Friday, June 13, 2008

Raise Your Glass Friday

Having seen other blogs that have certain topics or subjects that they feature weekly (such as my favorite Top Chef blog's Monday pictures that pay tribute and poke fun at host Padma Lakshmi) I have decided to try one of my own. Thus "Raise Your Glass Friday" - inspired by the fact that my husband usually comes home on Friday evenings after work with either a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer to kick off the weekend - begins here where I simply recognize something or someone that has helped me on my writer's journey to publication thus far.

Today I am raising my glass and toasting - Agents Who Blog.

Now obviously I am not the first person to recognize the awesome resource this has become for not just beginning writers, but to anyone with a writing career. In Writer's Digest most recent list of 101 Best Websites they have a whole category devoted to agent's blogs and The Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog has a rather comprehensive list the left side of their page.

Instead of repeating what you could find elsewhere I am simply going to highlight the blogs that I visit daily and/or specific posts that I have found especially enlightening.

Bookends Blog

I already mentioned this blog and one of the contests that is has run in my first blog posting, but I have to mention it again since it is quite honestly the first blog that I visit each morning, and the reason for this is that Mon-Fri there is always some sort of fresh content posted there. If you haven't already I highly recommend bookmarking it and adding it to your daily reading, however don't stop there - because there is a ton of awesome information also buried in the archives. Most helpful to me were the multiple postings concerning query and pitch critiques. I read all ten rounds of the query pitches and all twenty-five rounds of the pitch critiques like the slightly obsessive compulsive person that I am (although when I tell my husband I think I have a touch of the OCD he tells me that I am not clean enough - and just to be clear that is a dig at my housecleaning skills - not my personal hygiene). As I read through I would click back to the word document that had the beginnings of my second attempt at a query letter and re-work it and then re-work it again, bouncing my ideas off of what Jessica thought both did and did not work in the various entries. And in the end I think I had a more successful query letter because of it.

Miss Snark

I don't think this blog needs an introduction. It was the very first literary agent blog I came across because you can't google "literary agent" without getting a tons of hits that somehow come back to Miss Snark. Although the blog is retired the archives live on and days - no weeks can be lost combing through them all. However, what I found the most helpful was the her synopsis critiques. No sooner had I finally cleared the horrible query hurtle when the even more impossible task of writing a synopsis loomed before me. My inability to write a synopsis dates all the way back to grade school when I had to it as part of book reports - I simply have no ability to distinguish important and unimportant details. Disgusted with my synopsis that read much like how a five year-old child might recount an especially exciting day (and then we went to the park, and then it was really hot so we had ice-cream, and then it dripped on my shoes, and then... you get the idea) I began to search the internet for some examples, and come across Miss Snark's Synopsis-Crapometer. I laughed, I cried, and I read until my eyes bled. And when it was all over... okay, well to be honest I am still not going to win any prizes for synopsis writing, but if for some reason my life depended on writing one (Mark Burnett is actually already developing the reality show) - I would live to see another day. Thank you Miss Snark.

Nathan Bransford and Kristin Nelson

Like the Bookends blog new content here is fairly consistent and always informative. What is especially nice about these two blogs are that Mr. Bransford and Miss Nelson have been kind enough to have lovely little links in the sidebar to some of their most essential and helpful posts. The Nathan Bransford blog also has the occasional contest - past ones include best title, best first line, best paragraph, best first page, and most recently best dialogue. (Whooo that was a lot of linking.)

Honorable Mentions

The rest of the blogs that I frequent I don't have any specific stories to tell about them, but they are informative and maybe they will have something that is specifically helpful to you - so check them out!

Janet Reid
Query Shark (also a Janet Reid Production)
Lyons Literary
The Swivet
Et in Arcaedia, ego

Okay, toasting is over - let's drink!

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