Friday, October 13, 2006

Okay, There really is a point.

To the last post which is just a picture. It is so I can have a picture on my profile. Look to the right. See where it says "View Complete Profile?" Click on it. Go ahead; I'll wait. (Lalalalalal) Isn't that cool!?!? Now when I post comments to other sites that I frequent it will have my pictures. Yea!

But I had to have the picture hosted online somewhere and where better than my little blog here.:)

So I have to brag, even though it's really my sister's news. She had a paper in her nutrition class that the professor said she was going to grade solely on grammar. (Which sounds really weird to me; you'd think there would be some content expectation in there somewhere!) But she wrote the paper and asked me to go through it with a fine-toothed comb. So check it out, she e-mailed me yesterday and she got the highest grade in the class!!! See, I do know something about writing. I was all proud of my sister's grade . . . weird, I know.:)

I'm getting ready to dive back into the world of querying with my new Symbiosis. I do so with a tad bit of hesitance because it is a really rough road with incredibly small odds.

That and I'm starting to get sick of my book . . . but from what I've heard, that's a good sign. (shrug) What do I know?

There is a difference this time though, and it's one that I think is very positive. When I queried before I was always hesitant to send the five sample pages that most agents say to send. That's because my first five pages were kind of boring. But, my little brand-new author mind said, They are important! No . . . they weren't. Notice the use of past tense here? The first five pages of my manuscript are now my first one page, and I get my first line that really makes you smile within the first page . . . as opposed to about page ten in my last version.

So now, with a 145,000 word novel that moves quickly on every single page, I have a query letter that I am not very confident about, and sample pages that I am certain of. Quite frankly, I'll take this over the other. As Miss Snark often says, the best books are often intorduced with the worst query letters; that's why you send sample pages. She said straigh out a couple of weeks ago that most of the submisisons she recieves are either a good query letter, or good pages . . . but they come together a surprisingly small percentage of the time.

I don't think I have a bad query letter, it is just so hard to really capture the essence of a novel like mine in a few short sentences. I was reading Rachel Vater's blog this morning (I've become a huge fan of hers; she is now coming in a very, very close second to Kristen in my race of favorite agents.) and she talked about what your personal writing style is. Mine is characters. I create characters that people feel for. I think my second strength is plot, but when you have characters you are really concerned about, it gives the plot more importance. But how do you word that in a query letter? Dear Agent, I have a book full of people you are really going to care about. Right.

None the less, I think my first five pages are now good enough to suck in the reader.

So I guess what I am saying is that I am going into this new round of submisisons with mixed feeling. Another part of that is that this is my novel's last shot. It has been about eight to ten months since I submitted this novel last, so most--if not all-- of the agents will not recognize my name or the characters' name. (And, of course, they won't recognize the title because it is new.) However, pushing it a third time is just not going to happen. It's now or never time.

And I feel almost ready.


I want this thing to shine, so I am not rushing it, but I've gotten to the point where I am starting to question my own judgement. Am I over-editing? When I start to second-guess myself I'm just going to have to be done.

Sorry this post is so long and rambling; I have been feeling rather sober as well as hopeful about this next round of submisions and it has awakened my random musings. Hope you all have a great day.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you start feeling sick of your novel, that's a good sign: You're no longer in love with it. Translation: Now you can butcher it. I can guarantee this: The first three revisions right after you wrote the word END are like filling a tooth. When you don't want to talk about your novel anymore, a revision at this point would be most effetive. You might be able at this point to cut 100+ pages that you'd clung to so dearly in the last three revisions. See, as I said before, it's root canal work. Now, first novel should never be at the size of 145,000 words. Unless you were Nora Roberts incarnate, keep it to 100,000 to 120,000. Cut,cut, cut.

A word about query letter: Keep it to one page, make it intriguing. Take the most compelling part in the novel and let it speak in the letter. Only that.

A word about the novel's opening: Hit the ground running. Make every page count. Make the story flow. If you spend five pages when you could say it in one:=====> CUT! (Imagine yourself, a novelist, being a movie director who has to make his movie under 120 minutes. Any extraneous stuff is cut.)

Last, edit, edit, and keep editing. There's no such thing as overworking your canvas. If you believe you still see mistakes, flaws in your draft, patch them, fix them till you feel sick in the gut. And proofread your draft, dear. I still see typos in your last blog. Nothing turns off an agent much as spotting a mispelled word in your letter, in your sample pages. If you have spent months, even years, to complete a novel, can you spend a little bit more time to make it presentable? Why rush? Why always rush? The world doesn't end if you postpone sending it out a month or two. The publishing world, to be more cruel, won't care less if you don't exist, much less your novel.

By the way, cute pix!