Advice and Whatnot – WFMAD Day 27

Question: How do I get an agent or editor to give me feedback on my manscript?

Answer: With one exception*, the only way you’re going to get feedback from an agent is to be signed up by one. Not all agents offer feedback. Mine doesn’t.

An editor who likes your manuscript but feels it isn’t quite good enough to be published yet may offer to buy it “on spec.” That means that publication is not guaranteed, but the editor is willing to work with you on a revision and give some feedback. This is how SPEAK was published; the editor bought it on spec, gave me feedback, I revised and then it was published. If I had not done a good job on the revision, it would not have been published.

BTW, I didn’t have an agent when I sold SPEAK. I didn’t have an agent for my first seven books.

*The exception is that SCBWI conferences often have manuscript critique services. You send in a specified number of pages ahead of time and at the conference, you get a face-to-face meeting with the published author, editor, or agent who critiques the manuscript. I got very helpful feedback from Harold Underdown about FEVER 1793 this way.

Question: Have you ever not listened to a story idea or a character in your head?

Answer: Nope. If they speak, I scribble. Not every idea or character is solid enough to be turned into a full-length novel, but at the very least, it’s good writing practice.

We’re almost to the end of this year’s writing challenge. What questions would you like me to answer, or topics to tackle in the next few days?

Today’s Quote

“Characters take on life sometimes by luck, but I suspect it is when you can write more entirely out of yourself, inside the skin, heart, mind, and soul of a person who is not yourself, that a character becomes in his own right another human being on the page.”

Eudora Welty

Today’s prompt: Dig a little deeper into your character so you can understand her better. Where do her family’s roots like? What were her great-grandparent’s lives like? What would she do if she found a bag with $500 on the street? What about $5000? Who in her ife is likely to die in the next year? What would she do if that happened in front of her? Ask the unasked question and you’ll find riches.

Scribble… scribble… scribble…

4 Replies to “Advice and Whatnot – WFMAD Day 27”

  1. How do you organize all the materials you have (notes, submissions, revisions, etc) for such a variety of works in progress?

  2. i’d love to see a post about older writers (me) who have never been published (me) and what difference age makes in writing. particularly to a YA/MG writer (me).
    (btw we are the same age 🙂

  3. Thanks for the wonderful series. How do you plot for characters that don’t really have an outward goal or problem they can solve? I’ve relied on yearning for this, but I’m curious how books like Speak and Twisted came about plotwise. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.