#MSWL: Agents And Editors Calling Out Requests — To Authors

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

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‘Play It Again, Sam’

For a long time, most author-agent communications on the front end have gone just that way — author to agent: the query letter.

The query letter is so daunting for many writers that there are whole courses offered simply on how to write a good query letter, never mind the damned book: what to say to an agent, what not to say, how to intrigue without hype. (You can start by getting that agent’s name right. You think I’m kidding? You’d be amazed.)

And even if you do lots of research on agents and work hard to understand what agents and editors want and study their track records and look up their deals and ask a few of their authors what it’s like to work with them, well, that first salvo can still be a complete shot in the dark. And agents do know…

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How to Create a Great Short Work

John:

After thinking about it for many months and nearly every resource mentions Robert Mckee’s book, I finally picked it up.

Originally posted on Story Blog:

Telling a Story in One Act

Short films, advertisements, and water cooler stories all require a quick entry, a turn, and an exit. Robert McKee explains what makes them work well.

For the list of Oscar-nominated short films mentioned in the video, please click here.

Fall Seminar Dates

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The Difference Between “Flawed” Characters and “Too Dumb to Live”

John:

The “too dumb to live” made me giggle. I love your style.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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Which is more important? Plot or character? Though an interesting discussion—sort of like, Could Ronda Rousey take a Klingon with only her bare hands?—it isn’t really a useful discussion for anything other than fun. To write great fiction, we need both. Plot and characters work together. One arc drives the other much like one cog serves to turn another, thus generating momentum in the overall engine we call “STORY”.

If we goof up plot? Readers/Audiences get confused or call FOUL. Watch the movie Ouija for what I am talking about *shakes head*.

Goof up characters? No one cares about the plot.

New writers are particularly vulnerable to messing up characters. We drift too far to one end of the spectrum or the other—Super-Duper-Perfect versus Too Dumb to Live—and this can make a story fizzle because there is no way to create true dramatic tension. This leaves us (the frustrated…

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Software review: “Editor” by Serenity Software

Originally posted on Today's Author:

I’m working with a piece of software that might be of interest to those who self-publish. It’s got the catchy name of “Editor”, a product of Serenity Software. (I bought it retail and have no sort of relationship with the company.) I’m using it to go over my novel. So far, I like it. PC World gave it four out of five stars. Since I’ve started using it, it’s pointed out some mushy text that benefited from being changed.

The software scans the text for the following (click the image to enlarge it):

Editor - usage

Notice that this goes well beyond the spelling and grammar check that’s part of MS Word. Fortunately, I haven’t yet had any of my prose flagged for “pretentious term”, but I have gotten flagged for weak constructions such as starting a sentence with “It was…”

Editor scans the prose, numbering each sentence. It then checks…

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M. B. Weston’s Writing Diary: Why Backups Are Important 02/14/15

John:

Backup, backup, backup. This goes along with save, save, save your work as often as possible.

Originally posted on M. B. Weston's Official Website:

Computer trouble can really kill a good writing session. My laptop has been on the fritz for a while. It overheats, the power cord overheats, and then while I’m in the midst of composing a beautiful scene, the whole thing shuts down. (Before all the computer people start offering me advice or telling to take it off my lap, it happens when it’s on a table too… The 2011 date it was made might have something more to do with it…)

I almost had an episode of great weeping and gnashing of teeth when the thing wouldn’t start for over 30 minutes.

Anywho, time to say thank goodness for a lot of things, which kept me from totally hitting the panic button. (i.e. Do these things to protect your data of your computer crashes.)

Store any file that has to do with writing or promotion on Dropbox (or something similar).

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A Navy SEAL Explains 8 Secrets to Grit and Resilience

Originally posted on TIME:

Sometimes you just want to quit. You know you shouldn’t but nothing seems better than crawling back into bed and hiding under the covers. (I am there right now, actually, with my laptop.)

The emerging science of grit and resilience is teaching us a lot about why some people redouble their efforts when the rest of us are heading for the door.

Research is great, but it’s always nice to talk to someone who’s been there firsthand, and to see how theory holds up against reality. So who knows about grit and persistence? Navy SEALs.

So I gave my friend James Waters a call. He was a SEAL Platoon Commander. BUD/S class 264 had a 94% attrition rate. Out of 256 guys only 16 graduated — and James was one of them.

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James and I talked for hours but what struck me was how much of what…

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Three NEVERS of Social Media for Writers

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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These three professional blunders can hang on like the smell of dead fish and stink up our author career, so avoid them at all cost. I understand that many of you who follow this blog are new, so if you’ve made one of these mistakes, you’re learning. We all oops (especially in the beginning), so don’t sweat it. Yet, I see these three behaviors far more often than I’d like.

You’ve been warned ;).

NEVER Be Nasty in a Blog Comment

I am fully aware that my blog can’t make everyone happy. I work my tail off to entertain and enlighten but I know I can’t be all things to all people. If I’m not your cup of tea? Just click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the e-mail WordPress sends you or e-mail me and I will happily assist you leaving (and cry later *sniffles*).

There is no need for…

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