What are agents looking for in new authors?
Well one agent actually tells you what he dreams of finding in the slush pile.
As you know, Donald Maass is a literary agent in the US who wrote a brilliant book on story telling. He still has an agency – and each month they produce a list of work they would love to see coming into their Submissions Dept. Such as this –
‘December, 2007 – Romances We’d Like to Read
We are speaking here of single title romance. That means excellent writing, strong characters, high personal stakes, layered plotting and more.
As usual, this is not all we’re looking for. Our intention is not to suggest paint-by-numbers plotting or to limit authors’ scope. We do hope to promote discussion of what would be fresh and exciting in romantic fiction.
*An inspirational paranormal.
*An Asian or Latina paranormal, not using Euro-centric mythology.
*An historical military romance; e.g., special forces in the Middle Ages, a la “Sharpe’s Rifles”.
*A literary romance like The French Lieutenant’s Woman: manners, morals, aching hearts, a heroine who belongs to another.
*A triple-generation romance: three generations of women in one family all find love, and conflict, at the same time.
*A stylish romance featuring an elusive free-spirit, a contemporary Holly Golightly.
*A serious romance about a soccer mom with a secret life.
*An ex-CIA agent who plans her wedding and struggles to keep her engagement intact while taking down her arch nemesis.
*A marriage of convenience in reverse: A Regency man and woman must do everything in their power not to marry.
*A time travel romance in which both protagonists travel through the ages—and never meet. ‘
This list certainly made my head spin with lateral thinking. I do have one partial which would work with a twist on the CIA premise, but there are 10 ideas here.
What do you think?