2008 Article Excerpt:
Literary agent Dan Lazar talks about how
writers can successfully pitch their
story to an agent.
“…It’s also important here to nail down some kind of central conflict. Again, try to avoid generic descriptions. A main character ‘finding himself’ is too generic. Generic = boring. Every character goes through internal changes in a novel; that goes without saying. Saying ‘my novel is exciting’ or ‘is full of passion and suspense’ is also too generic. You’re telling me, not showing.
The central conflict is usually some kind of external conflict, goal or mission that your main character(s) have to work through. There’s usually an interpersonal relationship at stake as well (that you should mention), which in itself will imply a character changes. In short, show why your future reader will care about your character.”
– “A Perfect Pitch: Selling Your Story with a Carefully Composed Query” (page 31)
While Guide to Literary Agents is best known for its large and detailed list of literary agencies, every edition has plenty of informational articles and interviews designed to help writers perfect their craft and contact agents wisely. The 2008 edition is no different, with more than 80 pages of articles addressing numerous writing and publishing topics.