Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Lessons Learned from Pass Or Pages

I say it over and over again on this blog, and I'll keep saying it: You can always learn something from Pass Or Pages, even if the category/genre you write in isn't the same as the one featured that month. I have learned a lot from putting on Pass Or Pages this year, so I decided to sum it up here for you:

Agents are nice people who genuinely want to help writers. We don't offer our agent panel members anything but the opportunity to provide feedback to our entrants. They put a fair amount of time and effort into it, as evidenced by the emails we send back and forth. They truly care about helping writers improve.

Queries need to feature characters, not just plot. Readers need to feel a connection to a character to feel compelled by the conflict and stakes. But exceptions can be made for killer voice!

Typos are not a good first impression. Some agents are more forgiving of them than others, but why risk it?

If you are going for a shocking opening, then you better do an amazing job. I can't tell you how to be amazing at it, though. Shocking openings are not my thing.

POWER. WORDS. I already wrote about this concept and how much I love it, but I thought you all might need a reminder.

Taste is subjective. You can have a fantastic concept, a strong query letter, and beautiful writing, and your story still won't appeal to everyone. That is a fact of publishing that we all need to reconcile ourselves to.

Did you learn anything from Pass Or Pages, whether specific or general writing advice? Share in the comments!

1 comment:

Gifford MacShane said...

I always learn a lot, particularly about how to streamline a query letter. But I'm always surprised by the grammar faux pas, particularly run-on-sentences or misplaced modifiers. It pays to have an editor or someone with a deep grammar background to proofread a query letter. One learns early on not to send out an MS until it's edited, but it seems some skip that step with QLs.

Thanks for your informative & entertaining articles!