Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Tea Break (3) Anna Banks Writing Advice

A few months ago Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon, hosted an #AskAuthor Q&A/writing tips session on her twitter. I gathered all her advice and put it on one of my tumblrs, so I'm going to repost that advice here (and none of it is paraphrased!).

General Advice
1. Your book doesn’t have to be written in order. If you’re in the mood to write a scene, write it. Your book will benefit.

2. If you’re not signed up for QueryTracker, you need to be. It’s the most helpful tool for querying agents/pubs.

3. Repeat after me: THE FIRST DRAFT IS POOP. And that’s okay. Revise, revise, revise. Magic happens in revisions at every level.

4. Writer tip: End EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER on a cliffie. Makes for a great page turner!

5. Basics: Cut adverbs. Cut adjectives. Cut dialogue tags.

6. Every scene must serve to further the plot. Don’t keep scenes that don’t carry their own plot weight.

7. Know the word count for your genre. Be well read in your genre. Know which agents rep your genre.

8. Want to know who reps your fave book? Check the acknowledgements. Authors almost always thank their agent.

9. Reach out to the writing community. We are vast. We lub you already. We will halp you!

10. Having a brutal critique partner is vital. Mine is . We both got agents by tearing each other’s work apart.

11. I know it’s more work, but look into each and every agent and find something to compliment them on in your query.

Q: What makes a first chapter stand out from the crowd?
A: Shock the reader. Pull them right into the story. There will be time for backstory in Chapter Two.

Q: At what point did you feel like your manuscript was truly ready for querying? Can you ever know for sure it’s ready?
A: You know it’s ready when you’ve had other people read it, sift through, and you’ve edited the snot out of it.

Q: Tips for introducing main character to the reader? How to interest readers?
A: Voice. Give the main character a strong voice from the first sentence. Help the reader identify w/MC early on.

Q: Any tips on writing stellar queries/pitches?
A: Keep it under 300 words. Be precise, confident, and thank agent for their time.

Q: Do you think using side characters to let readers get to know your MC is effective?
A: Yes. How your MC interacts with ANY CHARACTER is a way to develop your MC. We learn something each time.

Quite helpful, don't you think?


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