Agent Lucinda Blumfeld says today’s agents are receiving more manuscripts written by, or about, 20-Somethings than ever. Before you send your 20-Something book out to seek representation, Lucinda offers the tips on her blog:
Write what you know…in limited capacity
Unless you’re writing a memoir, be imaginative. Observe others carefully; particularly those older than you. Maybe their stories are the ones you want to be telling.
Beware of “I”
Particularly in memoir, but also in fiction, a repetitive “I” can easily tire readers. Too many “I’s” usually also signals too much exposition – “I felt,” “I thought,” “I saw” etc. Try to let your characters’ behavior speak for itself. Use imagery and setting to show mood. If you’re seeing too many “I’s” on the page, cut these down to what’s absolutely crucial to be rendered in the first person.
Toughen your characters
Ask yourself: is the leading character of my novel too good? Does he make mistakes? As we watch his progression, do we feel happy, sad, and angry with him at various moments? Does he make us laugh? You don’t want a character that alienates his or her reader for having an impossibly good, or bad, life.
Make sure internal monologue and external dialogue are in equal balance
Many 20-Something books we see are either too dialogue-driven without the balance of reflection, or too self-reflexive without the “action” of dialogue. Remember that with a good book, you are creating a world, not just a life. Only by going deeply into the minds of characters can we truly know them; dialogue achieves the limit of this, by demonstrating characters’ reactions. Conversely, too much inner monologue can be far worse in slowing the pace of a book, and creating a character that risks too much navel-gazing.”