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Narrator/Character/Author – What is the Difference?

Every work of fiction will have a narrator, the person who is telling the story to the reader. It’s worth noting, however, that the narrator isn’t the author, as some writers mistakenly think, although – and this is where is can get confusing – the narrator can be a character in the story. This might sound baffling, but in reality it isn’t. It depends on the type of narrator you’ve chosen for your story. In effect, the narrator is an onlooker who is relaying the story of the characters to the reader. The author creates, the narrator relates and the character lives the story. The different viewpoints available to writers offer different ways to approach narration. There are number of narrator types to choose from: The 3rd person omniscient narrator is not usually a character in the story, but is an all-seeing, all-knowing outside observer who knows what all the characters are thinking, feeling and doing, and refers to them as ‘he/she or they’. In other words, this narrator knows everythin…

Manuscript Rejections

Submitting to literary agents or publishers is always daunting, because success is not guaranteed. There is no way around it – the reality is that writers will face rejection. But it’s how writers deal with and understand rejection that really counts.

Rejection shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.

The word ‘rejection’ is already a negative word in everyday life – it means not good enough, unwanted or rubbish – so regardless of why a manuscript may have been rejected, the writer will automatically think it’s a rejection of them personally, simply because of the negative tones of the word itself.

Any rejection will feel like a punch in the guts. That’s the reality. It feels that way because writers invest months, even years, into a novel, only for someone to point out things wrong with it. Any rejection will make you feel disappointed and even dejected, maybe even angry. These are all normal responses. But the rejection is not about you. It’s not personal. The agent or publisher doesn’t know…

The Dreaded Synopsis – Part 2

In this second part we’ll look at how to structure the synopsis.It’s important to stress that there is no absolutes here, no “right” way of doing things, simply because all agents are different and they’re looking for different things. But what they do look for is a wells structured, cohesive synopsis that tells them what they need to know, which is presented in exactly the way they ask.
The formatting should be perfect. That means it’s correctly presented, with no spelling mistakes or typos. The margins, line spacing and font should also be correct.This is where you have to pay particular attention to what agents require. Some are happy with 1.5 spacing, others like 2 point. Ensure a 1” margin all round. If the agent asks for Arial font, then follow the instruction. Others might want TNR. Always follow what they require.
Make sure you have the title of the book and your name at the top of the synopsis. Don’t just write ‘Synopsis’. Write something like: ‘Synopsis: The Hidden Cartel by (…

The Dreaded Synopsis – Part 1

If there is one thing about the writing process that strikes fear into almost all writers, it’s writing the dreaded synopsis.But is it really that bad? Writers don’t like this part of submitting their books to agents, because the reality is that it’s hard to condense a complex story of 90,000 words or so into a one page or 500 word summary. And it can be hard – if writers have never done one before. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s because authors become fixated by the idea that they have to explain everything that happens in their novel, otherwise the agents won’t understand what the story is about. You don't have to describe settings, character backgrounds, subplots and themes and so on. It’s impossible and the synopsis will end up a mess. Agents don’t want every single detail. They want an outline of the key events – the major plot points/ twists, major characters, key scenes and they want to know how the story ends. Use the synopsis to show a structured story arc and plot, inters…

Literary Agent Submission Cover Letters

A cover letter with your submission (usually via email) is your introduction to the literary agent. There is no absolute right way of doing this, just as there is no right way of doing synopsis, since every publisher and literary agents is different, and they want different things from authors. They have likes and dislikes and each one is looking for the right fit, and that is why it really is all down to luck of the draw, but it’s also about how you present yourself to them. Before you even write a cover letter, you should have spent time searching and researching literary agents and publishers that you think might be able to represent you and your work. You will know that they are currently open to new submissions; they represent your genre, and have an established list of authors on their books. The research will also have told you whom you should address your letter. Don’t address it to ‘Whoever it may concern’, as this shows a lack of professionalism and lack of focus. Know the con…

Looking for Literary Agents

One of the many daunting steps after completing a manuscript is to look for literary agents that might be interested in your manuscript and who might hopefully represent and help you try to break into what is, essentially, a difficult market. Of course, before you do anything, it’s essential that you have proofread and polished your manuscript so that it is error free and has been correctly formatted. It needs to be complete in its entirety. Not only that, but you need to ensure your work is professionally presented. You won’t get far if you submit sloppy, untidy work accompanied by a badly written submission. Looking for agents isn’t about picking a name and sending them your manuscript. It involves research. Literary agents vary on what genres they prefer, what lengths they work with and whether they specialise in fiction or non-fiction. Time spent looking at agents and what they require is time well spent. In the UK, writers can use the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, which contains…

Readying Your MSS for Submission

For writers who want to approach the traditional publishing route, there’s a few steps to take before that daunting task; the kind of things that will get the manuscript into the best shape it can be before it is submitted to an agent or publisher. Unlike self-publishing, traditional publishing requires a high standard of writing and editing.A good story is only as good as the way it is presented, so this also needs to be a high standard. So you’ve written your novel. Now to ready it for submission. Step 1 The first step is to ensure that the MSS has gone through several rounds of editing so that it is as near to perfect as it can be. That means not only presenting a cohesive, well written story, but one that is free from grammar and spelling mistakes and is punctuated correctly. Remember, any submission to agents or publishers is a showcase of your ability to write, so if you present a manuscript with errors in it, they will think less favourably about you as an author. By taking the time…