Strong Female Leads

Looking to grab the attention of literary agents with your work?  One way to elevate your writing from the rest of the competition is to develop a strong female lead, without falling victim to clichés.

Here are a few quick tips to help create a real, strong female lead:

        1.  Don’t forget that strong does NOT mean perfect.  Even the strongest of all characters have flaws.  No one is perfect, so make sure to develop some personal flaws in your leading lady.
        2.  Character Arcs are important! Develop your character as you do your story.  If you start her off with no room to grow, there is no room to go!
        3.  Be Real. A strong female lead does not mean physical perfection.  Make her realistic so readers are able to connect and believe in her strength.  A physique like Wonder Woman does not equal a strong female lead.
        4.  Avoid Stereotyping. To avoid the cliché trap, identify potential female stereotypes in your writing.  If not, your character will lose her believability.
        5. Give her a reason. What made your character so strong?  How did she overcome her fears to grow into the strong lead in your story?  What keeps her strong?
        6.  Strong does not mean invincible.  A realistic lead will have weaknesses and moments of insecurity and fear.  How she overcomes these barriers helps develop her true strength and character.
        7.  Read novels with strong female characters.   What makes them real?  How do different authors develop their strong female leads into characters that the reader is invested in?  How can you get your readers invested in the success of your own character?

International Literacy Day

Today, September 8th, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be once again working to increase literacy awareness by hosting the 53rd Annual International Literacy Day.

This year’s focus is on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism’ by recognizing and addressing how multilingualism impacts literacy.  This year’s event will be held in Paris, but don’t worry, there are ways to participate no matter where you are.

Some ideas for promoting literacy:

      1.  Volunteer with a community agency that helps promote literacy.
      2. Say thank you to a teacher in your life.
      3. Read a book to a child.
      4. Visit your local library.
      5. Donate a few dollars to a local literacy group.

Read A Book Day


This Friday, what will you be doing?  Grab a book and take some time to participate in “National Read a Book Day.”

We all love books, but making time to read can often be a challenge.  To help celebrate “National Read a Book Day,” share your favorite book with your friends and family.

Here are a few ways to join in the fun:

    • Host a Book Sharing event where everyone highlights one of their favorite novels
    • Post on social media using #ReadABookDay
    • Swap a book with another book lover
    • Visit your local book store
    • Host a bookmark making party
    • AND DON’T FORGET, READ A BOOK!

Happy #ReadABookDay!

Book Fair Coming to Leimert Park Village

If you’re looking for a fun, book-filled weekend (and seriously, who isn’t?), then make sure to add the Leimert Park Village Book Fair to your calendar.  On Saturday, August 24th from 10am to 5pm, the event voted “one of LA’s 5 best annual book festivals” will be held at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.  With multiple authors and book events happening throughout the day, the certain highlight will be the presentation and live cooking demonstrations provided by Laila Ali, the successful boxer and cookbook author, whom also happens to be the daughter of Muhammad Ali. 

Over 40 additional authors will be participating, along with a star-studded panel of presenters including Los Angeles Poet Laureate (2014-2016) Luis J. Rodriguez and more.  Exhibitors including CLBC, County of Los Angeles Public Library, Kensington Books, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Farm Fresh To You, Los Angeles Philharmonic and many others will be participating.  Be sure to check it out!

You’ve Finished Writing A Book…Now What?

You’ve spent the past months and possibly even years laboring of your work and now you have a finished, edited version of a book.  Congratulations!  But now what?  It can be overwhelming to find a literary agent that wants to take on your project, especially when rejection letters start arriving.  Many authors give up at this point.  Don’t be one of them!

First, spend some time searching for an agent that is looking for your project.  There are many free resources available online.  The MS Wishlist hosts a wealth of information for any author looking for the agent who will work to publish their blood, sweat and tears into a novel. 

MS Wishlist provides authors with tips on what agents are looking for, common mistakes that lead to rejection, a forum for asking agents questions, and also links authors to an associated Twitter feed where agents can request specific topics, genres, and subjects that they are currently wanting to take on as projects.  This provides a way for authors to connect with agents and publishers in their specific genre and provides a way to turn a cold query into a hot lead.

Photo Credit: Zoe Sadokierski

For authors wanting a more hands on approach, many agents provide opportunities for authors to submit segments of their writing for agent review and critique.  MS Wishlist acts as a directory for agents seeking submissions and additionally, links authors to personal critique services for a fee. 

LA locals can take part in an in-person critique session with literary manager Hannah Ozer on Monday, August 26th at Broadway Second Stage where she will live read 2 winning scripts from a recent screenwriting contest.  After the live read, feedback will be provided by Hannah along with script coach Tim Schildberger.  Bring your burning questions, as they will be hosting a Q&A following the live read event.  For more information or to purchase an event ticket, please visit the event page at: LiveRead/LA.