Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I hate/love querying

It's true. I have such strong opposing feelings about querying it kinda turns me schizo.

Rage is on its second major round of querying. The first I'll call an abysmal failure mostly for two main reasons: First: looking back, I'm embarrassed by the query letters I sent. Honestly, they were just really bad. Confusing, bad writing, the works. Second: Obviously the first round of querying didn't render the results I wanted (landing an agent) although I did get a few partial requests.

Now we come to the second round of querying. Okay, the second round of querying I'm a few weeks into. After I finished the aforementioned rewrite, I refused to jump right back into the querying shark tank without that absolutely smashing query letter to match the work. So I wrote a query and edited it and researched before writing another query. Rinse and repeat. Up around query #8 I remember, a website Brett happened on back when he was starting to query his novel House of Wind. So I revisited the site, thought it might be fun to submit to the brilliant, although rather frightening Janet Reid, aka query shark, for a query critique. First I read her requirements for submitting and found out that I had to read 160+ blog posts of query's she's already critiqued.

So I started reading thinking I'd get through a quarter of the posts and then send her mine. Then I discovered that I had ideas of how to correct (or restart) my query while I was reading so I made a habit of having the query up on my screen while reading the blog so it would be easy to make corrections.

I'll tell you, it wasn't easy and it took me well over a week to get through the entire archives but the result was query #14. Well darn it all if I don't feel pretty good about #14. In fact I've sent it out now to over a dozen agents and have already gotten a partial request and a, "I'm passing it on to a colleague who might like it". I didn't take that one as a rejection.

Now we come to the love/hate portion of querying. There is something downright thrilling about sending out that letter and knowing one of those people with connections to major publishing companies is looking at your precious baby and picturing it in hardback. I love getting on my computer and seeing a "re:query:12th Dimension R.A.G.E." in my inbox. My finger hovers over the mouse for a good 30-60 seconds before I'm able to click on it, preparing for the worst, although in at least two cases yesterday, punching my fist in the air and yelling "YES!" That would be the "love" portion of querying.

What I hate: Self doubt. Worry that R.A.G.E. is not good enough, concern that there's not way I can swim in the writing industry, fear that the next rejection will destroy my will to finish my next novel, terror that perhaps my ability to write will never be up to par with industry standards. Usually these fears are the worst in the evenings after the sun goes down and the ghosts come out. During the day things don't look so grim and I can hope, hope, hope for a brighter outcome for my dreams.

P.S. I did submit my query to queryshark. No posting yet but at least the site did its job in giving me a query that I'm not embarrassed by.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Major Overhaul

Finally after years of watching Stephan King inspired movies I took a leap and actually read one of his books. Starting off small with his book On Writing (fabulous) followed by Eyes of the Dragon, I managed to make it to one of his hard core horror novels and picked up It.

To say this novel inspired me would be an understatement. I was utterly amazed by the way he seemed to paint characters and scenery with such vividness and realism. So finishing the 400,000+ words in less than a month I had to go back and look at R.A.G.E.

Now my poor manuscript had been written, edited, edited, edited and edited, then queried, queried, queried, rejected, rejected, rejected and then finally shelved, but after reading It I was determined to have another look. Holy Flatness Batman!! No wonder it had been rejected 50+ times. While my plot wasn't lacking, my faceless characters revolved in little individual spheres that didn't extend past their little sections of dialogue and the most basic of descriptions. Ding, ding, ding. A bell went off in my head and I rolled my neck, cracked my knuckles and sat right down for a complete rewrite. That was about three months ago or whenever I posted last on my sad neglected blog.

Since then the story has taken on depth in regards to setting descriptions as well as character development in the tone of 30,000 words. That's right. My measly 75,000 word novel has been bulked up to 105,000 words of depth and character.

I wish this story had a happy ending and I could proudly put into print that since then twenty agents have asked for the manuscript and 15 have asked to sign me and a publisher is waiting in the wings to offer me a six figure three book deal. Unfortunately I'm once again standing of the brink of querying and I can't seem to put together an absolutely smashing query letter to match my newly absolutely smashing manuscript. I'll get there, I know I will. No one puts in that much time on their computer and that much effort into a manuscript without trying to introduce it to the world. Literary Agents, you've been warned. Watch for new and improved R.A.G.E. coming your way. ;)