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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Barbarba Rogan Said:

Well said and no kidding--it''s a major Catch 22. Although it's not quite true that literary agents only want clients with an offer in hand. They find their clients through referrals from other clients and from publishers, and through their own slush piles. But they certainly are looking for work that's flawless and ready to sell, and it's hard for writers to achieve that level without professional feedback, so there's your real Catch 22. And (with apologies for tooting my own horn, but now you've got me going) that's precisely the reason I offer the services and classes I do at www.nextlevelworkshop.com. The evaluation service is to let readers know what agents and editors are probably thinking as they read your work, the reasons they'd give for rejecting if they had time to finish reading (which they don't) and to explain (which they also don't.) And the "Revising fiction" class is meant to address the problem that I hear over and over from agent friends: that work they're seeing is just a revision or two short of acceptable. Most aspring writers, in my experience, don't really know how to go about revising their novels; they'll re-read it endlessly, change a word here or a line there, and that's it: no attention to the big-picture items like plot, pacing, characterization. It's become a bit of a mission for me. No one can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but there are plenty of mss. out there that could benefit greatly from a savvy eye and the writer's willingness to keep working long after he writes "The End."
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