Friday, August 5, 2011

Tina Wexler - The Five Things Your Manuscript Needs To Succeed

The packed room listening to Tina Wexler

Tina Wexler is a literary agent at ICM (International Creative Management) and represents authors for both the adult and children's marketplace. For children's she focuses on YA and MG "with a particular fondness for tall tales, contemporary sci-fi, and gothic love stories."

The room is full, with lots of people sitting on the floor, listening and furiously taking notes.

She describes herself as a "very very hands-on editorial agent" and starts her session by defining success – what we can work towards with these tools she’ll be presenting – that they’re not necessarily the secret to writing a best seller (no one has the magic formula for that!) but they will help us achieve success in terms of getting representation, and getting published.

On the surface, she warns us, her five tips sound simple, but that’s deceptive. She’s taking her time to explain why, with examples, we need to go deeper into each one:

Here' the simple version:

Your manuscript needs to get written, read, researched, revised and loved.

Now here are some of Tina's gems, unearthed when she went dug in:

When revising, look at the first decision your main character makes that really starts the story moving. Now try it the other way, and see where it takes you. Is it more interesting the new way, or did you get it right the first time? You won’t know until you try it…

Do some homework. Pick a topic from your manuscript (bee keeping, wormholes, something already in your story) and research it. And not just internet research. Get a book from the library. Go on a field trip. It will deepen your story.

Don’t just read your own pages out loud, have someone else read it out loud to you – it’s a great way to check if your sassy character dialog actually sounds sassy or... well, whiny.

She’s reading us different examples to illustrate her definition of voice:

The words you use and how you use them, and how the sentence length works to create a rhythm.
It’s the words that get the magic into the story..

The session ends with a great Q&A, with more details about what she loves and is hoping to find…

What an amazing opportunity to get the scoop directly from Tina!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an awesome session! Wish I could have been there.