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Some Thoughts on Scene Structure

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I was minding my own business one day when a piece of wisdom floated by on my Twitter feed: “What’s the precise turning point in your current scene? Make its trigger more dramatic—or less obvious.”  It was from the agent Donald Maass, who I follow because of his wonderful book: Writing the Breakout Novel.  (All this year, he’s been tweeting Breakout Novel prompts from @DonMaass which you can find here.) As it happened I was about two thirds of the way through writing a scene and it was starting to bore the life out of me.  (Perhaps this is why I was checking Twitter in the first place?)  I...

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Agent Hunting

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I was thrilled by the response to my October 19th post, A Query Dissected, in which I shared the query letter that got me my agent and discussed some of the things I thought a query needed to be successful.  But what if you are not quite there yet and don’t know which agents to approach?  As difficult as writing a query letter was, I found searching for an agent to be even harder. How was I supposed to know which agents were reputable? How could I find out which ones represented my favorite authors? How would I know when I’d found the agent that was right for me? And so I’ve decided to write...

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A Query Dissected

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A number of people have been asking me how I got my literary agent, and it occurred to me that I have amassed quite a bit of knowledge about how to find the right representation. In upcoming posts, I’ll tell you about how I went about my agent search, but for today I thought I’d start by posting about that all-important query. A query is a single-page letter introducing you and your book.  If you have finished a novel and plan to search for either an agent or a publisher, you are probably going to have to write one.  I won’t lie: It’s a daunting task.  Agents and editors see many, many...

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Why Fantasy?

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When I was a child, people told me so often that I read fantasy for escape that I started to believe them.  I did like to be transported to other worlds.  And people did seem to think my life was something I should want to escape from. I don’t talk much about my childhood.  This is because, in my mind, it was a good one, but when I start to give people the details—my mother’s s schizophrenia, my father’s death, living with a number of different families—they tend to want to sit me down and make me a cup of tea. Maybe I read fantasy because the problems in contemporary novels of that time...

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Making My Witchlanders Book Trailer–Part 2

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Last week I posted some of my favourite book trailers in hopes that they would inspire me to make my own.  This week I’ve been madly writing a script and gathering photos, music and video clips.  Here are the steps I’ve taken so far, along with some of the great sites and programs I’ve found to help me make my very own Witchlanders book trailer. Step One: Draft a Script Keep it short: As a general rule, I find book trailers too cheesy and too long.  I’ve tried to think of my trailer as an elevator pitch with images. Be Flexible: Remember that you might not find the exact photos you want.  If...

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Making My Witchlanders Book Trailer–Part 1

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I adore book trailers. I was speaking to a writer yesterday who audibly moaned when I told him I was making one.  “We have to do that, TOO?”  No, writer friends, we don’t HAVE to make trailers to promote our books.  In fact, of all the many online promotion tools—blogging, social networking, etc.—a book trailer is one that I’m not entirely convinced has a big effect.  Many of the big readers I know, teen and adult, tell me they’ve never seen one.  But I think that’s changing.  Teachers are using them more and more in the classroom, and savvy authors and publishers are learning to use...

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