Literary Agent Critiques First Pages of Fantasy Novels, Ft. Megan Manzano | Ep. 4 | iWriterly

Literary Agent Critiques First Pages of Fantasy Novels, Ft. Megan Manzano | Ep. 4 | iWriterly

#Literary #Agent #Critiques #Pages #Fantasy #Novels #Megan #Manzano #iWriterly

Hey you book nerds and welcome to this special episode of iwriterly first page critiques with my dear friend megan manzano who’s a literary agent let me move to the next slide if you guys are here on the live stream let me know in the chat if you can hear

Us part of the usual stuff so so happy you guys could be here how this video will work so today’s agenda we’re going to talk about what is query hack and introductions for megan and myself an overview of how the critiques will work uh the first page critiques of

Course because that’s what you’re here for and then a q a at the very end of the video and if you’re watching on the replay there will be a timestamp in the description if you want to jump right to the critiques all right so what is query hack essentially

It’s just this overarching brand i don’t know it’s this thing that encompasses query critiques first page critiques and twitter pitch critiques it’s mostly been housed on the iwriterly website in the past for like query critiques but it’s kind of branched into the first page critiques that we now do on the

Iwriterly youtube channel and i have done twitter pitch critiques that may or may not be going away we will see all right i’m just going to quickly check the chat yeah you can hear me perfect perfect so guys so glad you guys are here um

Let us know where you are tuning in from in the chat and then in a second i’ll i’ll bring up uh those in the chat so awesome awesome if you guys don’t know me hello my name is meg latorre i’m the author of the cyborg tinker which comes out

November 17 2020 which is a few weeks away from now i’m super pumped and if you pre-order a copy of the cyborg tinker and fill out the pre-order giveaway form in the description below you’ll be entered to win one of more than 30 prizes as you can

See there’s a ton of prizes up on the screen the prize for today is going to be a first page critique by our very own megan manzano so stay tuned to the end to see if you won this week’s prize and then if you haven’t already be sure

To subscribe and ring the bell so you are notified every time we have a writing related video just like this one i also have youtube memberships it’s that join button at the top and essentially if you join you get a bunch of perks so depending on the tier

You could get custom badges and emojis the little badges appear next to your name when you comment and stuff and you can use the emojis in like the live chat you also get discounted merch and a bunch of other things so if you are already a member of the iwriterly community here on

Youtube definitely feel free to use the custom emojis in the chat i would love to see those all right megan could you tell us a little bit about yourself oh sorry meg and i muted you and um can you hone yourself that’s my bed damn it

Um no i’m kidding um anyways hi everyone um i am a literary agent at dyforio literary uh specializing in kidlet so middle grade young adult and young adult with crossover potential um i have been in the industry for about five almost six years now so kind of been around for a bit

Um i worked in editorial and now i’m an agent and i’ve also been mentors for the pitch wars and revpit annual contest on twitter when i’m not agenting i tend to be binge watching television shows hiking or cuddling my dog who you might hear during this video because she is up

From her nap too early awesome thank you so much again for joining me megan is a longtime friend so it’s always like a fun excuse to bring her on just so we can like chit chat and stuff all right i’m gonna bring up a couple of

The comments just to say hello the folks who are here on the live i am seeing yashi from india so happy you’re here another person from india oh yay welcome guys um a friend from brazil um israel south wales germany whoa guys this is so cool

New york hello from the east coast so happy you could join us um yeah megan’s from new york yeah i’m also in the east coast um pittsburgh ireland mississippi so glad oh and hello new jersey i fell in new jersey and so glad you guys could make it awesome awesome um

We got a little bit from everywhere today i know and one person from canada welcome welcome so happy you guys could all make it all right so let’s talk about how these critiques will work um it’s first page critique so it’s up to a 250 words and

This is all selected prior to coming on the live stream we may critique some query letters so depending on the instance you know if we have a question we could read the query letter but that’s not guaranteed and then if a bell rings that means we’re going to stop reading and i’m

Going to ring it tell me if this is too loud megan that’s so if you hear that sound guys i’m so excited as i’m actually allowed next to the microphone that means we’re going to stop blinking was that too loud or is that okay no that was good i’ll also introduce mine

Just so everyone knows what it sounds like oh that sounds very dull in comparison to yours oh there you go that sounds good okay we’re good we’re good just a little delay we’re fine and then um whether or not a bell is wrong we’re going to provide feedback on

What we enjoyed and then what areas could be improved so again what does the spell mean as a first page is being read either megan or myself has the option to ring a bell if the bell is wrong that means we would have stopped reading this manuscript in

A submission pile so if it like for example at a literary agency we will then stop reading and provide feedback for areas of improvement the rules please do not submit published works only unpublished first pages will be accepted for critique i do research these things before um i’m selecting these pages so please

Do not submit published works and please do not submit first drafts i ask that it’s just completed polish manuscripts if your book isn’t done please don’t submit if your book is you just finished the first draft please don’t submit only published manuscripts because um as well we’ll just skip to that no

Duplicate submission so you cannot submit the first page of the same manuscript more than once even if you significantly revise it not okay i will delete the submission so please don’t do it on the selection process um 250 words um is kind of the general estimation for first pages

And anyone who submits to this is not guaranteed a critique it’s selected at random though today um we specifically are doing fantasy first page critiques so that was kind of uh i guess filtered out through that i don’t even know what i’m saying anyways disclaimer all materials are

Submitted through a google form and then added to this presentation so the formatting is lost it’s not going to look like a normal first page which is you know time zoo roman size 12 font double spacing one inch margins none of that it’s just going to look like a presentation

So keep that in mind all right without further ado let’s go to the first critique um megan feel free to unmute your line oh i see a question came in via super chat so we’ll answer that first before we get into the the critique but megan feel free to

Unmute your line and ring the bell um whenever you feel called to do so thank you so much for the super chat from sherry and they asked me ask how you feel about new adult genre and audience is it still around or would you say it’s gone

I know how i feel about it megan do you want to weigh in first would you want me to jump in um i can go first and then you can jump in um this is so tricky um so personally speaking i think new adult or in terms of like that college age

Era sort of literature is great and i really love it personally um however there is no technical new adult category in publishing or in bookstores and i think the key thing to talk about here is the bookstore thing because how all these categories get formed is that you

Have bookstores that are able to place books in these categories so you know we have you see middle grade you see children’s literature you see young adult but there is no new adult category it jumps from young adult to adult so marketing for new adult is very tricky which is why

Um i say as a literary agent with caution to ever label something as new adult it is not dead i’m not going to say that because there is a lot of um that white crossover area which is kind of how we market it as why crossover meaning that it can apply

To a young adult audience or an adult audience um creeping up i see a lot more college submissions i also see a lot more of the um speculative fiction in that like young 19 to like 24 year old rate range um so the short answer is

It’s not dead but we don’t really call it new adult i completely agree with everything that megan said i’m just going to a couple things here so in traditional publishing because basically agents are going to want to take on things that editors are going to want to buy

Editors take on things because they know they can sell it to bookstores and so that’s kind of the traditional publishing model right so if there are no bookshelves labeled excuse me labeled new adult the folks in the bookstore are like what what do i do with this yeah just like megan said

They usually are categorized into young adult or aged up to adults and so that makes it really tricky in the traditional publishing landscape they’re like where do i put this so again usually aged up or age down depending hopefully in the future that maybe that changes and new adult

Becomes more of a thing but right now in traditional publishing it isn’t a thing because of those the things that we described before and self-publishing this is there’s a little more leeway i think there are is more room for new adult as a age category because you have more flexibilities you’re doing

Mostly online sales but keep in mind there is still a stigma around new adult as an age category it’s usually heavy in the romance um i feel like 50 shades you people think 50 shades they think new adults you know they think of the very steamy college age sexual awakening sort of

Stories at least that’s what i have heard thus far so um anyways megan do you want to add anything to that or i think we’re okay um just like just to agree with that that um it has kind of got this label of like erotica but for like you know that like

College age category which isn’t necessarily true because there are definitely stories that don’t um and there is more of a wide range in indie marketing and it’s definitely bigger um and indie publishing also just to like add to why it’s a little trickier in traditional publishing is because um whenever an editor wants

To acquire a book it’s not just an editor saying they love the book and it’s great and they get an instant approval and everything’s good you have to convince a marketing and a sales team to take on the book um and taking on a book includes not just the advance but the

Printing costs of the book the actual publicity and marketing of a book so there are a lot of people you have to convince in order to get a book deal so that’s why this is a bit of a trickier question agreed and megan is super smart because she

Works in um traditional publishing on the nonfiction side and then she’s also an agent so thank you so much wonderful stuff i see another super chat so we’ll answer this one more question um and then we’ll um then we’ll jump to the critiques oh thank you so much this is a dear friend

Of mine so they said congrats on 80k subscribers thank you so much i’m super excited so oh i meant to say that earlier but thank you guys so much for all the support i’m super excited about this milestone all right let’s jump back to the critiques so we are doing our first fantasy

Critique fantasy critique all of our first pages are fantasy but it could be any age category middle grade young adult adult and so forth okay so i am going to read it and again feel free to ring the bell megan if you would stop reading um edgar

Allurio uh woke up with a start and a scream he jumped to his feet ripping his sword from its sheath and whirled around to defend himself surrounded by darkness where a breath before it was day he stumbled around trying to orient himself the battle he okay since you run the bell first i’ll

Let you provide feedback first cool um so i stopped this for two reasons one is i see a lot of openings like this for fantasy pages where there’s kind of this instant call to action but the problem with this is i don’t know who edgar is i don’t know

Where we are i don’t know this battle that’s going on um also waking up from like a scary dream is kind of like a trope that we try to avoid or just like waking up scared um so for me personally this just feels very um seen it kind of before and i don’t

Have enough context or voice or understanding of the character to kind of want to follow them into whatever this scary thing is um so for me this would be a pass i’m going to agree on everything it did have that dream vibe that you’re like oh these

Uh and it’s a cliche not to start your stories with a dream for the reasons that meghan had said before um my reason that i probably was gonna ring the bell soon was like line level prose was a little clunky i felt like the writing really could be

Cleaned up um to make you feel more immersed in the moment it it just i mean part of it is how i was reading it right but i think part of it was a line level prose um i think could be polished a bit okay so we’re gonna go to our second one

Oopsies second one there we go i keep clicking away all right mally was addicted to the smell of salt air she looks luxuriated in the sensation of wind across her skin especially when the banshee thundered across the water at her fastest speed a desperate squawking drew her attention to the sky

A rocky goal soared leisurely above the ship a new chick was flapping its wings desperately to keep up with its mother the goals were evidence that they were getting close to the southern isles but for now the waves held a clear path for them a safe captain would chase after the birds

Birds always followed dolphins and there were dolphins and where they were dolphins there would be fish she could send garrett and taj off in the dinghy to catch them dinner they would have a sure meal probably enough to feed the full crew for two days the southern ocean was ripe with sea

Life if they pulled off their next plunder however fish would be poor would be a poor substitute for the bounty that awaited them her mouth salivated at the thought mali grinned the sun was high in the sky beating like a drum on her bronzed skin the world lay before her ready for the

Taking she licked the salt from her lips smelled it in the air as she filled her lungs her stomach lifted into her chest with every rise and dip of her vessel captain axel she greeted her quartermaster as he came to stand beside her the broad-shouldered man stared out

Onto the horizon with his usual stern expression okay we made it to the end um yeah that was great i loved that one that was a ton of fun um there’s a couple of like punctuation things that i noticed throughout there like missing uh quotation marks or periods or extra periods

Um but i thought that was an interesting start i want they had a question they were like this is the thing that they’re going for instead of food for their bellies for tonight and as a reader i’m like well what is that thing why is that a big booty or whatever you know

So i i liked it i had a question and i want it to be answered yeah i like this one too um i my only real note for this like aside from just the punctuation um can we just go back to the first page for a second of this one um yeah so

My my thing for this one is that i liked that we have this kind of like my my initial fear was that we would get too much into the detail but then i started switching to we’re introducing some characters we kind of have like a little goal that the

Main character is trying to get to which i thought was great um for me personally i would have liked just like a little bit more character voice like it feels a bit not passive is the right word but i just would have liked a bit more beginning to understand like who the

Character is a little bit so like having more thoughts that connect to the senior would be great or have more opinions um but otherwise i think like this page is almost there um it just needs a little bit of tweaking um and a little bit more of the main character perspective but otherwise

Yeah this is pretty good yeah i agree voice would’ve been great um i think it was um i forgot the phrasing for it but i agree i would have loved a little bit more voice and i think there was a nice balance of um you know kind of having the details

Of the character in their mind thinking about their goal to shifting into a scene because if you hang in their mind too long you’re like you lost me but yeah there was at least that shift which was um promising okay great let’s move to our third critique this is a fantasy themed

Sphere room had one window just wide enough for the 88 gray and brown piano keys that christian had scratched into the sill with a pen he sat on an over-tuned bucket and tapped the bass clef timing the melody in his head to the thunder that rattled the glass

A crash from downstairs cut through the music he flinched but waited with his hands floating after three beats of silence he took a deep breath and let his fingers fall back into place another crass crash shot through followed by an enraged shout christian glared at the keys and stood he dragged

Himself to the door undid the chain and pulled back the heavy steel latch it screwed it into the golden door frame quickly and tended to tear the skin on his fingers when he yanked it as he opened the door its shadow drew a diagonal line across the mahogany hardwood

Landing on the faded sofa cushions lined up on the floor in the corner a threat all right um so for me this is kind of like a technical thing that’s really bothering me here um i like i like the first paragraph in the sense that we’re getting

A lot of like sounds and atmosphere and i like the idea i really like the imagery of this character scratching piano keys into a windowsill i think that’s like a really interesting start i don’t see anything like that but the second paragraph to me feels like we’re getting

A lot of detail and it’s very clunky it’s very like um he dragged himself to the door under the chain and pulled back like this heavy steel latch we can get to that a lot quicker um and then we’re getting like he screwed it into the golden door frame crookedly

And tended to tear the skin on his fingers when he yanked it um you could also shorten that to just like he scratched his fingers again you know something like this is just very bad examples but like it feels way too clunky um and i think that whole paragraph could

Be like cleaned up to give us a much more immersive experience and more of the character voice i thought the first paragraph was good but then a second paragraph like it made it very hard for me to like be invested i agree i think there was

A little bit too much detail so it’s good to like focus and fully immerse your reader right and whatever the scenery or the the flavor of the atmosphere but yeah i agree with megan that that second paragraph started to weigh it down and you’re like all right

We get it we get the latch why was there a bang you know like you made the reader ask a question now kind of feed into that a little bit more and don’t bog it down with detail so i agree yeah and like and like for example right you have like

He yanks it open um and he’s about to leave this room that i’m assuming but you pull us back in by saying that um his shadow goes back to the hardwood and then he sees this bag and it’s like okay but if the bag isn’t really relevant or anything like we’re kind of

Just getting too much focus back into that room we need to move forward quicker agreed agree just be careful on what details that you focus on is it important to the story and to where you started because for not for all stories but for a lot of

Stories you want to have a pretty fast-paced beginning to suck the reader and obviously the literary agent and right away now all stories have to open with a fast-paced opening but you still want them to asking questions and not getting bored essentially all right let’s move to

I just saw something okay let’s move to our um oh actually before the fourth critique if you guys are getting out of this video please click the thumbs up button and if you haven’t already hit the subscribe button and ring the bell so you don’t miss a future writing related

Video just like this one and of course you know the likes make me happy you know don’t you guys want to make me happy just kidding all right fourth critique let’s do it okay dead leaves crunched under my feet as i jogged along the cracked pavement with a gentle breeze blue

Sorry guys while a gentle bleep breeze blew through my sandy ponytail the soft autumn air smelled of dead leaves wood smoke and fresh water the river was nice and clear as it rang alongside the road my fangs started to ache the more my long legs carried me forward

A hard pulse came from my main vein down my neck which is why the thirst had started to act up i ignored it after over 200 years of practice it was something you just got used to luckily my body did you just ring

Okay yes i did it was a delay i got an ad on my bell app which is very unfortunate um okay so i feel for this one there’s kind of a lack of balance between the showing and telling which is making this very hard to follow

Um so like dead leaves crunch under my feet as i jogged along the crack pavement isn’t really a hooky enough opening and there is also this other trope of like starting to be like when you’re running or moving through something um and as we move into like the second

Paragraph i feel like we’re starting to hit like that telling point of like i ignored it after over 200 years of practice it was something you got used to luckily my body stopped aging at 18 this way like it starts to get like giving us backstory which i feel like

Could be done in a different way to make it more engaging or even have a different opening scene and this could come in later you know where like the my fangs started to ache that’s kind of like an entry we’re like okay we might be in like some supernatural environment something different is

Happening but then we get to the second paragraph i’m like okay we’re just kind of getting a lot of like here’s information for you and i don’t feel very engaged in that information i completely agree i think some of the ways that the background information was

Weaved in could have been done in a more showing kind of way more organically and like do we have to know that this person looks like age 18 and is age 200 right now you know like that information is it relevant to what’s gonna happen next or can that be shown

Later through a different way um i remember the line that started to pull me out was a hard pulse came from the main vein down my neck aside from the awkward alliteration like like just say a vein in my neck you know like just like

You don’t have to say the main vein and i feel like if you scientifically named what that vein is it would sound weird so i don’t know it was just like a this is being me being nitpicky but i was like or even just like my neck

Throbbed you know because like that’s a weird feeling um so basically just you know this is kind of tying back to the last one where i feel like we’re kind of getting the wrong details or like too much focus on one thing and not the other

Um but yeah and like you have like my fangs started eight you say my like my neck throb and that’s already creating like the intrigue and the knowledge that we’re not in the contemporary world um just needs a little bit more fine-tuning and more questions so like why do you need certain details

One of the things that this is making me think of is if you think about the quantity the massive quantity of query letters and first pages that literary agents receive so if they receive thousands let’s say of queries in this in a given year and they maybe sign i don’t know two

Clients three clients maybe more if they’re like heavily acquiring and they’re a new agent if you’re receiving thousands and you only pick a couple whatever that percent turns out to be you you have to make it so the literary agent can’t say no so these things that seem nitpicky

It’s just because you want to find a way that the literary agent is super curious in my opinion to read the next page and so you don’t want to give them a reason to say no to your submission however small or meaningless or nitpicky it might seem

You want to keep them in the story and engage in wanting to flip to the next page mini rant all right megan did you want to add anything you’re good to go the next one let’s go to the next one go perfect all right i’m actually going to make

This a full screen just so you guys can see it a little bit better all right critique number five it was too early for the city square to be on fire every year right before the sunfire festival those in charge city council or volunteers or whomever

Would set up a massive bonfire in the middle of the city it would sit there for days so that citizens could add their own kindling to the 10-foot high pile okay i’m going to mail first on this time so let me pull up our images again

Um so it was all telling and i’m like this could be cool use of imagery like set the scene and then bring the bonfire in who are the characters and i know we’re gonna clearly there’s dialogue and stuff later on down the page but i didn’t like that

The first three lines were all telling so that pulled me out that’s fair um i really liked the opening line i think that’s a really good example of a hook because um it it feels like something’s happening but it’s not like a war you know like it’s not like everyone was

Burning and people were dying it was like it is too early for this to be happening and you can it also feels a little voicey of like someone being like i am not in the mood for this um but i do agree it does get a little bit

Telly in terms of like this is all that happens um i probably would have let it go a little bit longer to see if it does pick up because like this is a situation where like if there’s promise an agent might continue just to see if it holds

Um but yeah i do agree that like we that opening line is really good and you can set the scene so much more like powerfully um to keep the interest because you know this is what subjectivity comes in meg would have said no i might have given it a bit

Longer down the page or even to the next page if like i wanted to see what this festival was um so just fun fun disagreements that we’re having just a fun example of like what we talk about by saying like you got to put like your best foot forward like right away

Agreed agreed and this again is also nitpicky but i think it’s the second line they say whomever i’m of the opinion that whomever or whom always is going to sound weird in like commercial fiction later on they have admonition so it was kind of it felt a

Little purpley prose to me in a couple of different spots not quite purple prose but it just kind of felt awkward question um go to the query because i’m very curious because this is something that i like think about okay adult okay cool so i asked this because there is a bit more

Of like getting away with this an adult um because you know if you’re if this was middle grade and you have like a 12 year old using words like admission or whatever that word they just said i forgot admonition there you go um that feels a little higher than like

A 10 year old vocabulary and it’s something that i’ve like discussed with clients before of like you know um i’m not not to say that kids might not know vocabulary but there’s a certain level of like audience relatability to a character where that word might feel very out of character

For a 10 year old as an example um but that’s why i was just wondering because i was like if this is middle grade that’s a interesting word choice there but that was my other rant you can continue i know that’s a good point all right let’s move to our

Sixth critique and once again i’m going to make it full screen so you guys can read the page more easily okay southern india the adivasi jungle waist 2 4 38 a.d mercy for the mongoose was never an option the assassin pointed in the darkness and two men ran to

Block the girl’s escape tunnels um i’m not sure i’m sorry guys if i say this wrong ada karan sachdev had cheated the wrong person the techno mancer must pay the monsoon reigned beat down through the jungles canopy soaking the assassin’s new clothes water trickled over his boots as he rung

Out his silk cape how was he supposed to kill someone in style dripping wet the girl had caused him enough problems she lived in an isolated mine shaft surrounded by the thickest of india’s jungles with a junkyard of dead machinery hiding the entrance he’d ruined his clothes getting here

How could anyone call this hole in the ground home that was probably half the reason they called her mongoose a cloud of mist covered the iron bridge that arched across the swollen river ending near the mine shaft’s entrance the two men still with him clutched their spears reluctant to set foot on

The rusted expanse flickering lights across the bridge and the smell of burning wires had spooked them old technology come alive what technomancers did was unnatural in this age of magic all right greg i went to speak and then i muted myself okay so i’m a bit conflicted so from your

The first part of this page i was a bit interested in the sense that like we seem to have this really cool world of like technomancy which i want to know more about that and we have a character that’s giving some voice because he’s literally like how am i going to murder

Someone if my clothes look like garbage um so that’s a really good example of voice usage there um but then i felt like we started tipping just a little bit into the world building and then my interest started to decline because um i felt like the balance

Between like the voice and the humor and the play that we were getting initially just started to be like okay now we’re gonna learn about the world that i don’t know about um and since apparently like the beginning is the assassin moving through sorry my dog is popping in um

The assassin moving through this world to its target that’s a great way to start introducing like pieces of the world while still keeping the focus on the target and i felt like we lost that towards the end of this page yeah so i think i’m gonna feel free to

Correct me megan if i’m wrong but i think megan and i prefer kind of like the immersive semi-fast paced story openings so we want to be immersed in the world usually in a scene right away correct um this is different for the styles like brandon sanderson or the high epic

Fantasy that doesn’t mind doing paragraphs and paragraphs of world building but i think for a lot of agents and specifically in the case for us we like that faster paced opening so if you stop in the middle of your first like scene even your first page to give like info dumps

That could really hurt you for the people that like the faster pace opening usually speaking for these faster-paced openings have a scene and just trickle in the world building as the reader needs to know it and then in my opinion in like chapter two and later chapters that’s when you have more

Leeway to have a paragraph of the world building information the magic system you know first chapters are usually where you set the tone you build the scene you introduce this to your characters and then the world building in my opinion usually comes later on for the the bulk of it

Yeah i also like am saying this as a point of like so you know we mentioned uh brian sanderson who’s a very well established author um i’m thinking of this just like your debut author in the slush pile um and yes some agents are totally cool to just sit in it for a

Little while because they might be more interested in fantasy or that you know they’re kind of um not into the fast paced thing like i am like i’m a very like want to be hooked on first page or otherwise that’s kind of you know when i start to get a little shaky um

But coming from like just a debut perspective like you kind of want to have something that’s hooky and engaging right off the bat and if you know that way the agent is interested and ready and then we can get to that and i mean you can always add stuff back in later

Once you have that agent and you’re working together but i think just like airing on the side of getting to the character and who we’re following and like hints of where we’re going is more beneficial to you um because if you’re brian sanderson you could do whatever you want

And that’s just kind of it but it’s also just finding that balance and fantasy between like world building way too quickly and you know letting us at least get a little bit more adjusted to the character first yes it’s a good point that brandon sanderson he is a like multi new york times

Best-selling author with a massive fan base so even brian i think that’s what i’m saying i’m sorry i’m sorry it’s i’m tired i’m sorry okay it’s 20 20. it’s fine um but anyways yeah so he has a massive fan base and a big readership so i think he has more

Flexibility that he could get away with maybe more info dems and say another author because again he has that big following and all that so let’s keep going we have one more first page critique i saw a question in the comments from monique today is all about fantasy first page critiques

Other times it’s just any anyone we just kind of pick it random depending on who submits so today is is just fantasy all right so i’m going to go full screen again and we’re going to do our last first page critique awesome sweep scrub served the stew every day the same

Patrons came and went and evelyn did her best to avoid her their groping hands and greedy eyes her long auburn hair and pale freckled skin bringing constant unwelcome attention sweep okay there it is i got that ad again so annoying um so i understand what’s trying to happen here where

They’re trying to like throw us in to a certain kind of scene and give us like the character right away which is good however i feel like this is very telly um in the sense that it’s like every day is the same people are groping and greedy eyes and

You know stuff like that and then if we go down a little bit more you know she couldn’t call it a happy existence at 16 years old it was hard to be content with such a repetitive routine how you elevate this page is throw us into the routine have her interact i

Mean what she’s doing she’s doing some kind of service it looks like so have her interacting with someone who’s being gropey or greedy and have these thoughts come in after because right now this is very telling um i don’t know anything about evelyn other than she’s unhappy

But i don’t know why i don’t know what she’s doing um and i also like this is like a personal thing but i feel like sweep scrubs serve the stew and have that repeat over and over again can get a little tiresome um especially when we don’t really have a scene painted

Um so i think basically by my line is you need to show us this repetitiveness and show us like this frustration and tiredness instead of just kind of giving us a little summary especially as your opening i agree with everything that megan said except when you were talking it made me

Think of something else you sweep scrubs serve this dude made me think of the line or the song from the hobbit it was like bend the forks and anyways totally unrelated but it just popped in my head so i don’t have a little rhythm it feels like

A little disney song you know like you’re about to start singing um but yeah no i thought the same thing guys like when you were reading it i got like a little melody in my head yeah so i agreed with how megan um encouraged this author to

Change and make this even stronger with immersing someone in a scene by showing these things rather than telling and i do want to caveat this because i feel like people get get a little weird with showing versus telling you cannot show everything in a manuscript it is impossible the

Manuscript would be 12 000 pages long but you can show the important things and tell the less important things so then that way your pacing doesn’t drag if that makes sense so you cannot show every single thing but um you should show the important things yeah and i’m just saying it for this

Page because this is your opening right so we have no backdrop we haven’t seen anything whatsoever um and since the first page is just like this person is unhappy this is why they’re unhappy it’s like okay well i don’t have any like real connection to that or like i can’t see

Why they’re unhappy i just know they’re unhappy um so yeah like i wouldn’t say describe every single event that they’ve ever had happen to them but like for your first page i want like why are they unhappy like what is really going on um so that’s a good point on meg’s

Sorry i should have specified people get salty in my comments about showing versus telling and that’s what i was kind of sort of replying to at this point in the stream um it was megan’s comment made me think of it and yeah anyways awesome that was actually our final first page critique

Um so i think right now we’re going to move on to the q and a if you guys have questions that you want megan or myself to answer now is your time ask those questions um i’m going to pull up if you guys don’t know i have a patreon and i

Whenever i do live streams or different videos with guests i always give my patrons a chance to ask questions first so if you want the first chance to ask um patrons questions um or patrons questions my guest questions check out patreon uh link is in the description

Below so we are gonna do patreon questions first this is from marcus from your perspective what genres are currently the most marketable megan do you wanna start you want me to start um i can start um so i’m gonna speak like just specifically for kidlet um that’s kind of like where my specialty

Is um so right now a lot of the genres that are very popular or at least like are asked for are speculative fiction um so light lighter fantasy or contemporary fantasy which is fantasy grounded in our real world um and just general contemporary i’ve seen

A lot of calls for like rom-coms or just things that are on the lighter kind of like um less word count side of things um and also i’ve seen a bigger resurgence for middle grade um as opposed to why why is why he’s not going away just

Gonna throw that out there um but definitely more for like middle grade since we’ve kind of neglected that for a little while um i am just going to say yes because i’m no longer like working at the agency so i don’t have this um you know perspective at this point

Anymore but um from what i’ve heard fantasy is a little saturated right now so just something to keep in mind that if you do choose to do fantasy um you want it to be super super unique a magic system that hasn’t been done before a world building

That hasn’t been done before a really unique setting extremely voicey characters the whole shindig so you really have to have a polished awesome manuscript um okay second question also from marcus what can an aspiring writer do to stand out from the crowd and fantasy i guess also the things that i said before

Write a really boise character have a unique setting a unique world building a unique premise a really cool hook or pitch have some really cool comp titles things combined in a way that haven’t been combined before um megan do you wanna share yeah um yeah so um like mike’s like fantas like

Meg said there we go um fantasy is a bit saturated uh but from my perspective um really like voice is a huge factor um it could really make the difference um also any kind of world or magic system or introduction of gods that are not in western culture there’s a lot

Of fantasy that’s kind of in the pseudo-medieval europe which has been done very very very many times and so kind of introducing a new culture or setting would be wonderful um also fantasy genre blending is kind of a thing right now um like i’ve seen fantasy thrillers which are super cool

Um where there’s some kind of mystery in a fantasy study like four dead queens by astrid schultz is a really great example because it’s a murder mystery but it’s also a magical system so that’s cool um or any kind of like um like technology steampunk there we go

Technology mixed with magic is pretty cool as well a little bit harder but still stands out from just like i have powers or elemental magic or things like that awesome next and final question from peach uh patrons over on patreon oh i said said patriot nice nice well this is a

Very new thing called patreon just noticing that typo all right what advice would you give to someone interested in writing a book on writing meg and i were talking about this offline kind of before we jumped on and we’re kind of like what is your expertise so

What is your history what is your experience have you written a ton of books and you know now you have this experience to talk about how to write what is your audience if you write non-fiction a lot of times you need to have an existing audience of folks to

Buy your book especially if you pursue traditional publication i would say um very carefully consider your credentials megan do you want to weigh in are you good sorry i like my dog is distracting me so i think you could take this one because i do have some background in non-fiction but like i

Don’t represent it so it’s a little bit trickier from my perspective to give on this but so this is yours yeah no problem okay so um and i feel like i talked to a lot of indie authors that kind of dabble in non-fiction i think if you’re indie and you’re not pursuing traditional

Publication you have a little bit more freedom but um generally speaking if you are writing non-fiction and you’re trying to get a literary agent they’re going to want to know your credentials why are you the best person to write this book what experience do you have and

Then for non-fiction you also have to bring in your own audience it’s not like like a commercial fiction or just general fiction where you don’t have to have an existing audience to get an agent and a publishing deal with non-fiction they’re like hey who who of your audience would actually

Be interested in buying this so i would say it’s really tricky but again consider credentials in your audience all right cool let’s move to the general comments if you guys have questions you want answered now is the time i megan if you see any questions that you’re like yes let’s talk about that

Let me know all right i see this question um and i think i i know your answer to it megan but i’m curious um this is from lucy would you as a literary agent take on a debut author who already has a publishing contract and a release date for their first book

Um yeah i mean this is pretty common i’m not like common common like every day but i mean um clients and authors will decide to sometimes switch agents even if they have a book deal um so yeah i mean that’s definitely not an unheard thing

Um you know if you have a book published or coming out especially from a well-known publisher you should definitely include that if you’re querying um because the other thing to consider too is that normally if you sell a book you also have an option clause where the

Publisher will want to see your next book which is really cool for agents because that means you could possibly have a long-running publisher to work with but yeah that’s normal and a thing that happens more often than not so i’m reading the comments to see if um

It looks like there’s a question about word count somewhere and i’m trying to find where it’s i saw it for like a second too and i think it’s gone Um um okay i found this one’s from sherry would you say 110k words for fantasy is too long it depends on the age category for middle grade that’s way too long yeah middle grade please chop that in half um for young adult um it depends so

The ideal word count to get if you’re a debut this is once again debut author querying first you know that was my talk into that question um so for me personally like if it starts getting above a hundred thousand i get a little wary because it involves

A lot of like reading and editing and consideration on if that book um should be taken on um for why i say to try to keep why a fantasy you should try to keep between 85 to 95 000 words that’s kind of like the sweet spot

Um you’re good um for adult 110 is pretty normal um i think i’ve heard agents who represent adult like saying that um you know maybe 120 to 130 starts to get a little too much but 110 is pretty common for adult sorry i guess my finger was a little clicking happy

Jeans um okay so this is from s prim is it okay to start the first chapter with a dialogue or inner monologue i think dialogue is fine so long as you follow up the dialogue with scene setting tone pacing like it has to have the whole

Thing and like a lot of authors like to do info dumps and telling via the dialogue don’t do that either i do not like starting with an inner monologue i personally find that icky to read but that is my personal preference yeah um so yeah dialogue it has been done before

It’s not an automatic no but we kind of call floating dialogue to be the trouble where it’s just kind of like dialogue happening in the ether with like no context surrounding it um or when there’s like a conversation between characters that are happening but there’s very little description to understand like

Who they are why they’re talking and what is the importance of their conversation um but otherwise like dialogue is fine um inner monologues can be really tricky because you can kind of just be either telling too much or like over sharing instead of i feel like inner monologues

Can be kind of a way that writers used to try to establish voice but it can very quickly tip into telling way too much or just being confusing um so i would try to avoid that most of the time unless you’re interspersing it with like world or action or something happening

That’s so not inner monologue on its own but you know there are definitely some characters especially i think in contemporary that are kind of that start with like well i hated everything and then they like build into it you know um but i would err on the side of

Caution for a strict inner monologue yes and on this channel the thing that megan had referenced before about the dialogue with not a lot of context um i’ve called it white rim syndrome or floating head syndrome where the characters will be talking back and forth there’s no description of

The setting we have no idea what the world is like we don’t know where they are we don’t know if they’re alone or in danger or anything like that you just see the two characters going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and also

Maybe there’s not even dialogue tags so just to clarify that’s what i’ve called it on this channel in the past hmm i’m curious what you think of this one this is from zaheer if agents recognize a good submission but it doesn’t fit the necessary style of books they accept

Would they recommend it to other agents that may take it um yes and no um i would say that this depends on the agent in particular um so i tend to give referrals if i see potential in a manuscript but it’s not a fit for me for whatever reason

Um but not every agent will do it um it really depends it just really depends on them and if they really believe um that’ll be a great fit for someone else um but i’ve done it if i because i’ve had stories that i thought i would really like but like

But there was nothing really wrong with them but i just didn’t feel that spark for it um and i’ll be like hey why don’t you check out this agent i think they’d be a great fit for you um but yeah i think it’s an agent’s preference if they’re gonna do it or not

Awesome um i see this question which um i feel like i can relatively quickly address um pink cat kitty lover um asks what would you usually need for a book to show a literary agent like the premise summary etc you need a polished completed manuscript meaning you have edited this book on

Your own you’ve worked with critique partners and beta readers to get outside feedback and then edit the book based on that feedback so the book needs to be done and then you need to have a query letter and then a synopsis prepared a query letter i’ve talked about this in tons of videos

On my youtube channel megan’s been here caitlyn johnson has been here go watch those videos on the iwriterly youtube channel you’ll learn tons about how to write a query letter you also need a synopsis which is a one to two page document that summarizes everything that happens in your book

Um did you want to add anything to that no i feel like you just like that was ready to go you like said it so many times you’re like nowhere to go i’m good do some research you got this um next question was from amanda up to

What percent of the novel should be in the query and i’m i’m gonna interpret this so amanda feel free to add in the comments if you if to clarify if i’m understanding correctly like in the plot summary in your query letter that like one to three paragraph plot summary

Description book blur whatever you want to call it at what point should you stop so i that’s a tough one i think before the climax obviously um megan where would you say the plot summary or book blurb should stop um yeah i’d say like right before the climax sometimes even like right

After the inciting incident is okay because um it can start to get a little long-winded so like how i describe the query is you have your main character what they do what they want the inciting incident that challenges what they do and what they want and what are the stakes that they have

To do this thing um so it’s it’s basically like if they don’t do x or if they don’t reach x then this will happen um so yeah i think it just kind of depends on how much you might need to include in your query letter because

You know if you’re doing a fantasy book you might need to put a little bit more of the world in the context there but if you’re doing contemporary it could be like straight to the point of here’s what’s going on with the characters um but yeah i think right i do think

Before the climax and maybe just like a little bit after the inciting incident um so we have the stakes of the main character and what they have to lose if they don’t do something agreed agree yeah you want to hear the stakes for the character and for the

World and how those two overlap you don’t want to give away your ending in your query there we go do not put your ending in the query that’s for the synopsis because i’ll see it in the query that’s not where it goes i want the query is the hook of your book

And the synopsis is the plot the huge long plot there you go so your your your synopsis gives away all the spoilers it’s like reading a synopsis on like wikipedia or something right gives away everything but the stuff in your query so this is my book the cyborg tinkerer it’s the

Closest to me so i grabbed it and this stuff here is the plot summary right this is like the teasing to get you to read the book and it’s the same thing with the query letter it’s the teasing to get you to like open the pages and read it so you want to

Hint at the big problem for the character or the world and be like but what will they do who knows gotta read to find out like that’s how i like to think about it um okay let’s see yep yep you have to have your this is uh from the pink cat

Um uh the person who asked about what you need to have to query an agent yes your book needs so your entire book needs to be completely done tons of authors make this mistake do not query literary agents until your book is completely done edited polished the end all right let’s see

I see a question about auction megan do you want to talk about auction at all still muted i’d like i just talked to myself um yeah i haven’t done an auction yet but if i can what does this mean under an auction ah i can’t answer this question okay so um an auction

Is basically when two or more editors are competing for your book so when you put a book on submission you’re not just sending it to one editor your id your agent is sending it to multiple editors sometimes at the same publishing house mostly at different publishing houses

Um and if most if more than two editors like the book um you begin the auction which is where they kind of start bidding um for the best sort of outcome for your book so this takes into things like advanced marketing plan why they like the book what they can

Offer that the other publishers can’t and it goes around in a circle until there’s one editor left that’s how you win the auction um so yeah it it will vary who wins based on what the author wants monetary stuff what the publishers often it’ll always be a different winner based

On the career of that author and the agent’s perspective but yeah basically just keeps going until there’s one editor left and there’s usually a timeline for when someone has to have there’s usually a timeline for when you as an editor have to weigh in um for that awesome um this question i

Feel like um i’m going to answer um pretty quickly is this from ron what do you do if you’re only good at first pages you learn how to write a book well like you if you are just good at the opening then you got to learn how to write the

The structure of a story so how are stories structured how can you keep readers engaged on a scene level how can you keep people engaged how do you write stakes how do you do character development you got to do your research and you gotta learn so you got this

All right i think we’re gonna have a couple more questions before we finish out because we’re almost at an hour this question is from ancillo and they ask how long should you wait for responses slash feedback for a batch of queries um i can do it yeah so

Some agents and agencies will have a window of time for when you should respond sometimes it’s three months sometimes it’s longer sometimes it’s if you don’t hear back in x amount of time that query is closed out um so if there are no guidelines i say two to three months

Is a good follow-up time um but step rule number one is just see what the guidelines are if there are any if there are no guidelines two to three months um and only in that time period to follow up because agents are very busy and some agents

Don’t really like if you follow up before that time um yeah and some and for some agencies no response after a certain time is just it’s a no um so there is no strict timeline unfortunately which can make querying very long and very kind of frustrating but that’s the general rule of thumb

Um for the query submission forms how do authors follow up i’m curious oh like you mean if you use like query manager or something like that yeah um poke after two or three months yeah i believe like um i think it depends on the agent settings because i know that you can

Kind of like turn off responses but there usually is a way through query manager to send a message um or there is when you submit through query manager there is like a little status page that you can go to where you can see if your query i think has been it like

Is still pending or if it has been rejected um but yeah you can send messages through query manager okay uh it’s been a while since i’ve queried um and or used it from like a agency perspective so i was curious awesome do you have any questions that you want to

Answer like that you want to answer before we finish out let me take a peek because i’ve been i’ve left myself in full screen mode so i can read stuff so let me take let me take a little peek um that’s my dog just having a time back here she’s very

Very chatty today or it’s your stomach yeah i sound very loud i found yeah um i can answer that how many queries do i get in a month one because i feel like that’s always good yeah answer that and i’ll see if i can find it oh yeah okay uh

How many queries do i get in a month um it varies by month but just to give you an example of how busy agents can be i sometimes get between five to six hundred queries a month um and can can you stop chatting this is not your talk

Um yeah so i get roughly 500 to 600 a month um which you know if you think about that when i do my queries i ask for a query letter a synopsis and five pages so if i read all that i’m essentially reading seven to eight pages from all of you um

Which can take some time but yeah that’s my general amount some agents get less some agents get a lot more um so just a fun little thing to keep in mind yep um going back to the whole thing that we said before like don’t give agents a reason to say no

Because if they are reading that many sometimes they ring quick and you want to get like give them a reason to stay in your pages and really get excited about the story all right i think we will finish out the questions there so thank you guys so much everyone who submitted questions

And now it’s time for the winner of this week’s pre-order giveaway for the cyborg tinkerer ernest congratulations you are getting a first page critique from megan and i will be emailing you later with all the details so keep an eye out for your email if you um

If you don’t see anything from me check your spam folder sometimes you know the internet’s is just wonderful but um megan how can people stay in touch with you um you can find me on twitter at megan underscore manzano you can find my agency by just looking up the fourier literary

And you can visit my website meg which is going under a wonderful design renovation so i’m very excited to unveil that in a couple weeks i know you’re very excited about agent dana i know um so you can find me all those different ways awesome awesome and as you guys know i’m

Here on youtube i also am active on twitter and instagram if you want to support me do come check out uh patreon it’s at iwriterly thank you guys so much for joining us this was a blast definitely stay tuned for announcement for future first page critique videos and until next time

Uh you know keep writing thank you all for having me this was a ton of fun and i hope to be back soon to answer all your questions thank you so much again for coming megan i really appreciate it of course you know i’m always down all right bye

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