"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reader's Reports - An Agent-in-Waiting

I’ve finished my novel BLACK RIVER. It’s complete at 105,000, a word count I’m comfortable with. The genre is mainstream contemporary with cautionary undertones. (I know, I made that category up.) Now comes the spit and shine, and to help me see the gaps and inconsistencies, I’ve sent it over to Ethan Vaughan, an agent-in-waiting who blogs here.

Ethan interned at a literary agency over the summer and aspires to one day be a literary agent. Right now he's a college student who writes readers reports in his spare time, which is pretty cool. He has posted a sample reader's report which will give you a feel for how agents critique unpublished manuscripts.

He’s looking for manuscripts to read and critique on his blog. If you’re ready for a little exposure and an independent critique, you might want to check out his site, Searching For The Story.

What have I learned this time around? I found that I can write a novel under 140,000 words. With this one I have wiggle room. If something needs to be added, there's space. If something needs to be cut, I would still end up with a novel in the 90,000 to 100,000 word count which to me is a good range.

While this one is out with a couple of readers, I will compose my query letter, hopefully with help from Mindy McGinnis at Writer Writer Pants on Fire, one of my favorite people from Agent Query, the top spot for query assistance, and anyone else I can impose upon. Then I have a couple of short stories with a deadline fast approaching and then.....I concentrate on Will. Oh, I love the dark and desperate, the hurt and conflicted, those characters who love and lust and make mistakes.

20 comments:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yay, you! That's such an accomplishment. I hope you treat yourself to something celebratory. :)

jbchicoine said...

Congratulations with your progress! I know how challenging it is to keep a novel under 150K words! :)

Ethan seems like an astute reader--I hope he will post some feedback for Black River on his blog.

All the best to both of you! :)

Pet said...

I always got impressed with these things. I gave up writing "long" things a while ago, I just couldn't make any sense of it, lack or rhythm, or pace or whatever one needs to make something consistent over many many pages.
And then you trying to keep it short :-)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats! Good idea to give yourself some word room. My first few novels were very long, but I gradually learned how to pare down the word count.

Liza said...

Congratulations! I look forward to hearing good news from you!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Tricia,
Thanks! A mild celebration is in order, methinks.

JB,
Thank you! Yes, as a young man,I'm wondering what Ethan's take on this novel might be. So far my readers have been women in their late twenties to early fifties. No agents-in-waiting just serious bookworms!

Pet,
As a novelist you definitely have to have the capability to maintain plot and forward momentum over the long haul. I usually always end up with too many words and have to scale back. This one is a major achievement for me. Thanks for commenting.

Diane,
Thanks. This one is a comfortable surprise. But I think I knew from the onset that I was going to try to keep the word count around 100,000, not like the first one that went over 150,000 and I thought that was just fine. :)

Liza,
You and me both! Thanks.

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome! It's so exciting to move on to the 'next step' - whatever it happens to be! Good luck with the query - Mindy is a fabulous person/choice for it!

Anthony Duce said...

Congratulations.... I'm taking notes.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Jemi,
Thank you so much.

Tony,
Thanks!

Searching for the Story said...

Thanks for the plug! I'm very much going to enjoy reading your manuscript and hopefully the manuscripts of many other talented writers.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Ethan,
Thank you. I look forward to hearing more from you. And good luck with your project.

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