On Thursday this week I am attending the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference for the second year in a row.
I. Am. Excited.
Last year, I learned so many things that I didn’t know about this business and I know that I’ll learn some new things this year as well. I also made great connections with a few writers and I’m looking forward to making additional friends. However, the thing I learned the most was that I could talk to agents and editors without embarrassing myself. I even pitched off the cuff at dinner to agent Donald Maass. (Don’t worry I didn’t just throw my pitch out there while his mouth was full with green beans. He asked the entire table to give him their pitch.) And the next day, I officially pitched to another agent.
Both of them asked for fifty pages.
And in the privacy of my hotel room, I busted out a dance that my seven-year old would’ve been proud of, because my booty was shaking. Even though the agents declined to read more, I’m still happy about the whole experience because the feedback those two agents provided me was priceless.
Here are actual excerpts from their responses:
“You have a great imagination – I love the premise – and you’re a good writer, but I’m sad to say that I just wasn’t passionate enough about this to ask to see more. I wish I could offer constructive suggestions, but I thought the dialogue was fine, the characters well-crafted, and the plot well-conceived.”
“(Title) has the stylistic feel of a high-octane thriller, with all the acronyms and ordinance one could want. Archer’s an okay protagonist…and for me that’s the issue: He’s just okay. The plot moves along but so far isn’t terribly surprising or intriguing. The villain we meet in your opening feels to me somewhat standard issue. Overall, I’d say you’re got a great commercial thriller style in search of a hero who displays more strength and flair, as well as a story with a meaner bite.”
Hard to hear? You bet. But you know what? I took it in stride and implemented their advice on the manuscript I’m pitching this year and I think my characters/plot are better for it.
If you’ve attended a writer’s workshop or conference, what’s your priceless moment?