Some authors are stuck in the past, others have forgotten the past

Blogger Kristen Lamb entertainingly tells it like it is.

An agent query letter that brought home the six-figure bacon!

Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency has kindly shared the query letter by author Scott Reintgen that convinced her to sign him. I’m guessing Scott was already pretty happy about that. But when Kristin brokered a mid-six-figure deal with Crown Books for Young Readers for Scott’s debut science fiction young adult trilogy, he must have been ecstatic.

Use the link above to read the full query letter that Scott sent Kristin and with one click on the Send button propelled his career into the stratosphere!

 

Story Structure and Character Arcs in Breaking Bad

Novelists can learn a lot about crafting stories from the structures and character arcs that play out across many of the stunningly successful non-network TV series that have been produced over the last fifteen years. I’m talking about shows like Mad Men, Sopranos, The Wire, House of Cards, True Detective, and Breaking Bad. Therese Walsh of the great Writer Unboxed website has written a very insightful article about the latter and delved into how Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan managed to turn mild-mannered chemistry professor Walter White into a scheming drug lord over the course of six seasons and still keep the audience rooting for him.

The article ends with this golden piece of advice:

  • Persevere. Considering Breaking Bad’s incredible success, you’d think it was in a Hollywood bidding war or something, right? Nope. The show was famously turned down by many before AMC picked it up. Sometimes different is scary to the Establishment. Don’t let that stop you from creating innovative works or pursuing publication.

Narrative distance doesn’t have to be consistent

Using examples from Hemingway, author Ron MacLean has written a wonderfully concise post on the Grub Street website demolishing the oft-taught maxim that narrative distance should remain constant over the course of a piece of writing.

Keyhole

Narrative distance is analogous to shot choices in movie making, such as close-ups, POV, wide shots, birds-eye view, etc. There is absolutely no reason (other than a desire to be ridiculously pedantic) for maintaining a single distance over an entire novel or story any more than using the same shots throughout a movie. Thanks for the insight, Ron!

Photo credit: katerha / Foter.com / CC BY