Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A round of liquid courage for my fellow writers!

     I finally finished editing my YA novel, Across the Galaxy, on December 2nd, but then my sister came to town and we had what we called an "extravaganza" weekend. So I took a few days off, and then a few days more, to recuperate from the extravaganza. Then, last week, I got down to business and spent the better half of the week sweating and fretting over my query letter for Across the Galaxy.

     What is it about? How's this:
     Most teenage girls struggle with teenaged problems. Like what to wear to homecoming and did I shave my legs before gym class? Seventeen year old Alina has all of those problems and a whole lot more. The list does tend to get longer when you're an alien. An alien empress, to be exact.

     That's the opening paragraph of my pitch, or query letter. Anyway, Friday and Saturday afternoons were both spent researching agents and then lastly - sending out my query letter!!!

     Yup. That's right. I did it. Even though my knees were knocking together so hard, it left bruises. (Side note: Saturday I had a couple glasses of wine, a.k.a liquid bravery, and it kept my knees still long enough to hit 'send' without any more seizure-like mishaps.)

     So now it's out there, and I can't take it back. And so far, I've gotten a handful of responses that all say "Thanks for the look, but this isn't right for me right now"... And I'm taking their words exactly the way they've written them. Which means, I just need to find an agent that is looking for a great new breakout YA Fantasy and I'll be in there like swimwear.

     In the meantime, I got an email back from an editor on my short story, DreamKiller, who said it was a 'close call' whether or not to choose my story. In the end, they passed, but that one line of hope was all I needed to light a new fire, and since last night, I'm 5000 words into a new short story. I will finish it today or tomorrow and polish it by the end of the week, and then fire it right back to that same editor, who ended his email by saying "feel free to send us anything else you have". Let's see if he was shootin' straight or blowin' smoke.

     Mostly, though, that "close call" comment was validation. Validation that it wasn't total crap. Now, the egocentric in me knows my writing is great, maybe even genius some days. But the realist in me isn't so sure. Which is exactly what has held me back from e-publishing my novel - or short story for that matter. So who knows? A few more cuddly comments like these, a couple more courage-wine blends, and maybe I'll feel froggy enough to take the leap anyway.

     Until then, we'll leave well enough alone, and let the queries land where they may. Here's to "close calls"...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hook, Line and Sinker

     I'm not a fisherman. I tried it once when I was a kid, and I couldn't stand it. I don't like worms, I'm not very patient, and I would much rather swim in the water than just stand there and stare at it, waiting for something to happen.

     Same goes for my agent querying. I finished Across the Galaxy back in August, edited for about a month and then put it away and worked on other things. About two weeks ago I decided to quit messin around, and get this thing off my plate, one way or another. So I went back and edited AGAIN, which was apparently a good idea, since alot of the sentence structure was pretty rudimentary. I mean, it probably still is, but I can already see how far I've come in the past year, just by writing something and reading something every day. I like to think of it as graduating from Pre-K to Kindergarten.

     So, I finished editing and while that was exciting, because that means Across the Galaxy is once and for all - DONE, it also means I have no choice but to move onto writing my query letter. Which I have expertly put off and put off for as long as possible. I've played around with it a few times, even claimed it was done enough to show an agent back in October, at that writer's conference, but deep down I know, I still need to come up with my hook. That one opening line that gets your attention right off, and sucks you in.

     And the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this process of trying to land an agent is going to be just like my one fishing experience when I was nine. I hate worms, I'm not very patient, and I would much rather swim in the water than stand there looking at it, waiting for something to happen.