Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Agency pitch contest March 29, 2009

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 12:08 pm
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Thought I’d post this here in case anyone who visits hasn’t seen it elsewhere- a fab opportunity for anyone with a single title story ready to go. The Knight Agency is running a “Book in a Nutshell” competition- send in a 150 word pitch for your story, it has the chance of winning representation by the agency. They handle a range of genres including romance and women’s fiction, paranormal, suspense. The twenty best pitches will be invited to submit a full for consideration. Heres the link to the announcement on their blog. Closing date is 20th April.

I’m not planning on entering as I don’t have anything single title in remotely submittable form. My chick-lit JanNo is still a first draft disaster area, I’ve got so bogged down with my WiP I haven’t even started to edit it yet.  But go for it guys and girls who do!

Hmm, I am so tempted to take a break from my princess story and play with the older story for a month. I can justify it- I’ll come back fresh to my WiP and actually make some progress, plus I wanted to edit my JanNo for my RNA New Writers’ Scheme entry. Decisions, decisions! The girls in my writing group will probably murder me if I take time off the WiP now, I did promise I would keep going ’til I first drafted it. Problem is, I am stuck. I’ve been going round and round in circles on this same story since December, I’ve written God knows how many words on it, probably fifty thousand counting all my agonising about the plot as well as the twenty something thousand of story, and I’m still only on chapter two! For the fourth time. Ack! Maybe the private jet taking them to Melusia can crash and they can all die, and I can start another story!

Tempting, but I guess not. I do like to keep my promises. This is a good question though- when should we give up on a story that sounded promising but ends up going nowhere?

Anyway,  even if I’m going to stay with the current story, working up a pitch will be helpful. It’s a useful exercise thinking how I can summarise my story in a 150 words or less. Asking- what is the essence of my story, my characters, their relationship blocks and conflicts?  To have distilled the key features of the story down to a few words should help me to stay focused, when I’m going adrift in my writing.

I seriously need to do it now, to get that strong handle on what is essential to my plot, what has to happen for each character to reach their HEA. I love thinking up new ideas, digging deep into my characters, but can end up losing focus, making things too complex and messy and diffuse, having too much external stuff happening and neglecting the internal conflict, where the real emotional intensity lives. I need to go back and not just read but do what Laurie Campbell describes in this article on putting together a Pitch . I am sooooo bad for that, reading some fab advice but failing to ever follow up by doing something about it!

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5 Responses to “Agency pitch contest”

  1. Eileen Says:

    It sounds like you need a vacation from your story–a working vacation. I say take the time to work on that other story. It needs work and you’re still spending time writing. I know that my JanNo romance has definitely benefited from me taking time off (okay, 14 months off), but that’s because I’ve become a better writer in the meantime and I’m not so close to the story anymore that I can’t see the plot as fresh and new. AND now that I’m thinking about it I totally want to go back to Garret my uber-hunk: educated working man, slightly too long dark hair, protective guy who’s most at home in jeans and flanel, mmm.

    Anyway!

    “This is a good question though- when should we give up on a story that sounded promising but ends up going nowhere?”

    I’ve wondered that several times over the last year. Particularly of this one short story I have called “Cake” — an older draft of it is up on my website now, http://www.eileenwiedbrauk.com for reference’s sake — I wrote the first draft all the way through in summer 2007 then edited it to be a writing sample to get me in to my masters program. Then I felt like it had just died. There isn’t really a “plot” it’s more like a “moment” in a life … and I struggled with the opening, and the supporting characters, and how far I could push the mental tangents. I took in the first two pages to workshop in summer 2008 to poke it with a stick and see if it was dead or sleeping. I received encouragement from people I respected that it was definitely not dead so I did a few more rounds. Fell back in love with it, fell out of love with it, submitted it to my master’s class workshop … where the professor loved it (and so did several of the harsher critics in the class). The prof. told me to send it out. So I’m not questioning it anymore, I’m just submitting.

    My conclusion: some stories just like to play possum.

  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Garrett sounds totally delicious, and MUST be written!

    I just read “Cake”, and I can barely see my laptop screen for tears. That is a powerful, evocative, resonant story. I hope it finds a publisher soon, it definitely deserves a larger audience. Maybe it particularly resonates with me because my baby would have been eight this year too. You have captured a strong sense of truth here.

    I’m so glad to see TreeSinger there in your portfolio too! I was wondering what happened to that story. I loved your premise. Actually, reading through your portfolio, I love all your stories.

  3. waitingforthecall Says:

    Forgot to add, I have become totally sidetracked today. Went off looking for a “sticky note” program so I could add my edit notes straight to my chapters rather than stack them up in a separate document. Found what looks like a nice one (Stickies), but in the process also found a program called StorYBook. It’s a strong distraction! How to feel like I am writing when I am not actually writing at all. But I’m hoping I can make some sense of the literally hundred plus pages of notes I have for The Reluctant Princess Bride and do some real writing on the flipping thing!

  4. Eileen Says:

    You’re making me blush from praise — although I feel guilty; I’m not sure I would have mentioned it if I’d known that it had been eight years. I’m so sorry.

    I’m not certain I’d heard the title “Reluctant Princess Bride” before, but I love it!

  5. waitingforthecall Says:

    Please don’t feel guilty, it is a brilliant story.

    Thanks for the link to Stringing Words too! I would love to go back and visit again.


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