What Would You Do?

by Melissa Dalton
Published on: October 8, 2013
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Perhaps I would feel less like this if someone else conceptualized a novel for me…


Recently I finished a teen romance novel that I really enjoyed: Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill. (Check it out here). Then, as I skimmed the Acknowledgements section in the back, something caught my eye.

(What, doesn’t everyone read the Acknowledgements sections? It feels like you’re reading someone else’s yearbook.)

Anyway, it was this little blurb from Morrill that had me curious:

“First and foremost, thanks to Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer, who took a chance on me and then whipped me into shape over many months of drafts. I was but a wee babe of an author before you two taught me that my characters should, you know, do stuff, and slapped that -ing construction out of me.”

Of course I know who Lauren Oliver is, author of the great Before I Fall, a book on lots of teen reading lists, including Scriva Michelle’s here. So was this a writing group that Morrill was referring to then? I got to googling and found Paper Lantern Lit, Oliver’s literary development company. Here’s their mission statement on the front page of the website:

“We build story. Major plot geeks, our unique literary incubator model means that we’re also author-focused and committed to excavating the freshest new voices. We mentor authors step-by-step through the novel-writing process, providing a conceptual foundation, teaching narrative architecture, and constructing a platform for success.”

Fascinating business model, right? Delving deeper into the website, it would appear that authors apply to write for Paper Lantern Lit (PPL) by sending in some writing samples. If they like what they read and have a project that they think fits the author’s voice, then they contact them to do some spark pages for their concept. If PPL likes the spark pages, then I think they do a contract-author kind of deal with the writer. Paper Lantern Lit makes the decisions regarding concept and plot, while the writer fleshes out and creates the story. Then PPL edits and sells the project when it’s all finished.

Side note: Isn’t that how a lot of movie studios do their scripts?

Ever since coming across this site, I’ve contemplated sending in pages from my W-I-P and applying here.

What would you do?

Update: I think I give the wrong impression with the photo caption and by mentioning that I would send in pages from my W-I-P. Paper Lantern Lit is not interested in developing writer’s projects, just their own. They are not interested in existing manuscripts, just fostering writers. The prospect of being mentored (should your application get a pass) just sounds so lovely. I’m sure the odds of getting chosen are very small…

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