Podcast #24: Jenny Rappaport

Podcast #24 is now available for download here.

In her guest lecture at Odyssey 2008, literary agent Jenny Rappaport provided so much useful information that we’ve chosen to make a second excerpt from her talk available as another podcast (for her first excerpt, see Podcast #23). In this podcast, Jenny explains how to write a strong query letter. Jenny first discusses what a query letter shouldn’t do and what information shouldn’t be included. You can find an example of what Jenny considers a bad query letter on her blog, here: http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2008/01/huh-or-plot-does-not-make-sense.html (you need to scroll down). Jenny explains the importance of a strong hook to open a query letter and reads examples of weak hooks and strong hooks. The query letter then needs to establish the novel’s conflict and get the reader engaged with the main character and the plot. Jenny discusses how to describe your novel–what makes a middle grade book, a young adult book, or an adult book–and whether to compare your book to other books.

Jenny Rappaport is the owner of The Rappaport Agency, LLC, a boutique literary agency specializing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance. She has previously worked at Folio Literary Management and the L. Perkins Agency. Jenny attended Carnegie Mellon University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She is a 2002 graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Her nonfiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and her microfiction in Thaumatrope. She is currently working on a novel in her free time.

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Graduate News: Krista Hoeppner Leahy

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Krista Hoeppner Leahy, class of 2007, for her third place finish in the 4th quarter of the 25th annual Writers of the Future Contest! Krista’s story “The Dizzy Bridge” will be available in the 25th volume of the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future anthology, available later this year. “The Dizzy Bridge” will be her first professional-level publication.

Odyssey Graduates’ News: Publications and Sales

Recent/Upcoming Publications

Novels

Rebecca Shelley (R. D. Henham), class of 2001
Brass Dragon Codex
Published by: Mirrorstone Books
Release Date: Available Now!
Rebecca’s website: http://www.rebeccashelley.com

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Writing Question: Creating a Plot

Plot is usually one of the weakest elements in the work of developing writers. Most developing writers don’t know how to structure a plot. Even if they do, they often find themselves caught between two conflicting goals: the desire to let the story develop organically versus the need to plan and set up key elements so they generate a powerful, unified story.

We decided to ask the brain trust of Odyssey graduates how they have learned to deal with plot, so you can profit from their trials, tribulations, breakthroughs, and realizations. They’ve come through with some great responses. I hope you’ll try all the approaches they discuss and see which one works best for you. Each month, we’ll be asking them another question on writing.

Do you have some idea of what your plot will be before you write, or do you write by the seat of your pants, with no idea how the story will end until you get there, or something in between? What is your plot process, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of your process?

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Interview: Carrie Vaughn

Interview by Shara Saunsaucie White

Carrie VaughnCarrie Vaughn is the New York Times Bestselling author of a series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. Publishers Weekly said that “Vaughn’s universe is convincing and imaginative.” Kitty and The Midnight Hour, the first book in the series, has over a hundred thousand copies in print. The two newest books, Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand and Kitty Raises Hell, will appear early in 2009. She’s also published many short stories in various anthologies and magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and is a contributor to George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series.

Carrie graduated from the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop in 1998 and is excited to return as writer-in-residence for Odyssey 2009. “Once I was but the student. Now, I am the master.” Oh, and she’s also a big Star Wars fan. But she really does have a Masters in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She credits the intensive Odyssey experience with helping her cross the great divide between unpublished and published, and with setting her firmly on the road of professional writing, with the skills she learned and contacts she made.

A lifelong science fiction fan and reader (her parents both read science fiction), Carrie worked the traditional series of day jobs for about twelve years before turning to writing full time. She survived her Air Force brat childhood and managed to put down roots in Colorado, where she lives in Boulder with her dog, Lily, and too many hobbies. Visit her website at www.carrievaughn.com.

Can you talk about your pre-Odyssey writing process? What kind of writing schedule, if any, did you keep?

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Odyssey Graduates’ News: Publications and Sales

February Publications

Novels

Barbara Campbell, class of 2000
Foxfire (Trickster’s Game #3)
Published by: DAW Books
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Barbara’s website: http://www.barbara-campbell.com/

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Graduates’ Experiences

Now available on the Odyssey website are two new essays from our graduates describing their Odyssey experiences. If you want to know what Odyssey is REALLY like, check out the following:

Jason Ridler, class of 2005
To Experiment is to Grow: One Value of Odyssey

Rebecca Shelley, pen name R.D. Henham, class of 2001
Getting the Vision onto the Paper

To read other accounts by Odyssey graduates, please check out our Graduates’ Experiences page on the Odyssey website.