Firstly, a side-note. What do you think about the slight design change on the blog? Ok, it was a small change, and you might not notice. But what do you think of the little flowers in the nav bar? I love the little flowers. Ok, now onto writing…
Yay! I have a query letter.
After much frustration and my husband pointing out that if I rewrote the first six chapters of my book six times, it’s not unfathomable that I would have to do the same with a query, I finally have a letter I like — and, better yet, it has the approval of my circle of critiquers.
A letter is such a small thing, compared to a novel, and because I was having difficulties coming up with a compelling, fun letter that hooks the reader and gives the voice of the book, I was starting to have doubts about myself as a writer — and the validity of my book. What good am I if I can’t write a simple letter? And, if I can’t distill my book’s plot into a couple sentences, that must mean the story isn’t streamlined enough, it’s too complex, to busy and NO ONE WILL EVER READ IT!!!
See how easy it is for a writer to overreact? Come on, don’t tell me you haven’t felt this way, if not about a query, about your book, your chapter, whatever. We writers tend to be insecure types.
But I’m here to tell you, push it aside. It’s not true. None of it. It’s all in our head.
When I came out the other side of this rant, I realized — as my husband had been telling me — I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees. I was so busy trying to write about all the little things that happen in the book, I wasn’t focusing on the overriding theme.
A few things helped me get over myself and write a better query: 1) my husband telling me to have fun with it, like I did with the book; 2) one of my fellow critiquers saying I should talk about the conflict of the main character (an obvious point that I had completely overlooked); and 3) a blog post from an agent who says she reads story blurbs in queries to get the hook of the story (sorry, I can’t find the post otherwise I’d link to it). Now I have a query that’s fun, in my character’s voice and focuses on his conflict and the overriding theme of the story. I’m happy with it, and if it gets attention from agents, I’ll post it on this blog for you to see. Stay tuned.
Today, as I scrolled through the blogs I read regularly, I found a link to a great video that summed everything up for me. Literary agent Janet Reid linked to the really cute and funny video below. Although it’s actually about debut author Lara Zielin getting editing notes, it struck me that the song could work for queries too.
The line, “With a little perseverance, I can get this done,” works so well for writing in general. And besides, I’m a sucker for Corey Hart songs. (Sunglasses at Night, anyone? No matter how silly it is to where sunglasses at night, I didn’t care when I was 14 and in love with Corey Hart.)
Enjoy! (Ok, I realized the video wasn’t showing up. Let’s try this again…)