Ahoy! This quarter's theme was "Superheroes, Pirates and Princesses!" Check out all of the beautiful and action-packed artwork!
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Ahoy! This quarter's theme was "Superheroes, Pirates and Princesses!" Check out all of the beautiful and action-packed artwork!
Stephanie Fretwell-Hill of Red Fox Literary is looking for picture books, middle-grade, and young adult titles.
How do you approach a prospective agent if you and your previous agents have gone your separate ways.
|Dorothia & Laura|
If you ask a prospective agent these very basic questions, it shows you're not read to get an agent.
You want to be an author that agents and editors want to work with.
The new MB Artists catalog is here! Check out all of the new "Animals" themed artwork from our artists!
New agent Stephanie Fretwell-Hill represents everything from picture books to young adult.
During the excitement of "the call," don't forget to ask questions of your prospective agent.
|Parker's assistant, Arya|
Tanusri Prasanna is look for children's books from picture book through young adult.
Congratulations, an agent wants to represent you. Now what?
I was wondering, what if I get an agent and she tries to sell two or three of my novels, all in the same genre, and nothing sells. What would happen in this case?
Well Katie, sounds like you and your agent will be at a crossroads and need to make some decisions.
Each agent is different, and some agents might set you free at this point, believing they’re not the right agent to help you find success. You’ll want to clarify whether your agent wishes to continue or hang it up.
Remember that you have a choice, too. You may want to consider indie publishing. If you want to continue pursuing traditional publishing, and you think another agent can serve you better, it would be a good time for you to make this decision. Be cautious not to automatically blame your agent for the lack of a sale – she’s put in many hours on your behalf and hasn’t gotten paid a thing. She probably deserves the benefit of a conversation, at least.
If you and your agent want to continue working together, you’ll probably have a meeting to discuss your options. You’ll take a hard look at what’s going on, asking questions like:
→ Why aren’t your books capturing the attention of editors? Is it the ideas? The writing?
→ Could there be something specific about your characters and plot lines aren’t resonating?
→How much of this is due to the market, and how much is it the specific books you’re pitching?
→ Is it the genre? If so, is there another genre you’re interested in writing that perhaps is more saleable?
Ideally this meeting would culminate in a strategy and action plan for moving forward to find the success you’ve been working toward.
Keep in mind that this isn’t an uncommon scenario. Once you get an agent, it could still be a long time until serendipity strikes again and you find the perfect match between a project and a publisher.
What would you do if you were the writer in this situation?
What’s a writer to do when their agent can’t seem to sell their work? Click to Tweet.
An agent is your partner in your writing career, and can share many lessons with you.
We’re going to throw something different into the mix today: a post about screenwriting mistakes. This is an important post for all writers to read, including novelists, because the same advice can easily be translated to your fiction stories as you set out on the query trail.
For those who know us well and have read our books, especially The Positive Trait and Negative Trait Thesaurus books, you know we are huge supporters of writers learning from screenwriters and screenwriting structure techniques. One of our favorite instructors is Michael Hauge in fact, so much so that we’re bringing on a Story Structure tool that incorporates the 6-Stage structure model over at One Stop For Writers. (You can find out more about that incredible bit of news [and sneak-a-peek at what it looks like] HERE.)
All right, time to hand things over to our guest today, Norman Arvidsson. Please read on!
90% of the scripts registered with the WGA are never completely read by script readers. They are rejected early on by readers who are overworked and pretty intolerant of basic errors that would-be screenwriters make. If you want to be in the 10% that get fully read and receive that call for further discussion, then don’t make these 10 fatal errors.
There are several potential goofs in the area of character development.
The way to avoid problems with consistency of character is to have your entire plot at least outlined before you begin to write page one. If you develop your plot as you go along, then you are trying to make your characters “fit” into a plot you are continually developing. It never works.
If you are writing a script, it is assumed that you understand the components. You have to include each of those components in sequential order, and the readers has to be able to locate them as the script is reviewed. Of course, you know that you have to have an initial incident or conflict, followed by that initial turning point, the mid-point, a second turning point and then the climax and resolution. If you cannot identify these elements in your own script, something is wrong. The best way to avoid this is to have a storyboard before you begin to write. You are then able to label each plot section, know that your sequencing is correct, and see that each component is actually there.
One of the first things a script reader will look at is the length. These people know what you should know too. A script has to be between 90 – 140 pages. If it is too short, you have either left out important plot elements or truncated some of the scenes. If it’s too long, you have irrelevant content and scenes are too long. When scripts are not a reasonable length, the issue is usually poor structure. Return to your storyboard, take each section, read through that section of script and determine its “tightness.” If your script is too long, are you be-laboring dialogue by repeating a characters thoughts? If it is too short, do you need to develop an element further through more dialogue? The other possible problem, of course, is that the issue/conflict is not complex enough for a full-length script. Then you are back at square one.
Script readers are very good with “filling in the blanks.” And they want to read something that lets them get their own mental pictures. So dump the long descriptions of the settings and characters. Descriptions should be minimal – just a couple of phrases. If you want excellent examples of this, pick up a copy of a Shakespearian play and read the descriptions at the beginning of the scenes.
Script readers are pretty much well-schooled in grammar, word usage, spelling and punctuation. They are happy to forgive a few typos, and of course there are grammatical and agreement errors in the dialogue of characters who are supposed to have them. But beyond that you really need to avoid writing mistakes. Script readers are easily irritated by these types of errors, and that irritation will carry over to their overall feeling about your work. If you struggle with grammar and composition, find someone who is more expert to edit your script.
Of course you have your favorite authors and playwrights. We all do. But your love for a particular character or story line cannot carryover to your writing. Find inspiration for characters elsewhere – life is full of them. Use combinations of people you know or have known, unless, of course, your work is based upon some prominent real person. Script readers are looking for originality and they can pick up derivatives pretty quickly (so can an audience).
What no one wants to read or hear is dialogue that is filled with tired and overworked phrases or clichés. It’s not fresh and original, and you work will be in the 90% rejection pile. As you write, flag those parts of dialogue that seem “tired” or worn and move on so you don’t disrupt your flow. You have time to think about fresh ways to say something later on. Go back to those flagged pieces when you are finished, get some ideas from other creatives you know, and freshen up those spots.
The whole point of a screen play is to tell a story through the actions and dialogue of the characters. When a character says, “I am really angry with you” to another character, you are boring an audience. When characters say, “I love you” too much to each other, you are boring an audience. These things need to be shown not told. If you have a character who is angry, in love, in crisis, etc., go back and study movies or plays in which characters had these emotions and issues. Get some ideas about how to show them through dialogue and nonverbal behaviors.
This is known as “fudging” and it does not work. If you have not resolved everything by the end of your script, do not submit it. You cannot just gloss over stuff and hope it is not detected. It will be detected, your story will not be complete, and your submission will be rejected. You have to wrap everything up and “tie a bow” on it. Go back to your storyboard. Find every conflict and issue. Then mark on that storyboard where it has been resolved. Resolution of all means you have a “tight” plot, and this is what script readers must see.
Don’t have your script rejected because you failed to follow proper format. If you don’t understand format for submissions, then get thee to a website that explains it or check with someone who is “in the know.” This is the easiest error of all to correct.
There are lots of reasons why scripts are rejected. Don’t count on a script reader to provide the details for why yours has been. S/he doesn’t know you personally and does not have the time to give feedback unless there is interest. Screenwriting is a creative art to be sure, but there is also a “science” involved. These 10 errors are part of that “science,” and they are critical.
The post Why Scripts Are Rejected: 10 Screenwriting Errors To Avoid appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.Add a Comment
Ginger Clark has been a literary agent with Curtis Brown since 2005. She represents many genres and categories of books in addition to representing the British rights for Curtis Brown's children's list. She's lots of fun on Twitter, and from there you may have learned she's really into wombats and Peter Capaldi, but aren't we all?
Sarah Davies and Ginger Clark tag team on describing how a rolling auction works. All of the bidding publishers give their bid, and then the lowest bidder is asked if they can match the highest bid, and the other bidders are approached in turn, and this can go around a few times, perhaps up to seven rounds.
Compared to a best bids auction, where Ginger asks for editors to name their ultimate bid and no additional rounds of bid-taking happen.
For most books Ginger has sold she's initially sent out the submission to 12 editors. In special cases she's sent the submission out to upwards of 27 editors (and she notes that 25% of those 27 were at Penguin Random House, which is the strange reality of big houses merging into even bigger houses these days).
The most important 'gets' in a contract to Ginger are:
Translation rights, British rights, audio rights, joint vs. separate accounting on multiple book deal royalties (you want separate accounting!!) Ginger will only take joint accounting deals unless there are no other offers OR the publisher is offering them an insane amount of money. Other than that, deal-killers are up to the client, says Ginger.
Ginger's last bit of advice:
When picking an agent, pick someone you think will be a great advocate for you and will be a great, professional advice-giver—don't pick someone only because you think they could be your best friend, or that reminds you of your mom or Peter Capaldi, or because they own a wombat.
|(l-r) Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker; wombat from How To Negotiate Everything|
Things to think about when you're search for your perfect agent."
Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations
What is appropriate to do when you've waited and waited and haven't heard back from an editor or agent?
MB Artists has released our newest catalog, themed "Adventure". Check out all of fun new artwork!
Sometimes the best of matches doesn't work out, and it becomes time to divorce your agent.
Make sure you follow these important steps before hitting "send."
To agents, editors and art directors out there: please take a few minutes to answer a short anonymous poll to help up-and-coming writers and illustrators?
Results will be discussed at the SCBWI-Florida Regional Conference, SCBWI Metro NY Chapter (Feb event) and SCBWI-LA Writer's Day as well as summarized in Inkygirl.com later this year.
For editors and art directors, I'm looking for those who are involved in the decision-making process re: book contracts or initial talent-scouting. Thank you SO MUCH!
You can find results to previous surveys in my Inkygirl Survey Archives.Add a Comment
Not all children's book agents represent picture books, but here are more than fifty who do.
Here are some tips for pitching an agent at a writing conference.