So What’s Your Story? Susan Squires Shares Hers!

June 11, 2012

I learned to write non-fiction in a nine-week junior high speech class. I had signed up for a creative writing class, but it was full, and so was my second choice, music of poetry. Some cruel administrator typed my name on the roll sheet for Public Speaking 101…a class that I never would have willing enrolled in. No one who knows me now will believe this, but I was a very quiet kid. I didn’t talk in class, hated giving oral reports, wouldn’t even raise my hand when I knew an answer. But there I was, an honor roll student who didn’t want to get up and speak, and couldn’t afford to sit there and fail.

I learned a lot of things that improved my writing in those few weeks; how to format my speech, which transferred to formatting reports, papers, and eventually magazine articles and newspaper columns, that reading my writing out loud made it better (I practiced my speeches out loud for hours, but somehow still threw-up before every presentation), and the importance of a good opening and closing hook.

So what does this have to do with writing fiction?

Here I am in full panic over pitching to editors and agents at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) 2012 Conference, and then it was Saturday, not just any Saturday, but my favorite Saturday of the month SECOND Saturday. Yes, that’s right, the OCC RWA meeting.

New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Squires hosted the June “Ask an Author.” Susan shared her writing story, fabulous advice on writing, industry changes and e-publishing, and on how to get the most out of RWA12. This, of course, leads me back to pitching? Preparation is important, and the number one thing to prepare? According to Susan…your hook! Let me say that louder…WHAT’S YOUR HOOK? Yes, you need a complete manuscript with great characters and a solid plot, but to sell your story to readers you need to have a hook…and to sell it to an editor or agent you must know your hook.

Susan gave so much great advice on pitching, on learning craft, on becoming a good writer. If you ever have the chance to meet her and hear her speak, grab it. In the meantime, I’m feeling more confident about pitching. I’m working on a hook that I hope will capture an editor’s imagination…or at least make them ask for more… and I’m packing some barf bags in my suitcase for RWA12, just in case.

So thank you to Susan Squires. I can promise to be better prepared before my pitch, but I won’t promise not to throw-up.

What about you? Do you have a good pitch? What’s your hook? Do you have any good advice on giving a pitch? Please share it with us! We’d love to know.



One Response to “So What’s Your Story? Susan Squires Shares Hers!”

  1. Nikki Prince Says:

    Loved this Tari.


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