how to get a request for pages · writing problems

Your first page: sensory details

The first page needs some description in order to ground me in the world and in the protagonist’s experience. Many rejected pages I see have either too much or not enough. Go for immediate, sense-based details and don’t wander away from what’s happening. Your first page must be active, but don’t simply say what happens.… Continue reading Your first page: sensory details

do and don't

Tired of preachy books

I’m tired of preachy books. Between all our agents, our agency accepts nearly anything–if it’s good enough. That does not include preachy books. Sometimes they preach politics: fictionalized futures of what would happen if we elect [candidate]. Sometimes they preach religion: Christian fantasy about the world ending or how a man’s self-sacrifice converts his atheist… Continue reading Tired of preachy books

do and don't · writing problems

Characters talking to themselves

In writing, varying the lengths of paragraphs is important. Dialogue is one way to alter the pace. I frequently see sample pages that replace dialogue with verbal asides, thinking this is an acceptable substitute. The author feels the need to let us in on the character’s thoughts but doesn’t want to say them outright. Either… Continue reading Characters talking to themselves