Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Q&A with Kylie Brant, Part 4 - Agents, Alpha Males, Outlines

Question:
For targeting SRS, do you think I need an agent? Publishing is extremely competitive (I've heard that SRS is especially difficult to break into) and does having an agent give a writer an edge in the eyes of the editor?

Kylie's Answer:
You do NOT need an agent to sell to Silhouette. I sold 25 books to them without an agent. As a matter of fact, I'd advise against it. An agent can't do anything for you to catch Silhouette's attention except *maybe* get you read a bit faster. Having an agent didn't stop some of my friends from getting proposals rejected; getting their option proposal read faster; having them stop buying manuscripts from them; racking up rejections after selling a half dozen books...I could go on. Editors absolutely don't care whether you have an agent.


Question:
How do you find the line between alpha male and borderline jerk? I've read an alpha male plays by his own rules, remains in control of himself, feels confident around women and knows that - no matter how masculine a woman may behave - a woman can never be more of a man than he is. Some of my attempts to have my hero be more alpha have raised comments from my critique partners that "he's a jerk" or "too inconsiderate of the heroine's feelings." Any advice or walking that line?

Kylie's Answer:
In Waking the Dead my hero was something of a jerk...pretty obnoxious to the heroine at first. I wanted someone with rough edges. Sometimes that's all the more evocative when the heroine polishes some of those edges! Things I wouldn't forgive in a hero: infidelity; abuse; verbal abuse--when they say unwarranted cruel things that I don't think be forgotten (but then, I'm a Scorpio!). But the line can be walked by utilizing deep POV for the hero and showing through his introspection *why* he's being such a jerk. When we see the experiences that shaped his reactions, when we see how he is really responding to the heroine and contrasting what he's *saying* and what he's *thinking*--that's how you can walk the line.


Question:
I've never been much of a plotter and this has gotten me into trouble before. I've deleted hundred of pages and rewritten them because I've changed my mind about something after the first draft. Do you write an outline before you start or what is your technique to get organized?

Kylie's Answer:
I'm not a plotter. The most liberating moment in my writing was when I stopped pretending I could make myself into one. I'm not made that way. I know the first few chapters, the characters, the suspense plot and the black moment and the ending. That sounds like a lot until you realize you barely have enough for a five page proposal, LOL!

If I outlined the book ahead of time I wouldn't be able to write it because I'd be too bored. I'd feel like I'd already written it. I want to be surprised throughout the book. Sometimes I change my mind about who the villain is going to be and have to go back and lay in that foreshadowing. I've never had to rewrite to that degree. I think it has to do with practice. I know writers who have written far more books than me who will revise the book three times. I edit as I go along so I spend a day or two on edits and rewrites and email that sucker in on the day it's due :) But that comes with practice. You'll find the more practice you've had, the cleaner you'll write.

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