Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lesson Three: Learn the Language

I am a good writer. I can relate facts and figures and feelings easily. I can craft new characters, although I am working hard to improve that skill. It is the greatest skill a good author needs. I am good at creating dialogue. My plots are strong. I thought that was all I needed to break into this literary world.

Oh, I was so wrong.

An author needs to learn a new language. It is the publishing language. It is putting all those writing skills into something that agents and editors will recognize and take under their wing. Being something familiar helps. I rolled my eyes at comments by a particular agent who says he filters potential candidates first by seeing where they got their MFA degree and then by whether they had an Ivy League diploma.

That was troubling because I have neither an MFA degree nor an Ivy League diploma. But I am trying to learn that common language. The novel I am revising and the second novel I have under construction both speak that language better than my earliest effort. It's part of the learning curve.

How am I learning that language? That will come in Lesson Four.

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