Tag Archives: agent query

Friday Links for Writers 02.21.14

BlackrockIn months when carving out writing time is challenging, I remind myself that Toni Morrison wrote The Bluest Eye while working full time and raising 2 boys as a single mother, by writing before they woke and after they went to sleep.  Doesn’t make it easier, but busy months take constant self-coaching to get it all done.

This week, I was thrilled with a provocative question from a friend that led to a new way of looking at a key scene. The upside of fighting for time to write is it is that much more satisfying when the work that comes out really rings true.

The week’s work has also led to discovery of some great links online, which is your benefit as I share this week’s Friday Links for Writers.  As always, let me know in the comments which links resound with you, what you’d like to read more of, or share your own links.  Best wishes for a great writing week!

*     *     *     *     *

Sally Clements: How to Write a Synopsis

Among my writing friends, several are somewhere in the process of submitting novels as part of their winter goals.  This article by Sally Clements, on the Irish Writing Center’s website, does a good job of addressing how to write a synopsis as part of the submission process.

Secrets to Querying Literary Agents: 10 More Questions Answered

Along the same lines, this round-up of querying advice from Chuck Sambuchino (at Wendy Tokunaga’s site) answers some more interesting questions about query strategy.  Bonus: click the link in the first paragraph for another 10 answers.

Style Sheet: A Conversation with my Copyeditor

Here’s a good resource on copyediting basics, whether you are trading manuscripts with a beta reader or your novel is in the hands of your publisher’s editor, or you are providing copyediting services to other writers.  This article at The Millions includes a chart of standard copyediting notations and an interview with writer Edan Lepucki’s copyeditor.

Clashing Tones: a peril when we spend a long time writing a book

It’s time to share another great post from Roz Morris. I like this post on shifting tones within a manuscript, because it addresses a revision issue we not have heard others name, point-blank: the need to read for consistent voice or tone in a novel that has been written and revised over long stretches of time.

Interview with NBCC John Leonard Prize Winner Anthony Marra

I’ve said before that I am very excited to see the success of Anthony Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, as I first ran into Marra in an online forum around the time he would have been writing it.  He has received nods for several national and international awards, and has just been awarded the National Book Critics Circle’s first ever John Leonard Prize.  Here is an interview with him from the School of Writing at the New School.  So many of us could relate to Marra’s inspiration: “I wrote this book as much as a reader, as a writer.  It was the kind of book I wanted to read and it wasn’t there yet.”  I love the revision process he shares: “I retype everything.” As soon as he finishes a draft, he prints it out and retypes it, revising with new eyes as he goes.

*     *     *     *     *

What About You?

What writing goals are you working on this week, or what other priorities interfere with your writing time?  My best wishes go out to several of my regular readers who have been sharing their February goals and helping to keep each other motivated.  Feel free to share yours in the comments, below.

*     *     *     *      *

If you like this blog, be sure to subscribe using WordPress’s +follow option, the Bloglovin’ button or via email.  I love to connect with like-minded readers and writers!

c. Elissa Field

c. Elissa Field

Recent Posts:

Popular Reads this Week:

Leave a comment

Filed under Friday Links, Seeking Publication

Friday Links 01.25.13

Welcome to Friday Links for the 4th week of January. It was a memorable week for national reflections and looking forward, as we began with celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and watching the second inauguration of Barack Obama.

Successful launch, Kennedy Space Center. c Elissa Field, repro w permission only

Successful launch, Kennedy Space Center. c Elissa Field, repro w permission only

The work-week since then has been a blur. Great conversations with so many of you, trading notes about your projects for the January Challenge, blogging about mine… and of course, getting it started.

It has, therefore, been a slower week for fiction. But those hours in the morning still found some great reading moments.

Here are some of the links I’ve found worth sharing. A few regular visitors — especially those who worried they were not “on time” in starting the January Challenge — will find the first link intriguing. Don’t put off reading that one!

*     *     *     *     *

Positive Procrastination 

You may have noticed from my January Challenge strategy lists, I am all for tricks that harness (not fight) the energy of our natural tendencies. Wittily written and extremely insightful, this New York Times article by John Tierney presents research demonstrating how the energy of procrastination can be effective fuel (yes!) for getting things done. Quoting Robert Benchley, “The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” I highly recommend this one!

Sierra Godfrey: How to Write a Great Climactic Scene 

Once you’re over procrastinating, here’s one for getting the end written.  Many workshops focus on opening pages. Last summer I focused on character. Lots of folks talk about analyzing plot points. Sooner or later, those of us tying up a final draft need to get around to writing an ending that lives up to the rest of the book. In this post, Sierra Godfrey offers a valid checklist of what this scene must accomplish.

The Finishing Touches by Jael McHenry

Are you done — or nearly done with that novel draft? Here’s a great article from Writer Unboxed, by Jael McHenry, who focuses the challenging process of polishing a novel draft to address a handful of key threads. Offers some interesting insights.


With the end written and draft polished, it’s time to sweat whether an agent will bite on your query.  As I became a fan of Twitter, one of the best series I followed was agent Sara Megibow’s weekly #10queriesin10tweets. Each week, she’d pull 10 queries from her in-box, summarize the pitch with her verdict (pass, request partial or occasionally (9 out of 32,000 queries in 2012) signed).  Fabulous glimpse into an agent’s thinking — but, gasp!, Sara announced recently, “I feel like I’ve said all I need to say about queries, so it’s time to move on.” No need for disappointment — on January 10th she premiered her new series using the hashtag #5pagesin5tweets. Rather than the query, she is addressing partial submissions she has received. As with the prior series, she summarizes the author’s approach with a verdict (request full or pass) and why.  To access, click the link, or enter the hashtag in a Twitter search or feed browser.

[Note: if you would like to find more discussions like this on Twitter, let me know in the comments, as I have more hashtags to share. You can find me on Twitter at elissafield.]

Should You Be a Writer or an Editor? 

It’s not a question I’ve asked (I do a bit of both) — yet, this 2-part article from The Open Notebook blog addressing the question posed during a Johns Hopkins University masters in science writing forum is a fascinating look at how to know if you are natively an editor or natively a writer.

*     *     *     *     *

These are in my "active reading" stacks, bridging my reading lists from summer into fall, 2012. (The porcelain boxer has run through three generations in our family - as has the breed.) c Elissa Field

These are in my “active reading” stacks, bridging my reading lists from summer into fall, 2012. (The porcelain boxer has run through three generations in our family – as has the breed.) c Elissa Field

What are you reading this month?

That’s a question I’m wondering this week, as it seems time to compile another seasonal reading list. I have some great purchases still waiting to be read, that will roll over from last summer or fall — but I am curious, too, for new recommendations.

What are you reading, what new releases are you curious about, or what would you recommend?

*    *     *      *     *

If you like this blog, be sure to subscribe using WordPress’s +follow option, or via email or RSS feed.  I love to connect with like-minded readers and writers!

Going on this month:


Filed under Books, Friday Links, Novel Writing