Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pitch with Katherine Fausset of Curtis Brown

I drove over to the Atlanta Writer's Conference on Sat and pitched "Ways to Fall" to Katherine Fausset. She's as beautiful in person as on her twitter page, and one of those lovely women who glows during pregnancy. I was her last pitch of the day, so I watched person after person come out of the room smiling and gushing about how nice she is. Then it was my turn. The good news is I wasn't nearly as nervous as I'd been the previous year. Bad news is Katherine Fausset doesn't rep my genre. Ouch.

I'd googled "represented by Katherine Fausset" and found Cynthia Hand, who wrote "Unearthly," which I thought was a decent comparison to my book (although I haven't read it yet, and I realize now it's YA. I requested it from the library, but it came in too late for me to read it pre-pitch. It sounds awesome, though, and I love Cynthia's blog.) I wish I'd had my wits about me and mentioned the book, but I was having trouble thinking of the title, so I didn't. Anyway, if she says she doesn't rep paranormal romance, then she doesn't, and it would be silly to argue with her, right? She did say that the genre is hot right now, stronger than either paranormal or romance alone. 

Regardless, Ms. Fausset was very nice and listened to my pitch. I hate talking about my book because of all the world building and no matter how long I practice, the 3 minute version comes out jumbled and long, and people invariably ask "why" questions, and then I have to go back to some worldbuilding that I'd tried to gloss over. Sigh.

Whatever the shortcomings of my spiel, Ms. Fausset seemed to follow it okay and said it sounded very original. Then she suggested that I contact another agent at Curtis Brown, which she said she hardly ever does (Thanks for that encouragement, Ms.Fausset!) and that she would tell her to expect my query, then paused, and I assured her that I had been waiting to query anyone else at CB until after my pitch. At least I did something right!

I was joking with another writer before my pitch that it would be funny to come out of the pitch sobbing just to freak out the people after me, but as I said, I was last in line. Maybe next year:)

Any tips for how I can do this better? I made up some talking points to help me get through the pitch, but I can't seem to stay on track, even after talking to myself in the car for hours.

Happy Writing!
Glutton for Punishment?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Last night, I told my six year old to hold both sides of his plate.
"Wouldn't it be cool," he asked, "if our plates could float? And then we would have to hold them?"
That's a cool idea, isn't it? There's not a huge lesson here, but it was a nice reminder to me to look beyond what is, to what could be.

In "Character and Viewpoint," Orson Scott Card shares a writing exercise that he's done when visiting schools to show how easy it is to develop an idea by asking questions.

Do you want the story to be about a boy or a girl?
-A boy! No, a girl!

Ok, then, we won't decide yet. How old is this person?'
-Ten! No, Twelve!

Twelve? Why Twelve? What happens when you're twelve?
-You can stay up later.

Oh? And what do you do when you stay up later?
-Watch TV!
-The good shows!
-Scary shows!

What else can you do?
-Stay up late!

He continues with this exercise until they have a kid who is babysititng and the baby won't stop crying (What can go wrong when you're babysitting?) and he ends up calling an ambulance, which gets there right as the parents get home. Pretty good for fourth graders!

The point is, you keep asking questions. Even ten drafts in, writers should be asking questions. How can these characters have more tension between them? What's the craziest thing that could happen?

How do you develop your ideas? Is it different in rough draft vs. polishing? Do you have a favorite question you ask your story?
Glutton for Punishment?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Craft Time

27 days until I go to Dave Farland's professional (that's me! lol) writer's camp. I'm hoping we do some macrame, or take some popsicle sticks and cast off yarn, and voila! We'll have "gods' eyes." (You guys are familiar w that craft project, right? Here's a picture for those of you who never went to summer camp, poor souls.)

Perhaps that's not what is meant by "honing your craft?"

Anyhow, I'm starting to get nervous. Camp runs the 6-11th of June, but because of differences in air fare and a little side trip to see my sister, I'll be gone the 4-14th. Ten days away from my kids and husband. I'm really looking forward to all that writing, but I wonder if I'm capable of standing alone anymore, ya know? Maybe capable isn't the right word, maybe comfortable?

I'd hoped to be done with my rough draft of Book of Breathings before I leave, but that's not going to happen. Well, it might if I get up every morning at 5, but that hasn't been going so well. And I'm okay with that. Because sleep is my friend that helps me not to yell at my kids, who I love dearly:)

Re: querying, I've decided to wait until I get back from camp to send out any more queries. A round of rejections right before I leave would be a bit of a downer. (Not that I've become a pessimist.) I've still got about fifteen queries out there, and one full request. After a few rejections on requests, I've learned not to hold my breath. (Well, maybe I'm a little pessimistic. But not defeated! Never defeated!) And the Atlanta Writer's Conference is next weekend, and I have a pitch with Katherine Fausset of Curtis Brown. I'll let you know how it goes--hopefully not as awkward as last year's pitch:)

Oh, and guess what one of the required reading books prior to camp is? "Story" by Robert McKee.

Done. I told you it was an amazing book that everybody should read;) (The other book is the one on characterization by Orson Scott Card.)

Any happy summer camp memories to share? Tips for making the most of a writing retreat? Whatever!
Happy Writing!
Glutton for Punishment?