100 Agents to Submit Your YA Novel to Right Now!

100 agentsAre you looking for YA literary agents to submit your novel to? You’ve come to the right place!

I’ve rounded up a giant list of one hundred literary agents who are looking for the next great YA novel (which is going to be yours, right?).

The links will take you to the agent’s profile or submission guidelines so you can find out more. Some agents listed specific stories they were looking for so I included those here. If there’s nothing specific listed beside an agent assume they are open to all sub-genres (but of course always double-check and do your research as things may change).

And of course, before you submit your novel to any agent always edit it first! (Preferably multiple times. Until you want to cry. Or sleep for days.)

Giant List of YA Literary Agents

1. Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary

2. Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary–select YA

3. Eric Smith of P.S. Literary–seeking diverse YA, particularly Sci-Fi/Fantasy

4. Lydia Blyfield of Carol Mann Agency–seeking YA with strong hooks/modern themes. NO High Fantasy.

5. Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency

6. Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency

7. Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency–any, preference toward Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Romance

8. Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency

9. Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency

10. Luara Zats of Red Sofa Literary–particularly interested in retellings & contemporary. NO dystopia or paranormal/contemporary romance.

11. Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary

12. Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

13. Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

14. Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency–open to a wide range of genres, with particular interest in diversity, contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, horror, and fantasy.

15. Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency

16. Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency–preference for contemporary settings, standout romance, strong friendships, & sibling relationships

17. Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency–any YA, but would love to see contemporary stories with Sci-Fi or Fantasy elements, retellings, and horror.

18. Louise Fury of The Bent Agency

19. Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency

20. Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency–open to mystery, fantasy, scifi, humor, boy books, historical, contemporary (really any genre).

21. Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency–any, but favorite genres include historical fiction, suspense, mysteries, and romance

22. Beth Phelan of The Bent Agency

23. Brooks Sherman of The Bent Agency–seeking “young adult fiction of all types except paranormal romance. I would especially love to get my hands on a creepy and/or funny contemporary young adult project. ”

24. Taylor Haggerty of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

25. Kirsten Carleton of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

26. Holly Root of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

27. Scott Waxman of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

28. Reiko Davis of Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency–“Actively looking for young adult and middle grade fiction—whether it be contemporary, historical, high fantasy, or simply a story with a timeless quality and vibrant characters.”

29. Miriam Altshuler of Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency–“most interested in contemporary and historical YA… She loves dystopian worlds and great stories that have some fantasy to them…but that are not strictly in the fantasy genre.”

30. Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger Inc.–“She is consistently ranked among the top three YA and MG agents in Publishers Marketplace.”

31. Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.

32. Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary Agency–“particularly seeking contemporary, multicultural, sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal, alternate history, retellings.

33. Caryn Wiseman of Andrea Brown Literary Agency–contemporary YA, NO fantasy

34. Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency

35. Jennifer Rofe of Andrea Brown Literary Agency–seeking contemporary, romance, and urban fantasy.

36. Jennifer Mattson of Andrea Brown Literary Agency–particularly drawn to fantasy

37. Stacey Kendall Glick of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management

38. Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management

39. Lauren Abramo of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management

40. John Rudolph of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management

41. Rachel Stout of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management–“Believable and thought-provoking YA as well as magical realism.”

42. Erin Young of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management–“Interested in all forms of young adult fiction, particularly fantasy, paranormal, and magical realism.”

43. Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management

44. Katie Reed of Andrea Hurst & Associates–any, but particularly seeking contemporary, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, retellings.

45. Genevive Nine of Andrea Hurst & Associates–seeking sci-fi/fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, retellings (classics, fairy/folk tale, myth), contemporary.

46. Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary–“currently very keen to find a powerful big YA fantasy (in the vein of Kristin Cashore) and unique contemporary, realistic fiction; also loves historical, so long as it’s got strong appeal to contemporary teens. ”

47. John Cusick of Greenhouse Literary–“Particularly keen to see fast-paced/thrilling/heart-breaking stories, contemporary realism, historicals, speculative fiction, sci-fi and fresh fantasy.”

48. Sandy Lu of L. Perkins Agency–particularly seeking Victorian historical thrillers or mysteries.

49. Leon Husock of L. Perkins Agency

50. Rachel Brooks of L. Perkins Agency

51. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency

52. Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary Agency

53. Sarah LaPolla of Bradford Literary Agency

54. Amy Boggs of Donald Maas Literary Agency–“All things fantasy and science fiction, especially high fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk (and its variations), YA, MG, and alternate history.”

55. Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maas Literary Agency

56. Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberly Cameron and Associates

57. Pooja Menon of Kimberly Cameron and Associates–“looking for stories that deal with the prevalent issues that face teenagers today. She is also interested in fantasy, magical-realism, and historical fiction.”

58. Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary–“She would love to see a beautifully written YA set within other cultures and experiences.”

59. Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary

60. Jess Regel of Foundry Literary + Media

61. Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency

62. Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency

63. Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency

64. Frank Weiman of Folio Literary Management–endearing characters, strong voice, no paranormal

65. Erin Harris of Folio Literary Management–seeking “Contemporary, voice-driven novels that approach the universal experience of being a teenager from a surprising or an unlikely perspective.” Also, thrillers and mystery.

66. Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management–“fiction set in another country…I’d also like to see: Contemporary YA that’s not afraid to explore complex social issues, historical fantasy…and good, old-fashioned YA romance.”

67. Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary Management–“I’m attracted to realistic contemporary stories with a strong sense of voice…I’m also looking for YA mysteries, thrillers, horror, science fiction, urban fantasy, speculative, historical with a twist (alternate historical or historical with magical realism).”

68. Jessica Faust of Bookends Literary Agency–contemporary YA

69. Kim Lionetti of Bookends Literary Agency–any except sci-fi or fantasy

70. Beth Campbell of Bookends Literary Agency

71. Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency

72. Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Management

73. Stephanie Rostan of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency

74. Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency

75. Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown LTD

76. Jonathan Lyons of Curtis Brown LTD

77. Alice Tasman of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

78. Laura Biagi of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

79. Caitlin Blasdell of Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency

80. Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency

81. Lauren E. MacLeod of The Strothman Agency

82. Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary

83. Adrienne Rosado of Nancy Yost Literary Agency

84. Lisa Rodgers of JABerwocky Literary Agency

85. Joanna MacKenzie of Browne & Miller Literary Associates

86. Katie Grimm of Don Congdon Associates

87. Katie Kochman of Don Congdon Associates

88. Maura Kye-Casella of Don Congdon Associates

89. Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio

90. Sarah Heller of The Helen Heller Agency

91. Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman

92. Emily Forland of Brandt & Hochman

93. Emma Patterson of Brandt & Hochman

94. Faye Bender of Faye Bender Literary Agency

95. Jason Anthony of Lippincott Massie McQuiken Agency

96. Folade Bell of Serendipity Literary Agency

97. John Weber of Serendipity Literary Agency

98. Danielle Chiotti of Upstart Crow Literary

99. Ted Malawar of Upstart Crow Literary

100. Alexandra Penfold of Upstart Crow Literary

You’re welcome. 😉

Now what are you waiting for? Get to querying!

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How to Use Word Choice to Set the Mood of Your Story

word choiceDo you pay attention to mood in your writing? If not, you should!

It’s a subtle and very powerful tool for writers. And not something you want to overlook! By setting the mood of a scene, you can manipulate how you want the reader to feel. It’s like the Jedi mind trick of writing. Pretty cool, huh?

So just how can a writer take advantage of this awesome power? There are several techniques you can use. Let’s get started!

What is Mood?

When you hear “mood” you might be confused or intimated and think it’s some vague literary term. Maybe your English teach forced you to analyze the mood of different novels in the past and you’re now wary of the word. But don’t panic–it’s really simple. Here’s the definition of mood from Dictionary.com:

A state or quality of feeling at a particular time.

When applied to your story, mood means what a certain scene makes a reader feel. The mood of your story should be directed by the feelings of your characters.

Mood Comes from Character

Before you set the mood for your story, reflect on how your character is feeling. What are his thoughts or feelings about this place or moment? Is he awed, frightened, curious, or sad? Sure you could select any mood at random for your scene, but that’s not the point.

The purpose of creating a mood for a scene is to allow the reader to experience the story as the character does. If the character is frightened then you should work to create fear in the reader.

When you don’t match characters’ feelings with the mood, it can hurt your story. If your character is lost in the wilderness and you’re describing the beauty of nature, it won’t flow as well–imagine trying to jam together two puzzle pieces that don’t fit. Your reader might wonder why the character is admiring the trees and squirrels when he’s lost in the middle of nowhere. This will also keep the reader from fully feeling the character’s panic and fear at being lost.

You should also consider your character’s personality, as different people will experience the same place in different ways. For example, for Character A a circus is exciting, but for Character B it’s terrifying, and for Character C it’s a bore. If you love the circus, don’t describe it in a positive way if your character hates it!

So basically, the reader’s feelings of a scene should be filtered through the POV character so the reader can experience the story as the character does.

Techniques for Setting Mood

There are three basic ways to create the mood for a scene: details, similes, and vocabulary choice. Let me show you a couple examples of these techniques in action.

Example #1:

The pine boughs tickled Snow White’s arms as she wandered through the forest. Robins sang and flitted from branch to branch overhead, and a rabbit scampered past. She paused to admire a Dogwood adorned in white blooms so that it looked as though its branches cradled fluffs of cloud. She plucked a blossom and stroked its petals, which were as soft as a mouse’s fur. A squirrel nestled in one of the branches peered at her from behind its bushy tail.

Example #2:

Bare branches scratched at Snow White’s arms as she stumbled through the forest, and. A raven cawed and swooped over her head, startling her. Twisted tree roots snatched at her feet like the fingers of a corpse emerging from a grave, and dragged her to the ground. The damp earth stained her blue dress like thunderclouds smudging out a summer sky. She swallowed back her tears as a wolf’s wail pierced the cold air.

These examples are pretty overdone and melodramatic, but you get the point. Both convey a specific mood, which reflects what the character is feeling and draws the reader in to share her experience.

  • Details

What does your character notice? Different people will notice different things, so it will depend on her personality. You don’t have to include every detail your character might notice. Choose specific details that will be most helpful for setting the mood you want.

In the first example to make the scene feel warm and fuzzy, I mentioned details like robins, bunnies, squirrels, and a tree in bloom. These are also details an animal-lover like Snow White would probably notice.

In the second example, I chose to describe the details of a raven, wolf, twisted tree roots, and damp dirt. These are all things a frightened Snow White might notice while struggling through a forest.

  • Similes

The second technique you can use to convey mood is similes. Comparing one thing to another can evoke emotion and give the reader a vivid picture of how the character is feeling/perceiving the scene.

In the same way you would consider what details your character might notice, consider what he/she might use as a comparison for something. For example, an art lover might express themselves through art comparisons, or a sports player might make athletic comparisons.

In the first example I compared the spring blossoms to fluffs of cloud, and the petals to a mouse’s fur. In the second, I compared tree roots to a corpse’s fingers, and the dirt staining her dress to thunderclouds blotting out a clear sky. The comparisons in each example reflect the character’s mood.

  • Vocabulary choice

The last tactic you can use is vocabulary choice. Consider what words you will include to create a specific mood and how a reader will react to them emotionally.

Notice how in the first example I used words like tickled, sang, flitted, scampered, admire, adorned, blossom, fluffs, bloom, stroked, soft, nestled, and bushy. Each of these word conveys a feeling of tranquility.

In the second example, I used bare, scratched, stumbled, swooped, startling, twisted, snatched, dragged, damp, wail, pierced, and cold. Notice how these words make you feel…not very pleasant, right?

It takes practice to become aware of and intentional with your word choice but it’s well worth the effort. Words are powerful, and you should take advantage of your word choice to manipulate how you want the reader to feel about a scene.

Do you pay attention to mood in your writing? What techniques do you use to set the mood?

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7 Writers Share Their Writing Secrets

7 WritersWriting is a long, difficult journey (one that never really ends), and you tend to pick up a lot of things along the way.

Like always keep a notepad on your nightstand. Or act out scenes to help you describe them (even if it makes you feel like a crazy person).

I’ve asked 7 awesome writers/bloggers to share their writing “secrets.” What tips and tricks have they discovered? Read on to find out!

Secrets for Writers

Brett Michael Orr is a young writer and blogger from Australia. He has been writing for several years, and is currently working on a Young Adult Science-Fiction novel.

Drafting is always a difficult process. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re staring at the infamous white page, that this your chance to write a scene from scratch, and it can be paralysing. There’s also pressure on word count–if you’ve only written a hundred words, it’s easy to feel really bad about yourself.
     Here’s the secret though–your book will go through at least one, if not four or five, major edits and rewrites–and that’s before it arrives at a publisher. There will be many, many opportunities to edit and ‘perfect’ that scene. You can’t perfect a blank page.
     Just write, take the quickest path through the scene to move your characters where they should be, and move on. When you edit, you’ll be deleting (or adding) paragraphs at a time, so don’t agonize over your draft. After all, first drafts are meant to be rewritten!
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Heather from BitsNBooks enjoys writing Historical Fiction. Her research for her stories always allows her to learn something new.  She also adds, “my aim is to make people cry (is that mean?).” Not at all, Heather 😉

If you have an idea for something but can’t seem to get it right, put yourself in the scene. What can you see, hear, smell, feel? I don’t know if it’s a thing all writers do, or if it’s just a weird me thing, but I try to imagine what the scene would look like if it were being made into a film (one day…I can dream, right?).

I know this definitely won’t work for everyone, but I always know what my ending is before I get too far into a piece of writing. The more I write the more I realise that a story will grow and change of its own accord. I think it’s for this reason that I need to have an ending so that I can keep it largely on track.

It’s like going on holiday–your plane might get delayed and you miss a connecting flight, but you still want to get to a particular destination eventually, so you’ll make new plans according to that destination.

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E.K. Moore from A Cup of English Tea is a college student from the northwest of the United States. She writes an eclectic mix of genres and forms including (but not limited to): fantasy, realistic fiction, romance, magical realism, short stories, novels, novellas, flash fiction etc. She has finished five novels but has yet to be published. Regardless, writing is one of her favorite pastimes, and likely will be for many years to come.

Take breaks when you’re having writer’s block. Best options for me are hot showers or long walks to get creativity flowing again. For editing I recommend reading out loud. It helps you catch your own mistakes and often helps solidify first person voice if using that.

line dividerMichelle from The Writing Hufflepuff  lives in The Netherlands and has been making up stories for as long as she can remember; as soon as she learned to write she wrote them down. She mostly writes fantasy with a lot of angst and death, but also some lighthearted humor. She hopes to write for a living, but for now strives toward studying journalism next school year.

A lot of people give the advice that you should always write, even if you don’t feel like it. I would like to give the opposite advice: if you’re not feeling it, because you’re tired or for any other reason–don’t write.

Writing should be something you love, not a chore. If you’d rather lie in bed and watch TV shows all day long, then go do that. That doesn’t make you a bad writer, it makes you a writer who just rather relaxes that day instead of forcing theirselves to write.

Do write whenever you can and want to, though, but not because you have to, or because you’re not a writer or a bad writer when you don’t, but because you love doing it.

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B.A. Wilson is a Missouri librarian with a rather serious One-Click addiction. She enjoys reading and writing YA novels, consuming caffeinated beverages, and spending too much time on Twitter.

I like to carry blank name tags in my purse and coat pockets. When an idea comes to me, I write it down on a name tag. Once I get home, I peel and stick the note into my project sketchbook or outline. It saves me from having to rewrite or transfer notes.

I stole this idea (can’t even remember from where), but it’s great! When I’m writing or editing and either don’t have internet access or don’t want to stop my forward motion to research something, I insert the word FLIBBIT into my manuscript.

Sometimes I tag a note after it (FLIBBIT: research bomb construction). Sometimes I even use it for parts I’m dissatisfied with (FLIBBIT: This character’s name sucks. Try again), or for situations I don’t have a solution for yet (FLIBBIT: Fix gaping plot hole to correct timeline inaccuracy).

It’s far enough away from being a real word that it’s easy to spot. When I have more time to address the problem, I search for all the FLIBBITs in my manuscript and update, correct, or rewrite those sections.

It makes me feeling better knowing I tagged the issue, even if I’m not going to fix it immediately. That gives me the peace of mind to work forward, and I know never to send out a manuscript to readers without addressing all those FLIBBITs first.

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line dividerRae from What Happened to the Wallflower is a student at New Mexico State University studying English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. She reads everything, writes strange things, edits, blogs, tweets, and drinks way too much coffee.

Okay, so it’s not really a “secret,” but I wake up at 5 a.m. on the weekdays  and spend until nearly 7 a.m. at my laptop, writing. This means that I don’t have the distraction of my roommate being awake, so my apartment is calm and quiet enough to give myself the kind of environment I can concentrate on my writing in.

It also gives me the added plus of making writing the first thing I do during the day, so I can concentrate on other matters later: school, work, homework. Scheduling my writing time like this has given me a lot more structure, and has forced me to be a lot more accountable toward what I write, and how much I get down a day.

line dividerBriana Mae Morgan has been writing for as long as she can remember. Genre-wise she has settled into YA and NA fiction. She is currently writing a novel called BLOOD AND WATER. You can find out more about her novel and get writing advice on her website, and follow her on Twitter.

I have a couple of tips and tricks for writing. One is a website, focus@will. It plays ambient music that helps me concentrate and really get down to the business of writing. Also, there’s Write or Die, which is great for helping me avoid distractions while I write.

Above all, what helps me produce is remembering not to get it right, but to get it written. After all, you can’t edit a blank page. Turn off your inner editor while writing and you’ll be amazed how much more you get done.

Have you ever used any of the tricks in this post? Do you have some secrets of your own? Share them in the comments below!

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How to Use Paragraphs to Control Pacing

paragraph pacing 2Many writers may not pay attention to paragraphs, especially when starting out, but they hold a subtle power over your novel.

But don’t underestimate them–paragraphs can invite a reader into your novel or drive them away. And if you learn how to manipulate them, you can use their power to your advantage.

Beware Unwieldy Paragraphs

When you pick up a book at the store and thumb through the pages only to find unbroken blocks of text spanning an entire page or more, how do you feel? I don’t know about you, but when I see back-to-back giant paragraphs, I don’t get the warm and fuzzies.

Giant paragraphs are hard on the eyes. All that text going on and on and on…it’s intimidating to readers and can scare them off.  Your readers might think your book will be a tough read and decide to drift away to something easier. The last thing you want is to make your novel look like a textbook!

White Space is Your Friend

Using paragraph breaks more frequently creates more white space, which invites readers to linger on the page. Readers need white space because it gives the eye a place to rest.  That’s why when you skim through a book, you’re probably drawn right to the dialogue–switching between speakers offers more white space.

When you’re writing, look for subtle shifts in topic where you can break paragraphs. Let me show you what I mean using Edgar Allen Poe’s the Tell-Tale Heart. Here is the original without paragraph breaks:

Example 1

“I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it –oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly –very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously –cautiously (for the hinges creaked) –I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights –every night just at midnight –but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.”

That’s a giant paragraph if I ever saw one. Now, here’s the same paragraph again, but with breaks:

Example 2

“I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.

And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it –oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head.

Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly –very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed.

Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously –cautiously (for the hinges creaked) –I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.

And this I did for seven long nights –every night just at midnight –but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night.

So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.”

Paragraph Lengths

Which one would you rather read? I’m betting the second example. It’s easier to read and less intimidating. But how exactly does it work its magic?

By controlling the pacing.

Readers hate giant paragraphs because it takes longer to get through them–it can feel like forever. White space allows the eye to move through more quickly. And in our modern times, readers are impatient and like things fast.

But how long is too long? I’d aim for an average paragraph length of 3-4 lines, but don’t go any longer than 7 or 8 lines. And you can never go too short–you can even do single-line paragraphs for dramatic impact.

Controlling Pacing

Now that you understand the subtle effects paragraphs have on readers you can use them to your advantage. Paragraphs are an effective technique for controlling pacing, and one you definitely shouldn’t overlook.

When you want to slow things down in your story, like making a romantic moment linger, lengthen your paragraphs. It will take your reader longer to get through them, and make them feel like the scene is lasting longer.

When you want to speed things up, keep your paragraphs short and punchy. This is perfect for action scenes. More white space and fewer words means your reader will be flying through the pages, and the scene will feel like it’s moving quickly. The shorter you go, the faster things will move–you can even go down to single lines if you want.

Do you take advantage of paragraphs in your writing?

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Travel for Book Lovers: The Hunger Games Road Trip

If you’re a writer, odds are you’re also a reader. And if you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, the odds are in your favor. I’ve researched and created an awesome Hunger Games road trip that will bring the book to life.

Er…that is, without all the killing, mutant wasps, and fighting for your life stuff. You’ll be perfectly safe, I promise.

In the books, America has become the nation of Panem and divided into districts. Though Suzanne Collins has yet to release a map, she gives us clues in the book that lead us to suspect that District 12 lies within the Appalachian region. This includes parts of Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

Here’s a fan-made map of what Panem and the districts might look like:

Are you ready to follow in Katniss’ footsteps? Here’s your guide to the ultimate Hunger Games road trip.

1. Tour a Coal Mine

Begin your journey in Beckley, West Virginia where you can visit a historic coal mine and camp. We all know that District 12 produces coal, and Katniss’ dad was a coal miner. Here you can discover what life was like in the mines for Katniss’ dad and other residents of District 12.

2.  Go for a Hike in Red River Gorge

Next, head to Eastern Kentucky. Not only is Kentucky part of District 12, but both Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are Kentucky natives (And it’s my home state too!).

Discover why Katniss loved the woods and used it as a place to retreat from the hardships of her daily life by hiking through Red River Gorge. If you’re up for a challenge, test your Tribute skills by going rock climbing. And to make the experience complete, spend the night in a cabin.

3. Ride a Train through the Appalachian Mountains

Continue on to Stearns, Kentucky. Here you can ride the Big South Fork Scenic Railway and pretend like you’ve just been chosen as a tribute in the reaping and are now headed towards the Capitol.

4. Hit up a Bakery in Asheville

Next stop, Asheville, North Carolina! Many scenes from the Hunger Games were filmed in North Carolina, and this is where the stars stayed and spent their down time. Have fun exploring the city, and in honor of Peta, visit the City Bakery Cafe and have a slice of fresh bread or a cupcake.

 5. Get in Touch with Your Inner Tribute

There are lots of exciting adventures you can have around Asheville. If you’re feeling brave, you can go zip lining or white water rafting like Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson did while filming.

6. Visit the Film Locations in Dupont State Forest

Near Asheville you’ll find sights like Triple Falls, which was used in the scene where Katniss finds Peeta injured and camouflaged, and the spot where the cornucopia was placed in the arena. You can try to find the locations yourself, or you can take a guided Hunger Games tour.

I think the tour would be the better option; not only do they take you to the sites, but you’ll learn behind-the-scenes info. Plus, afterward you’ll get to participate in survival workshops and try your hand at archery!

7. Visit the Film Location of Henry River Mill Village

This abandoned mill near Asheville was used for parts of the Seam, as well as Peeta’s bakery. You can check this location out on your own, but because it’s on private property, you’ll only be able to see it from the road. To get up close, you’ll need to take a tour.

I think the tour would be worth it because you’ll get great photo opportunities and learn about the filming. And afterwards you’ll learn how to bake your own bread and play a game of archery tag with foam-tipped arrows!

8. Visit Filming Locations in Atlanta

For the final leg of your road trip, head down to Atlanta, Georgia. Here you can visit the Swan House, which was used as President Snow’s Mansion in the films, and “The Beach” in Clayton County International Park, which was used in arena scenes.

Again, you can visit these sites on your own, which are more easily accessible, or take a guided tour. The benefits of the tour are you’ll learn behind-the-scenes info, and take an archery workshop and play archery tag.

The End

You’ve reached the end of your journey! If you’re curious about what this route looks like on a map, I’ve plotted it out for you using roadtrippers.com because I’m a nice person:

route map2I’ve labeled all the points of interest in a nice bright green. Roadtrippers wouldn’t let me add Atlanta so I had to do it myself, so you’ll have to excuse some of the ghetoness.

But as you can see, I was careful to research and plot it out as a legit road trip you can actually take, not random locations spread out and zig-zagging all over 😉

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to take this trip! How did I do? Would you set out on this road trip adventure? Would you like to see more posts like this in the future? Give me your feedback in the comments below! 🙂

Until next time, may the odds be ever in your favor.

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Should You Write Your Story Fast?

Should you write your storyIn our modern world we have short attention spans and little patience. We expect everything to be as quick and instant as the click of a button. The same mind-set is often applied to writing.

Everyone wants to learn how to write faster. After all, the quicker you write your story the quicker you can get published and make money and write more stories. Right?

Um…maybe. Before you jump into NaNaWriMo mode, pause for a moment.

Let’s look at a fundamental truth of writing:

  •  If you spend less time writing your draft you will spend more time editing.
  • If you spend more time writing your draft you will spend less time editing.

When you rush through a draft, sure you got 50k words in a month, but what does the quality of that draft look like? I’m willing to bet pretty craptastic. (All first drafts are craptastic anyways, but if you rush through your writing it will be especially craptastic).

You’re going to have to edit it a ton to get it into decent shape, and editing is a very time-consuming process. You could end up having to edit, for example, 8 or more drafts.

When you slow down, it may take you 5 months to get those 50k words, but the quality of your writing will be much improved (though still admittedly craptastic). This means less time in the editing process—so let’s say for example, you cut those 8 drafts in half to 4.

Whichever you choose, the truth remains the same—it takes time to write and edit a decent novel worthy of publication. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you pound your story out fast it will be ready to publish in its current state. Sometimes faster isn’t always better.

Overall, I think it depends on where you want to spend most of your time, and at what pace you are comfortable writing. Don’t force yourself to write fast if you naturally like to take your time with your writing. I know it’s easy to beat yourself up if you’re a slow writer and bemoan how much faster others are writing their novels.

But remember the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady. But it’s not even a race, so don’t worry about competing with other writers. Your goal is to finish your novel–the time in which it takes you to do so shouldn’t matter. Go at your own pace without guilt.

And try to enjoy the writing process instead of rushing through it. Allow yourself to be swept away by your story instead of worrying over how many words you’re getting out an hour. Speed doesn’t equal success. But patience, hard work, and perseverance on the other hand…that’s the path to publication.

Do you like to write fast or slow? Have you ever beat yourself up for being a slow writer?  blog signature

How to Format Dialogue Like a Pro

How to format dialogueDialogue can be a tricky little beastie to format, especially when you’re a new writer. I remember scratching my head over where to put the punctuation marks, and studying published novels to try to find my answers.

But there were still confusing bits that left me boggled. Like how did I put a speech tag in the middle of some dialogue? Or how did I start a new paragraph in the middle of a character’s lengthy speech?

If you’re wrestling with these questions you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to show you how to format dialogue like a pro so that you won’t even flinch when you come across a tricky situation. And more importantly, you’ll learn to avoid mistakes that will make an agent or editor flinch and toss your manuscript aside.

To help us navigate the journey, we will be traveling along with the Doctor.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Punctuation

First, let’s take care of those pesky quotation marks. The quotation marks will enclose anything that a character is speaking out loud. Because they signal to the reader that the words are being spoken, don’t use them for thoughts. Italicize thoughts instead. All ending punctuation marks always go inside the quotations–whether it is a question mark, period, exclamation point, comma, or dash.

Right:

“Never say trapped, just… inconveniently circumstanced.”

Wrong:

“Never say trapped, just… inconveniently circumstanced“.

Adding Speech Tags

Speech tags are used to signal to the reader who is speaking. They include words like said, asked, whispered, shouted, etc. When you end a line of dialogue with a speech tag, you punctuate it by using a comma, question mark or exclamation point. You do not use a period. (I know it’s weird). The word following the closed quotations is always lower case UNLESS it is a name.

Right:

“There’s something that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go and poke it with a stick,” the Doctor said.

“There’s something that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go and poke it with a stick! the Doctor said.

Wrong:

“There’s something that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go and poke it with a stick.” the Doctor said.

“There’s something that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go and poke it with a stick”, the Doctor said.

“There’s something that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go and poke it with a stick!” The Doctor said.

Split Dialogue

What if you want to split up your dialogue and put your speech tag in the middle? There are two ways to do this. The first is to add in your speech tag between two complete thoughts. You will add your punctuation and close the quotation where you want to insert your speech tag. At the end of the tag, add a period. Now, continue your dialogue with new quotation marks and capitalize the sentence. Like so:

“We’re all stories, in the end,” the Doctor said. “Just make it a good one, eh?”

The second way is similar to the first, except you will be adding a speech tag in the middle of a thought. This means instead of putting a period after ‘said’ you will put a comma, and instead of capitalizing the first word of the next part of dialogue you will make it lowercase:

“Come on, Rory! It isn’t rocket science,” the Doctor said, “it’s just quantum physics!”

Dashes and Ellipses

When using a dash or ellipses to end a line of dialogue, treat it like you would a comma. You can add a speech tag at the end if you like, but don’t use a comma after the dash or ellipses.

Right:

“You don’t want to take over the universe…” the Doctor said.

“You don’t want to take over the universe–” the Doctor said.

Wrong:

“You don’t want to take over the universe…,” the Doctor said.

“You don’t want to take over the universe–,” the Doctor said.

Paragraphs Within Dialogue

When you start a new paragraph in the middle of some dialogue, you don’t close the quotations. This is sort of confusing, so let me just show you:

I’ll be a story in your head. That’s okay. We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?

‘Cause it was, you know. It was the best. The daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well I borrowed it. I was always going to take it back.

See how the first paragraph of dialogue ends open, without closing the quotation? This is because your character is going to continue speaking in the next paragraph. In the new paragraph, begin with another open quotation mark. When your character has finished speaking, you close the quotations as in the end of the second paragraph.

Multiple Speakers

When you have multiple characters speaking, always start a new paragraph to indicate a new speaker. If you have any descriptions of a character’s actions along with their dialogue, keep it in the same paragraph. This helps to avoid confusing the reader. You will also notice that characters’ actions can be used in place of speech tags to let the reader know who is speaking.

Right:

“You do have a plan.” Amy paused and glanced at the Doctor. “Don’t you?”

The Doctor shrugged. “No. It’s a thing, it’s like a plan but there’s more greyness.”

Wrong:

“You do have a plan.” Amy paused and glanced at the Doctor. “Don’t you?” The Doctor shrugged.

“No. It’s a thing, it’s like a plan but there’s more greyness.”

Dialogue can be confusing at first, but with practice it will become instinctive. I don’t even pause anymore to think about punctuation and formatting while writing. And now that you know how to handle all the tricky bits you can go forth and conquer it yourself!

Have more questions on how to format dialogue? Post them below and I’ll be happy to help you out 🙂 blog signature