tagged with: genre


Reading a short story is a good way to keep up with your reading without having to sacrifice hours or days of your time to finishing a book. Some short stories have as much literary merit as full-length books. In fact, many famous writers either began their writing career with short stories or continued to write short stories while working on their books. Some of these famous writers are: F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, J D Salinger, V S Naipaul, Mark Twain, Joyce Carol Oates, William Faulkner, and many others.

I also began my writing career with short stories, and my first published work was in the Broward Community College magazine where I was a student. The title of that story is A Pair of Blue Skates. I will see if I can find it somewhere. If not, I will try to rewrite it and republish it for you to see.

So why am I telling you all this? Today is Read A Short Story Day, and for the occasion, Perry Kirkpatrick has organized a Short Story Day, which runs from Nov 1 – Nov 4, where you can download short stories by different authors in a variety of genres, all free of charge for your reading pleasure. The title of my story is The Unwelcome Wedding Guest. Go to Read A Short Story Daydownload your copy and sign up for my newsletter. After you have read it, please come back here and share your thoughts with us.

I always shuddered at the thought of pitching my novel to an agent, so when the opportunity came to pitch my novel Coming Out Of Egypt at a writer’s conference recently, I made sure to prepare myself well beforehand. I researched the agent online to see the kinds of books she was interested in, then I read as much as I could about how to pitch before creating my pitch. I even blogged about it. See http://angelasfreelancewriting.com/blogging-about-my-book-the-pitch/. Then I created three versions of my pitch and sent them to my critique group, who was already familiar with my novel. I was happy when they picked the one I preferred. I practiced and practiced, recording it on my cell phone and by the time I got to the conference, most of my nervousness had disappeared.

I happened to meet Ms. Hardy in the ladies’ room during one of the breaks. She told me who she was and my mouth fell open. She seemed so friendly and down-to-earth, I took the opportunity to introduce myself and let her know I would be pitching my book to her that afternoon. That meeting helped to remove any lingering nervousness I still had. I had another contact with her during her workshop on, what else, how to find a literary agent.

By the time I faced her in the chair that afternoon, I felt I knew her quite well and was able to speak confidently about my novel. She took notes while I spoke and asked questions about the characters – their age, occupation and, since my book is Christian fiction, their religious beliefs. Then came the question I expected, but dreaded: What section do you see your book fitting into in the bookstore?

The fact is that every book in a bookstore has to fit a particular genre perfectly. Even though I consider my book to be a Christian romance, it does not fit the mold exactly and I explained that to Ms. Hardy. My book has multicultural and police sub-genres, which give it, to my mind, more substance than the usual boy-meets-girl, they fall in love, then boy-loses-girl, then he gets girl back. All of this happens in Coming Out Of Egypt, but with more depth. After I’d explained this to Ms. Hardy, she asked me what percentage of the novel I would say is romance. I told her about seventy-five percent, which I believe to be accurate. Apparently, romance readers are more interested in the romance aspect of the story than anything else.

The session ended with her saying she liked my story idea and I should send her my proposal. I had walked with the synopsis and three sample chapters, but she said it’s easier for her to read it electronically, so I e-mailed it to her a couple days later. And now I wait.

Have you pitched your book to an agent? What was the experience like? How long did you have to wait before he/she replied? Please leave your comments below.