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Showing posts from January, 2008

Beware Advice From "Agents" - So-Called "Gems of Advice" Can be Dangerous!

by Michael Neff

It's been some time since this blog posted a note about the "gems" of the Backspace conference (see below or link above) derived from agents who appeared there. I'm here to tell you that some of these gems are not gems at all. Whether taken out of context or just plain foolish, they can lead a writer in the wrong direction, or at least produce lots of confusion. I will counterpoint in a manner that is hopefully not too snide.

As follows:

Make your prose unique.
Confusing. The vast majority of publishers are looking for high-concept genre work, whereas "unique" prose usually considered to be more literary, and the only way to write outside the boundaries of commercial fiction prose is to create a work of literary prose - often shunned by most commercial editors for being too dense, or not sufficiently accessible to the general public. The best advice is to study the prose boundaries and potentials set by your chosen genre.

Polish your voice

Write What You Are Willing to Learn - Advice from Jodi Picoult

By Anthony S. PolicastroIf you think you spend too much time researching your novel, take a look at NY Times Bestselling author of fourteen novels, Jodi Picoult, who says she spends as much or more time researching a book than writing it. She even went to a remote Eskimo village with no running water in January, the coldest month, to research Eskimo culture for one of her characters. She shares her humorous and enlightening stories on how she came up with the ideas and how she researched three of her favorite novels in the free Writer’s Digest video webcast at the 2007 BookExpo America/Writer’s Digest Books Writers Conference.She is a great speaker who talks rapidly and gets right to the point so make sure you have 49 minutes to do nothing because you will find that you cannot stop listening. Her best advice is to “write what you’re willing to learn” rather than write what you know. Definitely a must see.

Jodi Picoult's latest novel