My children are adventurous.
(I will bring this back to writing, I promise.)
The last week has pounded that home. Hard.
My daughter is one of those people who throws herself into the fray with abandon. She wants to do everything!
Like hop on the rocks at the zoo.
So last Thursday we were at the zoo waiting in line to ride the little train (which my son has been bugging me to go do for a week.) Audrey was playing at a small fountain, and after a few minutes, started climbing on the big rocks that are everywhere at the zoo. Suddenly I hear her scream and I look over and blood is pouring down her face! To make a long story short, she sliced her head open in a two-inch gash that went all the way to her skull and gaped open about half an inch. I wish I had had a camera at the hospital. It was way impressive.
Luckily, my daughter is also brave. The resident who assisted said Audrey was the only four-year-old she had ever stitched who didn't have to be sedated. The only time she got a little tetchy was when the doctor put her arm in from of Aud's eyes. Why? Because she couldn't see the T.V.! (This is me rolling my eyes.)
After getting fourteen stitches, Audrey decided it would be a better idea to play "Step Rock" instead of "Hop Rock." I think she's on to something.
My son, on the other hand, is quite caution in terms of jumping off large things. However, he likes to test what I say. If I say "No" he wants to do it just to find out why I said no. This morning, for example. I heated up my curling iron and curled my bangs. I told Brennan several times not to touch it, because it was hot. I was very clear and explicit. I walk out of the bathroom and five seconds later, Bren screams. (This is also where I rolled my eyes.) I got his finger under cold water and asked, "Did I tell you it was hot?" To which he responds in his cute little two-year-old voice, "Uh-huh." *sigh* He knew! But he had to be sure.
So, are you an Aud or a Bren when you query? (See, I told you it was coming back to writing.:)) The Audreys in this world are so anxious to get their book out there they query a book before it is finished (I've been guilty of that once) or query fifty agents all at once with their first-draft query letter. They send off their partials without looking through them first, they query anyone and everyone and decide they'll research after they get that offer of representation. I think we all spend at least a little time being an Audrey when we are brand new writers. We get excited and throw caution to the wind. Honestly, there's nothing particularly wrong with that. But you can paint yourself into a corner doing it. I suggest you spend as little time being an Audrey as possible. (Not literally of course. The real Audrey is charming!)
However, literary Brennans are far worse. They are careful and calculating. They listen as everyone tells them what not to do. Don't write a three-page query, don't include pictures, bribes, or money, and don't print your partial on neon green paper. But there are some of us who just have to do it anyway. Just to see. Well, you know what? 99.9% of the time, you're going to get burned. Period. One of the reasons I get so frustrated with my son is that he listens. He understands. (He's absolutely brilliant. A bit scarily so, actually.) He knows what is going to happen, and he has to do it anyway. I know lots of writers like this. They are so sure they are the exception and seem to feel like they have to prove how great they are by breaking all the rules and hoping for an acceptance anyway.
There us a place for rule breaking. There is. But be very, very careful about doing it. Don't mistake pride for brilliance. Publishing is a business and, like any business, there are rules and policies and if you don't want to get fired (rejected) you have to follow them. That's just the way it is.