Back in April, I attended the 8th annual Writer’s Weekend at MT. SAC. Here are a few things I learned for writing in our genre from presenter Yishun Lai:
First, plot generates from character. What your story is about will progress based on what the characters do and say.
Second, you need a query for agents and publishers. If you go straight to a publisher, you need a query and if you go the traditional route and look for an agent, you need to query them. Make sure you do enough research to find what they are looking for and what they ask for before you submit. The other thing is you don’t have to take the first agent/publisher that approaches you. Compare and do your research. Check out querytracker.com, agentquery.com. Also, check janefriedman.com, which is filled with valuable tips for writers and supplies sample query letters.
Third, your pitch is an important piece to publishing. The pitch is what will draw the agent, so it is important to “hone it and own it.” Don’t let introversion get in the way, especially when pitching in person. The main thing is to write it and ask: what is this character facing? is this too specific or too general? why should agents, readers, etc. care about this story? what’s so different about this story that hasn’t already been told?
Last, she recommended the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)