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The Dreaded R&R

What are your chances of getting signed if you get an R&R? An R&R is one of the terms in the publishing industry that frequently has writers drawing a blank…or devolving into sheer panic. Simply put, an R&R stands for Revise and Resubmit. It means that instead of rejecting or offering representation, an agent thinks you’re close but not quite there yet, so they send feedback, and invite you to resubmit if you choose to revise to their feedback. They can be exciting (hey, it’s not a no!) but they can also be a lot of hard work. My husband repeatedly pointed out the irony of the acronym when I was working 15-hour, eye-bleeding days on an editorial R&R of my own. No, folks, it does not stand for rest and relaxation. It also isn’t a guarantee of an offer,...
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Leave Room for the Holy Ghost: Tension in Writing

My PitchWars mentee said something really smart the other day, in passing. Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be teaching her things, but if you do it right, it always goes both ways. The thing she said was about always leaving little moments open in her writing like fanfiction prompts. Because “the key to inspiring fanfic writers is leave them wanting more.” This reminded me of that old saying about “Leave room for the Holy Ghost” at church dances, so the boys and girls don’t get too close to one another. Presumably because boy/girl friction calls up the devil, though in practice we all know that space for the Holy Ghost might as well be magnetized because all it does is make the people on both sides wish really hard that it weren’t there. Which brings me to fanfiction. Fanfiction...
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Let Them Eat Cake: it’s the new Show-Don’t-Tell

Everybody’s heard of show don’t tell, right? That’s so 90s. I say, stop abusing your readers. Let them eat cake! Before you click out of this blog, grumbling, “There goes Michelle, off topic as usual,” think of it this way: what are your readers here for? If you write fiction, as most of my followers do, your readers are here for a good time. A vicarious experience. So why would you short-change them by giving them the literary equivalent of Cliff’s Notes? That’s what you’re doing every time you SUMMARIZE (They sat down and chatted for a while, laughing easily as they got to know each other) or TELL (He was in love with her. More in love than he’d ever been.) When your editor says, “Show don’t tell,” they’re really saying: Give the reader the experience your character is...
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