Friday, June 3, 2011

Writing that Sings...

As I've started the work of being an agent and building a client list, I've had a number of folks in different venues ask me what I'm interested in representing. So thought I'd address that here.

First and foremost, you need to know that I'm looking for books that share God's truth. I want to work with authors whose books will change lives. Who bring the depth and wealth of their own spiritual journeys to whatever they are writing. I long for books, whether fiction or nonfiction, that are filled with authenticity, vulnerability, and powerful truth.

Second, what I'm most interested in is writing, as the title of this post says, that sings. That calls to my heart and mind, that draws me in and, in the process, changes me.

As a writer, editor, and now agent, fiction makes me dance. I love the power of story, the wonder of words that create a world and characters that transport me and leave me better for the journey. So I'm definitely interested in writers crafting wonderful novels. And I'm open to all genres.

Yes, Virginia, I am interested in representing authors who write nonfiction. Especially what I call lyrical nonfiction. The kind of nonfiction with a lyrical, storyteller's narrative voice. Books that share the message as, say, Anne Lamott does in Bird by Bird or Mike Yaconelli does in Messy Spirituality. Nonfiction that captures our imagination as well as our intellect, as happens with Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz (which I mention not, as you might think, because it's a best-seller but because it's one of the few nonfiction titles in the last several years that captured me as a reader). Nonfiction that sings. Here, too, I am open to all categories.

With both fiction and nonfiction, I'm happy to consider proposals from new, unpublished authors, so long as you've done your homework (meaning you've been to writers' conferences, had your work critiqued, done the work of revising and refining so that the craft is as good as you can get it).

So...comments and questions?

I'm all ears.



Susan Falck said...

I know this is a hard question to answer. Yet it is one that I am constantly wanting to know so that I can learn to be the best writer possible. What is it, for you, that makes the difference from good writing to singing? You said the story must pull you in. What is it that draws you into their world?

What esle makes it sing? How do you go about it when you're writing?

Susan Falck said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karen B. said...

Hey, Susan. Most often, it's when the author is so immersed in the characters that what you "hear" as you read is the characters, not the author. And the world in the story is so real and vivid you almost have to clear it out of your head to come back to reality.

How to accomplish that in your writing? Obviously, it helps to study the craft, to refine your touch with plot and pacing, tension and point of view, dialogue and narrative voice. And you need to know your setting inside and out so you can bring it to life. For all of that I encourage authors to attend conferences for workshops and critiques.

But what matters most--and remember, this is only my vote-is that you write from a place of true passion. That the story is, in some way, a part of you. Not that you've lived it, necessarily, though I do believe that helps, but that the truth and heart of the story resonates deep within you.


patti said...

I love Karen Ball, I'm just sayin'... Who knows, someday God will compel me to slosh my way through my heart and emotions and I'll fictionalize my story and actually write--maybe! At least reading what you write makes me "desire" to do so, somewhat... <3 ps--I can be as noncommittal as the rest of society! :)

Pam Halter said...

Wow - congrats, Karen! I'm working my way through my blog list since I haven't done that in a while and just saw your news. Very excited for you!

Anita Mae Draper said...

I'm all ears.

Does that mean you're receptive to writing that includes 'flying body parts'? LOL

The problem with sending in my best work is that it nevers seems good enough. No matter how many times I change it, my next read brings more ideas on how to improve it until I'm just shuffling words around to the detriment of other writing projects. :(

Anita Mae.