Three Links 8/28/2020 Loleta Abi

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Three Links 8/28/2020

Loleta Abi


1. “Is your manuscript ready to pitch, or does it still need work? It can be a maddening question to answer. Even for seasoned authors, the question of when a manuscript is ready to pitch can be a tough call.

Leonardo da Vinci is credited as saying, “A work of art is never done, only abandoned,” and it’s easy to feel like there’s always something else you can do, some new element you can add to make your manuscript stronger.

Of course, that’s usually true. But if you’re ever going to write another book, there comes a point where you’re going to have to take a deep breath, cross your fingers, and hit submit.

So: How do you know when that time has come?

The most effective process I’ve found for determining whether a manuscript is ready to pitch is to look at its opening the way a publishing pro would. This means first reading the query letter and synopsis and then turning a critical eye to the first fifty pages.”

2. “I would love to hear more advice about finding an agent or if we really need one.

I’m planning to teach a Zoom course on this topic through ACFW on September 18. Here is their link: ACFW conference.

If you are planning to attend, I’d love to see you there. The conference offers, for a reasonable cost, many excellent classes and chances to connect with editors and agents.

As for my class in particular, here is the course description:

With many publishing options available in today’s market, the author’s path from publishing that first book to becoming an established author may not seem as obvious as in the past. Authors need a friend in the industry to navigate this market. That friend is your literary agent. Find out more about why you need an agent, how to get an agent, and what to expect once you sign with an agent. This workshop will lean heavily toward a Q&A format, so be ready with your most burning question!”

3. “To write a novel, you have to do more than simply tell a story. You have to stop yourself from telling the story all at once.

One of the trickiest skills in fiction is to flesh out the history of your point-of-view character. In some cases, this can be done in just a few sentences. But in other novels, the character’s past is crucial to understanding how he or she acts in the present, and a few sentences of background aren’t enough.

The great pitfall is presenting too much background information too quickly. The reader needs to be fully immersed and engaged in the present-day story before the writer has the luxury of delving into the backstory. We have to care about a character’s current predicament before we’ll have the patience to learn what brought the character to this impasse.

I had some trouble with this skill when I started writing fiction. (I wrote four never-published books before writing my debut novel, FINAL THEORY, which was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008.) In my first attempt I created a character named Jack Blanchard, a 29-year-old newspaper reporter in Montgomery, Alabama, who’s covering the reelection campaign of a longtime governor with a vicious segregationist past. (Like many first novels, this one was somewhat autobiographical; in 1986 I was a reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser and wrote stories about George Wallace, who was still Alabama’s governor at the time.) Jack has a younger brother named Philip who’s only twelve years old; I mention this fact in the novel’s first chapter, but I don’t provide any explanation for the big age difference between the two. But about fifty pages into the”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “I hope all is well with you, I am sure that many of you in the UK and Ireland have been experiencing the benefits of Storm Ellen who seems like a very bad tempered individual. The wind has dropped marginally compared to the last four days and one benefit of our unpredictable weather for the last three weeks is that I have not had to water the pots once..

There are worst things however than too much water and I hope that the current California bush fires are soon brought under control. It is devastating the area and over 770,000 acres have already been destroyed. With everything else happening on top of Covid 19, it is another blow to the health and safety of millions.

Book reviews and other marketing observations.”

2. “And we’re back with Part II of Tiny Creatures Episode 6 deconstruction. In Part I, we looked at characterization, plotting, pacing, and the importance of raising story questions. In this segment, let’s narrow in on story structure, scene development, character arc, word choices, and story rhythm.

First, a quick review of Tiny Creatures Episode 6 Deconstruction Part I to allow you to see the full character arc. Within a four-part story structure, each Part of the character arc equals 25%.”

3. facing massive uncertainty, as exists in today’s highly interconnected global economy, it is essential to appreciate both what one does know as well as what one does not know.  ~Vikram Mansharamani

Publishing has been operating in an atmosphere of uncertainty for years now. Right now we’re in a pandemic which has affected all businesses as well as consumer behavior, so obviously publishing is uncertain right now. But — we could look back to the financial crisis of 2008 when everything was thrown into question, and say, THAT was really when publishing faced uncertainty. Or… was it the previous year, 2007, when the Kindle was released, that things really changed? The introduction of digital books certainly changed the landscape. But wait. It had to be social media that changed everything, right? Why would people read books when they could scroll Twitter all day? We had no idea what was going to happen!

But then again, maybe it was the Internet itself that made publishing so uncertain. Would people need books anymore, when they could get all they wanted online? No, no, no. It was television that was going to kill books. But weren’t video games the death knell? No, it was movies. Maybe it was radio! Actually, it was the ease of self-publishing that was going to kill the traditional publishing industry. Right?”

Some Things More Serious:




Teaser Fiction & Poetry:




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “Today’s review is for the book, The Mermaid and the Bear , a book  I would never have picked up on my own if I hadn’t read such an enticing review from Diana Peach’s review list. Diana’s review roped me in, having me thinking it would be similar to an Alice Hoffman book I read last year – Incantation, where the setting was back in the late 15th century, and Jews were persecuted just for existing. And in this book, it’s set in 16th century – ish, where in this story it’s Isobel who fled to safety in Scotland, when she fled England, and greed took precedence over humanity (sounds familiar?), and women were accused of being witches. So, in many ways these books are similar with the persecution theme and no doubt, I was drawn to it. I think I would describe this book genre as Historical/Mystical Fiction, being that the characters are fictional, but the setting of the times reflects accurately of what was the political crimes of the times. Once you reach the end of the book, you will learn that the story was created around three real women accused of witchcraft, written into this fictional story.”

2. “The story begins when Serang is 6 years old and progresses through her teens. As a child, she’s abandoned at a temple by her mother. The monastery becomes her home, its residents her family, until the Emperor has the monks killed. On the run, Serang finds a new master who continues her training as the two of them travel across the harsh land.

The characters are wonderfully 3-dimensional, and I enjoyed the way their relationship developed. The worldbuilding is exquisite. After I finished reading, I learned that the tale is a fantasy, and I laughed because I had assumed that the setting was a real place.

The plot consists of the journey as well as Serang’s training and mastery. As an origin story there’s no giant climatic conclusion, but there is a satisfying ending to the intriguing tale. The pace is steady overall with moments of exciting action. I recommend this book as a companion read/prequel to the Lanternfish books, which I’ll be reading soon.

3. “Bear with me, I’m used to reviewing books not podcasts, but my recent obsession with such things has lead me to the understanding that stories are told in many ways and if, like me, true crime stories fascinate you, there is a whole new community that awaits. I’m sure I’ll get better at giving decent feedback on podcasts but I’m sure like my early book reviews, this may lack a certain flair.

I’ve listened to many podcasts in the last few months, from well known ones such as Serial to lesser known ones…I’m starting with The Prosecutors because it’s not only informative, intriguing and entertaining but it also allows you to dive in and out- to choose episodes here and there rather than having to commit in a serialised way. Also, mainly, because it is now one of my firm favourites, one I avidly await new episodes of now I’m up to date.

Brett and Alice are US Prosecutors, good friends, professional yet highly entertaining as they take you through many well known cases and a few lesser known ones. I came to them off the back of trying to unravel the Maura Murray rabbit hole- trust me, don’t Google it you’ll never come out alive – wanting someone, anyone, to lay it out in understandable terms. They did. Thank heavens. The standard way they deal with cases is fact first, dismiss obvious white noise, offer a possible interpretation based on reality not fantasy. Oh, and have a lot of fun doing it.”

2 responses to “Three Links 8/28/2020 Loleta Abi”

  1. Hi Traci. Thanks so much for sharing my review here. ❤

    1. You’re welcome, Debbie!

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