Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Application of Edification

Good morning campers! I hope the week is going well for all of you. I've recovered somewhat from the daze of last weekend, and am planning out the next phase of my strategy. As in, how to turn my watery, meandering manuscript into a tightly packaged flavor-burst of awesomeness.

I learned a lot of new and interesting things about my WIP and my writing last weekend. For one, I've got some slight POV issues going on, due to an occasional tendency to drop very literary phrases into the third-person perspective of a fifteen-year-old boy. Oops. More channelling of Rick Riordan, less of Nicole Krauss.

I also tackled an issue that's been concerning me for a while; more precisely: am I writing YA or MG here? My story is an adventure that revolves around two young teenage boys, but it is longish and fairly complex. I was very fortunate to get to talk to the delightful Laura Rennert about this, and she told me that I was right on the cusp and could tweak it either way. She also told me that calling it MG would make it easier to sell, should I reach that point. Certainly something for me to chew on.

And finally, a strong word of advice: if you ever go to a conference where there is even the slightest chance that you'll find yourself face-to-face with an agent who asks, "So what is your book about?" FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND BE READY FOR THAT. Or else you may find yourself staring at your empty breakfast plate, red-faced and stuttering something about boys and space and adventure, and on the receiving end of a kindly smile from a premium agent or two that means they just realized that your work is nowhere near ready. OUCH!

To that effect, I am now (finally) reading Save the Cat, and eating/ dreaming/ showering/ vacuuming a constant stream of loglines, looking for not just any logline, but one that will make an agent sit up and take notice, with the knowledge that the best logline may provoke some necessary changes that could improve my WIP.

It wasn't all gloom and doom--I did get some positive feedback as well, which is why I'm feeling pretty upbeat right now. And on goes the journey. Anyone have any similar stories to share?


  1. Snap! That had the same decision to make with my SF. If the characters were aged 12 it was MG but 13 or more and it could be revised into YA.

  2. I'm running into the problem right now concerning whether or not the novel is MG or YA. I'm thinking mine is MG because the protag is 11, but a few readers have said the subject matter is meant for older eyes only. Le sigh! I may just call it upper MG and be done with it!

  3. I've got a YA that I need to revise, but I am thinking about making it MG. I just don't know if I am a YA author. I wrote it for fun, and it was a blast to write, but my heart is in middle grade, so eventually (when I have time) I will have to tweak it.


  4. Glad it was a good (if exhausting) experience! Let us know what you think of 'Save the Cat' please, I have been wondering about ordering that one!

  5. I happen to have a manuscript lying around that has an 11 year old protag. But it's a little too mature for MG. It would have to be YA if anything. Although I'm not so sure I'll need to worry about that for a while.

    And that's pretty funny about having your pitch ready. I think I've got one for my mostly completed novel ready to go.

  6. Gawd, I would be so unprepared for that question. The conference sounds like it was a lot of fun, but exhausting! Is Save the Cat that plotting book? I need to read that too. Glad the conference was so useful. I want to try and get to one in the next year for sure.

  7. Save the Cat! is awesome. I used it to write my MG outline. Have fun with your revisions!

  8. I had a similar experience with an agent in December! I'm sitting there at breakfast, one of the agents asks me what my book is about. I go into my pitch and I see her eyes start to glaze over. I panic. So I add something into my pitch that makes her ears perk up and her eyes un-glaze. The only problem? That thing isn't in my book at all.

    The good thing is that it made me realize that thing NEEDED to be in my books. So I'm currently adding it in. :-)

    Glad it was a good experience for you!