There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

On Querying and Originality in Fantasy January 25, 2014

Filed under: Publishing — thereanddraftagain @ 7:08 pm
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Hi everyone!

If you’re a writer in the query trenches now or if you’re planning on looking for an agent and getting traditionally published in the future, you know that getting rejections is part of the process.

For the purpose of this post, we are going to assume the Querying Writer has done her research, finished and polished her manuscript, written a professional query letter and put together a list of relevant agents to contact, along with their submission guidelines.

There are many, many reasons for an agent to send the Querying Writer a rejection, and for nearly every single one of them there’s a solution. Sometimes, the agent will tell you what’s wrong with your submission: it’s called a personalized rejection. Other times, the agent won’t tell you why she’s rejecting your manuscript: it’s the infamous Form Rejection.

Thankfully, a few agents use Twitter to reveal the most common reasons why they reject a submission. They use the #10queriesin10tweets or #tenqueries hashtags. And one reason that keeps popping up when it comes to Fantasy manuscripts is this one:

Sara Megibow Tweet

The premise isn’t unique/original/inventive enough.

In a sea of submissions, agents and editors are looking for a Unique Concept. Or a Familiar Story With An Unexpected Twist. They want the Unfamiliar. They want to be Surprised. As we do, as readers.

So how do you avoid being rejected for lack of originality? Here are a few pointers:

  • Research the industry: find out what’s on the shelves right now or what will hit the shelves in the next 18 months. This will give an idea of what agents/editors have already seen and aren’t looking for.
  • Avoid tropes in your writing: I recommend this website to find out which writing devices have been overdone.
  • Read: writing a Fantasy book requires reading Fantasy book, to avoid the annoying predicament which consists in writing a book that already exists.

Are you worried about how original your manuscript is or isn’t? Have you had rejections stating your premise felt too familiar? What have you done to ensure your book was as original as possible? Make sure to leave us a comment below!

EM Castellan

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How to write a pitch for your Fantasy novel February 16, 2013

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 9:32 am
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Welcome !

Whether you’re looking for an agent or self-publishing your Fantasy book, there comes a time in your life as a writer when you have to write a pitch for your novel. Here is a bit of advice on what to do and what to avoid when drafting your pitch…

1-      Bear in mind the purpose of your pitch is to sell the idea of your story to an agent or a reader. “Hooking” them with a 10-line paragraph summarising your 100k+ novel isn’t an easy task, but it is doable, and necessary if you want  your book to make it to readers’ shelves.

2-      A pitch for a Fantasy novel should be about 200 words long.

3-      A pitch should include:

–          Who your Main Character is and what he wants (his GOAL)

–          What the inciting incident is and why your Main Character chooses to do something about it (his CHOICE)

–          What is at stake should your Main Character fail in his endeavour (WHY THE READER SHOULD CARE)

4-      A pitch should NOT be too generic and vague. Chuck Sambuchino gives a great example of what a pitch should not be like on the Writer’s Digest website. Do go and read it.

5-      A pitch should not include everything about your story. It should not attempt to describe in detail the wonderfully complex world you’ve created. Thus it should only include your Main Character, the Antagonist and whoever is relevant to the Main Character’s goal, choice and problem. And it should not mention too many proper names and places.

6-      Last but not least, you should have beta readers for your pitch. Try to find at least one who hasn’t read your novel and has no idea what it’s about. And try to have at least one who has read your novel and can tell you if your pitch does it justice.

I hope this helps and feel free to leave us questions and comments below!

EM