Posts Tagged ‘agent’

Three agents and two editors at Killer Nashville had these pet peeves. First page especially.

Was/passives: Hard to get rid of. “Was” is like ants on a picnic.

Just: Groan. I use it too.

Proper names: Especially in dialogue.

Dialogue tags: Excess, especially if they’re not “said.”

Info dump dialogue: You can’t sneak in excess back story this way. “As, you know James…”

He shrugged, smiled, scowled, frowned, grinned, etc.: Not used in place of dialogue tags, unless they have a specific purpose. Ouch.

Lists: Yawn causing.

Vague/shifting POV: You gotta tell them who the main character is as soon as possible, and hold onto that POV.

Unnecessary dialogue: Hello, everyday stuff, etc.

Repetition:  Words, actions, etc.

Telling: Know when you can tell instead of show, but it’s hard on the first page.

Backstory: We all want to include more than we need.

Setting/description: Less is more unless you’re doing literary fiction.

Grammar: Forget it especially in dialogue.

Clichés:  This is the crown jewel of pet peeves.

Conflict:  Even for adult writing, an agent wanted it in the first 200 words.

Typos/misspellings, stupid mistakes:  Some said they would overlook an obvious typo on the SECOND page.

He paused: This was a surprise. They wanted to know exactly what the character was doing instead of saying paused.

Semicolons:  Two hated them, two didn’t have an opinion, and the fifth said they could be effective under rare circumstances. I assume this was non-dialogue. Nobody likes them in dialogue.

Exclamation points: They did not mention them, but use them at your own risk.

Ellipsis: They didn’t like them on the first page or at the end of a sentence.

Eights Mask2


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Freeing Your Creativity: September 13th and 14th, 2014 (Intensives Friday, September 12th)

Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Franklin, TN. I was there, a long with almost 300 writers, editors, and agents. Had a great time, a rewarding time.


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I want to wish my agents, editors, family, fellow writers, friends, and neighbors (some of you fall into more than one category!) a Happy New Years and a Joyous 2014. May God smile upon you and grant you sweet peace.


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I would like to wish Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow writers, agents, editors, readers, friends, neighbors, and family. You are all precious to me.  If I left anyone out, please forgive me.

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From Friday August 26 to Sunday August 28 I attended the Killer Nashville conference for mystery, thriller, and suspense writers. I had a good time and I got to meet editors, agents, and tons of writers. And I learned a lot.

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