Skip to main content

Pitching an Agent (2008 GLA Article Excerpt)

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)

WhileGuide to Literary Agentsis 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.

Tammye Huf: On Real Love That Sparked Inspiration

Tammye Huf: On Real Love That Sparked Inspiration

Debut novelist Tammye Huf discusses how her own familial love story inspired her historical fiction novel, A More Perfect Union.

Announcing the Second Annual Personal Essay Awards Winners

Announcing the Second Annual Personal Essay Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the second annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards!

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Going Rogue

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Going Rogue

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character go rogue.

How to Love Writing a Book

How to Love Writing a Book

When you’re in the weeds of the writing process, it’s easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place. Here, author Radhika Sanghani shares her tips on how to love the process of writing your book.

How Daily Meditation Can Lead to New Stories

How Daily Meditation Can Lead to New Stories

In seeking meaning did author Randal Maurice Jelks also find purpose and understanding. Here, he shares how daily meditation can lead to new stories.

5 Tips for Writing a Domestic Thriller

5 Tips for Writing a Domestic Thriller

Author Leah Konen offers 5 tips to help keep the goosebumps coming in your domestic thriller—from focusing on a small cast of characters to allowing yourself to be surprised in the process, and more!

Jonathan Evison: On Silencing Self-Doubt

Jonathan Evison: On Silencing Self-Doubt

New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Evison discusses the process of writing his new Dickensian epic novel, Small World.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 595

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a game poem.

Agent Advice

Agent Advice With Matt Belford of Tobias Literary Agency

Agent Advice (this installment featuring Matt Belford of Tobias Literary Agency) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else.