Monday, January 4, 2010

Make 2010 your year of bravery...

I like this (abbreviated) list on agent Janet Reid's blog today. Its some of the things an editor thinks when checking out your manuscript. You can check out the full list via Janet's blog. Yes they do strike a little fear in my heart because thats a big ask, but it sure makes it clear what they are after. The last sentence is Janet's own comment and I believe it pretty much sums up what I want to know when someone critiques my work (and when I critique theirs). How does the story and the characters therein stack up. If these aren't compelling, great, and fresh, then no amount of fab grammar and super spelling will save me.

Does this story surprise me and take me to places I didn’t expect?

Is this a main character I care about?

Am I personally moved by this story or situation?

Has this been done a million times before?

Is the voice/character authentic and real?

We can fix a lot of things (grammar, syntax and structure) but we can't fix these. These have to be right before we say yes.

I also liked Nicola Morgan's latest post, here. The 'no unsolicited manuscripts' issue does not have to be an impossible barrier to get past. As long as your polite enquiry demonstrates that you are not a certifiable, head-banging, strait-jacket-wearing, nut-job guilty of using too many commas, I believe there is a chance an agent/publisher might be willing to say - okay, send me your story. Sometimes you gotta take a chance - I'm amazed at how a new head has grown back everytime I've stuck my neck out :) Go on - make 2010 your year of bravery!

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