Archive for the ‘Suzie Townsend’ Tag

In the Blogosphere: 11/15-11/19

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’m getting there!

CRAFTING A WINNER

At Kidlit.com, über fantastic Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole talks about “prime real estate”—and the three places she considers that to be in your manuscript.  Um—sold!

Here, Kole says, if your characters shoot glances, you should be shot!*

In her guest post on Writer Unboxed, the ZOMG-awesome Laura Espinosa (a Write-Brainiac!) tells how getting in touch with your inner actor can help you iron out those pesky, hard-to-write scenes.

Q&A

This question has come up with some international Write-Brained Network folks—yes, we are global, people!!  Here, Mary Kole (yes, again—she’s on fire!!) discusses how to handle your manuscript if you are an international writer and/or writing international settings.

Paranormalcy author, the adorable Kiersten White answers reader questions and dishes on how/when to query as well as how to make blog follower friends.

THE FUTURE

Here, the now-former agent extraordinaire, author Nathan Bransford, debunks the top 10 myths about the future of e-publishing.

In the yeeeeeeear two thousaaaaaaaaaaaaand!

“RE” STUFF (-VISION & -SOURCES)

Many folks have tackled this subject, but here is the Suzie-Townsend-repped Kristin Miller of YA Highway’s take on how to revise and resubmit.

Here, on See Heather Write, Heather Trese outlines some of her incredible takeaways from a session on revising with Gennifer Choldenko. (Really really faboo post!)

The fabulous duo at Adventures in Children’s Publishing (Martina Boone and Marissa Graff) details the seven basic plot types in this equally as fabulous post.  Where does yours fit?

If you’re looking for some awesome Web resources for writers, the good folks of EduChoices.org have compiled 50 of the best in terms of reference; fiction, nonfiction, and freelance writng; and writing in general.

ATTRACTION

Here, author Jody Hedlund suggests how to attract readers to your bloggity blog. (<—Well, she doesn’t actually call it that!)

In her guest post over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s own Jane Friedman says specificity sets apart the professionals from the amateurs.

Over at the Huffington Post , Denise Brodey gives a five-point plan on how to sell books. Having a Twitter account won’t do it alone.

WHATCHOO TALKIN’ ABOUT, WILLIS?

Write Anything’s Annie Evett did a neat little four-part series on dialogue.  Check it out: part one, part two, part three, & part four.

Over at Inky Fresh Press, the OMGiDONTknowWHATi’dDOwithoutHER Write-Brainiac Bridgid Gallagher offers five tips on how to improve that elusive thing everyone wants to grab hold of: voice.

On her blog, freelancer and YA writer Heather Trese does it again, relaying valuable info she learned about voice during a workshop with Rachel Vail.

THERE THERE

Here, the inimitable T.H. Mafi (Tahereh), delivers the best writerly pep talk evarrr.  Bookmark it, folks.  Fo’ realz.

Feeling a little bipolar about your manuscript?  Jody Hedlund says that’s normal, and she offers suggestions on how to deal.

BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME

At Querypolitan, the fabulous Kate Hart *just may* be on to something: Edward Cullen and Vanilla Ice—one and the same?

ALSO?

Please check out my new Web site. :)

Happy weekend!!!

*OK—she doesn’t quite put it *that* way!

In the Blogosphere: 10/18-11/12

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have tons of links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

AGENT STUFF

Here, author and D4EO literary agent Mandy Hubbard gives some spillage on some holes in the market as well as subgenres all editors want (hint: middle grade!).

Writer’s Relief talks lit agents—and how to find the best one for you.

Other than announcing he’s leaving the agenting world (!), Nathan Bransford has more bad news: the rejection letter of the future will be silence.

Here, FinePrint Literary’s Suzie Townsend chats about the waiting game.

We all know it’s important to build platform, but do unpubbed writers need to blog? Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole of Kidlit.com weighs in.

WRITING TIPS FROM COOL PEOPLE

Over on her blog, YA author Michelle Hodkin gives an ironic example of what your first pages should look like.* (Hint: if this is what your first pages actually look like, get that delete button ready!) *She also gives links to fabulous resources for fixing up those first pages.

Thinking of planning a trilogy?  Please don’t get started until you read this post by YA author (and my pal—hee!) Jodi Meadows.

Over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, Chuck Sambuchino shares five screenwriting tips [from Neil Landau and Matt Frederick‘s 101 Things I Learned in Film School] *all* writers can use.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Ever wonder what full-time writers do all day?  Over at Writing it Out, Across the Universe author Beth Revis live-blogged a day in her busy writer life.

While we’re living vicariously through others, middle-grade author Stephanie Blake shares how she got plucked from the slush pile over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing.

GETTING READY

As you know, I’m a huge enthusiast of writers’ conferences.  Well, so is the University of Cincinnati and Writer’s Digest’s Jane FriedmanHere, she talks about the benefits of attending these functions.

Having trouble formatting your synopsis? Here’s a checklist of the essentials, from WD.

Going along with that, Write Anything’s Annie Evett talks about the importance of building a writer portfolio—how to, what to include, etc.

Worried you’ll lose your blog content? Guest blogger Peta Jenneth Andersen explains how, over at Guide to Literary Agents blog.

Nanu-nanu!

Over at Self Editing Blog, author John Robert Marlow talks about jumping the gun.

NANO-TASTIC!

You may be participating in this writing marathon, but you can still be healthy about it. Write Anything’s Annie Evett tells us how.

Here, YA author of awesome Maureen Johnson answers a slew of NaNo questions.

Here are some NaNo DOs and DON’Ts, courtesy of TerribleMinds.

And over at Write Anything, Andrea Allison offers some Web site aids to help you stick with it.

MORE COOL STUFF

I heart Meg CabotHere’s an interview L.A. Times’s Carolyn Kellogg of Jacket Copy did with the author extraordinaire this summer.

Um, coolest thing ever?  Make your Twitter feed into a daily newspaper!

In the Blogosphere: 7/5-7/16

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

SOCIAL NETWORKING

We’ve all got Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn accounts in order to boost our platforms, right?  But how do we make sure we’re using these tools effectively?

Here, Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management says voice is key when blogging.

As well, Writer Unboxed’s Kathleen Bolton discusses five rules to keep in mind before posting anything online.

VOICE

I’ve had several writer friends ask me about voice lately.  What is it?  How do you craft it?  Is it something you just have to *have*, or can it be developed?

Ah, voice. You slippery, intangible bastard, you.

In her “Footnotes” series over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, guest blogger Nancy Parish lists five voice-related articles that just might help you answer some of those questions.

As well, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Nathan Bransford weighs in on the subject.

TREND-TASTIC

There is much debate on whether or not one should write to trends. The common school of thought is that, once something is trendy on the shelves, that particular trend is about three years old—and, therefore, no longer the “it” thing.

D4Eo Literary’s Mandy Hubbard posted a very interesting two-part series on trends.  Here, she discusses what’s trendy (like, in the slush pile) and what possible holes there are in the market.  Here, she divulges what she’s noticed editors are currently seeking.  (She also says NOT to write to trends.)

Going along with the idea of writing the books you want to write and staying true to yourself, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Sarah LaPolla says we could all learn a thing or two from Betty White at her Glass Cases blog.

A MATTER OF STYLE

I’ve been doing a lot of editing lately, so I’ve been paying a lot of attention to grammar and formatting.  And, of course, that differs, depending on what type of writing you’re doing and who you’re writing it for.

At his Questions and Quandaries blog, Writer’s Digest’s Brian A. Klems preaches to the choir (well, if I’m the choir) about The Chicago Manual of Style. Here, he gives a nice little breakdown of what stylebooks to use and when—and he offers practical advice in terms of grammar and style as well.

Adjectives are the devil—and The Conversion Chronicles’s Daphne Gray-Grant agrees in this fantastic pro-verb post.

In the Blogosphere: 3/29-4/2

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

BAD WRITERLY HABITS

Science fiction writer Liana Brooks talks about a bad habit she has that I think most writers (myself included) also need help with: impatience.

If this post isn’t a kick in the pants, I don’t know what is.  On her blog, Between Fact and Fiction, upcoming young adult author Natalie Whipple explains “How to Wallow.”

Coffee has played a significant role in my days for the past several years—hell, I’ve been drinking the stuff since I was about nine years old!  Being that I’m genetically cursed when it comes to being anxious and being that the query stage of writing has kicked up those natural tendencies about 15 notches, I’m trying to cut back.  (I just bought decaf to mix with my fancy flavored coffees!)  But in honor of that bad habit, the drink I love—the drink that doesn’t always love me back—here’s The Oatmeal‘s 15(ish) Things Worth Knowing About Coffee.

From time to time, I have this bad habit, too! *doink*

INSPIRATION

This week, author and contributor to QueryTracker Elana Johnson had an awesome idea—paying it forward.  She and several other blogging authors interviewed 75 fellow authors who’ve “made it” (i.e., they’re agented, some have book deals).  Among the tons of inspirational stories these writers shared, I’m highlighting two:

Okay, so now that you’re totally inspired by those writers’ “pay it forward” interviews, what will you write?  Jonathan Morrow offers 10 tips on how to get your writing juices a’ flowing at Copyblogger.

THE CRAFT

On the Will Write For Cake blog, the Joanna Stampfel-Volpe repped kids’ lit author Lynne Kelly Hoenig lists some ways she injects characters’ feelings into her writing without “telling.”

APRIL FOOLED

Here, Jessie Kunhardt of The Huffington Post describes 11 great literary April Fools’ jokes.

FOR FUN

Ever wonder what those literary agents are really doing day-to-day?  FinePrint Literary‘s Suzie Townsend and Nancy Coffey Literary‘s Joanna Stampfel-Volpe fill us in on their secrets.

Finally, here’s some Venn Diagramming I can get behind.  The Great White Snark outlines the differences between the insults many of us grew up being called: nerd, dork, dweeb, and geek.

Venn Diagrams? Lucky.

In the Blogosphere: 3/22-3/26

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

STRATEGERY

Over at Incurable Disease of Writing, guest blogger, bestselling author, award-winning screenwriter and educator Ami Hendrickson offers a three-step approach to editing.

Here are two great posts, brought to you by Naomi Dunford of Itty Biz: Marketing for Businesses without Marketing DepartmentsThe first discusses the difference between being hungry and starving and is a must-read for all writers.  The second talks about the dreaded “elevator pitch” and suggests you boil yours down to seven words, like the people passing out prostitution pamphlets in Las Vegas.

As well, the good folks at Lyrical Press, Inc. give six strategies to overcome what they call “author fatigue” (when writers lose their way, about 50 pages into their manuscripts).

REASSURANCE

I recently found a group blog, Old People Writing for Teens (OPWFT), and it’s one of my new favorite places to visit.  Particularly if you’re in the querying stage, you’ll want to check out these three posts, which should help you feel better about any of your own submission slip-ups:

Are you neurotic?  Rejections and scathing critiques have you down?  Curtis Brown, Ltd., literary agent Nathan Bransford says feeling like you’re the worst writer (evaaaar!) might not be a bad thing.

In case you were wondering, it’s okay to suck.  Over on her blog, up-and-coming young adult author Myra McEntire asks you to listen to bestselling juvenile lit authors Meg Cabot and Maureen Johnson when it comes to writing—not her.

Why, thank you, bunny!

CONTESTS

Since I just realized I forgot to include the link in last week’s blogosphere post, here’s the link to the contest over at Getting Past the Gatekeeper that requires a love of Jane Austen as well as skill at writing queries.  You’ve got until April 5 to write a query as if you wrote, and are pitching, Pride and Prejudice for a chance to win some great Austen-related prizes!

Are you covering up a crazy past?  Over at bestselling middle-grade and young adult author Lauren Myracle’s blog, Jo Whittemore wants to know the craziest legal thing you’ve ever done to get something you wanted.  Two lucky winners will receive signed copies of Whittemore’s new book, Front Page Face-Off.

And, if you’re a glutton for punishment—which, if you’re a writer, you definitely are—try your hand at Script Frenzy‘s screenwriting contest.  Akin to NaNoWriMo‘s novel-in-a-month contest, participants will write a 100-page screenplay in the month of April.  This contest isn’t about the prize; it’s about the challenge!

I *heart* that this is about a school newspaper!

SPRING CLEANING

Get out the rubber gloves; it’s time to declutter your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  The Gawker‘s Brian Moylan suggests eight annoying FB and Twitter types to cut loose.

In the Blogosphere: 3/1-3/5

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH OTHERS

This week has been a positive one, in terms of getting some nibbles and bites on my manuscript.  I’m trying very hard to curb my excitement, however, as I know the road to publication is actually more like a jacked-up staircase.

In the interest of keeping positive, let’s live vicariously through three up-and-coming young adult authors:

  • Jodi Meadows.  Although this happened a few weeks ago, I only found out this week: my new pal, who has been up and down her jacked-up staircase for the past 7 years, signed with Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency (whom Jodi refers to as “agent of awesome”).
  • Sarah Wylie.  If this post doesn’t warm your heart, you’re dead inside.  Wylie, repped by FinePrint Literary‘s Suzie Townsend, announced her debut novel, All These Lives, was just sold at auction and will be out in 2012.
  • Steph Bowe.  This 16-year-old Aussie is repped by Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Ginger Clark, and her debut novel (working title: These Bones) will be published this September in Australia and New Zealand (Text Publishing) and the summer of 2011 in the U.S. (Egmont USA).  She’s also a part of The YA 5, a blog dedicated to changing the way young adult literature is discussed.

**Just a reminder: My guest blog on “leetspeak/text message lingo” in YA will appear on Bowe’s blog Monday, so don’t forget to check it out!

NIT PICKING

Thursday was National Grammar Day, and in the spirit of nitpicking, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Nathan Bransford blogged about your spelling/grammar pet peeves.

Nerdfighter master and New York Times bestseller John Green adds to the grammar hilarity with this pic.

As well, one of my new favorites, YA author extraordinaire Maureen Johnson critiqued a query letter on the blog of superagent Daphne Unfeasible (her agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary‘s alter ego).

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

At coffee with Jodi the other day, I brought up the subject of author advances.  Being that I didn’t know much about what to expect—I thought the average book deal was wayyyyy less than it actually is—Jodi put me in touch with this post by fantasy author Jim C. Hines.  I learned a lot!

Are you one of those Facebookers who changes your status every time something upsets you?  You might want to think twice about that after reading this post by Andrea Brown Literary Agency‘s Mary Kole over at Kidlit.com.

Excercise some.

Sometimes, dying dramatically or mysteriously is part of the job description when you sign up to be a writer.  The folks over at Schmoop.com take a peek at the fascinating deaths of nine famous writers.

STUFF THAT’S PROBABLY GOOD FOR YOU

Not that I can do this, but I can appreciate the idea behind it.  Author and webmaster of A Life Less Anxious: Freedom from Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety Without Drugs or Therapy Steve Pavilanis gives some tips on how to function without caffeine.

But - but - I need it!

You Have a Question? I Have an Answer: Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Subgenres

“You Have a Question?  I Have an Answer” is a feature that answers real questions from real writers.


Q:  I have a vampire novel.  What is it, sci-fi?  Fantasy?  What’s the difference between these things?  How do you tell them/their subgenres apart?            -S.B.

A:  At the South Carolina Writers Workshop this past weekend, literary agent Joanna Stampfel-Volpe (Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation) and Suzie Townsend (FinePrint Literary Management) led a session on paranormal, dark comedy, dark drama, and horror, and similar questions came up.

One of the conference attendees wanted to know what is with all this urban fantasy business she’s been hearing so much about. Another asked about the difference between paranormal and supernatural.

All good questions.

supernatural-tv

Supernatural. I've never seen the show, but I do love me some Jensen Ackles!

Stampfel-Volpe and Townsend explained that writers often confuse these genres and subgenres because, in some cases, industry peeps use some of the terms interchangeably.  I will mix a bit of what they said with a bit of what I’ve found in cyberspace in order to help answer these questions.

The sci-fi and fantasy genres confuse many because they tend to overlap in their most basic requirement: imaginary elements.  Because of their common ground, bookstores often lump them into one section.

However, this rule should help you distinguish between the two: Although they both include fantastic or imaginary elements, which contradict our current world/our understanding of it, those elements in science fiction are generally based in scientific reality, while those elements in fantasy rely more on myths and fables.

Still lost?  Here’s some help.  Disclaimer: With all the subgenres out there, there’s no 100% hard and fast rule, but if you stick to the below, you should be on the right track most of the time.

Sci-Fi?

Ask yourself:

  • Is something different about the time?  Think: Back to the Future.
  • Is it set in the future?
  • Is there time travel?
  • Is it set in the past or the present, but there’s some element that is different from what we know?  Does, as Doc Brown puts it in BTTF2, the timeline skew into a tangent, creating an alternate 1985 (or whatever year)?
  • Is science or advanced technology involved?
    • Do the words “time machine,” “anti-matter,” “cryogenics,” or “technology” appear?  How about “flux capacitor” or “Mr. Fushion”?
  • Is it set in outer space?
  • Are there aliens?  Robots or computers becoming self-aware?
bttf2

"Pull out your pants pockets. All kids in the future wear their pants inside out." --Doc Brown, Back to the Future Part II

Fantasy?

Ask yourself:

  • Does anyone use magic or have supernatural powers?
  • Is it set in a mythical world, or are the main characters drawn from a contemporary setting into such a place? Think: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe or Harry Potter
  • Are there fairies?  Trolls?  Goblins?  Centaurs?  Basilisks?  Rings or grails?  Wizards with long white beards?

The Scary and the Hairy

Sci-fi/fantasy subgenres get particularly complicated because this is where a lot of terms are used interchangeably—much to the chagrin of, well, everyone trying to figure out this stuff.

The biggest head-scratchers for newbies at SCWW:

Paranormal vs. Supernatural

These are pretty much the same thing.

In the Stampfel-Volpe/Townsend session, we fleshed it out as a class, and here is what we came up with:

  • Supernatural is more when a character is born with or discovers he has super powers—in other words, these powers come from within.
  • Paranormal more has to do with ghosts, spirits—in other words, outside forces.
  • However, we also said that, because you usually have one when you have the other, these terms often get tangled, and that is OK.

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance

These are often used interchangeably as well.

Both are set in contemporary/real-world/urban settings, both can contain vampires and werewolves and shapeshifters (Oh, my!), but according to Publisher’s Weekly article “When Love Is Strange: Romance Continues Its Affair with the Supernatural,” the treatment of the relationship is the key element which separates the two.

  • In paranormal romance, the romantic relationship is the primary focus of the plot (yes, Edward Cullen fans, I know you’re salivating all over your keyboards right now).
  • In urban fantasy, the world the couple lives in takes center stage.

That shouldn’t be too hard to remember.  Paranormal romance = romance, and urban fantasy = setting.  So, they’re not just clever names!  See?  Not so difficult after all.

See Gwenda Bond’s article in Publisher’s Weekly for a more comprehensive look.

edward-cullen

I know, I know, but he's still fun to look at.

To see a general breakdown of all literary genres, Writer’s Digest to the rescue. This link not only defines the above, but it also has a more extensive dichotomy of subgenres within sci-fi/fantasy (i.e., space operas, Arthurian fantasy, etc.).

I hope this gives you some basic insight as to how to classify your manuscript. Although, according to FinePrint Literary Management agent Janet Reid, authors need not worry about genre.  She says the agent will be able to tell and will categorize accordingly, if she wishes to sign you.

So, if you’re still confused, fear not.  The agents will set you straight.

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