I got just a tiny taste of what it must be like to be an agent looking at dozens of submissions every day.
I participated in my first blogfest last week, hosted by FictionGroupie, where we all shared and commented on each other's dialogue. When I first signed up, there were forty-some writers; by the date of the blogfest, it had expanded to over 100. While there were a few dedicated souls that read all 100+ dialogue samples, I knew I would only have time to look about about twenty or so. So how did I go about choosing which blogs to look at?
Out of the list of over 100, I recognized about five names, other blogs I'd visited several time before, and those where my first reads. But after that, I was looking at a list of names that meant nothing to me. So I started picking out the more interesting names. The quirky names.
Here's a sample: Drama Queen, Laurel’s Leaves, Book Dreaming, Prophetic Pictures, Southern Princess, Genie of the Shell, At the Bijou, the Writings of Doobla (but my name is Dominique), Shelley Sly (that may be her real name, but what a great name!), Georgia Gypsy Rae, Writer Unleashed, and Write-Brained.
Aren't we more intrigued by the quirky name? I know I sure was. Now to be fair, I did pick a few plain names and found some excellent dialogue. But just like an agent with a limited amount of time, something had to grab my attention right away for me to keep reading.
A powerful lesson, my webends. Me thinks I will not be entering anymore blogfests or contests as merely Margo Berendsen anymore. "Writing at High Altitude" is somewhat better on the quirk-scale, but I still think it reflects my scientific/technical background more than it reflects my middle-grade/YA quirky voice that I know I need to have to grab an agent's attention.
Just curious how many of y'all agree (look! an attempt at voice! so disgusted with my bland technical writing voice that I have to use at work, I just reverted to my Southern roots) with my
hypothesis (darn it, there I go again) shot in the dark?
If you had to pick a dozen excerpts to read out of a hundred, would you be tempted to pick the quirkier samples over the plain janes?