character-drivenWriters could probably go crazy if they stopped to analyze all of the agent desires that are out there. This one is seeking fun, x-y-z concepts. That one is seeking l-m-n-o-p stories. What do they mean, exactly?

With so much subjectivity surrounding this business, one person’s x-y-z is another’s l-m-n-o-p. What they DON’T mean is, “Quick! Write a story with an x-y-z concept!” It means, if you happen to have something like this, there is a chance, albeit small, that this agent might want to take a look.

I’m as eager as the next person to check into what agents are looking for. But, I love it when I see an agent encourage writers to write what they love, and I honestly believe that all agents really want us to do that. If your heart is not in your writing, if there is no passion behind it, if you are trying to be something you are not, chances are, your story could fall flat.

icecream(3)However, that does not mean you can’t experiment with different styles of writing. Playing with words, styles, and genres can help you grow as a writer. So, how about we make a compromise?

If an agent is seeking q-r-s, feel free to challenge yourself to try that, with the goal of growing, not necessarily submitting. Even if your heart is not in it at first, you may come to find a new love after experimenting. Often, my experimental writing stems from being inspired by what I read. If I read a new unique metafiction picture book that makes me laugh out loud, I leave saying, “I want to write one of those.” And then I try it. It might come out as mush, but don’t forget how much revision will help you grow, too. It could remain mush, and that’s okay. If your heart is in it, the next might win it. Or it might STILL be mush, and that’s okay, too. Chances are, it will affect the complete package in SOME way.

Have you tried something new lately?


  1. When I look through the picture book stories I’ve written, It’s the ones that are closest to my heart, because they found their roots in my childhood, that I love the most. They very nearly wrote themselves, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That connection is so important, Leslie! As you read mentor texts, you may come across new approaches and formats to try with your manuscript. Experimenting helps us shine! The beauty of fiction is in the make-believe. Our childhood experience can turn into something even more wonder-filled by playing.


  2. Thanks for great post, Carrie. I love the idea of letting your heart guide your pencil…and that’s what I’m trying to do 🙂 Of course, experimenting with other ways of writing can only improve my skills or at least prove to me that my original way works best for me….thanks for the insights.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. I do experiment with writing in different genres, and it always stretches me. And I also get confused by some of the agent wish lists I see. I would have a hard time just writing to a wish list. So this is a good reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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