Saturday, April 18, 2009

Agent for a Day Recap #2

In continuation of my previous post, I finished reading all 50 queries for Nathan Bransford's "Agent for a Day" contest. Maybe I was jaded, or just in a bad mood from some recent girl drama, but the letters didn't hold my attention the way they did the first day. Picking 5 didn't seem as challenging as it once did which leads me to ponder these questions:

How do agents separate their personal life from their professional one?
Is it even possible to do so?

For me, writing (my profession) is influenced a great deal by my mood. One moment I'm happily creating a love scene and the next, angrily tossing obstacles at my protagonist. The latter can be useful as therapy when confronted with the selfish motives of "friends." I'm not bitter at all, I promise. ;)

Thus, the importance of an outline shines bright in the night of personal chaos. Its light guides me down the winding path of life versus art.

But what about agents? There's no outline or playbook for choosing with whom they'll work. So much of their job is based upon opinion. For example, will a project sell? Is it worth spending the time to tighten up the story?

Opinions vary; not just with different people, but also with emotions. My point is, I hope any agent reading my query letter is in their "happy place."

Marybeth of "Desperately Searching for my Inner Mary Poppins" asked which letters I requested after my last post. I'm a little wary of airing my choices, mostly because there's a large chance I'm way off base, but since she asked so nicely, I picked: 9, 17, 27, 33, and 35. They all fit into my 10 rules and tempted me with a good plot/idea.

I'd love to hear other opinions of which letters were best. Please comment at will.


  1. I picked 27, 36, 42, 46, 48 I think I was way off base...but they were the ones that sounded like they'd actually sell...IDK

    Very interesting the mood theory...I'm completely with you on it though. Gets worse when you are editing...bad mood equals no editing for me usually :)

    Great post! (thanks for the shout out!)

  2. I, too, love outlines to keep me on base. Successful agents have outlines, at least mine does, but his guidelines are also driven by outside forces - namely publishers and buying reps.

    I hope many other folks read your blog and come to the same conclusion about receiving rejection letters. We'll receive a lot of them and that's okay. Par for the course.

    And, yes, let the agents read our works while in their happy place.