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REMEMBERING THOSE IDEAS

May 30, 2018

I generally don’t write things down. If I do, they tend to be on yellow stickies that eventually age and fall off the top cabinet bottom rim where I stick then on my computer desk. Then, they end up in a pile of other stuff and can get temporarily lost in the shuffle until I find them again, then go, “Hey, wasn’t I supposed to use that in Chapter…”

Are you, on the other hand, an obsessive note taker, an outliner? Something in-between?

I’m sure I’ve discussed this before in one form or ‘tuther, but true to my usual inspiration for articles, this one snuck up on me just now. I was shuffling through a couple of papers on the top of my computer tower and ran across a yellow sticky with several lines on it from my work in progress (WIP). Did I have a “Hey, wasn’t I supposed to…” moment?

No, as a matter of fact, my memory’s still good enough that I’d already thought of what I wanted to remind myself of, plus being a seat-of-the-pants writer, I’m so linear in my thinking, that besides knowing A and B, and knowing the middle is a complete surprise and adventure, it still forms and develops with inspirations and ideas that linger in the back of my mind. That occurs even if I write them down. In this case, the note that fell down, has two things that already occurred, one thing that’s going to occur within the next two chapters, and one that’ll occur later in the book and I’ve been developing in the back of my mind for months.

You know what? I forgot all about the note! It’s so old, it lost it’s sticky value and fell off the rim of the cabinet, gathered dust, got picked up and stuck at the bottom of the pile of stuff on the computer tower, unread until now!

I wrote that note over a year ago. Go figure.

A NOTE ABOUT CLIVE CUSSLER

One of my writing influences and heroes back in the day, was and still is, to some extent, Clive Cussler. I distinctly remember reading something about his writing habits decades ago when I first started this, though I never specifically followed it.

Clive kept, or maybe still keeps a file full of notes. When he gets ideas for a story, he writes down the ideas and files them away. As he’s writing, he can randomly pull these ideas from the file and use them, at will. For some people, this is a great idea, having a file with random ideas, maybe categorized by subject matter at your disposal.

While I pondered that idea, I never followed through. It’s like all those books on writing I bought and never read. I had to follow my own path.

DIFFERENT MEMORIES REQUIRE DIFFERENT METHODS

You may just be bursting with ideas, but cannot remember them from one minute to the next. Or, you get so many, you lose sight of them or mix them up and they lose impact.

What to do?

Write them down.

Maybe, the Cussler method is for you, or some variation.

Maybe your WIP requires notes, especially if you’re bursting with ideas and your brain is working faster than your fingers and writing ability can keep up.

The question is, how are you going to take these notes, then organize them so you can make sense of them later? What if you slap them all down in a huge file, only to not see the forest through the trees?

You finish your story, then look through your notes and find a bunch of great ideas you missed?

On the other hand, if you spend too much time taking notes from all these inspirations you want to incorporate in your story, are you now spending way too much time on the notes rather than on the actual manuscript?

BALANCE

Folks, I’m writing an entire novel with maybe two or three yellow stickies.

If you’re going to write a novel of ideas just to write your novel, something isn’t adding up.

You need to keep your notes manageable and organized and not let the ideas overwhelm your actual writing.

Whatever route you choose to take, make it work for you, not the other way around.

Happy writing!

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WHEN YOU DON’T SELL A THING

May 22, 2018

For those of you that’ve published books, by whatever means, there comes a time when you have to get out in the world and sell them…or at least attempt to.

If you’re like me, you still have to work for a living. Even if not, you likely as not try to stay local. That means signing up for as many (or as few, depending on how active you want to be) book signing events as you can.

These can be invitation only or sign-up-until-there-are-no-slots-left events.

I can tell you they’re almost always a mixed bag. You never know what kind of crowd, if any, you’re going to get.

PRE-PUBLICITY

At an event I attended recently, while sitting around waiting for people to show up, we discussed pre-publicity. We were not sure how the organizer publicized the even for us, but as authors, we did our parts as much as we could. However, what does this mean?

As for myself and many of my co-authors, we relied on social media to put out the word. The flaw with this idea is that we pretty much preached to the choir, to borrow a well-worn cliché. What does this mean? It means that we basically advertised to friends, family, and people that have already bought our book! At best, we might see a few of them at the event for moral support, or they might actually buy a book from another author. There is that possibility.

On the other hand, I mentioned in an earlier article how I spent significant bucks on pre-publicity on Facebook for my book signing at the local Barnes & Noble. Though it was a successful event, not a single person who showed or bought my book heard about it through Facebook! I know, because I asked.

That begs the question: Why spend money on a social media blast for an event where there’s a good likelihood nobody at all will show up? I think the gamble would be better at the local slot machines (I live in Las Vegas, after all).

THE CROWD

Sometimes you can just tell when you’re setting up by the location that things are probably not going to go well. You always hope for the best, but since I’m a glass is half full type person, I get the mindset that I’m there for networking. Then, if I sell one book, it’s a better than total success.

When and if people start showing up, your job is to get them to your table. This is where reading them comes in handy as well. Standing around your table yelling at them to come over doesn’t always cut it. Some people you can just tell have no interest in your stuff. You can wave at them, say hi and invite them over, but if they give you that “look,” don’t press it. If they surprise you later and wander by, fine. If not, move on to the next person, if anyone comes along at all.

Sometimes, the crowd is so sparse, you end up with other authors wandering by to say hi. This is the networking aspect of the event. Take advantage of that so the event isn’t a total loss.

In the event that anyone happens to stop and look at your stuff, be prepared! Show interest, have your speech ready, and make sure to give them your card(s) and try not to look too disappointed when they nod and move on.

As I’ve said before, just sitting there twiddling your thumbs, reading, with your face in your cell phone or whatever, isn’t going to attract people. On the other hand, even if you have a big crowd of people traipsing by, you can say “hi, what do you like to read” until you turn blue in the face, but if they just walk on by, avoiding eye contact, or make a bee-line to a certain author, don’t press it.

Oh, and don’t forget the candy bowl, or something to entice them to stop by. At this particular event, I didn’t even get any takers on that. Geez!

THE PERSON PARTNERED WITH YOU IS MAKING A KILLING

We’re a diverse bunch, we writers, and nobody writes the same book. That means, if you’re sharing a table, or sunshade, or booth with another writer, don’t be surprised if your partner sells like hotcakes and you don’t. It goes with the territory.

Just remember that it could very easily be the other way around, and one day it will be.

This just happened to be his day and not mine. I was very happy for my friend. He well-deserved it.

WHAT TO GET OUT OF A NO-SALE EVENT?

Folks, when you’re a no-name author, which unless you’re with the big six, or on the New York Times best-seller list, face it, that’s you, pretty much, you’re going to attend book events where you’re hot and cold.

I’m sure in comparative ways, this even happens to the big names at times and it certainly did when they were starting out.

When any author sells nothing at all, what to do?

No, and I mean NO event is for nothing.

Why?

You were there.

Your name was on the marquee or publicity flyer.

People saw you there.

Other authors saw you there.

You talked to other authors and networked.

You may have connected with and caught up with old friends.

You must’ve learned at least ONE tidbit of info that may or may not be useful to you in the future.

I just had a zero sale book signing. All of the above was true. I also learned a very valuable tidbit. Still not sure how to exploit it yet, but I’ll look into it and pass it on to you in a later article when I see if it pans out, or not.

Until then, happy writing!

COLD DEAD HANDS

May 16, 2018

(ORIGINALLY “LAST MINUTE TWEAKS”)

 

This article was originally called Last Minute Tweaks and I wrote it in 2015, but I re-purposed it for today because at the recent 2018 Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, this subject came up time and time again. I couldn’t suppress the inspiration and the old monkey that hangs on every writer’s back. It is, of course tweaked.

We’ve all heard that tired old quote from the NRA’s dear old friend Charlton Heston about “cold dead hands” and some could say the same thing about a manuscript. When it comes to your “precious” (okay, another quote, and don’t make me say which movie), it seems like you can never stop until it’s literally (oh, what a cliché), pried out of your very much alive hands.

During a recent writer’s conference, the subject of editing already published work and last minute tweaks to manuscripts about to be published was a popular topic.

WILL THE EDITING EVER END?

I don’t think I’m revealing any huge trade secrets when I tell you that though my manuscript from Treasure Of The Umbrunna has gone through; #1 not only my own personal multiple edits, tweaks and read-throughs, including with the Henderson Writer’s Group: #2 it’s gone through three (or is it four?) complete edits by my publisher. Even after so many eyes, there are still typos and a few errors, as I’ve had pointed out to me by readers. I’ve been careful not to go looking for them for fear of finding even more, after two years since publication, I’ll find even more stuff I want to change. If there’s ever a reprint, which is costly, by the way, the typos noted by people will surely be addressed, but I’ll likely not do another read-through and tweak. Cold dead hands.

What I can say is through all of that, there hasn’t been a single major change in either story line or plot. I was able to keep true to my polka-dot sewer (my muse) and use my usual – no – my only method of writing. I knew where I wanted to start and where I wanted to end. The rest (the middle) was a total surprise.

BY THIS POINT I’M NO NEWBIE

I must say that by this point in the game, when I wrote Treasure, I was no babe in the woods, cliché intended. I already had ten novels under my belt (at that time), even if they were all unpublished. The only one which might have plotting issues would be the first one, The Cave and even that one might be more of a problem with writing functionality rather than plotting.

It all boils down to fixing the numerous writing mistakes, tweaking minor things. Lots of them.

SO MUCH EDITING CAN CREATE MORE MISTAKES

With so much editing, even if the edits are relatively minor, which in my case, they were, making those edits can also create more errors. When all is said and done, a final run-through is essential!

My first edit was for structure and continuity, not so much for grammar. I made several tweaks and in the process, created some grammatical errors (mostly too many noun-verb combinations starting sentences). The second edit was for grammar and I made lots of corrections but in the process also created some other errors. The third edit was to fix the noun-verb combinations I created fixing the other issues. Along the way, the editor found more grammatical tweaks like show not tell and phrasing she thought would work better.

You have to remember that even though I can do the same thing to others, being an editor myself, and can also do it to my own writing in a limited amount (I’m too close to it), I need that outside eye to see it (forest through the trees).

With so much red ink, through multiple edits, when the final draft came down, prior to printing, there were bound to be slip-ups and things we all missed.

True to what I figured, I found pages of errors on my error sheets (there are 25 lines per page). In total, the count came to almost 300 line items. However, as the final result showed through the readers, there were still typos!

LUSITANIA GOLD

We seem to have done a bit better with Lusitania Gold. At least we haven’t heard any more feedback about typos yet from readers. I found a big one myself, but it has since been fixed and I won’t say where that one was!

Cold dead hands.

BACK TO THE CONFERENCE

Not only did the time to let go come up at the conference, but as part of the goodie bags each participant received, we each got copies of one or another version of Writer’s Bloc. Writer’s Bloc is the annual (or bi-annual) short story anthology put out by the Henderson Writer’s Group. I have short stories in many of them. I happened to get the original Writer’s Bloc, of which I have the short story, The Walk Home. It was the second in the West Virginia Trilogy.

I had some idle time between classes…no…I was early for one of the meals, and I pulled out my copy and read the story. This book came out in what…2009 or something? I don’t remember. Anyway, while I was still mostly pleased with how The Walk Home turned out, I also cringed at some of the writing. I so much wanted to re-tweak it. However, after so many copies already in print, what’s one to do?

Cold dead hands…

It’s dun didded. Let it be. You did the best you could for the time. Be happy and move on!

That was my mantra for the rest of the conference. Keep going and don’t worry about it. As long as you strive to improve, your integrity is still intact. It’s when you get lazy and don’t care that you’re compromised. Don’t let that ever happen!

Happy writing!

GRAMMAR LESSON TWO

May 9, 2018

We’re back with another set of similar sounding words with entirely different meanings.

Our illustrious Henderson Writer’s Group el-presidente, Linda Webber, has been presenting grammar lessons each week on the back of our meeting agendas. The gist of them are the improper use of words.

As a reminder, I’ll add the standard intro below before I get into the word list.

BACK IN THE DAY

I once wrote a screenplay with my bud, Doug Lubahn, a famous musician. During our correspondence, I once told him I was waiting with “baited” breath instead of “bated” breath. He’s never let me live that one down.

The proper use of words is something a lot of (especially) new writers don’t always get. So, for your reading pleasure, below is a list of words and how to use them properly.

The list is not near complete, so that’s why this is called Grammar Lesson Two.

Once again, my many thanks to Linda Webber, who has gone through the trouble to compile these words all in one place for me to steal and present to you here at Fred Central.

These are common words that are often used out of context. They can be a quandary for a writer, and a quick trip to a dictionary, or on line. We’ll start with a common one.

HOW TO USE PASSED OR PAST

Passed is a form of the verb to pass. It’s merely the past tense of pass with the “ed” added on.

I’ll pass it on to you.

I passed it on to you.

The law was passed in 2017.

Now past is a bit different.

It can be an adjective, an adverb, a noun or a preposition.

As a noun, it refers to a specific span of time.

It hasn’t worked in the past.

He never talks about his past.

As an adjective, it something that’s gone in time.

Let’s forget our past differences.

Their best days are past.

As a preposition, it goes from one side of something to the other.

Corey rushed past her.

Don drove past the house.

As an adverb, it’s sort of the same as a preposition.

…going past

…ran past

…walked past

Just know this. Past is NEVER a verb. That’s a big red flag.

A FEW SIMPLE WORDS

Broach: To raise a subject or discussion

Jerry decided to broach the subject to the group before the meeting.

Brooch: A piece of jewelry

Nassar grabbed the gold brooch off the night stand and headed out the door.

Canvas: A type of strong cloth

Marie stretched the canvas tight before applying the base coat.

Canvass: To seek people’s votes

The party canvassed the neighborhood for the mayor.

Cereal: A grass producing an edible grain or a breakfast food made from grain

I eat cereal every morning for breakfast.

Serial: Happening in a series

Son of Sam was a serial killer.

Chord: A group of musical notes

Lucy tried to stretch her fingers to make a B chord on the guitar.

Cord: A length of string or a cord-like body part

The kidnapper grabbed his hands and tied a thick cord around his wrists.

SUMMARY

Once again, thanks to Linda Webber for her hard work putting these original words together!

Happy writing!

COFERENCE AFTERMATH 2018– GREAT TIMES

April 25, 2018

It’s with a touch of sadness and a bit of relief that the 2018 Las Vegas Writer’s Conference came to an end on Saturday night, April 21, 2018. I look back on those three wonderful days and it’s hard to sum up all the happy and fulfilling feelings, as I do every year from this big event. I would hope others that attended came away with at least some of those same feelings.

With this being my thirteenth writer’s conference, it might seem like old hat by now. However, I never fail to have a great time.

EXCITEMENT OF THE SETUP

As usual, I arrived way early, though because of traffic and an ambulance on Flamingo (or Flaming-O, as some locals call it), I arrived at our new venue at the Tuscany Casino at 7:45 instead of my planned 7:30. It only took me a split second to find the escalator just to the left inside the main door that led up to the second floor. A big hall stretched before me when I went around the corner, with several closed doors on both sides. One room was already occupied by another group and I had to find an office to figure out which was the proper room to go into. A few early volunteers had beat me there. Slowly, more straggled in including my bud and partner, Donald Riggio until finally, Toni Pacini showed up and led us down to her room along with the writer’s group el-presidente, Linda Webber. We started relaying all the stuff up to what turned out to be Classroom 1A. Then, we skipped a room back toward the escalator (past the already occupied room) and loaded stuff into what ended up being the main ballroom. By this time, after many loads, along with more volunteers that showed up, we got all the swag and the booklets and bags and started an assembly line to stuff the attendee bags. Ray Katz, our other registration table bud (along with Donald) took them out to registration table where he and Audrey Balzart did the initial setup of the registration table. When I got out there and we finished the registration table setup, Audrey took off to set up the pitch session room.

Meanwhile, due to a glitch, no room signs were printed for the Thursday class sessions, except general (generic) signs provided by the Tuscany. So, Jenny Baliff, the conference coordinator asked me to hand-write signs for all the rooms. In kind of a panic, because anyone that knows me knows my writing isn’t all that great, I scrounged some blue card stock from Audrey down in the pitch session room, got a black sharpie from the Tuscany staff, and surprised myself by creating legible signs for each classroom. Each sign had the classroom name and number, the name of the session and the presenter or presenters. It was tedious work, but after only messing up one sign, and folding one wrong, it turned out okay.

Initially, Jenny told me she would work something out for Friday and Saturday, but alas, Friday morning, I was in a rush and barely got the signs posted before classes started. While we sat at the registration table, I made Saturday’s signs so I wouldn’t be in the same situation come the next day!

Though there were other minor glitches, to be expected, especially for an almost sold out conference, things went well over the next three days.

MEETING AND CIRCULATING

One of the big points of attending a conference is to meet people and circulate. This is no place to be a wallflower. One advantage to working the registration desk and handing out badges is that we get to meet everyone and I certainly did! This not only includes the attendees but the faculty. Of course it’s not in-depth, but at least we can put a name to a face, though with my short-term memory, it took a bit more reinforcement later for that to sink in.

As soon as the initial flood of registration took place on Thursday and the first classroom sessions started, I was able to break from the desk a bit, though I took no classes. The ones I was interested in repeated later, but the others were not what I came for. That’s okay. I was able to wander around a bit, meet new people coming in and harass the bookstore.

NOT EVERYONE WAS THERE TO GET AN AGENT

Over the next two days, I did attend multiple classes and enjoyed them. Between classes, I talked with attendees and a few staff, off and on, and got to know some of the people, what they wanted out of the conference, why they were there. I was glad to hear that not everyone attended just to pitch to agents. A good number of people came to learn about the craft of writing. Some didn’t have a completed manuscript and wanted more direction. This is something I’ve talked about over and over again and I see people have done just that.

SOME WANTED TO PITCH BUT…

I was one that had no interest in pitching. I have not submitted my icky bug novels to my publisher because of language, but I’m not actively pursuing other means at this time. I’m concentrating on my fantasy and adventure-thrillers at the moment.

We had several people come up to the registration table and relay their fears and frustrations about pitching. My partners in crime at the table, Donald Riggio and Ray Katz and I talked with them about different aspects of the subject.

Since I had no regular table for meals at this new venue, I switched it up and tried to sit at different tables each time. I was able to have quality conversations with Jame Friedman, the keynote speaker, Tetsuro Shigematsu, who did an outstanding address Thursday night, and Dan Koboldt, a popular science fiction author. As always, I had a nice chat with a favorite repeat faculty attendee, Randall Platt. We go back a long way!

I’d brought a stacks of Treasure Of The Umbrunna and Lusitania Gold to the conference bookstore. I sold one copy of Lusitania Gold, to who, I have no idea. I would’ve been glad to sign it.

I had a great time and can’t wait for next year.

Happy writing!

CONFERENCE THIS WEEK!

April 18, 2018

Well, it’s finally almost here.

The 2018 Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is on the way. Just two days from when this article hits the ether, I’ll be rolling into the parking lot at the Tuscany Casino on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas.

I’m always an early riser, so I’ll probably be the first one there, or at least one of the first.

BEGINNINGS

Though I’m a paid attendee, I have always liked to hang out at the registration table. I help stuff bags, set up tables and generally greet people when they arrive. Though there will also be volunteers specially set up for this, I be there myself because I just like doing it.

I’ve been to so many of these conferences that I’ve seen and heard just about everything. For the most part, I attend very few classes. However, I do pop into the occasional session.

I just like being at these events to rub elbows with people in the industry, see what’s going on and talk with others, from both sides, publishing and writing. I’m always learning and conveying what I’ve learned.

ISSUES

This year, I will, unfortunately, be dealing with a cluster headache cycle, like I did back in 2011. Back then, it lasted three months and was just ending in April during that conference. This time, it started a bit later and I’m still dealing with them. Most of the time, they start in the evenings so I’m hoping I don’t have any attacks while I’m there. I do have the medicine for it, though it takes a little bit for it to take effect. At our last writer’s group meeting, a week ago, Monday, I didn’t want to take it until I got home, and I was miserable during first page read practice. I DO NOT want to deal with that during this very important time!

GOINGS ON

There’ll be lots going on. Classes, agent pitches, meals and plenty of rubbing elbows with everyone. I’m not pitching anything, so I have no particular focus here, except to talk and listen. There will be plenty of people there to chat with!

Outside of my major star parties with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is my major event of the year. I always look forward to it and I highly recommend it to any new writer, at least once.

Happy writing!

PITCHING TO AN AGENT PART 2

April 11, 2018

Since it’s conference time of year again, and to help support the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, 2018, I’ve resurrected one of the articles from 2014. This one deals with pitching to the agent at the conference and some of the things involved, specifically, the query letter. It’s re-tweaked and updated accordingly.

THE PITCH LETTER (QUERY LETTER)

(What Not To Do!)

In this part, we’ll get down to some technical thingies. We’re going to go over what not to do. Then, I’ll show you one that’s worked.

NEGATIVITY

Never to use negativity, or put yourself down. Here are a few examples. Some are overt, while a few may be a bit more subtle.

I know you get lots of submissions, but before you throw mine in the slush pile, I’d appreciate if you’d give me a chance.

Ding ding ding! Red flag! You’re starting negative right out of the gate. Don’t even bring the subject up. In the first place, you should be starting with your slug line. Second, you’re giving the agent the perfect excuse to do just what you are hoping they won’t do.

I’ve been submitting to lots of agents, but was hoping you’d be the right one for my work.

Do I have to explain this one?

I’m a struggling writer and found your agency on line. I would like to present my character…

A little more subtle, but saying you are a struggling writer is not only a cliché, it’s a given and also a negative. No need to voice it. Scratch the first sentence.

Thank you for considering my work. I may not be the best writer in the world, but I know I’ve come up with a winner here.

You had him or her at the first sentence and blew it with the rest. Hack off that second sentence.

IRRELEVANT MATERIAL & FLUFF

Now for a little biography sample.

I’m an accomplished writer with high grades in English grammar in high school and college. I excelled at all of my term papers and almost had an article published in the alumni newsletter but due to budget constraints, the issue was never printed. I had a short story called The Flag printed in Mystery Journal for Fiberglas Press, 1989.

She’s a mystery writer. The only relevant credit is the last one. The rest of it is pure fluff and irrelevant. Trash it (unless you have nothing else at all). Inflating a bio with irrelevant material is no way to win friends with an agent. If you only have one credit, so be it. In the good old days, it was okay to throw in the kitchen sink. Nowadays, agents don’t have time to slog through all this crap looking for gems. You’re better off to keep it tight and right. Besides, almosts don’t count.

It has become the trend lately, to go ahead and add at least something to beef up your resume so you don’t have a one sentence bio. That’s understandable. If you do, at least try to make it somewhat relevant without overtly lying or raising any red flags, so to speak.

BRAGGING, SARCASM

I’m sure you get lots of really “great” stories at your agency, but now get ready for a real treat. XXX will blow you away.

Oh, please! Sarcasm, conceit, bragging, grammar problems, the list goes on.

 

(One That Worked)

 

Now I’m going to show you a pitch letter that worked. Below is the letter that I handed to the publisher that gave me the contract for my upcoming novel, Meleena’s Adventures – Treasure Of The Umbrunna. Keep in mind that I handed it to her at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference and pitched to her in person. After I sold her on the idea, she had me send it along with the first 50 pages plus a synopsis, which was on the back of this letter.

NOTE: I ended up getting it published through a different publisher in the end, but that’s a different story and unrelated to this presentation. Besides, I submitted the same query letter to the new publisher.

I’ve included notes of explanation where appropriate, and left off the headers and dates and a photo, which is something I used to not recommend. It’s now the trend to include a good photo, if possible. Also, I modified parts of it so as not to give away the actual plot in case anyone wants to read the book.

Re: Meleena’s Adventures – Treasure Of The Umbrunna

Fantasy – 79,500 words

Pen name: Ray Brooks (I have since dumped this idea and went with my real name).

 

All she wanted was to get rich, but in the end, will she sacrifice all to help another? If she isn’t careful, people may start to think she’s a decent person. (This is the pitch line, the first thing I said to her after introducing myself.)

 

Meleena goes through life one picked pocket at a time. With a wild heart, she spends each night with a different man, and often wakes up in a strange place.  When she goes after a valuable pearl hidden in a lost city called Slab, she figures this is the way to the easy life.  An old magick user named Grel may hold the key to finding this pearl, and he insists she not go alone if she hopes to survive.  Despite second thoughts and an aversion to working with others, she gathers a team and heads for the lost city.  However, she’s not the only one after the pearl, and Meleena enters into a race to get there first. (This is the body of the text. It should be one paragraph, but I broke a rule and made it two short ones. It worked. They were condensed from the original. The whole point was that the entire letter had to fit on one page, letterhead, spacing, signature, credits, all of it. Keep it brief!)

 

As she fights her way to the lost city, Meleena discovers she’s out of her element in the wilds. Her companions help her survive, and she learns to trust others. After a hazardous journey, she reaches the pearl first, but is betrayed by one of her friends. After escaping, she learns that Grel has been manipulating her all along, and the pearl is not what it seems. Besides the monetary value, it’s the only way to provide a cure for the queen of her kingdom, Grel’s former lover. She’s now faced with making a huge profit or helping the queen. This wasn’t the easy life she envisioned.

 

I’m a member of the Henderson Writer’s Group in Henderson, Nevada. My short story, The House, appeared in the anthology Between the Pages, 2003. The Walk Home was published in the story collection Writer’s Bloc 2006, The Basement in Writer’s Bloc 2, 2008, and Fun In The Outland in First Voyage, 2008. (Remember, relevant writing credits, which should include a writer’s group, if you’re in one. Though none of these stories are actually fantasy, the chances of the publisher checking, or actually finding those books were pretty slim, so I took the chance. Turns out, many of those books were for sale at the conference! Also, the titles could mean anything, and at least they show I’m a prolific and published writer. Just make sure if you do this, you don’t put something down that is obviously not relevant. Also, note that the info is dated. I’ve since published a few more things that aren’t listed.)

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

 

Fred B. Rayworth

There you go. An example, a visual aid without giving away too much of the actual story, but hopefully, enticing you to read it. This example also gives you an idea of one way to successfully pitch to an agent.

Happy writing!