Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Triad of Graces

Did you know that some agents prefer to know about the books under the bed?
A proof of practise/dedication/learning curve sort of thing.

Did you know that some agents are entirely unimpressed with non-fiction credits or short fiction credits?
They may consider the mechanics of long fiction so different as to render those credits negligible.

One agent described proper punctuation and grammar as "tools to replace mannerisms, vocal inflections and body language."
That is not an exact quote, but close, and expresses in concrete and visual terms the purpose and necessity of keeping those communication tools sharp.
Your genius is not enough. Believe it.
Believe it and buckle down and learn the tools and rules.
Do you expect everyone to put on a hearing aid to decipher what you said because your "message" is so important?
Forget that, there are lots of "messages" in the ether.
Either learn to speak clearly or shut up.
Editor Tami discussed this - much more nicely - a few days ago.
Fortunately, editors can tell the difference between an occasional lapse and a determined ignorance.

I'm delighted to have found three more blogging agents/agency links - one of which is responsible for the semi-quote above.

(1) Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency: a clear, concise style and lots of archives to mine for information.

(2) BookEnds, LLC - A Literary Agency: represents diverse genres, posts convey a straightforward, pleasant mode of approach.

(3) Lit Soup: the more personal blog of agent Jenny Rappaport of the L. Perkins Agency; and yes, sometimes she posts soup recipes.


Jaye Wells said...

I knew about the first two, but the third is a new one. Thanks for the link. The agent search is harrowing, but I've learned a professional attitude and lack of games playing can get you pretty far.

Flood said...

"Your genius is not enough" should be snapped up as title for an agent blog.

Thanks for the links, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Ah well,Jaye, we all know I'm slow on the discovery channel, and probably wouldn't recognize game-playing if it bit me.

I certainly agree that a professional approach is best.

Hee, Flood! Of the snarkalicious type!
Most of them seem extraordinarily patient and helpful though.

Sela Carsen said...

I'm amazed at what I see in contests. People apparently think that their "jeanyus" IS enough. I figure I should do everything I can to get out of the way of my own writing, so the story is what shines through.

Ric said...

Thanks a lot, Bernita.
As if I wasn't procrastinating enough this morning, now I've spent a hour checking out those new links...
Excellent ones, by the way.

Writing and/or working is what I should be doing.

Dennie McDonald said...

it's all about the connection - it's almost like a romance - you gotta click nurture and endure...

but what do I know I am agentless - tho I have been married for 14 years - so the endurance I have

Rick said...

What a wonderful subtlety: "tools to replace mannerisms, vocal inflections and body language."

The genius is in the presentation. Think of the Crapometer. What separated the occasional standout from the blurry mass of bland? Hardly ever the idea, so-called; those are a dime a dozen.

Anyone can claim to dump a modern woman into "18th century medieval Scotland." But there are only the words to make us believe in either the woman or Scotland.

Bernita said...

Which is one reason why you are published, Sela, and the "jeanyus" is not.

Ha! Getting even, Ric, for yesterday's comment.

If marriage years is the key, then I have lots of endurance, Dennie.

Bernita said...

I was much struck by that phrase, Rick.

Your example is one of my major exasperations, if you'll pardon a lateral thought from your abstraction.
Seems "time travel" equates in many minds to 18th century Scotland. Period.
The weight of platitude forces a non-aligned writer into a "but...but...but" mode.
Not a good thing.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

"Either learn to speak clearly or shut up."

LOL...I love that! Every author should have this as a sign in their office...I'm making a pretty one for me!

Bernita said...

Bonnie, neither my grammar nor my spelling is perfect, but I try - and I understand that competence in both is essential.

I just get so tired of those who do not realize that "art" without basic form discipline is just a mess, that somehow they are being bold and free from shibboleths, and who, in effect, disrespect the readers who have a right to expect something reasonable in terms of adequate communication skills.

Rick said...

Bernita - it's not all Diana Gabaldon's fault; really it goes back at least to Robert Louis Stevenson. But one "idea" thing you have that does stand out: Damie's adventures take place on both sides of the looking glass.

And, presumably, there's not a "clan tartan" to be seen.

December Quinn said...

Everyone is so right here. It's like finding the Rightness Place.

I can't recall where I saw the comment (I think it might have been EE) but people like that irk me too. The one I'm thinking of was insisting that if the story was good enough they didn't need to work on the mechanics of writing, that it was "a waste of time". They didn't seem to understand that without decent writing nobody will know or care if the story itself is any good.

Rick said...

The story won't be any good. At most someone might think, "this could have been a decent story, if only the author knew how to write."

ali said...

Everyone is right, though I kind of wish they weren't - I'm hopeless with grammar and spelling.

I also second your exasperation with time-travel and 18th-century Scotland. Especially when the Scotland being written about seems nothing like the Scotland that actually exists.

MissWrite said...

Rick, you have no idea how many times those very words sped through my mind when reviewing a submission.

Bernita said...

No, Rick, there is not.
I mention David of Scotland in passing and the border reivers, and that is all.
I am inclined to blame Sir Walter Scott, mesel'...

"The Rightness Place,"... December, that is so nice.
These are a sane and sensible lot, aren't they?

And that stubborn lazy conceit crops up way to often. They Just Don't Get It.

Ali, these people don't have your excuse, and you try and you succeed, and you have a short story published because you were determined.

Marie said...

Thanks for the links, Bernita. I'm sure they'll be really useful.

Anonymous said...

The writing world and the published writing world. The second is much smaller than the first.

It's always helpful to be reminded that the two are not the same, and you must be willing to live within the rules of the smaller world if you ever want to buy a beach house there. Thanks Bernita!

M.E Ellis said...

Cool links, will check them out when I have the time.


Bernita said...

You are welcome, Marie, Jason.
I liked their style and attitude towards writers.

"When I have the time."
Don't know where you find the time as it is, Michelle!

BTW, people, my story is up at Wild Child Publishing.

Zinnia said...

Jeez, don't get me started on lit agents again, lol...

MissWrite said...

Yahoo, big congrats. Going to look.

MissWrite said...

Bernita, I loved the twist!!! And the line: The woman must have a real fetish.--Cracked me up when I read it, but boy...did she ever!

Fantastic job.

archer said...

Either learn to speak clearly or shut up.

There is something like that in Strunk & White: Always review to make sure you've said what you mean; your chances of having said it are only fair.

I like your formulation better.

Bernita said...

I'm sure we'd be interested.

Really pleased you like it, Tami.

Thank you, Archer.
Crude, perhaps, but damn!

archer said...

Just read your story. Congrats. HAD me from start to finish.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Archer.
A small thing, maybe, but a respectable publication.