"Show, Don't Tell" is one of the most often touted writing advice. But it can be difficult to execute, because the line between the two can be very slippery. Agent Mary Kole gives examples of one method of telling that isn't apparent at first glance -- atmospheric telling:
- Telling your readers about characters or atmosphere in your work is taking away their agency, their participation in the story. Plus, it’s just plain lazy. Really good writing is hard work, and telling is an instant shortcut, but it doesn’t fly with me.
Should you or should you not write a prologue? Agent Sarah LaPolla has a detailed post on why she dislikes prologues:
- The necessity of prologues are greatly exaggerated. For each of the above intentions, there is an argument against them. Remember I speak only for myself on this blog, and not for all agents, or even my own agency. If you are 100% convinced that your prologue is necessary, then good for you for having confidence. Send it to every agent in the book. But, consider the following rebuttals before sending it to me...
Writers are often advised to begin a novel with action. However, Author Jodi Meadows believes that it's better to start with a change:
- One of my very favorite pieces of writing advice is "start with a change." Since receiving that, writing beginnings has been a lot easier. I almost (almost) always know where to start the story. All I have to do (haha) is figure out which event knocks the entire story into motion.
Though I read for the story, beautiful sentences never fail to take my breath away. Kip Wilson Rechea says to zingers to your writing:
- One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about writing came from the brilliant Markus Zusak, author of THE BOOK THIEF and THE MESSENGER. At a small SCBWI conference in Munich, Germany, he told the crowd: “Try to have a gem on every page.”
ON PUBLISHING —
"What's the trend?" is the question many writers ask publishing pros. Agent Mandy Hubbard has an epic post on the current trends in MG & YA:
- The YA market is definitely competitive—a lot of really amazing material out there, and a lot of really talented writers. That said, it was really refreshing to hear the huge diversity in what is being published, and what editors want to see.
Most writers, published and unpublished, dream of receiving 6-figure advances. However, when broken down, those numbers are not as luxurious as you might have imagined. Agent Mandy Hubbard details how much an author would make in 4 years with a $500,000 / 3-book deal:
- So here's how it looks at the end of the day, if you get a seemingly ENORMOUS $501,000 book deal:
- Year of book deal: $120K net
Year 2: 60K net
Year 3: 60K net
Year 4: 30k net.