly Republican, uptight, stodgy members of the new Serendipity Neighborhood Association elected to keep the sign up…just in case. 

This feels literary in nature, which granted isn't a bad thing, but it shows me the one thing that deters me from picking up most literary fiction. I don't see the plot. Is the book truly about the removal of a sign? Do we follow any specific main characters? (I will admit that this is a definitely a unique approach, but sounds more like a piece of flash fiction in and of itself). 

These are only questions you can answer. What is the main conflict of your novel? Is it really the removal of the sign? Who will the reader be following or are there multiple main characters?

I will add that the last line "...the highly conservative, mostly Republican, uptight, stodgy members..." <--I think you can cut about two of those words etc used to describe these ppl. We get the idea.
 
Just as I mentioned in the above crit, give us a taste of who we as readers will be following.

I hope this helps and thank you again to those who submitted.

We will be critiquing more every day this week!

~Liz

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pitch Critique--Call for Subs!

Hey all!

So after our pitch contest this past week we thought it would be a great idea to critique some pitches (3-5 sentences!) and show people why some worked and why some didn't.

Thing is, we would love submissions to critique. SO if you'd love a constructive critique on your pitch feel free to submit your pitches via our email:

writerlyrejects (at) gmail (dot) com

**Note that these will be posted on the blog as an example to others. Not all will be selected, but a few will be used**

Thanks guys!

~Liz  


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Winner of the Claire Anderson-Wheeler Full Ms Crit!!

And the winner (since we all know you won't read the rest until I announce it lol) is...

Chantee Hale's HEAT!! Congratulations Chantee!! :)

Chantee please email the full manuscript to writerlyrejects (at) gmail (dot) com. 

The Winner's Pitch:

Title: HEAT
Name: ChanteƩ Hale
Genre: Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Arie has learned to count on one thing: her boyfriend Steven will always come back. This time, when his disapproving father drags him away, Arie can't wait for him to find her because she's pregnant. Like her life, the world is one hot mess. Whole cities are melting down, and Arie is beginning to suspect her boyfriend's family may be hiding some life-changing truths. As her loyalty to Steven is tested, Arie has to find the strength to save herself and the ones she loves.
 
Now, for those who participated. Claire did have a few things to say so don't lose heart!

"I have to say it’s a strong selection. It’s a hard thing to do, boiling down your 70-odd thousand words into just a few, and the ones I read were impressively concise and effective."

"But I read a lot of queries that unfortunately just set up a challenge for the protagonist but don’t sketch in the ‘how’ and ‘what’ that follows. It’s important for an agent to know more about how your protagonist is going to tackle the central issues."

Here's her reasoning for choosing Chantee's pitch:

"I liked Chantee's synopsis in part because there is the promise here of a personal drama, but also of a wider human drama surrounding it: it can make for a really effective and satisfying story when you have both these elements operating at once; a macro and a micro storyline coinciding as each hits ‘crunch time’."

Thanks again to all those who have participated! You guys have been wonderful :) And keep following we're always up to something around here.

~The Writerly Rejects Team 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


I was looking through some really good stuff that will be coming out in the next month or so. There were plenty that caught my eye, such as the new Melissa Marr novel. However, that novel already has so much hype that I wanted to look for that sleeper hit. I wanted to find myself an underdog, and judging from both the synopsis and the editorial review, Libriomancer fits that so perfectly for me.



            Now wouldn’t be just freakin cool to say the words Abra-Ka-Dabra and pull something we invented within our own pages? Sadly I’ve tried and there was just no lover there for me. If you’re like me, you’ll need to live vicariously through Isaac Vainio. But it does sound like he has his work cut out for him. Not only does he have some of the most villainess vamps out to kill him and other magical users, but Isaac isn’t exactly at the top of his game any longer. He left magic a while ago to work at, of all things, a library. Seriously, can this get any better?

Thankfully this doesn’t sound like a one punch and overtly straight forward urban fantasy novel. There are unknown dark powers, which will always get my attention, and dangerous secrets that will be revealed. Do I need to know them right now? Nope. I’d rather read and unravel that mystery alongside of Isaac, his motorcycling dryad friend, and a pet fire-spider named Smudge (gotta love that name).

Libriomancer comes out August 7th in Hard Cover and Nook book. So pick your poison and get ready for what should ban an amusing and action packed urban fantasy.

Synopsis:
Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .
          Editorial Review by Publishers Weekly:

This funny and fast-paced series opener, Hines’s first hardcover for DAW, will be sure to surprise and entertain urban fantasy fans. Isaac Vainio is a Libromancer, a rare kind of magic user who can make objects from the pages of books manifest in reality. After leaving the magic field for mundane work at the Copper River Library, he’s sorely out of practice, but a sudden attack by Meyerii vampires forces him to brush up on his magical talents. The vampires are targeting members of Die Zwelf Portenaere, or the Porters, declaring war because of perceived assaults on their kind. Isaac, accompanied by dryad Lena Greenwood and pet fire-spider Smudge (familiar from Hines’s Jig the Goblin books), sets off to put a stop to the attacks and find Johannes Gutenberg, founder of the Porters, who has recently disappeared. The book is amusing and action-packed from page one; Isaac is sure to be an instant fan favorite, and the secondary characters are vivid and multidimensional.



Auzy

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Unraveling

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
Released: 4/24/12
Rating: 5 stars--Go get this and read it now. 
                                                                                              


Synopsis:

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

Review: 

I picked this book up (okay, I downloaded this book to my nook) because I couldn't decide between this and another (which I can't actually remember now) and made my niece pick.
Lemme just say, Thank you, Niece.

Unraveling stars with a bang. The main character, Janelle, get hit by a truck. How's that for a opening scene? Of course, someone rescues her--brings her back to life, and when he does, she sees a bit about him that is just so perfect it's worth flipping back to, just to reread the paragraph a few dozen times.
Janelle has a difficult time. She's the oldest child of a workaholic father and a bi-polar mother, and much of raising her younger brother falls on her shoulders. What really impressed me about Janelle is how strong she is. Even when she wanted--even needed--to be weak and broken, she was strong because her brother needed her, her friends, her mother, anyone.
But that doesn't mean she's perfect. She's strong to a point where she doesn't trust the adults in her life as much as she should. There were a few points in the book I wanted to reach out and slap her and say, 'Give your FBI father and Strutz the info, you idiot!!'
Which is why I think Ben is so perfect. Ben is the bad boy who isn't, the stoner who is really smart (and isn't actually a stoner) the boy who has been almost stalker-ish in his devotion to Janelle, and in the end, the one who allows Janelle the ability to be weak.
Also--the chemistry between them is freakin' hot. Just throwin' that out there.
Norris does a really great job with some difficult theories. Although I did call a few plot twists before they happened, I was kept pleasantly surprised and guessing. And her writing is to die for--Janelle's voice, and the occasionally perfect line that is still repeating in my head.
All around, this book is perfect, and has hit my top ten of 2012. Go get it. Read it. Tell me what you think.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Top Twenty!

There were so many entries in this contest, and we had a really hard time picking our top twenty. But these are the ones we eventually picked:


Death By High Heels by Violet Ingram
Heat by ChanteƩ Hale
Veritas by Christina Ferko
Trespassers by Laurie Dennison
Tagestraum by T.L. Bodine
Remake by Ilima Todd
The Glass Prince by Donea Weaver
Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timer
Beneath the Surface by  Jessie Harrell and Nikki Katz
Moon Strings by Lesile S Rose
Dusted by Robin Weeks
Of Fire and Shadow by Mia K Rose
The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P Chase
Relic by Amanda Foody
Isle in the Sea of Ghosts by G B Skye
Broken Wings by Ana Champion
Averagely Extraordinary by Utsav Mukerjee
Right State of Mind by Jenn Soehnlin
Existence by J A Bennett
The River Remembers by Jenny Kaczorowski

Congrats to our top twenty and thanks to everyone who entered!! We'll post Clair's winner as soon as we have it :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Interview with Claire Anderson-Wheeler



Hi Claire,
 
We’re super excited to have you here! Now tell us, how did you become a literary agent? How long have you been one and have you always wanted to be a literary agent? Whew, that was a mouthful.

It's a pleasure, thanks for inviting me! As to how I started down this route: I realised a little late in the day - but happily not very late in the day - that I didn't want to be a lawyer after all. I began doing some work experience and small-time freelance stuff in publishing, in Dublin, where I was living at the time. Then I moved to the UK to do a Masters in creative writing. I met a lot of agents there, and it clicked: this agenting thing was the niche for me. I loved the idea of that particular, personal interaction with writers and their work. That was in 2007 and it's been a pretty straight trajectory since. I got a wonderful internship in London after graduating and things went from there. I moved to New York last Autumn.


What genres do you represent? What genres will you definitely NOT represent?

 It's flexible. I definitely will not represent the more academic or specialized fields in non-fiction, because I don't have the particular knowledge. Likewise with poetry, screenplays, picture books and the younger children's market: I'd leave these to people more specialised in the field. Straight subject-driven non-fiction typically doesn't excite me as much as narrative non-fiction - I love a story arc, no matter the genre - but if the right thing came along I would hope I would be open. In terms of the fiction side, there is little I would reject out of hand, but there are certainly some genres I am less likely to go for. Horror, for example, has never been my thing; nor has romance. (I would define the 'commercial women's fiction' category as something quite distinct from romance: it might be a light read, but there would be broader issues and themes going on than in a typical love story). I do like some fantasy, and some sci-fi. As with any other genre, though, the story has to feel original: I think in today's marketplace maybe it's easier to be derivative in the fantasy genre, and that is a shame. It gives fantasy a bad name. What I read most, however, is character-driven literary fiction, often the domestic microcosm rather than the grand epic kind - but again, that's not a rule.


What kind of books would you say would make up your ULTIMATE wish list?

Story is a must. Replicating a version of reality - even with brilliant detail and acuity, is not enough - or not enough for me, at any rate. I like to see people being taken apart, the putting back together is optional; books where there's a little bit of fatalism, and some really interesting characters. Josephine Hart's Damage is a prime example of the kind of book I love. Donna Tartt's The Secret History is another.

Do you have any client work coming out?

I haven't been here long enough for that, but watch this space.


Would you say you’re an editorial agent?

Certainly. It's the most important thing an agent can do. You can fight as hard as you like for an author, but if their book is not the best it can possibly be, it's never going to make it out there. Also, you earn a publisher's respect by only submitting things to them that are in good shape and that you can stand over. And then there's that other reason - I just love the process.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Read - and not just for pleasure, but forensically.
Read how-to books as well. They're often underrated. Robert McKee's 'Story' is one of my favourites.
Never kid yourself that someone else is not going to notice the flaws. Those bits you already know are not working? Fix them.

Be ambitious. If you have a big idea, write it. Don't write something that you think is just 'good enough to get published'. You need to give it your very best. If you're having too much fun, there's probably something wrong. It should feel good, maybe even great, but it should feel like hard work.
When you're ready to send out, be professional: nice, but brief. Don't write gimmicky cover letters; your writing will speak for itself. Try to read the guidelines; don't say 'Dear Sirs' when it's an office full of women (which it likely is).Also, almost no one wants material in the body of an email. Attachments are much preferred. For your own sake, keep track of where you've submitted. It's okay to send a courteous email follow up if it's been a couple of months, but please, take care with your tone. Remember that agents have full time jobs that have to get done before they make it to the slush pile. You are the thing that keeps them from leaving the house on weekends! So if you're going to nudge, nudge nicely. A courteous two-line enquiry is fine.

What are you biggest query pet peeves?

The biggest, I suppose, is arrogance, or just ignorance that reads as arrogance. "I have deiced to appoint you as my literary agent"; "Please tell me what qualifies you to represent me", etc.
Personally, it really bothers me when writers shroud their synopsis in mystery, as in "and then something happens that  upends everything Paul has ever known". If I'm going to assess the book, I'm going to need to know what "the thing" is. I need the full story: I need to know who dies at the end, and how many times! 

How can authors query you?

 I'm happiest getting email queries, with the first three chapters attached (as an attachment, not in the body of the work). Getting it by email saves paper and saves my back, and having the attachment gives me more to go on at an early stage. Sometimes I've read bad synopses, then dipped into the work and found it really good.

Favorite book?

Oh no! I hate this question! Probably either Anna Karenina, The Secret History, or The Magician's Nephew, depending on the day.

Favorite movie?

Again, I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow, but today I'm going with Hannah and her Sisters.

Favorite TV show?

I don't watch that much TV, mainly because the ads get to me. But recently some friends have got me into the original (Danish) version of The Killing. That is good TV.

Cookies or Cake?

Chocolate fondant cake, with a scoop of something wonderful on the side. (Are you offering?)

Well, if you like the lactose free variety then sure... ;)

Thanks so much for joining us and for offering the full manuscript page critique. Stay tuned everyone. Winners should be announced this Friday!

~Liz

Monday, July 9, 2012

Agent Contest Now Open

Please remember to format your entry correctly:

Title
Your Name
Genre

3-5 sentence pitch.


Good luck, everyone! We'll take submissions until midnight tomorrow. And come back Wednesday for a lovely interview with Clair! :)

N~

Friday, July 6, 2012

Contest Update

I'm an idiot, guys. I said the contest would be Tuesday July 9th. Unfortunately, Tuesday is July 10th. So because the confusion is all my fault, we're going to open the submission window Monday July 9th at 9am and keep it open through midnight Tuesday night.
I am sorry for any and all confusion!
N~

Mini Synopsis Syndrome





            Congratulations. You’ve finally finished writing that all important query letter, and you have a great list of agents you’d like to send it to. After looking up their submission guidelines, you notice that want a full synopsis and a query letter. Shrugging, feeling like it’s kind of redundant, you do as they ask and send them both out.

            Then wait…..

            After what seems like an agonizing amount of time, you finally get a reply. It’s a rejection.

            Crushed, but resilient, you ask a critique partner to take a look at your query. What they say could be one of these things:

1.    There’s way too much telling in here.

2.    Whoa, information overload.

3.    It kind of reads like a synopsis.

If you’ve ever had this happen to you, you might have Mini Synopsis Syndrome (MSS for short). Don’t fret. It’s curable, and thankfully not contagious.

So what is MSS and how can I avoid it in the future? I’m so glad you asked. *wink*

Remember how redundant it felt to send a full synopsis along with your query letter? It’s because the query really isn’t the place to have a synopsis. This is where our symptoms for MSS come into play. When it reads like a synopsis, you’re probably telling the agent the story instead of showing them it. That means it’s really packed full of as much info as you can get in an itty bity space. That’s our three symptoms: Telling, Overload, and Synopsis.

An agent doesn’t want to be told everything about our story in the query. That’s what the synopsis is for. What they want is to be shown that we have a story, and that they really, REALLY, need to read it. It’s short, sweet, and hard to forget. This is referred to as the pitch. Sometimes it’ll be called the blurb, sound bite, or the premise

In other words, MSS is what happens when an author is too close to their own story. So close that they can’t see its basic premise.

If you or someone you love has MSS, here are a few things you can do to cure it.

1.    Ask a beta reader what they think the premise is.

2.    Break the story down to its bare bones.

3.    Use your logline as a guideline.

4.    Find the catalyst (what propels your character on their journey) and work backwards.

5.    When all else fails, take a break and write something else.



Have you ever had MSS? Please care enough to share your story, and together we can beat this affliction.

     Auzy

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Agent Pitch Contest: Details.

SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION. The submission window is MONDAY JULY 9TH. My bad. N~


It's that time again! Time for another fabulous agent contest. Well, almost--it actually opens next Tuesday Monday, July 9th. But here are the lovely details before then. 

Claire Anderson-Wheeler is a new agent with Anderson Literary Management. Here's a bit more about her in her own words:
  • I read across the gamut, commercial to literary, adult to YA (but no children's/middle grade). 
  • There are no hard and fast rules, but I'm excited by 1. well-written literary fiction 2. anything with a well-constructed plot 
  • I have a strong interest in "multi-cultural" or "world fiction", but also stories set closer to home, often focusing on the domestic sphere. 
  • I enjoy historical and crime fiction 
  • In non-fiction, my taste runs mainly toward narrative non-fiction and biography

Claire is pretty awesome, right? So now that you know WHO, here's the what.

This contest is open to 
Literary Fiction 
Crime 
Commercial Fiction 
Fantasy 
Women's Fiction 
Young Adult 
Multi-Cultural 

and in non-fiction:
Narrative 
Cultural/Social Issues

You MUST be a follower of this blog to enter. 

To submit, please send your entry to writerlyrejects@gmail.com and formatted as follows:

Title:
Your name:
Genre:

3-5 Sentence Pitch. 

(When I say sentence, don't write a paragraph without punctuation.Write a nice logical sentence. Write four or five of them. Make them make sense and send it off.)

We open to submissions at 9AM TUESDAY Monday JULY 9TH. We will close the submission window at midnight. 

The Writerly Rejects will select the top twenty pitches and forward them on to Claire. Her winner will receive a FULL MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE! 

So polish your pitches and get ready for next week! Oh, and spread the word!! Any questions, ask in the comments. 


Monday, July 2, 2012

Review of Divergent by Veronica Roth




Goodreads Synopsis:

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

My Take:

I loved Divergent. I found the factions unique and I even found myself wondering what faction I would belong to. It was a different way of looking at society, which I believe Veronica Roth captured well. (And I LOVE how it wasn't uber complicated, but easy to grasp) One downfall I noticed (I know, kill me) was that Tris reminded me occasionally of Katniss (I’m sorry!) but otherwise it was a great read. There’s plenty of action and romance to keep one turning the pages or--in this day and age--tapping the touch screen. We really find a way to root for our heroine and even when we question the life she’s chosen, we understand her decision. As strange as having people jump in and out of a moving train is, we start to understand why they do it, what it stands for. So just as Tris comes into her own, we the readers, understand her train of thought, why she does what she does. We get to watch as this heroine transforms before us, even though she had always been capable of the person she becomes. THAT is what makes a book great, having the ability to flesh out a character’s fears, wants, and personality to the point where they grow and where even if we don’t always agree with the choices, we as readers can empathize and understand.

My Rating:

4.8 Stars

~Liz