Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

BIG SUR WRITER'S RETREAT: Part 1: What I learned

Writers, I wish all of you could have joined me at the annual Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. Writer's Retreat. Wow! That's a mouthful, but totally worth getting out. 

I've been going to this event for the past 3 years, and this year was the absolute best for me. And it all comes down to listening, learning, and applying the critiques.

The first year I went to this retreat I thought, "They're going to love my work. I'm going to show them how awesome I am as a writer and, poof, I'll have an agent just like that."

Didn't happen. 

And it didn't happen because I wasn't ready to listen. When I got a critique I didn't like, which was many, I simply said, "They don't know what I'm writing - or - They don't know where this is going - or - This is first person, I have to use I + verb all the time - or - If they read to the end, they'll understand."

The second year I went I was a more experienced writer and listener. I had been in a critique group for an entire year, trying to figure out why my writing hadn't been strong enough. I thought for sure this will be the year I'll snag myself an agent. 

Still didn't happen. 

This time it wasn't because I didn't listen. I was open to all the critique. It was because I was still learning. I was told by one of the agents that I was indeed a good writer, but the emotions of the characters weren't strong enough for her. I was dumbfounded. I had worked a whole year revising and believed I had done my best work. But obviously I hadn't.

This year, my 3rd year, I felt confident. I had a new project I was bringing. I had worked hard. I had listened and learned and took everything that I heard and understood and I had revised my heart out. I tapped into my emotions and laid them out on the page. 

It hasn't happened yet…

BUT - I am excited to say that the author of PAY IT FORWARD, Catherine Ryan Hyde, believes my first chapter is ready to query agents. It doesn't get any better than that - well, except to actually snag an agent. And one of the editors of HarperTeen said, "I can see this as a movie." And she wanted to read more. 

So my hard work is showing promise. And it's all because I listened, learned, and applied the critiques and sound advice to revising my manuscript.

  • Don't give up!
  • Be open to critique
  • Listen and take notes
  • Learn what is throwing readers out of your manuscript
  • Apply the critique that resonates with you - but be picky - keep your story true
  • Practice your craft - write everyday
  • Focus on your writing
  • And know you can do it

Good Luck and


No comments:

Post a Comment