Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Good Agent is Worth His Weight in Cheese Steak

Crazy day, left SLC this morning and just got into Philly, (actually Cherry Hill, NJ, but close enough.) So no long post today. But I do want to give you a quick update on Demon Spawn, and make a comment.

Talked to my agent for the first time after he’d read the complete manuscript. The good news is he LOVED everything except two chapters. The even better news is that the more I think about what he said about those two chapters, the more excited I get to rewrite them. They are going to give the story so much more kick at a very key point. Even though it’s late, I really want to get started on the changes.

I often hear authors complain about their agents or editors. We see things a certain way, and it’s hard for us to change what we love. I haven’t agreed with everything my editors or agents have told me, but I think long and hard before I disagree. And the main thing I think about is how their suggestions can make my story stronger. It’s not always obvious (although this time it was.) But you really have to step out of your author shoes, put on your reader shoes, and try to look at your story through the eyes of someone who doesn’t have the story in his or her head.

Open your mind and try to imagine how the editor or agent is viewing the story. Then ask yourself how making their suggested changes (even if you don’t completely agree) could make a stronger story than you have now. If you can see any chance of how that might happen, they are probably right. If you can’t see how you can make the changes without weakening the story, then go back and discuss what the problem is and how else you might address it.

The agent or editor isn’t always right, but 9 times out of 10 when they spot a problem, they are correct. As the builder of worlds, it’s up to you to see the flaw they have recognized and turn it into a strength. The final copy we'll take to publishers is getting so close I can taste it. Or maybe it's just the cheese steak!


At 9/14/2010 2:10 AM, Blogger Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Good luck, Jeff! I hope everything goes well for you. Sending you good thoughts! :-)

At 9/14/2010 12:44 PM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

So true! I don't always completely agree with the solution an editor suggests, but I rarely disagree that something needs to be changed. Some of my best scenes have come from a collaborative effort when we worked on a problem area together.

Good luck in your travels, Jeff!


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