My writing pal, Lyn, has taken to the YA (young adult) genre of writing, and once I'd read her edgy, complex novel manuscript of an abused teenager, I knew that, despite the near-cliche of abuse stories, she had a keeper.
Her writing is inventive, and she delves deeply into the mind of not one, but several teens as they attempt to separate mental garbage from fledgling intellects. Her main character, Wendy (not sure I would call her a protagonist), rises above the abuse, despite the emotional scarring. And more importantly, Lyn takes this near-cliche and makes it seem new, hence more real.
And (I love it on those rare occasions when I'm right) now Lyn has two literary suitors (agents) hot on her trail. She's been working with one agent for some time, this one giving her broad-brush impressions of her story and encouraging her to clip here, add there – but generally to cut the manuscript to market length. (Yes, writers, the length of your manuscript is a factor in its marketability.)
The other agent is new to Lyn, but seems, from what I hear, more specific in what needs to be done to the story. Besides being very interested in both Lyn and her novel.
So now Lyn is in the enviable position of potentially picking between two agents with differing partnering styles.
Writers, this is probably the most important literary decision you will make – picking the right agent for both your writing style and your emotional makeup. I know Lyn will make the right decision, and I hope you will, too, when you get to this point of the process.