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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

 

Agent Blogs: A Treat for the Revising Mind

On some days my writing falls short of my goals and it has been hard to jump back into the same piece the next day. But lately, I've been using a specific treat to reach my daily goal.
I'm in my third revision of my novel (it could be more, but I'm never good with numbers). I'm getting ready to hand it off to two readers (I'm sticking with the number two...no big numbers to add!) with the hopes that by the end of summer, I'll be through another round of revisions and sending off the manuscript to a raft of agents. (Or is it a gaggle of agents?)
While I enjoy revising and taking apart work, often (just like with writing) the process stalls. I might hit a point where I'm not sure if I like the direction one character is moving. Or I lose sight of my goal of the day and, like recently, I might spend hours moving section breaks around to try to fix the issue with my page numbers. (Still unresolved.)
To reward myself for my perseverance, I've started reading agent blogs. Maybe it's a the power of my positive thinking that THIS will be the revision that helps secure an agent who WILL sell this novel.
The blogs are like candy with a nutritional value. At first, it seemed premature to start reading the blogs. After all, I'm not done with my draft yet.
But then I started finding voices of agents I wanted to get to know better. Their blogs are helpful, with kindness towards writers, their voices like a salve to the bruised ego of a writer. Others, just as enjoyable to read, may not seem as nice. But each blog imparts wisdom of experience and ideas that have become useful in my revision.
Several years ago, in an earlier revision cycle, I didn't look for the blogs of those I was sending to. Now it is a pre-requisite.
I want to learn reading recommendations, what impresses them, what writers they represent, their working style, what they like and what they don't like. But, most of all, I want to hear their writing voices to see if they are people I want to work with.
And, as to why I use the blogs as a carrot? Because if I didn't think of the blogs as a treat, naturally I would spend all my time reading them...and none of my time revising my novel.

A great place to start is Guide to Literary Agents, which has a list on the left-hand rail of links to a lot of agent blogs.

So, are there any agents you follow on Twitter or subscribe to their blog feeds? If so, who are they? What's one piece of advice you have taken away from their blogs that you use in your own writing before you are ready to submit?

A creativity coach, Elizabeth King Humphrey contributes to AOL's ParentDish and blogs at The Write Elizabeth, delving into creativity in everyday places.

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