We’d like to thank Pamela S. Turner for this blog post. Pamela has written historical fiction, biography, and science on diverse topics. You can find out more about her here.
How can you make your writing stand out? What does it take to grab the attention of agents, editors, reviewers, and award committees?
Look for an angle, preferably a fresh one. For example, “mountain gorillas” is a subject. “How wildlife vets keep gorillas healthy” is an angle.
A linear timeline is standard fare in biography, but it doesn’t have to be. You may want to start with an intriguing incident in your subject’s life and work backward to explain how it all came about.
If you’ve got a great idea for how the book should look, mention it in your proposal or query letter.
Your project on 19th-century Chinese immigration could be a valuable curriculum gateway into the debate going on right now.
Maybe you want to write in an essay-like style and let your own voice come through; perhaps you want to let the voice come from carefully selected quotes.
Editors are looking for stand-out books, and maybe YOU have a background that allows you to write this story in a unique way.
Can’t decide on two very different story approaches? Write two sets of sample chapters using the different approaches. Test them out on critique partners and children of the appropriate age.
Posted on: August 22, 2016