Monday, September 13, 2010

A Good Agent is Worth his Weight in Cheese Steak

Crazy day, left SLC this morning and just got into Philly, (actually Cherry Hill, NJ, but close enough.) So no long post today. But I do want to give you a quick update on Demon Spawn, and make a comment.

Talked to my agent for the first time after he’d read the complete manuscript. The good news is he LOVED everything except two chapters. The even better news is that the more I think about what he said about those two chapters, the more excited I get to rewrite them. They are going to give the story so much more kick at a very key point. Even though it’s late, I really want to get started on the changes.

I often hear authors complain about their agents or editors. We see things a certain way, and it’s hard for us to change what we love. I haven’t agreed with everything my editors or agents have told me, but I think long and hard before I disagree. And the main thing I think about is how their suggestions can make my story stronger. It’s not always obvious (although this time it was.) But you really have to step out of your author shoes, put on your reader shoes, and try to look at your story through the eyes of someone who doesn’t have the story in his or her head.

Open your mind and try to imagine how the editor or agent is viewing the story. Then ask yourself how making their suggested changes (even if you don’t completely agree) could make a stronger story than you have now. If you can see any chance of how that might happen, they are probably right. If you can’t see how you can make the changes without weakening the story, then go back and discuss what the problem is and how else you might address it.

The agent or editor isn’t always right, but 9 times out of 10 when they spot a problem, they are correct. As the builder of worlds, it’s up to you to see the flaw they have recognized and turn it into a strength. The final copy we'll take to publishers is getting so close I can taste it. Or maybe it's just the cheese steak!

5 comments:

J.N. Future Author said...

Awesome!!! ^.^ I can't wait to actually hold a physical copy of Demon Spawn in my hands, while waiting in a line to get it signed! ^.^

Julie Wright said...

I can't wait to hear about your book deal--knowing it will be awesome and amazing and deserved. A good agent is worth a whole whole lot.

Talk to you at the UVU conference

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

Hey Cherry Hill isn't too far from me. How long are you going to be in town?

Matthew Rush said...

Hey Scott. I saw a comment you left on Nathan Bransfords blog, and I thought it was brilliant, so I stopped by to follow your blog.

Nice to meet you!

J Scott Savage said...

Matthew,

Thanks for dropping by! It's great to meet you.