Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trust Your Gut

Gut instincts! We all know about these little feelings that tell us we should do something, but nine times out of ten, we decide it is probably just a hungry feeling and ignore it. It is only after we have made that decision that we realize that it wasn't that urge to hit the fridge, but your intuition telling us to do something. When it comes to writing, we have to always pay attention to our gut instinct,
especially when it comes to story development.

For those of you who have been following me over on Twitter, you have seen I have spent the last several days working through proposal development with one of my clients. We talked yesterday about her latest project and she realized that all of the extra baggage she was putting in her story came from ignoring her gut instincts. She was trying too hard to do with others were doing in their stories and not listening to the real story her brain wanted to tell.

I find so many authors doing things with their stories that simply are the wrong approaches. I always tell authors that there are no right or wrong ways of doing things in writing, but there are definitely wrong ways. Those wrong ways are when you are ignoring that gut instinct.

So, what should you be looking at when it comes to your writing? Consider the following:
  • Are you writing in a genre because it is the hottest new trend right now?
  • Are you pitching that story to an editor or an agent because someone else told you to do so?
  • Why are having your characters say the things that you have them saying? 
  • Are you putting something in your story because you just saw it on a blog, or heard it at a workshop?
  • Are you adding that sex scene in the story because you have heard that hot is going to sell?
If you are listening to your gut instinct, you will know what to do. Ignore all of these external distractions and just focus on what needs to be done. Listen to your story. 

Trust it and you will be much happier. I promise.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Don't Rush Your Writing

If you are currently at a conference (PNWA 2017 for example) or getting ready to head out to RWA Nationals next week, I want to again remind all of you to not rush! Far too many authors hurry through their writing and rush to get that story to an editor or an agent, and end up sending work that really could use a lot more work. They pitch to editors and agents when they are not ready to make the jump into professional writing. Slowing down may be the best option for you.

Over the years, I have had several authors with some pretty good writing who rushed things. In the excitement of a conference, they pitched stories that were great, but mentally, they were not ready to make the jump. Although they were given opportunities, being unready to move forward was a negative. For three of them, they never returned to the writing they fell in love with. The frustration of not being ready was too much for their writing.

I would also add that many of you will hear things at conferences about new lines, or new editors and agents looking for things and you too will rush to get a project to them. You have this great idea, but now, you end up sending out a story that is not quite right. Maybe the writing is flat. Maybe there are huge plot errors. In your effort to get the idea to them, you simply did not see those mistakes. But you sent it anyway, and sure enough, that story gets a rejection. Had you taken the time to really make sure that piece of writing was great, that rejection may have been an offer.

I know there is a desire to be one of the first to an editor or an agent. I know there is a desire to show that you can work fast. But that rushing may be your downfall. Publishing will always be there. If the story IS really good, there will be people who will be interested. You have to give it time.

It is also important to know that just because you are at a conference and there is a pitch opportunity, it does not mean you need to pitch then. You have to be mentally ready to make the move. Trust yourself. Trust your gut instinct. It is OK to just say no.

Fund Raising Opportunity: ALL Proceeds Go To EQUUS Foundation!

Greyhaus LiteraryAgencyis helping out The EQUUS FOUNDATION!Writers can donate to this great cause&receive a critique!http://www.greyhausagency.com/Fund-Raising.html by Scott Eagan

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Writing The Follow Up Query Letter

So, you pitched at a conference and an editor or agent has asked to see more. Now what?

First of all, send the darn thing. We have found that barely 30% of people will send in projects following a request at a conference. IF you took up a time slot and pitched and IF someone said to send more, then DO IT!

This letter though will be different from any other query letter though. You are not going to just crank out your old query letter and you are not going to just repeat everything you said during that 7-10 minute speech. This is about reminding the editor or agent why they thought you were totally amazing.

Begin first with a reminder of when you met and what you pitched. Thank them right from the start and tell them what you are sending to them.

Next, briefly remind them what the story is about. Tell them the characters, the premise, the conflict and maybe the solution.

I should note, that with each of these sections, use terms such as "To remind you..." When we are at a conference, we see a lot of people and hear a lot of pitches. We often do not remember these things. This works in your advantage because you are going to do one more thing.

Continually remind them of all the things they said they liked during the meeting! For example...

As a reminder, this was the story about the little girl who finally emerged from the foster care system and the struggles she faced with becoming adjusted to a family who really cared. You noted that this story was truly inspirational and it reminded you of a friend of yours from high school...

By doing this, you are priming them with only good thoughts so when they read the story, they are already thinking good things.

Now, as you give them the premise/pitch, do not use the memorized version you used. Just give them the basics.

Finally, make sure in the last section to mention the other projects you are working on and can't wait to share these ideas with them as well. Also, if you are only sending a partial, tell them that you would very much love to send them a full manuscript. You can also make sure to tell them to call you if they have additional questions or want to see more. Be accessible!

And one last thing. Send it IMMEDIATELY after the conference. DO NOT go home and start edits or want to send it though your critique group one more time. It should have been ready when you pitched. Even if the editor or agent said that he or she would not get to it immediately because they are taking a couple of weeks off, it will be in the email AND they will see the time stamp of when you sent it. This shows follow through.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Attention Writers: Critique Opportunity!

During the months of July and August, Greyhaus Literary Agency is helping out this great cause. 

During the months of July and August, Greyhaus Literary Agency is giving back to authors out there an supporting a fantastic cause. My daughter, Catherine Poppen-Eagan has been fortunate to compete in hunter/jumper equestrian programs. It is that involvement that got me interested in this program.

The EQUUS Foundation, also known as Horse Charities of America, is the only national charity in the United States solely dedicated to horse welfare and fostering the horse-human bond. Our efforts are focused on closing the gap for America's horses currently at risk, and those potentially at risk when their competitive careers are over by funding programs focused on the rescue, rehabilitation and re-training, and re-homing of America's horses in need, and on increasing job opportunities for horses, including those serving the special needs and veterans communities.

During the month of July and August, Greyhaus is focusing its attention on helping out this great program through critiques. All money raised will go directly to The EQUUS Foundation.

  • Query Letter - $25.00 Donation
  • 3-5 page Synopsis - $50.00 Donation
  • First three chapters - $100.00 Donation

Authors participating in this fund raiser will receive the following:
  • Query Letter - Line comments for the query letter including some general feedback about the over-all project/
  • 3-5 page synopsis. - Line comments as well as some general feedback about the over-all project.
  • First three chapters - Chapter by chapter feedback focusing in on character and plot development. An emphasis will be placed on how the story draws the reader in, in terms of the voice and the pacing. 

For all three projects, this is not going to be an edit looking at grammar, punctuation and spelling. If issues such as this do arise, the critique will mention to look for these items.

NOTE: Please understand that any author submitting material for a critique is not going to be considered for representation. Should an author wish to submit the project at a later time, the author would be free to do so. 

Please also note that the feedback provided in the critique does not guarantee that the author will be published by Greyhaus Literary Agency or any other agency or publisher. The comments and feedback are just the opinion of one person.

I also want to note that this is open to ANY writer. BUT, it is also open to non-writers. Should you be interested in supporting this cause, simply follow the procedures for submitting a manuscript to be critiqued. When I contact you with how to submit, simply reply back and let me know your intent.