Writing Fantasy That Mirrors Our World With (Manuscript) Academy Award Winner Ali McLafferty

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We are thrilled to introduce Ali McLafferty, author, teacher, and most recent winner of the as-yet-untitled (Manuscript) Academy Awards.

Ali was nominated by agent Melissa Edwards (Stonesong Literary) for this gorgeous fantasy novel that brings up a lot of issues in our world as well.

We discuss how she polished her query, how many drafts she did of her first page–and what she learned along the way.

Learn more about Ali at www.alimclafferty.com.

Full transcript at manuscriptacademy.com/podcast-ali-mclafferty

Feedback on Ali’s query letter and first page (00:10:09) Julie and Jessica provide feedback on Ali’s query letter and first page, discussing its strengths and areas for improvement.

Ali’s revision process for the query letter (00:15:24) Ali discusses her process of revising the query letter, including feedback from friends and an editor, and the changes she made.

The query letter (00:20:22) Discussion on the effectiveness of the query letter’s opening and structure, focusing on the emotional impact and the feedback received.

First page of the manuscript (00:21:44) Analysis and feedback on the opening page of the manuscript, highlighting its grounding effect and the portrayal of the character and setting.

Writing process and first draft (00:24:04) Discussion about the unique experience of the book’s creation, the absence of significant revisions, and the influence of personal connection and understanding of the material on the first draft.

Genre and target audience (00:35:28) Challenges in defining the genre and target audience for the book, particularly in conveying the blend of fantasy and imagined scientific systems, and the potential for pitching to adult audiences.

Rejection and perseverance (00:34:15) Acknowledgment of the emotional impact of rejections and the importance of perseverance, as well as the advice on finding rewards in the process and maintaining determination.

Pitching and query letter adjustments (00:38:05) Consideration of pitching the book as adult fantasy and the potential adjustments for the query letter to cater to an adult audience without compromising the narrative drive.

Author’s website and future queries (00:39:25)

Advice for Writers (00:41:49) Ali shares her advice for aspiring writers, emphasizing the joy of writing and the importance of perseverance.

Touching Moments (00:44:03) Ali recounts a touching moment when her husband was moved by a part of her first book, emphasizing the impact of writing on loved ones.

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