Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When You Are A Beginning Writer, The Keyword is Focus

STATUS: Snowy day in Denver so I definitely felt like working.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? OUT OF TOUCH by Hall & Oates

It occasionally happens that when we request sample pages, read it, and then send a rejection letter, the writer will often approach us with another project. Nothing wrong with that!

But here's what surprises me. Sometimes it's a story in the same vein (as in the same genre or it's also a young adult or what have you) but a lot of times it's not. I'm constantly amazed at how often the next project pitched is wildly different. Not even in the same ball park as the submission we just read.

When you are beginning as a writer, by all means, explore a few genres. Find out what seems the most fun to write, the best fit for your writing skills, what you are passionate about. Then focus.

If you write a young adult contemporary and then the next book you pitch to us is for an adult, dark literary thriller, you are going to get an eyebrow raise.

Now don't get me wrong. The writer might be fully capable of writing both with impressive skill. But more likely not.

We also often get queries where the writer offers us a whole potpourri of choices of their work to review. Couple thoughts on that. One, it''s overwhelming; two, it comes across as unfocused; three, I'm going doubt the writer's ability to master all these formats.

Just another tidbit to keep in mind while querying and writing.

And to add one more thing here, a writer might believe her strength is in one genre, might get a lot of rejections, gives up on that genre, and then tries something else and that is what works. That's smart.

And that's not what I'm talking about here. *grin*