Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How right is your writing?

She did everything wrong.

I wanted to cover my eyes and ears and sink down into my chair. I sat with four other writers in a circle around the agent as the lady next to me pitched her idea.

Hadn't she read any articles on what to say and do? She said God told her to write these stories; that they flowed from her heart to her mouth. Then she rattled off a dozen titles.

I groaned and watched for signs that the agent would stop her from embarrassing herself anymore.

But he didn't.

She offered to read something.

And he let her.

I dared a quick look at the others around me. A mirror of my own thoughts.

But then she opened her notebook and read. Sweet. Powerful. Amazing. Words.

With the strongest voice I've ever heard.

Yes, she did everything wrong. And the agent asked for more.

It's all about good writing in the end, isn't it?

Are you spending more time getting your presentation right or your writing right?

40 comments:

Julie Jarnagin said...

So true. This is a great reminder.

MeganRebekah said...

Writing is key! Thanks for the reminder!!

(that said, I wonder if the agent would've requested pages if she'd only read a query. presentation isn't everything, but it gets yuor writing in the door)

Lynn said...

I've been in similar situations-almost rolling my eyes and then, amazing writing. Yes, it's about writing!

Lin Floyd said...

how true.

BeckyJoie said...

You will do both ends right. That is just the kind of person you are. BTW, I love your blog makeover. :>) Beautiful.

Rita's Random Ramblings said...

Wow! I love the new look of your blog!

How true! Presentation is important, but if the writing isn't right it won't get you very far.

Hugs, Rita

Cheryl Wright said...

Like you and the other writers at the table, people may cringe at what we say and how we say it. But we can't go wrong, we can't be wrong, when we write from our hearts and blend it with good writing practices.

The message, our message, our story shines above and beyond the accustomed rules.

Cheryl Wright said...

I'm salivating on Majorie Holmes's Writing Articles from the Heart - it encourages a thoughtful blend of heart and writing rules and practices.

Karen Lange said...

The writing is key, but then a little advance preparation and knowledge never hurt either:)

Andrea said...

Just simply writing from my heart...

Blessings, andrea

Keli Gwyn said...

Ultimately, our writing is what will lead to offers of representation or publishing contracts, but we have to have enough presentation skills to get the agents and editors to take a look at our work.

Your experience proves that conferences are a great tool. That talented writer may have received an automatic rejection had she emailed a query with the same information she shared verbally, but because she was sitting in front of the editor, who could see her earnestness and hear her passion, he gave her a chance. Getting face to face time is worth the cost.

Catherine West said...

this is so absolutely true. I had to blog about my thoughts on the aftermath of contests today because I'm just so frustrated with it. People need to understand how subjective this business is. Your writing is what will make or break you, and even if you end up selling a million copies, somebody will hate your book. :0)

Andrea said...

Yes, Terry..I take all the pictures that are on my blog. The one today was taken near the James River State Park, in Virginia. It was a beautiful drive about an hour or so from our house....I know you said you want to live here...but "remember" it does snow here!
Hugs, love, and prayers,
andrea

Nancy said...

What a great story and how fortunate that the agent knew not to prejudge too harshly. I think it probably is best to do a great story, but consider doing the best presentation you can muster.

Jan Cline said...

those are powerful words from you too. You are so right. I cringed when some of the people at my table fumbled, but when they read - it was not so good. How awesome for this lady. Hope she got noticed.

ginny said...

Thank you Terri for your thoughts and prayers. He needs them badly.

Diane said...

In spite of ourselves, God can do it! :O)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

Powerful blog post! We can do everything "right," and miss the boat if our writing doesn't hit the target or vice versa.

Blessings,
Susan

Jessica Nelson said...

I hope writing is everything because my query doesn't seem to be overly effective so far! *sigh*
I love when stuff like that happens. I hope that writer goes places.

Sally said...

Situations such as these cause me to look into my motivation. From where does the inspiration flow? For what purpose? Who am I trying to glorify?

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Hi Terri!
Thanks for stopping by Eternity Cafe. I so appreciate your comment.

This was a great post. It also shows me that you are humble and open to see the beauty in another's words, despite her poor beginning.

I'll be back!
Susan

Joyfulsister said...

I remember not wanting to share my writing, yet the Lord continued to speak to my heart and as I wrote, the words just flowed.
I decided to trust him and share and I will never forget how each poem, words of encouragement, songs etc began to touch souls who read it. I never professed to be a writer, or even a seasoned one. I worried about grammer, editing things I surely was not good at. But I was assured in my spirit that because I wrote from my heart.. others would read it from their hearts as well, and I continue to share till this day!

Wonderful post I'm glad I found your as I was visiting other blogs for the first time.

Aloha Lorie

paulgreci said...

Great post, Terri! In the end, and in the beginning, it is all about the writing. Your post is a great reminder!!

Heckety said...

Oh boy that's a tough one! You work so hard to get everything just so, and then God takes over and changes your perception and you all you can think is 'Oh LORD!'.

Georgiana said...

Oh my--this is a great lesson! We DO spend a lot of time, as writers, trying to get everything "just so" because we don't want to make a giant faux pas. Great reminder!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Bingo! *smiling* Of course, if she'd have sent that in a query letter and not face to face, an agent may never ask for a sample and that's the pity in this business!

Love this post, Terri

Kara said...

Good reminder! I've experienced a few moments like this and am so glad for the lesson:)

Kara said...

Oh, and I have gave you an award on my blog on Monday:)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. You make a strong point here, Terri. What a powerful reminder. :-)

Jill Kemerer said...

What a lovely post, Terri. It really is about the writing, isn't it?

a jacob black tale said...

If I could only get that far.

Linda Glaz said...

VERY good post and so true!

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

I will never forget sitting and listening to a woman pitch her God-breathed book idea on eagles. I don't know what happened to her, but have often wondered...

Who am I to judge? Maybe her words were amazing too.

Heather Sunseri said...

I've really loved all your tales from the conference. I'm excited and nervous every time I imagine myself around that same table.

That's a great story. Get that writing right, right?

Jeanette Levellie said...

So true. Thanks for the reminder. I needed that today!

Amy Tate said...

You know Terri, you've hit on a biggie. I read blogs on the run and squeeze time out of time to write. Then after my kids are in bed, I'll pick up a book on queries and marketing etc...All of this is after the dishes, diapers and dust. There is a lot of pressure on writers these days, but you nailed it. Writers write and it's the writing that matters. Everything else is exaggerated fluff. Good fluff, but fluff all the same. Thank you!

sarah said...

I love this...b/c ultimately He has the last 'word.'

T. Anne said...

I'm breathing a sigh of relief. For her and for me. ;) I seem to d it all wrong even if I DO know all the rules. Painful yet true... BTW, love your voice.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

This writer showed her "voice" in the conversation and obviously the agent liked it. It's great when good stuff happens. Sticking your neck out can go one of two ways...good or not so good. :) Nice post, Terri.

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