Random Reads

Malinda Lo on avoiding the exotic in her book Huntress, while basing the culture firmly outside the too-often-default medieval Europe. Great food for thought for writers who are attempting this. Made me think about the exotic-ization I’ve read in some books recently, as well as those that have managed to avoid it. Plus I missed about half of the cultural references myself while reading Huntress, so it was fun to see what was in there.

KT Literary translates her responses to authors when she declines their partials. Really nice insight for anyone who has scratched their head on a rejection and thought, “But what exactly does that mean?” and “What is she saying I should fix?”

The best explanation of the difference between mileposts and goals for writers that I’ve seen, plus a splash of humor about not letting the whole thing drive you crazy, by Tobias Buckell: Writers and Pellets. I hadn’t heard of or read his blog before, but I’ll be checking it out.

Agent Mary Kole looks at first lines. I’m posting this here because I’ve been thinking about this comment since I read it at the end of August: “Some of my favorite first lines are the ones that plant the kernel of a question in a reader’s head.” It inspired me to fool around writing first lines and looking at ones I’ve written in the past to see which ones have a question in them.

Ouch, Two Rejections in 25 Minutes

Ok, the second one stung a little more, because I had higher hopes. Email queries sure can speed things up.

Here they are in full:

#1: Dear Nicole,
Thank you for your recent e-mail and for reading my blog, I appreciate it.  I regret to say that I don’t feel that I’m the most appropriate agent for your work.
However, opinions vary considerably in this business, and I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.
Best wishes,

(the actual agent)

#2 Dear Nicole,

Thank you for submitting your query to —-. While your proposal shows merit, I’m afraid it’s not right for us. As I’m sure you know, this is a very subjective business, and no doubt another agent will feel differently. Best of luck in your writing career.


Simultaneous Submissions to Agents?

I had to double check my research now that I’m sending my YA ms out to editors and agents, since the books I have on my shelf only seemed to address this question for editors.

Maria Schneider, formerly of Writer’s Digest, seems to be everywhere on the web answering this question. She’s in favor, and hosted a post by Brad Thor (The Last Patriot), who is too.

Anne Mini,  author of A Family Darkly: Love, Loss, and the Final Passions of Philip K. Dick, says:

What no agency will EVER leave off any of its expressions of preference, however, is mention of a policy forbidding simultaneous querying, the practice of sending out queries to more than one agent at a time. Some do have policies against simultaneous submissions, where more than one agent is reading requested materials at the same time, but believe me, the agencies that want an exclusive peek tend to be VERY up front about it.

So if you have checked to ascertain that the agent of your dreams — or at least the next on your list — does not have an exclusivity policy, you should assume that s/he doesn’t. End of story. Trust me, if an agent who does prefer an exclusive peek doesn’t want other agents seeing it, s/he will let you know.

I can see I’ll be going back to her blog often as she has scads of well-written, thought-out and in-depth advice.

And finally Writing for Children and Teens: A Crash Course (How to Write, Revise, and Publish a Kid’s or Teen Book with Children’s Book Publishers), by Cynthea Liu, gives a definitive yes. This book was published in 2008, in spite of the cover that seems to shout “1970s!”

Google Books version
Barnes & Noble version