On Thursday, Matthew Clemens taught an intensive, five- hour developmental editing class. Because I am preparing for a developmental edit of my debut novel, I was anxious to learn how the process works. Instead, we reviewed an editing checklist and received individual critiques.
During the twenty-minute “buttonhole the experts” sessions, Brenda Drake discussed Pitch Wars and Dianne Drake, an accomplished author of medical romances, talked about navigating publication without an agent. John Gilstrap walked me through how to give an author presentation, and Jane Friedman discussed the time-saving software she uses to organize her schedule and business expenses.
"You can’t write about THAT!”
"I don’t rep genre fiction.”
I don’t think the first agent was familiar with the broad scope of mysteries—cozy, traditional, historical and contemporary. I learned that “genre fiction” is another term for “commercial fiction.” Agents are looking for the next best thing in literary fiction, but that’s too exclusive a category, with a limited market, so they term literary fiction with a compelling, character-driven plot and movie/television potential “upmarket fiction.” In other words, the next Gone Girl.