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Knowing beforehand that you wouldn't fail, what would you attempt to do?


Oh this one is amusing! Write a pitch letter for my latest pro-submission novel to Donald Maass and hook him into becoming my agent and auctioning my novel for a five or six-figure advance to start my career with a bang. It almost wouldn't matter which one as long as Maass believed in it and helped me market it. Any of them could have the quality to be worth it after his critique -- and I would so be listening to his critique.

Beyond his sterling reputation, his amazing connections and his skill at critique and judging manuscripts, I bought his book, Writing the Breakout Novel. It was a freaky experience as point by point he described the qualities that create a potential bestseller. It was almost a feel-good book in that regard because his specific goals in a book were the same things I put in books and almost insist on in books whether I'm reading or writing them. It couldn't be that simple... but it is in his view. And it's irrespective of genre.

He wouldn't chuck mine for being too weird. He wouldn't toss it for being too over the top. He wouldn't tell me to tone it down here or make my characters small or more polite. He might critique dull passages but he wouldn't chop the sarcasm or try to insert stereotypes. He wouldn't demand that my characters be Normative and not larger than life, or that my setting be Normative and not larger than life. He wouldn't be telling me to water down my themes. He'd be showing me where to punch it up, where to let it shine, polishing it so that it'd be more of what it was to begin with. A big rollicking roller coaster of a novel with a wild setting readers want to visit and a big premise and a bigger than life cast with bigger conflicts than everyday troubles.

I never met a cliche without abusing it.

I never handled one and came up with the same things that are always done with it. I do sometimes pick one up and turn it inside out. I often just look at some convention of genre or fiction and think "What if that was real?" And find something taken for granted as kewl has serious down sides or vice versa, the scary thing has some weird benefits and up sides. Or both, and not what's expected of it. I love a twist. I tend to look for heroes among stock villains and villains among stock heroes sometimes.

I love my genre and expect to make a living on it. The road to getting an agent that good isn't going to be that quick and easy. But I may well do this anyway, eventually. We'll see how this goes. Life hasn't got those guarantees but it's a cool thought experiment. Including the effect of what happens if I believe that and put in the work to make it happen editing the letter about three dozen times before putting postage on it.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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