Saturday, April 24, 2010

Storymaking

Yesterday I attended day one of the LDS Storymakers conference. Always a favorite, it was a fun and informative time.

I met up with fellow Inkers Donna, Deb, and Kirk (who, wearing his S.E. hat, was there to hear pitches), and also saw Inker friends Graham, Jenn, Ben, and L.T.

The big highlight for me was my pitch session with Nephele Tempest of the Knight Agency - a very nice woman from my hometown of L.A. who graciously offered to look at my first three chapters and a synopsis.

Inkers Donna and Deb pitched to Krista Marino, a senior editor at Delacorte Press/Random House. She had good things to say about both of their stories and advised them to get an agent and submit to her. Our plucky gals found the first opportunity to make an impromptu pitch to senior agent Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and were invited to submit their first three chapters to her. Deb will have more about this and photos on Monday!

Other highlights included the breakout sessions with Laura Rennert and Krista Marino. Ms. Marino spoke about the importance of the first five pages and what she is looking for as an editor.

Following are some tips from Laura Rennert about querying an agent:

--include the Who, What, When, Where, and Why Should I Care (the Why Should I Care is what makes your story different from the rest in your genre)

--always follow the agency submission guidelines EXACTLY if you really want them to read it

--keep it short, but not too short

--include information about who you are and any work experience or other credentials that lend credibility to your story (the story behind the story)

--include anything special about you related to the story that will help with marketing (My example: your story is about the first woman to climb Mt. Everest and you have climbed Mt. Everest)

--Don't overhype yourself

--Don't send work in a category the agent doesn't represent

Following is Laura Rennert's exercise for putting together a good pitch:

1. Write down the title, category, setting, protagonist, and central problem.

2. Write down one vivid detail that makes any one of the above elements different.

3. Prove your novel has: a) credibility, b) inherent conflict, c) originality, or d) real emotional power

4. Write down 3 big emotionally laden words that relate to your story (example: love, pain)

5. Write a one paragraph pitch using steps 1-3 and in the last sentence, use a word from step 4.

Good luck to everyone out their pitching things around!

10 comments:

  1. Very informative, Linda. Thanks updating us on Storymakers. I was wondering how it went. Sounds like it was a success! :)

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  2. Thanks Linda. I copied it and saved it in my lessons on writing folder :)

    I am so glad it went well. I met Nephele briefly today and she seemed so sweet. I can't wait to see how it all goes. (The story of "Why, DJ, were you at Storymakers" belongs to Donna. You will have to ask her for the details. :)

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  3. Yeah, DJ, why WERE you at Storymakers?....

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  4. I was there because Donna dragged me back!! Totally against my will (not).

    But like I said, the story of "Why..." belongs to Donna. :)

    (Donna, will you get on here and tell it so everyone can understand???)

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  5. Alright Donna, spill.

    DJ & Arlene, you were missed! Maybe next year...

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  6. The conference was super! I loved it.

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  7. Ahhh...Storymakers. Even just saying it again gives me a rush :)

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  8. Okay, here is the story:
    Krista Marino mentioned at dinner that she loves thrift shops and yard sales and finding really eclectic things to take back to NY. When DJ and I walked to her van after the Ut County Rep. Convention on Saturday afternoon there was a garage sale directly across the street from the van and they had all of these funky constumes. We both spotted the black and white pirate jacket with insane amounts of ruffles from a block away and decided we had to stop by and look at it and other treasures. After rejecting the pleather bustier, I bought the pirate jacket for Krista and made DJ take me to Provo again to give it to her.
    As you can imagine we giggled and rationalized and wondered if the super cool funky jacket would go over well with the NY editor. While we waited for Krista to have a free moment, we talked to Chris Schobringer from Shadow Mountain, Dashner, Kirk, Josi Kilpack and Nephele Tempest (agent with Knight Agency). It was loads of fun.
    Finally Krista was available and we introduced her to DJ and presented the Jacket which she LOVED on sight and totally said she is wearing for Halloween. After much laughing and hugging, DJ went home and I went to the last two classes of Storymakers. The End.

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  9. That's so awesome! Sounds like you guys made an impression on her. :)

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  10. I loved Laura's class! And isn't she one of the most personable agents you've ever come across? Really!

    Congrats to all the inkers on their conference successes! You guys rock!

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