Today I welcome my good friend, Fiona McLaren.
You may know her as the amazing and giving mentor who chose loglines for Brenda Drake’s #PitchMadness and fought viciously for a candidate in #Pitchwars. There’s a reason Fiona has been so insightful in these contests. Here’s her secret.
She’s been interning… a lot.
Now, to the questions! *Superman pose*
1. How long have you interned for? What agencies (if you can share.) If not, how many agencies?
I interned with two separate agencies. Both established agencies, but I prefer to keep the details private as I don’t want my writing friends to know whether their work has come through my slush pile or not!!!
2. Where did you discover these internship opportunities?
I found my first internship position through an advertisement for interns at an American agency. Originally, they advertised for graduates, but I applied anyway, explained my love for the written word, and was lucky enough to get offered the position. My second internship came through connections I’d made within the writing world.
3. What are some of your internship tasks?
My favorite is going slush pile diving! It’s very illuminating. It’s so amazing to see what new concepts are about, and I open every one with the hope of finding a diamond in the rough! I also get to read fulls, help with critiquing various items (partials, fulls, etc). It’s a great learning curve!
4. In the query pile, what stands out to you? Both good and bad?
For me, it’s good technical writing along with an easy flowing pace. I want something that reads fast and smooth, that grabs me by the shirt collar and pulls me into the character’s story. As for the bad? Exposition, passive voice (really common!), and stories with no inherent conflict.
5. Has interning helped you with your own writing career?
A 1000%. It’s so helpful, especially in seeing what concepts are very over-done. It’s actually very hard to find a very unique idea.
6. Do you have any advice for writers based off your behind the scenes work within agencies?
Take your time. Really focus on the flow and pacing of your work. You don’t have long to grab the reader, so make sure the reader can slip into the story effortlessly.
Please tune in tomorrow for an expanded Author Interview, featuring Fiona! She’s so crazy cool. Trust me. You really don’t want to miss it!
Thank you, Fiona, for tackling these intern-view questions to give insights to querying writers and intern hopefuls across the board!