Happy Sunday, y’all!
Yesterday was my monthly writer’s group meeting, which always gets me a bit fired up. I get to hang out with my gals from Writers In The Storm and fellow ROW80 teammate, Kate Wood, belongs to my chapter now too! Squeeeee!!!!!
Yesterday’s meeting was very thought-provoking with:
- a POV (point of view) refresher in the morning by a writer who’s sold 90+ books
- an afternoon discussion with two agents about the current state of the publishing market. Plus, they gave their opinions on what’s hot and what’s not.
I’ll admit, I always need a good POV refresher. My standard rule is that each scene should be in the point of view of whichever character has the most to lose. I try not to switch POV in a scene very often, even though I’ll confess that I yearn to head-hop.
My 5 favorite POV tips from yesterday’s meeting:
- Make sure your observations are true to a character’s profession, age and gender.
- Don’t bleed too much of yourself and your reactions into the story.
- Make it fun for yourself.
- Be in the head of the person whose perception is going to change the most by the end of the scene.
- For those that love to head hop (oooh-oooh…pick me!) – make sure you write an entire scene in one person’s point of view, just to make sure you can. You can switch back and forth once you’ve mastered the single POV.
5 points that stood out in the agents’ talk:
- Women’s Fiction, cozy mysteries and YA are strong sellers right now.
- Chick Lit and Literary Fiction are tough to sell right now.
- Romance continues to dominate the market.
- The market has gotten smaller. Writers used to be able to send their manuscripts to editors in different arms of the same companies. All of them could bid for the book. Apparently nowadays, if you send to NAL and Berkley (both arms of Penguin Group), they cannot bid against one another. Basically, the editors get together and see who wants it more and an offer is made. Auctions are rare.
- They also had a person from a major publisher (who shall go unnamed) tell them that they’d been told to acquire books only if they felt the initial print run could go over fifty thousand. (Yeah, you heard me – 50,000) Dang.
I’d say the item of biggest interest to me was not only how much YA is growing (way more than any other genre) but how much is allowed in these books. The basic rules, according to the agent who spoke:
- Ages of your main characters is 12-18: They must be high school age or lower, or interact with people who are. If they’re in college, it isn’t considered YA.
- Length guidelines: 65-85,000 words.
- They said, most publishers are pretty over “creatures.” And no angels!! (though that might have been a personal preference for this agent)
- You can have sex in YA books. Not only can there be sex, there can be threesomes if it’s essential to the story (ex: Weetzie Bat). This was a complete shocker to me.
- They are looking for gritty fiction, and it seems like just about anything goes as long as it’s essential to the story. (that phrase was mention a lot)
I’m now delighted for all of my friends that are writing YA fiction! Not because I want them to turn their characters into sex maniacs, but because there are less rules for them than I thought.
p.s. If you need help on writing sex, here’s my post on Using the 12 Stages of Physical Intimacy To Build Tension in Your Fiction. Trust me, if it helps ME write sex, anyone can do it.
I’ve been sick all week and now Baby Girl has it so I don’t have a lot to report. One exciting thing is that I did get to read a bit in bed.
I finished Tawna Fenske’s MAKING WAVES at the recommendation of my pal (and ROW80 teammate), Julie Glover. I also started on Kait Nolan’s RED. (You know RED is up for the DABWAHA award, right? Click here to vote!)
I’m on the mend so I’m hoping to finish the round strong over the next few weeks. I’ll be writing today, and that is an exciting thing. 🙂
To support your ROW80 team members, or to check in yourself, click here!!
The Dirty Fighting Contest entries are slooooowly coming in. I know some of you are sitting on those entries. Naked Editor, Tiffany Lawson Inman is going to be here this Tuesday. Don’t make me sic her on you to get your 300 word scene!!
Send ’em in to jennyhansensmail [at] aol [dot] com as soon as you can. Deadline – March 17th.
In the meantime, I want to hear what’s up with all my ROW80 pals! How are you doing in these final few weeks of the round? Are you pumped up or limping along? Enquiring minds always want to know here are More Cowbell!