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Most Common Writing Mistakes: RMC-SCBWI 2008 Fall Conference Editor/Agent Panel

Cheryl's Musings: Most Common Writing Mistakes: RMC-SCBWI 2008 Fall Conference Editor/Agent Panel

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Thursday

Most Common Writing Mistakes: RMC-SCBWI 2008 Fall Conference Editor/Agent Panel

Here are some of the questions and responses provided by editors/agents John Rudolph (G.P. Putnam's Sons), Julie Strauss-Gabel (Dutton), Melissa Manlove (Chronicle), and Barry Goldblatt (Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency).

1. What are some of the most common mistakes you seen in manuscript submissions?


John: Submissions inappropriate for Putnam's list--mass market titles, nonfiction manuscripts geared more toward educational publishing than trade publishing


Julie: Bad writing, submissions that don't follow the guidelines, non-ambitious writing. Her guidelines state no unsolicited email queries: she deletes any email queries unread.


2. When you look at a manuscript that might get a personal rejection letter, what problems do you often see?


Melissa: Great writing, but the story lacks a strong hook

Barry: Beautiful language, but no story yet

Julie: Inevitably, she sees plotting problems. She considers this the last piece of the puzzle. Voice and character HAVE to be solid.


3. What advice can you give an author on the midlist to help him or her "break out"?


Barry: There's no longer any such thing as the midlist. Writers either "hit it" or don't. They have to challenge themselves every time, with every new manuscript.

Julie: The authors who are most supported by her house are those who promote and support their own books.

Melissa: Struggling authors are often writing books that appeal only to a narrow audience


4. What sorts of revision requests do you make before acquiring a manuscript?


John: All kinds! Might suggest plot changes, a new ending for a picture book, a chance in writing tense...there isn't one kind of change he requests more often than another.


5. Why are you willing to work through revisions with an author before acquisition?


Julie: It's standard to go through a round of revision before acquisition. This is an important step--it allows both sides to "feel out" the revision process and how it will work. Authors should always be open to working through revisions. Revision requests are only made when the book is close.

Melissa: Writing is one skill and revision is another. She wants to know if you have that skill before agreeing to work with you.


...More tomorrow!


:) Cheryl

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3 Comments:

At October 9, 2008 at 10:35 PM , Blogger Zee Crazy Onion Gud Grammer and Speeling Girl said...

I kinda haven't been commenting because I really don't have anything of dire importance to say. But. I guess right now, I do.
YOU MET JULIE STRAUSS-GABEL?!?!
That's extremely amazing. (:

Also: I'm trying to do NaNoWriMo-- just fyi~

Have a splendid day now~

 
At October 10, 2008 at 8:52 AM , Blogger Dwight Reif said...

Hiya! It's good to hear from you--I've been wondering how you were doing. Yes, I met Julie S-G, although it's not as amazing as it sounds. She's so sweet and approachable, anyone at the conference could spend time chatting with her. Re. NaNoWriMo--that is very cool. I'm hoping to participate this year, to write a complete draft of the Peru story I started a while back. I have a few other projects I have to finish first, tho. I know someone else doing NaNoWriMo in the area, a girl from my church. Let me know if you want to share emails or something to cheer each other on! TTYL-CR

 
At October 10, 2008 at 8:53 AM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Um, that was really me, not dwight. Srry!

 

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