The New Agent Paradigm and Summer Reruns

After having been late or absent for my last several blog posts, it has come to my attention that I might need a blog break! I will be fantastically busy through July, but I dislike stagnant blogs, so I have decided to put myself into syndication. That’s right. Summer reruns. Starting Monday I will be doing blog REposts for the next few months (think of it as a “best of” The Accidental Novelist), although you probably won’t even notice, since most of you have only joined me in the last several months, and I can pull from years of bloggy goodness. I will still post news every once in a while and will definitely respond to comments. Just trying to stay mentally healthy and balanced. But, before I turn myself over to other life duties, I wanted to write...

Weekend Workout: Facing Fear (Character – Action Part 5 of 6)

Querying can inspire (or despire, haha) feelings of anxiety and depression, even in the most Polyanna-ish writers. I have been through a few agents over the years (all amicable separations) and the approach is an emotional challenge every time. When feelings of “what-if-no-one-likes-my-story” hit, I like to step back and view the process as a game. I think of the situation as one of those story problems my math teacher gave me. Okay, that’s probably a bad example for many of you because everyone I know hated those problems. I didn’t. Those were my favourite kind of math problems. They were little riddles to be solved and they involved storytelling (yeah, okay, I’m a geek). Or today I emailed one of my query buddies and said...

NaNo Hangover: What to do between your first draft and second (part 1)

I don’t know if my NaNo is the best thing I’ve ever written, or the stupidest. It’s certainly the weirdest, and was definitely the most fun. I think one of the most helpful things you can do after you finish a first draft is write a query letter. DON’T SEND IT, for Pop’s sake, you manuscript is not ready. Not by a long shot. But writing the query letter does amazing things. First off, it’s fun and you can ride the energy of finishing your first draft. Second, it forces you to figure out what your story is really about because you have to summarize it on one page. Who is your story about? What are the stakes? What must she learn/do/experience in order to redeem herself? How is it resolved? When I teach this I always ask: what...