query

New Webinar on Character (for Kids & Adult Books)!!!

Yes, the tabloid rumors are true. I’m doing another webinar.

Writer’s Digest Presents…

“FULL CAST: How to Enrich and Expand Every Character in Your Novel from the Leading Man to the Background Extras.” 

1 p.m., EST
Thursday, May 16, 2013

(If that time doesn’t work for you, don’t sweat it. The whole thing will be available to watch and rewatch for a year or so.)

Every novel is driven by character. We fall in love with heroines, cheer for heroes, and loathe our villains. Characters draw us in, and through them we experience our favorite stories. Without a compelling cast, even the most engrossing tale can fall flat. What makes some protagonists iconic, while others go up in smoke? How can we create rich motivations without burdensome back-story, or nuanced supporting characters without stealing focus from our protagonists? How can we populate our novels with an unforgettable ensemble our readers will love? The answer involves giving your characters a great blend of relationships, history and motivations.

And, also, learning a ton of cool stuff by signing up for this webinar.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How to create an unforgettable ensemble of empathetic, unforgettable characters

  • How to develop compelling motivations to drive your story

  • How to craft rich histories to inform your characters’ journeys

  • How to intensify relationships, creating intimate, intense connections within your tale

  • How to lend nuance and depth by creating “mini-arcs”

  • How to employ impressionistic details to bring background characters to life.

And there’s MORE. What? Yes. There is.

Everyone who attends is invited to submit a query letter for their novel. Every query is guaranteed a written critique by yours truly.

So, an amazing class, Q&A, and personalized query critique, all from the comfort of your living room / boudouir / computer dungeon? Yep. I can promise you this will be the greatest thing you’ve ever done that involved the word “webinar.”

So sign up!

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Gimmicky vs. Personal: A Query Tip


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I normally hate query gimmicks, but this one, if you can call it a gimmick, sort of worked. So I figured I’d share it.

I just received a query letter. The introduction was personal. The author mentioned following me on twitter, having taken one of my writing webinars, etc. Always good to include such details if you can.

The synopsis was succinct, describing the protagonists and their conflicts. Okay well done.

Then in what I’ll call the “About the Author” section, this author did something novel. Rather than a long, overly-detailed c.v., she broke her “bio” into two sections: Some Interesting Things About Me, and Some Writerly Things About Me. The latter detailed, in brief, her writing credits. Good to know.

Some Interesting Things About Me was what caught my eye. The author included two or three just…well…kind of interesting autobiographical facts, totally unrelated to her writing, her project, or the business at hand. They were succinct enough not to distract, and also gave my brain something specific and personal to associate with the author. Even though I ultimately passed on this particular project, I’ll remember this person. She will stand out the next time she queries me (which I hope she does). Oh yeah, the ___ lady.

Whacky and gimmicky queries don’t work. Agents have heard every joke and we’re rarely won-over by attention-grabbing snark or goofiness. Your writing, your project, speaks for itself. But you do want your query to catch the eye. So maybe next time, after your short synopsis, try including one bizarre or interesting fact about yourself. Just one. To this agent, it won’t read as gimmicky, but personal, and it may get my eye to linger those few extra precious seconds. Will it sway my decision? Probably not. But it won’t hurt either.

Image via http://fusedlearning.com/