How do you differentiate between Good Telling and Bad Telling? Agent Mary Kole has several examples:
- Bad telling deals with you just stating a fact about your character and then taking all the fun out of reading for your audience. Good telling involves using story context and, more importantly, interiority, to paint a three-dimensional picture where you make your reader feel like a savvy part of the story experience, but you don’t exclude them from participating, either.
Self-editing is critically important. Author Alexis Grant details 10 ways to tighten your manuscript:
- So watch for these 10 words and phrases as you edit your work. Get rid of them, and your copy will shine.
As always, the fabulous author Janice Hardy (seriously, if you aren't following her blog, you totally should!) has great advice on Actions vs Choices -- or how to craft better plots:
- When plotting, we often know what happens, but if we look at it as a choice, we can shift the focus to something more plot advancing and suspenseful.
Author Jennifer Crusie has a great post on structure: linear vs. patterned:
- The important thing about structure in storytelling is that you have one. It doesn’t really matter what plan you choose, just have a damn plan. Any plan.
The first pages of your manuscript are even more important than the query. Agent Kate Schafer Testerman answers what turns her off the manuscript:
- When I’m looking at the first couple of pages, I’m usually wary about rookie mistakes — main characters waking up, especially on their birthdays, looking in the mirror to describe themselves, complaining about how ordinary or boring their life is. If you’ve avoided that, I don’t so much as think about things that will get me to say no, as what can you show me to make me say yes.
Each agent's taste and preference are different. Agent Vicki Motter answers questions about what lead her to reject queries and partials:
- Not always an instant deal breaker, however, using cliches aren't going to get you far. "Fateful night" is one that gets under my saddle and chaffs.