Wednesday, April 4, 2018

An Interview with Lit Agent Lynnette Novak

March Literary Agent Mentor

Lynnette Novak

We're so happy to have Lynnette sit down with us to answer #agenting questions. Be sure to join us for our #1st5pages Twitter chat on March 7th, 8-9PM EST.

What makes you sit up and take notice when you read a submission sample?

The voice. It must stand out from other subs and feel fresh. The story also has to keep moving forward. That means the protagonist must have scene goals that work toward the story goal. The protagonist should work to achieve his goal, so I expect conflict in every scene (internal, external, or both). He’s not just sitting around, waiting for things to happen. He’s actively pursuing his goal. When something gets in his way, he comes up with a plan to move past it, which makes me want to follow him on his journey.

What makes you turn down a manuscript?

I have to love the story and stay in love until the end. When I’m finished reading a manuscript, I need to feel disappointed I had to leave that world and its characters. If I’ve read the story and felt it was good, even though I enjoyed it, I won’t offer to represent it. I need to be passionate about the project in order to fight for it. 

What makes me lose interest or fall out of love with a manuscript? Most of the time it’s one (or more) of the following:
-backstory heavy or an information dump
-not enough conflict 
-lack of scene goals
-character is too passive, waiting for things to happen and reacting instead of pursing a goal
-pacing is off (too fast or too slow, usually too slow)
-lack of emotion
-not deep enough in the character’s POV (point of view)
-too much telling and not enough showing

In other words, I really need to connect with the writing. If something is off, I’ll get bumped from the story and will lose that must-have feeling.

What’s on your current wish list?

I’m seeking:

Adult: thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, contemporary romance, and romantic comedy.
 YA: thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, horror, historical, and contemporary.
 Send query and first five pages to: querylynnette (at) theseymouragency(dot) com.

Are you an editorial agent?

After over seventeen years as a freelance editor, working with bestselling authors and new writers, how could I not be an editorial agent? I couldn’t shut off the editorial side of my brain even if I bribed it with ice cream (and it loves ice cream, especially cotton candy or birthday cake ice cream). I’m totally hands-on. If you need to brainstorm ideas about a scene or title, I’m here for you. If you want to discuss your character’s GMCs (goals, motivations, conflicts), I’m on it. I’ll help you make your manuscript shine.

What do you like to do for fun?

My number one thing to do when I’m not agenting is to spend time with my family, pets, and friends. After that, it depends on the day. I love to read, obviously. I like to tweet about cute animals. Follow me on Twitter: @Lynnette_Novak. I’m also quite crafty and have all kinds of projects on the go. I’m currently crocheting an afghan, creating Rainbow Loom animals, scrapbooking, making hats and scarves with a loom, cross-stitching a cat, and coloring adult coloring books. I’m also active and like to go for walks and bike rides, work out at the gym, swim, and skate.

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