Fiction Genre, Storytelling, Literary Fiction

Genre, Storytelling, Literary Fiction

I recently applied to a contest that asked, as part of the upload, what the genre of my novel is.  I answered dutifully, Thriller. Yes, I know that the judges have to have some way to classify submissions, and I have just read a bit about plot, timing of events, when backstory is best introduced, …

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Mechanics Pantser … or not

Pantser … or not

There are two approaches to writing fiction.  A Pantser writes from the seat of the pants. The writer lets the characters pull the story along. An Outliner (maybe we should say ‘Engineer’) lays out the story … the plot line … then begins writing.  So far, I’ve been a Pantser. My third novel has a …

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Mechanics Writing with Feeling

Writing with Feeling

I read a submission guideline the other day that sliced novelists into ‘beginner’ and ‘experienced’ using the following cleaver:  “you may consider your work for the experienced category if it has been critiqued by people other than friends and family.” I get it.  Your wife’s going to tell you it’s great.  Family harmony vs. weak …

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Uncategorized Pitch-Query-Synopsis

Pitch-Query-Synopsis

Over the past couple of months, I’ve attended three conferences (one by Internet) that featured pitches or queries.  Friends asked for a summary. The summary grew longer than a blog post, so I made it into a page, here. The summary covers some of what I learned.  The experience proved that the nexus of art …

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Uncategorized Querying, Rejection, and Rule 9

Querying, Rejection, and Rule 9

I just finished going to a pitch conference at The Loft (Minneapolis).  As is usual with these events, there were education sessions, often involving panels of agents.  In one, the agents discussed how many queries they get.  One of the participants allowed as how she gets 4,000 or so annually.  Asked how many projects she …

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Mechanics Wearing a Suit and The Oxford Comma

Wearing a Suit and The Oxford Comma

I went to a shiva yesterday for a friend’s mother.  It was in the evening.  A bit uncertain about dress, I wore a conservative suit and a tie.  When I arrived, I realized most of the people were more casually dressed.  A bit embarrassed, I mentioned to a friend that I felt overdressed.  He said, …

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Mechanics Long words

Long words

My critique groups often lean on me for using bigger words than necessary. Particularly people who read and adore Hemingway. My weak defense is accuracy: I want the reader to get an exact picture. The response is, “in well-written work, sixty percent of the reader’s vision is what the author wrote; forty percent is drawn …

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Mechanics Pitch Conference

Pitch Conference

Ahh, the pitch conference.  Three minutes to explain your darling child of a novel to a polite but dubious agent.  Three minutes for her to ask probing questions that tear it apart. I enjoyed most of the Writers Digest pitch conference in St. Paul, Minnesota last Saturday.  The classes were more reminders of ideas we …

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