Next Stop: Rutland, VT—League of Vermont Writers 2008 Event

Off to Rutland, VT, in a few days for the 2008 spring session of the League of Vermont Writers.  It’s not exactly a conference, per say, as I am one of the only speakers.  I’ll be doing a lot of speaking on queries, pitching and agents so attendees can soak up info in preparation of a mini agent pitch slam that the league is hosting in July. (If you live in/near Vermont, consider going.)


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I’m critiquing work and meeting with writers up there to talk.  I’m looking at fiction, mostlysynopses and manuscripts.  Here are some thoughts after reading samples for a while:

  • Always include a header on your work. That’s the thing up top (not part of the regular text) that says NAME / PAGE NUMBER.
  • Synopses have a very specific format. I’ve blogged about this before, so I won’t go into everything, but remember that characters are CAPITALIZED when introduced. Also, the more names you have in the synopsis (and pitch, for that matter), the more confusing it is for us. 
  • Avoid super-general sentences, such as “She overcomes her fear to achieve self-confidence and happiness.”
  • Avoid scenes where characters converse and summarize a scene that just happened. We were there. We remember. Perhaps worse: Try not to skip a potentially awesome scene, only to tell all about it through dialogue as someone tells another character what happened at this awesome scene we missed. This is telling, not showing.
  • In queries, avoid telling the agent how the story should make readers feel, such as “this will make readers smile” or “my story will hopefully brighten your day.”

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