The first two days of So You Think You Can Write are now done (don’t know what I’m talking about? Read this post). Remember, everything is being archived here (and you look stuff up by date or format at the left), but here are some of my favourite pieces so far:
1) Tips for writing a synopsis by editor Elizabeth Mazer. Synopses were, by far, the thing people wanted more help with after last year’s event and something we know writers — even published ones — struggle with. So we also did a live chat where people could ask questions about synopses, and posted the transcript here.
2) Day 1 assignment critiques. What does an editor think when reading that all-important first page of a submission? Here are three critiqued entries from Monday’s assignment as examples. Each daily assignment’s results are posted the next morning.
3) Top 10 Dos and Don’ts in naming characters. Okay, so this blog post is actually from last year BUT they are excellent tips (and honestly, a cheesy/unbelievable/weird character name is a tip off to amateur writing).
4) My favourite tweets and random bits of advice from the live chats:
- “Publishing Dictionary: What’s is goal & motivation? Goal: WHAT a character wants, Motivation: WHY they want it.” (This is the from Publishing Terms live chat. I missed the whole thing, but transcript will be up tomorrow.)
- “When an author is first starting out, we usually buy on complete, not proposal—we need the whole book to make sure their writing is as strong at the end as it was at the beginning. The longer they write for Harlequin, the more confident we are in their writing, so we don’t require full manuscripts and can accept proposals. But we ALWAYS need a synopsis.” (From the synopsis chat above.)
- Editor Leslie Wainger on a new authors pitching first book with idea for a series: “The key for me, if you’re a new author, is that the first book has to work 100% as a standalone.” (From her chat, transcript here. It’s risky to sign on a new, untested author with a series so many editors are wary of this. Writing a great standalone book first to prove yourself is a good start.)
- The Desire Editors on what they consider annoying bickering between the h/h: “H/H should be at odds with each other, but not over petty stuff. I’d like to see H/H conflicting over secret babies, not who’s going to take out the trash‐‐that last is bickering.” (From their Day 1 Q&A, transcript here.)