Blogs and Blogging

Rachelle Gardner’s blog is a fantastic resource for an aspiring writer. Ms. Gardner has ghost-written eight books, edited more than seventy and is currently a Literary Agent with more than 50 deals to her credit. I’m sure you will agree, this makes her Someone-To-Listen-To.

Last week, she posted a simple but incisive two-part series listing things a fiction editor will look for when reading your manuscript. As I’m in the early stages of a new story (read: the plot is spasming and thrashing like a fish pulled from the sea), I was thrilled to discover this series. I am finding Ms. Gardner’s lists incredibly helpful as I weed out the ideas-gone-wild and discover the essential elements of my story.

What a Fiction Editor Looks For: Part One
What a Fiction Editor Looks For: Part Two

She has posted the genres she reps here and her submission guidelines here.

The other day, I wrote a post about turning in my edits to my agent, Rebecca Strauss. Let me tell you, when I type the words ‘my agent’ a surreal sense of happiness settles over me like a picnic sheet fluttering down beside the Hudson River on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon. I feel so lucky to have found an agent who is supportive, responsive and enthusiastic.

But, though luck certainly played a part, preparation always boosts luck. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn: agent pitch appointments at regional and national conferences, agent blogs, following agent twitter streams, conversations with agented friends, on-line forums like Absolute Write Water Cooler and events like the Long Island Romance Writers Editor/Agent Luncheon.

If you are about to start on your own Great Agent Hunt, I found two blog posts for you.

The first contains a video in which Romantic Times web editor Morgan Doremus interviews agent Lucienne Diver. You can watch it over on the Knight Agency Website. Ms. Diver begins by talking about the typical agent day (hint: there is none) and the things an agent can do for an author. She then goes on to suggest the following ways to research agents:

AAR (Association of Author’s Representatives)
-List on the Members Only Site of Your writer’s organization (like RWA’s–sign in req.)
Publishers Marketplace (registration req., $20.00 a month)
-Following agents on Twitter (Here’s a Nov. 2010 list of Agents who twitter)

The second is this post from editor Megan Records of Kensington on the do’s and don’ts of approaching an editor or agent at a conference.

Good Luck!!

You’ve heard that a picture is worth 1,000 words, of course. For the Historical Romance Novelist, a picture can be worth hours of research as well.

Take this post on Regency Fashion: Ladies Half-Boots over at Jane Austen’s World.

As I am writing, I seldom think about shoes. However, imagine your heroine standing breathless and desperate on the steps of her father’s London townhouse, desperately needing to cross the unwashed street for some very good reason I’ve yet to imagine. There would be horse manure, puddles of goodness-knows-what and perhaps some trash and some straw between her and her destination. Now, imagine her feet clad only in the dainty little coverings like these (Pic from the Shoe Icon Website, dated late 18th/early 19th cent.).

Kind of raises the tension, doesn’t it?

Or, if landscape is what inspires your imagination, take this post on a private pleasure garden from Nicola Cornick over at Word Wenches.

She has some fantastic pictures of her visit to Old Wardour. I’ve passed plenty of hours imagining my characters frolicking around the grounds of Vauxhall, but the idea of a private pleasure garden is fascinating.