Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Conflicting Stories....

Aha! Betcha thought I was gonna address the broohaha (sp?) over the RWA GH/Rita Awards Ceremony, but nah….maybe I will at a later date. Right now, I’m too chicken to enter the fray.

I’m talking about the contradictory advice flying around the workshops, speeches, and editor/agent appointments. Here are just a few (keep in mind, not all are firsthand):

Agent: I like to see contest wins in an unpubbed author’s credits.
Editor: Forget contests. No one cares about contests. Let your writing speak for itself.

Author: There’s no such thing as the breakout novel.
Pubbed Author: I took my writing to a new level after reading Donald Maass' "Writing the Breakout Novel". (Okay, to tell you the truth, the second statement came from a different conference.)

Author: Never, ever use a prologue to begin your book.
First page of book contained in “goody bag”: Prologue

Author: Never, ever use flashbacks.
Second page of book contained in “goody bag”: Flashback

Agent: Age your protagonist to about 48.
Editor: 32 is perfect.

Agent: I prefer books heavy on external conflict.
Agent: Internal conflict is paramount.

Author: The query letter was the worst thing ever invented. Same with the synopsis. Send chapters.
Editor: Send only query letters.
Editor: If you’re not agented, don’t send anything.

Author: Persistence is key. Never give up. You can do it.
Author, Editor, Keynote Speaker: Not all of you are gonna get published.

Editor: No POV switches.
Author: Change POV when you want, as long as you do it well.

Author: Write the book of your heart.
Author: Write the book of your heart but be willing to tweak it when you’re done in order to find a market for it.

Author: Lists of questions to ask your characters are useless.
Author: Here’s a list of questions to ask your characters.

Author: Forget about using charts.
Author: Now, you can see by looking at this chart….

Bear in mind, I hardly went to any workshops or spotlights. Now, you know why!

My advice: Go with your GUT. Period.


Ms. Mika said...

Ok, I'm scared now!!

Vonda said...

Randy, you're absolutely right! Too much conflicting advice on everything. And everybody has a different opinion. I love the way you laid all this out.

Kristen Painter said...

LOL - This is so funny because it's SO true! Almost every workshop/spotlight/agent-editor panel at conference gave conflicting advice. Basically, every submission is a bit of a crap shoot.

Good job summing up the madness.