October 13th, 2016

  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 11.41: The Editor's Wishlist, with Navah Wolfe

Writing Excuses 11.41: The Editor's Wishlist, with Navah Wolfe

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/10/09/11-41-the-editors-wish-list-with-navah-wolfe/

Key points: On Navah's wishlist, we find character first. A good character, with a distinct, unique voice. Are the characters interesting? The characters must feel real. A trick: if your main character was a side character in someone else's story, would they still be interesting? What's the best pitch? This-meets-that, IF that captures the heart, the emotion, and not just the set dressing. Lady bromance, or friendships. Ensemble stories. Dislikable characters that you fall in love with. Aka lady bro heist with Jaime Lanister. Unreliable narrators with a good payoff. Closed room spaceship mysteries. Heists. Epic fantasy with a lady protagonist. Remember, editors and agents are people -- talk with them first. Then mention your lady bro heist from a closed room spaceship with an unreliable narrator.

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[Brandon] All right. To bring us out, Mary's going to give us some homework.
[Mary] All right. So, Navah talked about the this-meets-that and looking for the emotional heart of those things. So I want you to write two different pitches for your work in progress. Whether that's short story or novel. One of which is basic this-meets-that. So think about the emotional heart of your piece and pick a film or book or some other touchstone that has that same emotional heart. Not the set dressing, but the heart. Then I want you to do a second pitch, but this time I want you to think about the set dressing. So, Orphan Black, people who have the same face, that is set dressing. The emotional heart is about sisters. So think about those two things. Look at those two pitches. Then see which one fits your story best, and whether or not, in fact, what you need is a third pitch which is a combination of those two.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.