Janet is much more than a literary agent working at New Leaf Literary in NYC. She moonlights as the QueryShark and is a champion for writers traveling on this arduous road toward publication. Among her followers, and there are many, she’s also known as the QOTKU (Queen of the Known Universe). A title well deserved. No doubt she would be queen if the universe was made up of writers and plenty of alcohol.
I’ve been following Janet’s blog for years now. It’s part of my daily routine like writing and drinking wine and if you’re serious about being published, then go visit her blog. This extraordinary lady has a new post every single day! What follows are ten quotes by Janet Reid, agent extraordinaire. (French accent, please.)
2. Really good novels don’t have everything on the page. Really good novels are like spiderwebs: the filaments, words, are important, but the space they create, the unspoken is what makes it beautiful.
4. So often writers add adjectives thinking they’re making things sound better, more descriptive, but forgetting that adjectives are like salt. A few good grains make the pasta perfect. Too much and you’re tossing the noodles and starting over.
6. Sure you want to have correct syntax and spelling, but more important than that is you want to have writing that makes people feel things…Good writing evokes powerful emotion. Good grammar evokes satisfaction. Know and respect their roles. They are not the same thing.
10. All the words in the query; which ones you choose and how you string them together: that’s YOUR voice…And it’s not just diction (word choice) it’s the rhythm of the sentence…That’s what you’re trying for. That’s why you revise. Voice is found in revision. It’s found in saying the sentences out loud. It’s found in the first million words of practice. It’s found in knowing the rules so you can break them with elegance and beauty. It’s found in knowing a lot of lovely wonderful words so you use the perfect word, not the almost-right word, or worse: the over-used word…Voice is who you are. Not who your characters are.
Maya Muses: Janet is a wonderful writer herself and I’ve told her a number of times in the comment section of her blog she should write a book. She’s also talented in writing humorous dialogue. If you want to read some of Janet’s hilarious misadventures with the Duchess of Yowl (a very hoity-toity cat) go over to her Facebook page. I guarantee you’ll laugh.
No, don’t thank me, if we ever meet up, a frozen margarita or two (no salt) will do.