So, my literary agency is doing something super-cool for its anniversary: #MS4MS, where agents are auctioning off manuscript critiques to raise money for multiple sclerosis.
My agent, Connor Goldsmith, is one of those offering his services in the auction, and y’all, you could not do better than bidding for a critique from him. Connor has been a wonderful editorial agent for me — he has a great eye not only for seeing what’s good about a story, but for seeing what it needs to make it great. He’s particularly great when it comes to pacing and stakes. He knows his genres well, knows what they demand, and knows what’s selling and what’s out of favor in them right now. Connor’s also the author of the Short Fuse Guide to Plotting Your Novel, a superb resource on structure and pacing. I demur from speculating how many items were at least partly inspired by the process we went through revising Aven (because I definitely recognize some of my own bone-headedness in there) but I’m definitely referring back to it as I work on The Seventh Star to make sure I’m hitting the right notes. Plus, he’s an all-around great guy. ;D
This is a disease I have a personal stake in. My grandmother has suffered from it for a good long while now. Growing up, it wasn’t really ever explained to the kiddos, but we could definitely see that something was negatively affecting her life. I think, more than anything, it affected her ability to participate — by the time I was a teenager, her mobility was becoming more limited. I really started to realize how big the impact was when she was no longer joining the family tailgating at college football games, but had to stay in the house up the hill. She’s wheelchair-bound now, and has been for a while, but for all of that, she’s made it into her 80s and is still fighting.
For my grandmother’s sake, I wish they’d made progress against this disease decades ago; for the sake of everyone living with it, I hope they’ll make progress as fast as possible. And you can help with that — and get a manuscript critique for yourself! Total win-win.