Tag Archives: literary agent

Lit Agent Fairy Dust: The Path to Making Dreams Come True

spinaltap_2430544bWith the Writing and Yoga Retreat just two weeks away, I’ve been so ridiculously busy that my head is spinning. It’s so tempting to say “literally spinning” but can you imagine if it was literally spinning?! Someone call Dial-an-Exorcist, please! But you get what I mean, right? My usual ADD way of mucking through life — oh wait! there’s something shiny over there! — has been amped up to 11.

One might ask oneself why a literary agent who is already quite busy working with her amazing clients, who has already  done a round of Spring writing conferences, and is already scheduled to go to conferences in August, September,  October and November, why that (insane? masochistic? just plain stupid?) person would decide to create a writing retreat from scratch and host it in July…. Why?!

imgresWell, it’s kind of like this: I’m in the business of making dreams come true. Now stop rolling your eyes. Stop shaking your head. Stop saying, “Well, how come you’re not making my dream come true, wench?!” The funny thing about making dreams come true is that it starts at home. That is to say, every time I make my own dreams come true I get a little bit more sparkly fairy dust to sprinkle around for other people. For years my friend, the extraordinary poet (novelist, yogi, librarian, writing insructor) Stefanie Lipsey, and I had been talking about how awesome it would be to lead a retreat for writers that would encompass some of the cool things from the cool work we’ve done in various aspects of our lives.

yoga_silhouette_vector_collectionOf course that would include yoga. I mean, Stefanie is one of those really bendy, flexible, chillaxed yogini people (well, compared to me, anyway) and I do my little yoga practice once or twice a week. For like the past 15+ years. So yeah, we wanted to include yoga in our writing retreat. But besides the twice daily opportunity to do yoga at the retreat, what’s been really cool is to be building our curriculum, the workshops themselves, the planned interstitial moments, the small touches, all with an eye on yoga. So if one goes with the assumption that yoga is the physical, mental and spiritual practices and disciplines one would engage in to attain peace, for the weekend we’re going to apply that to our writing.

How, you may ask, does this have anything to do with making my or anyone else’s dreams come true? Well, for me I’ll be facilitating and creating a small community of writers for three days, building a separate little world for just a moment where we are all focused on our works in progress. We’ll be conjuring magic and stretching ourselves physically, intellectually and creatively as we put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards). And I fully expect to get as much out of this as I put in, both energetically and creatively (I already am!). So there’s going to be a LOT of sparkly fairy dust flying around!

fairydust800We still have a few spaces left for last minute registrations. If you’re interested, but still have questions or are worried that you’re not “right” for this retreat, just shoot me and Stefanie an email so we can address any of your questions or concerns. And FYI, for local NY folks, there’s now a daytripper rate, which makes this phenomenal weekend more affordable.

 

So I’m off now, to flitter around from sparkly thing to sparkly thing, in between negotiating contracts, reading and editing manuscripts, going through queries, sending and receiving a gazillion emails and phone calls, wheeling and dealing film and television options, and doing a (teeny tiny) bit of my own writing. Oh look! A Butterfly! Chasing a Unicorn! Over a Rainbow!

 

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Ten Queries, Ten Rejections: Wanna Know Why?

Recently, I dove into the slush. Here’s why I said no to some of the queries that were there…notmycupoftea

  1. Not my cup of tea. A memoir needs to be knock ‘em dead unique or by a celebrity or by someone with an amazing platform. Also, if it’s a memoir it isn’t a novel. A novel is fiction. If your memoir is fiction (i.e. you made it all up) then it’s not a memoir.
  2. Puh-leeze. A plot that’s all over the place in the query is most certainly going to be all over the place in the manuscript. And the author mis-used a word, showing me they’re thesaurus-izing their writing. Huge red flag.
  3. Smoke up my skirt. First the author re-quoted me, to me. Then it was portal fantasy, which I’m not fond of. Then the author bio gave me all personal, unnecessary information and no information about their writing chops.
  4. Delete. Nutty query for something I would have rejected anyway, and the author didn’t follow submission guidelines (i.e. they didn’t include the first 20 pages).
  5. Delete. Another memoir about something kind of not that interesting and the author didn’t follow submission guidelines (again, no pages included).
  6. Woof. I don’t do werewolves. Does anybody still do werewolves?
  7. Oh. My. God. Slightly turned off by the one-sentence intro that repetitively redundantly reiterated the genre, leading in to a synopses replete with multiple infarctions of the law against thesaurus-izing.
  8. Something’s fishy here. I’m not a fan of mermaids and there was something off about the syntax in the query.
  9. I’m so sorry, but NO. The querier’s native language must not be English, because there were non-native-English-speaker kinds of mistakes all throughout the query. Plus, it’s another portal fantasy, it’s unfinished, and it’s way too long.
  10. Out of this world. Another re-quote of me, to me, and a manuscript that’s too long. I don’t really do outer space Sci-Fi. I’m more a social-science-fiction-grounded-in-reality-ish kind of Sci-Fi reader. Plus there were a bunch of spelling errors.

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Manuscript requests, Movies, and Wishes: Thinking about 3 Things

red-rounded-with-number-3-md

is the first odd prime number and the second smallest prime. It’s also easy to make lists of three. Like when one isn’t sure what to blog about, for instance…

The last three actual books I read :

1. Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

2. Jerusalem, a cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

3. A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam

The last three manuscripts I requested a full for:

1. An adult literary novel about “the stories that lie just beneath the surface of the people we thought we knew. You might think of it as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society meets Olive Kitteridge.”

2. A memoir, “spanning forty years and two continents” that “offers an authentic glimpse into the world of nursing.” It is a ” personal story, wrapped inside the larger story of the evolution of women, nursing, and health care since the early 1970’s.”

3. A contemporary fantasy that takes place on the Oregon Coast, where dreamers are “people who have the power to turn Dreams into reality.”

The last three movies I went to:

1. What Maisie Knew

2. Star Trek Into Darkness

3. Ironman 3

The last three deals I worked on:

1. Damien Walters Grintalis’s yet-to-be-titled collection of short speculative fiction, to Apex Publications.

2. a picture book by a debut author, which I’m waiting for signed contracts on, so I can tell you more about it

3. a YA book that I’m also waiting for signed contracts on, so I can tell you more about it

The three most frustrating things about being an agent:

1. Having patience awaiting contracts, signatures, return of emails, and decisions on acquisitions (those are all about patience)

2. Being buried under queries and full manuscripts to read

3. It’s not a particularly high paying job, financially (although pretty darn satisfying in other regards)

The last three things I watched on television:

1. Season premiere of True Blood

2. Season finale of Game of Thrones

3. Mad Men

The last three things I cooked:

1. Potato kugel (by request from my mother-in-law)

2. Gluten free and gluten-full Calzones

3. Raspberry, blueberry, strawberry sauce (to pour over frozen yogurt)

Three things I’d like to see in my inbox today:

1. “Interest” turning into “An Offer”

2. Contracts on the 3 things I’m waiting for contracts on

3. More good news about Openly Straight!

Three wishes I have for you:

1. I wish for you to carry peace in your heart.

2. I wish for you to manifest the good things you want to see in the world.

3. I wish for you to feel the warmth of the sunshine and glory in the sparkle of the stars.

Happy Monday, everybody!

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