Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- change December 7, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:32 pm
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(early October)

I can’t go to conference this year.

Ahhh! Please come!

I can’t think what I’d  pitch this year.

Stay with me!  

Oh. I have that old thing I could share.




Here, look at this piece.

I like it!  Send me more!

Here, look at this piece.

I like it!  Can I see more?


Yup.  I really like it.  Send it to her.

Here is the rest!


I like it!  Let’s work together!

Here’s a contract!


and so begins the next part of the journey

and thanks to Leena because I could have missed it all!


poem- happy news December 3, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:55 pm
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Clear out the inbox

An innocuous line

looks like the others

but wait! What’s that name?

The heart starts pounding

air around feels quite thin

A note from an agent

makes me stifle a grin

Is it good news or bad?

I click closing my eyes

Open one cautiously

and to my surprise

She writes that she loves it!

A contract’s attached

I shout to the rafters

New beginnings are hatched!


TRUE STORY!  Happened today! About an hour ago, in fact.  Now to read through the fine print of the attached literary contract.  Large prestigious  agency though, and an agent I was very impressed by when I watched her at a conference.

Wait. Time to celebrate with some new Fluevogs? 🙂  The fun and frolicsome  Kitschy kitschy Boom Boom Vivs might be appropriate for this kind of a celebration…


How’d it go at SIWC? October 25, 2012

Filed under: Grace Awakening Myth,OUTLANDERishness,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:13 am
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Prior to SIWC this year, I kept focusing on the excitement of meeting Diana Gabaldon, and completely ignoring the fact that the MOST IMPORTANT thing at these conferences is pitching to agents and publishers!

Aside from my 15 minutes  of blue pencil time with Diana discussing her suggestions and observations about Grace Beguiling, I did pitch Grace Awakening Myth to two agents: one from New York, and the other from Toronto.  I met with the NY agent on Friday, and the TO agent on Sunday.

After the pitch, both agents quizzed me on various plot elements, character descriptions, conflict development, etc., and both requested the first 50 pages of the manuscript.

One thing I found quite interesting was that the New York agent was intrigued with the story, and offered no opinions with respect to the setting, but the Canadian editor asked me if I’d consider changing the Calgary setting to “an anonymous North American city.”   Isn’t that ironic?  The New York agent didn’t care, but the Toronto one wanted to remove the Canadian element?

At the moment I’m in recovery from my sleep deprivation, but in the next day or two (after my brain recharges), I’ll take another look at the beginning of the manuscript focusing on some of the things I learned in workshops, and on Diana Gabaldon’s observations with respect to the other manuscript (general observations to keep in mind), before I send Myth off to see whether it makes some new friends.


beginnings July 23, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:15 pm
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I met with my editor last weekend.  She was feeling a little grumpy.  There are so many new characters, both mythic and modern, in Grace Awakening Myth, she was trying to find something to grab at the beginning of the story to put them into context of Dreams, and she hadn’t.  She offered some suggestions.  Essentially, I needed to go back and start the book a little earlier than it does in the parallel story (Grace Awakening Dreams). I came home and wrote the prescribed scenes thinking ‘I need to more clearly establish the main conflict’ for the reader and ‘I need to grab the reader right away.’

I wrote a couple scenes and sent them off to her, wondering if I needed something with more action at the very start, and pondering how I was going to put it in there.  I hadn’t come to a decision yet.

What I call the “James Bond Method” of starting a work, is the leap into the action, immediately.  It’s common way to start action films or spy novels.  Sometimes this is an intense prologue of a scene that will be explained at the end of the book.  I had in mind that I had to somehow make that fit the beginning of Grace Awakening Myth, but I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make it work.

This morning I was reading through Tweets by agent Victoria Marini and she had posted a link to a blog by agent Kristin Nelson on this very issue.  Nelson argues that while the beginning has to grab the reader, it doesn’t have to be by ACTION, though the scene must still be ACTIVE.  Good stuff here, including clear examples.  The ‘active’ one seems definitely superior.    Check it out action vs active here.

Whew.  I’m on the right track, after all. 🙂


pitching at a conference July 12, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:59 am
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There are 99 days before the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, and I’ve just remembered I have to prepare for my pitch.  I’ve been so excited about my blue pencil appointment with Diana Gabaldon that I’ve completely neglected the fact that I have an agent to meet with.  I anticipate having Grace Awakening Myth ready to pitch, or perhaps Number Eight, a high interest, low vocab novel I have had ‘just about finished’ for two years.  (Seriously, it’s missing about 2000 words, but Grace was a bully and completely took over).

The last time I pitched at a conference, I ended up with a contract for Grace Awakening with a small Vancouver publisher.  This time I’m meeting with a big time New York agent, and I feel a little out of my depth!  Writers’ Digest features a post this week on how to pitch to agents at conferences.  I am eager for the tips, and perhaps you’ll be interested, too.  See you in the appointment line!


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