Archive - April 20, 2009

1
Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Two
2
What to Send to An Agent

Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Two

Now I love hyperbole as much as the next person.  In fact, I live by the mantra that if a story is worth spinning, it’s worth spinning wildly.  However, as a world traveler, and as an RPCV, I’ve seen real hostage crises (a term not simply adopted by Eve’s publisher for promotional purposes, but one which she herself coins).  Because I have witnessed the attendant terror, brutality, and emotional havoc caused by such horrors, it riles me to hear someone claim solidarity with such suffering because she had to stay inside her home, cozied up on the sofa, watching TV a little longer than planned one evening.  “Hostage” isn’t, in my estimation, a title to wear flippantly — and certainly not for attention — (or sales — ) gathering purposes.  But I found that the line between serious and frivolous was crossed in this book very, very often. I wanted . . .

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What to Send to An Agent

The magazine Poets & Writers has been running a series (up to #9 now) of interviews with literary agents. You can read all the interviews at PW.org/magazine. In the most recent issue, the editor, Jofie Ferrari-Adler, asks three agents about what they read from writers: the outline? the synopses? the pages of the book? All of them agreed that they never read synopses. Jim Rutman, an agent at Sterling Lord Literistic:  “It’s hard to write a synopsis well. And when we’re talking about literary fiction, it will probably not make or break an agent’s interest going into page one.” Peter Steinberg who has his own agency (with clients like Alicia Erian, Keith Donohue, and John Matteson): “I think it’s important to stress the synopsis and the cover letter and all of those things are not really important. It’s the work, the work, the work. You have to focus on the . . .

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