Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…
Author Chuck Wendig has written variations of this before, but each rendition is no less true and entertaining. If you’re curious as to how any of your writer friends feel at any given time about the book they’re writing, Wendig sums it all up perfectly.
Using setting as a major writing device has never been one of my strengths, but it is nonetheless and important aspect of novels even if it doesn’t have to be a primary one in the story. Agent Wendy Lawton (Books & Such Literary Management) speaks briefly about the benefits each of determining a real or imagined setting. I pretty much blend the two. In one of my novels, the protagonist lives in the Twin Cities, and in a larger locale, I think you can get away with using known landmarks and specifics. In a smaller setting, you’re much more likely to get nailed by those who zero in on details and also by those who assume characters are based on them.
Agent John Rudolph also (Dystel and Goderich Literary Management) had some thoughts about setting – talking about writing where you know vs what might also attract a reader. Are you more willing to pick up a book that takes place in a place you are already familiar with or one that is different from your experience?
Finally, author Orly Konig Lopez gives a slight twist to this week’s theme on setting by talking about how to make seasons work for your writing. I enjoyed her examples of this and how this is different than using weather, per se. I think this can also help draw writing away from clichéd weather metaphors (do funerals always have to take place in the rain?) and look at bigger picture for plot and characterization.
Agent Carly Watters (P.S. Literary Agency) shared some great quotes and advice for wherever you are in the writing process. Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to you and what you want and can do.
Did you ever diagram sentences in school? I know that for my parents’ generation, diagramming sentences was part of their standard grammar education. I never had to do it until I took a linguistics course, and by then, of course, I thought it was fun. I don’t remember anything about diagramming sentences anymore, but this article from Wired.com was kind of fun to see how you can potentially analyze a story’s theme based upon the opening sentence (or sentences).
This post is a somewhat timely one as I embark on the next phase of my hope-to-be-published journey. Author Martha Woodruff has been writing a series on “First Novels”. This link is to the third installment, about when a novel goes to auction, but I mostly included it because it has links to the first two parts, also- very useful to get an insider’s feel, especially if you are wondering how it all begins from agent to publisher.
More relevant to my current situation, I will also include this highly informative post from AgentQuery.com about what happens when an agent is ready to pitch your book to editors/publishing houses. If you were wondering what stage I was at now that I have an agent, this is it.
Do you write women’s fiction? Do you have an unpublished manuscript waiting to get noticed? Check out WFWA’s Rising Star contest.
Do you write fiction? Maybe you have some short fiction to share? Maybe you just need ideas? Fiction with Friends is looking for your work to share. Check out current stories, submission guidelines, and if you need/want one, prompts to help you get started.
Song of the Week:
It’s been a good week, so I’m sharing my favorite version of the Bodeans’ “Good Things”.