The Starving Novelist
This is a continuation of last week's entry, regarding some of the important things I've learned since undertaking this journey a year ago.

The first chapter- The first chapter is almost just as important as the query in getting a request for a submission- especially since a lot of agents request sample pages along with the query.  When I originally wrote my opening chapter, I THOUGHT it was original, creative, and most of all, pulled the reader in.  However, as of lately, this first chapter of my ms has proven to be my nemesis.  How do I know this?  Well, for starters, ALL my submission requests came from queries with NO attached sample pages, and when I got feedback from agents regarding submissions, there was often a mentioning of my first chapter.  Back to the drawing board!  Lesson- don't put hours and hours into a query, and then neglect your first chapter.  Your first chapter needs to introduce the main characters, and at least HINT at the conflict.  Oh, and don't overload the first chapter with backstory (another one of my faults)!!  Spread it out throughout the ms . . . leave a little mystery ;o) 

Agents- One piece of advice I'd like everyone to take with them is: Don't lose your integrity!!  Remember who you are!!  Agents are not God's, and we are not their little minions.  They need us just as much as we need them.  Let's face it, most of us are . . . well . . . desperate.  We want to find an agent so bad, we sometimes put up with a lot of behavior we probably wouldn't put up with in any other sort of business relationship.  Don't get me wrong, I've had really good experiences with several agents (even though I received rejections from them), and will most likely query them again with future projects.  They were considerate and respectful, and I would highly recommend them.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are some who are . . . . less considerate and respectul (I'll avoid specific details- no need to start a debate).  We've all heard author/agent horror stories.  Don't become one of them!

Feedback- What is there to say?  This stuff is like gold- most of the time.  I say most of the time, because sometimes the feedback can be very vague, like "I don't get a sense of urgency" or "the writing doesn't sparkle".   Just like I did, you're probably racking your brain right about now, trying to 'break the code'.  My point is, sometimes you have to disregard some of the feedback, or else you'll drive yourself mad trying to figure out what the h*ll they're talking about.   However, if you're receiving similiar feedback time and time again- USE IT!!  Don't disregard it as 'coincidence' or some kind of 'conspiracy'.  Take it, and use it to make your manuscript "sparkle" *sarcasm*.

Moving on- Don't throw in the towel until you've done everything in your power to get represented.  I've heard of people sending out HUNDREADS of queries before getting an offer of representation.  The key is to always be open and willing to making changes to your query and ms.  Oh, and continue to write!!  Try to get a little bit of writing done while querying.  Also, in my own opinion, READ, READ, READ!!  Reading other books will give you ideas on how to word things, or how to set up your plot.  Personally, I know the more I read, the better I write (strange, but true).

Wow, if I've learned all this (and more!) in a year, I wonder what I have to look forward to this year?   Here's to wishing all my fellow writers a wonderful and successful New Year!

Lauren at Faith Fuel
1/20/2011 04:02:34 am

Thanks for sharing this- I know just what you're talking about here!

1/20/2011 05:53:01 am

You're welcome! Glad you could relate! It's always nice to know I'm not alone ;o)


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply.