Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Literary Agent Update - Michael Stearns

Post Western Washington SCBWI Spring Conference 2009 update:

This guy is pretty funny in person.

(Added 5/22/09 Why eat light when you can have the full meal deal? Make sure you click on the comments so you can see Michael's own helpful cross-ex and redirect on this post.)

Still likes literary novels that have plots. Example - A Northern Light- repped by agent Stephen Malk.

On plot: think of it as complication and follow through, not just in action, but in character.

He can tell quality of writing in two pages.

Take time in building worlds and choosing names of places and characters. Work hard to make them right.

He kind of likes lists (think Bubba in Forrest Gump)- this was quite a surprise to me.

Tomorrow: Kelly Sonnack


  1. Stearns here. Have to quash this rumor before it gains any traction.

    Alas, I didn't mean a Bubba Gump sort of thing (thanks, Sarah Shumway!). I was talking more the way lists are used in, say, a T.C. Boyle story/novel, or Garcia Marquez, or Barthelme.

    Anyway, no lists, please. If someone has done it well in a piece, I can appreciate it. But I'm not actively looking for it.

  2. Ye Gods! It’s true- agents DO read blogs!

    On behalf of my readers and myself, a hearty thank you to Michael for clarifying - we really appreciate it. Sorry to disappoint crafters of compendiums. Please do not inundate Mr. Stearns with the fruits of your labor.

    And while we are on the subject of Stearns, his session on Thirteen Things That Make a Plot (which I’m thinkin’ is the same as the long-awaited "The Plot Thickens: 13 Questions" on his blog) was great. Cross your fingers and hope he posts it soon.