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Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday Writers Workshop Review And Missouri Life Magazine Update

Sunrise by Tricia Grissom
We had a excellent workshop Saturday, including a editor panel responding to the first hundred word hooks of essays, stories, and novels.

I thought I'd share a few of the lessons that stood out.

1. Never start your book with someone waking up in the morning, especially not to an alarm clock (I've heard this piece of advice several times at several conferences, so take heed).

2. Reality matters. The agent or editor reading your work can't concentrate on your awesome writing if they're worried about inconsistencies in reality - like the sun coming up at 8 a.m, or someone who has been wearing handcuffs for hours who fails to acknowledge his or her arms are numb.

3. Learn the lingo. For genres like young adult, listen to how the kids themselves talk and don't edit for political correctness. And for dialogue in general, write down what people around you are saying to get a feel for real conversation. If  you're going to write in a foreign accent (like Irish), listen to a radio station from that country to get a feel for how the natives speak.

I also got to talk to Missouri Life's managing editor, Rebecca French Smith. She says the magazine is looking to expand their coverage of Missouri into areas like politics, green stories, book reviews, and other Missouri-related issues. So if you have a story idea for one of these area, now might be a good time. She requests you send a writing sample along with your query if you haven't worked with them before, so they can get a sense of your style.

Another tip - sometimes they get ten queries for the same topic. The writer who explains how they will approach the topic and what info he/she plans to include has a better shot at the story.

And be patient. She's a very busy lady juggling all the content changes, new projects, and all the other editorial responsibilities.


Tricia Sanders said...

Great post.

Tricia Grissom said...

Thanks, Tricia. The workshop was uber informative. Thanks for all the work you put into it!