Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What I've Learned About Writing That I Didn't Read Anywhere

Ok writers,

Those of you who are more experienced will react to my next statement with a mental no-duh.

HOWEVER, I do not remember reading anything about this anywhere.

Here's the most important thing I've learned (at least about trying to get published in the YA market):

Premise is #1.

Sure, some may argue and agents list on their websites and blogs that solid writing and 3D characters are important. But from what I've seen through agent contests lately is that agents are drawn to strong, original premises. Also, judging from what gets published sometimes, strong writing is NOT a must.

So, if I had to do this all over again, I would start with a startling title, then build that into a logline, query letter, short synopsis, long synopsis and THEN finally write the darn novel. That's not really how I naturally work but I think that may result in a more "sellable" product.

It's not that I blame agents for choosing on premise. It's a tough publishing world and everything is driven by what readers are more likely to buy. My story (while having great writing, characters and action - at least in my opinion!) is not the most original if judged purely on premise.

Geez, I wished I'd done my HW before writing. But, it's a story that I had to tell. Like they say, usually your first published book is NOT the first one you write. At least I'm learning a lot.

I hope this helps other writers out there.


  1. An original idea can hook an agent, but so can beautiful, strong writing. Think about all of the books that have been written a hundred times - there's something about each one that stands out! Also, very strong writing with a less catchy could also classify as literary fiction. Don't worry about catching an agent with the first novel - just write write write until it's all out of you, and then go back and make it the best it can be. If it doesn't work, try again. Think of it as time in the trenches - you'll be stronger when it's over. :-)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment jenruss and your encouragement. I haven't given up yet :)