Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wonderful Blog By Agent Rachelle Gardner

I read this terrific blog post by agent Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary and just had to share. Rachelle talks about the RIGHT things in submissions that make agents and editors perk up. She does a great job of defining the all-important, yet somewhat mysterious terms of 'craft', 'story' and 'voice'. This is just an excerpt, to read the full post please go to Rachelle's blog.

Today I want to take it further and identify three basic things that are immediately apparent to agents and editors when we read and evaluate your work, and they make the difference between yes and no.

. . . . .Story.
. . . . . . . . . . Voice.

Of course, the elements are intertwined, but it's helpful to artificially separate them in order to understand why a book is either working—or not.

Craft refers to the mechanics of fiction: plot, characterization, dialogue, pacing, flow, scene-crafting, dramatic structure, point-of-view, etc. I think craft is pretty easy to teach and it's easy to learn. It'stechnique, the foundation upon which writers use their artistic skill to build their story. Knowing the mechanics of craft enables you to use it to create the effect you want.

Story refers to the page-turning factor: how compelling is your story, how unique or original, does it connect with the reader, is there that certain spark that makes it jump off the page? Is it sufficiently suspenseful or romantic (as appropriate)? Does it open with a scene that intrigues and makes the reader want to know more? Story comes from the imagination of the writer and is much more difficult to teach than craft (if it can be taught at all).

Voice is the expression of you on the page—your originality and the courage to express it. Voice is what you develop when you practice what we talked about yesterday—writing what you know. It's the unfettered, non-derivative, unique conglomeration of your thoughts, feelings, passions, dreams, beliefs, fears and attitudes, coming through in every word you write.


Donnell said...

T, thanks for this link. She makes a lot of sense, including, don't think you're going to get rich off of one book and be able to quit your day job ;)

Audra Harders said...

She brings up great elements to remember, no matter how long you've been writing.

She's so right about story and voice being unique to your life and your experiences. I love listening to the samples when classes are given the same opening to a story and told to write a page. Amazing the different angles and views!

I love Rachelle's blog. I visit often and am not disappointed!

Thanks for sharing, T!