Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Query Letter Hell

I brave revisions this month, two months after finishing my NaNo baby. The thought makes me nauseous. Revisions are the meat of creating a novel, what separate the writers from the wannabees. Did I mention the nausea?

For me, revision means starting with a query letter. For those not in the know, the query letter is a book pitch in about 300 words or less, and is a thousand times harder than writing an entire novel. Not only do you have to whittle your book down to under 300 words, but they have to be the best 300 words you've ever written in hopes of attracting the attention of a very busy literary agent who receives hundreds of them a week. A week!

Most often the query come after your novel is all shiny and polishy, but after getting stuck in revisions on my last novel due to problems revealed through my query, I decided to start with the query this time. That way, I can fix whatever problems it reveals before I fall in love with every word I've poured my heart and soul into.

After the query is done, I'll head over to AbsoluteWrite and post it in their forum entitled Query Letter Hell where it will get torn to shreds and made better than I thought possible. And I'll discover what's working and what's not. Where the plot holes are, which characters belong and which should be laid off, and if there really is a story there to revise.

You must sign up for AbsoluteWrite to post any of your writing - query or otherwise - there for critique and to critique others, but it's free and the education is invaluable.

Revise the big stuff first. Then on to the little stuff. But that's a whole 'nuther blog :)

For more information on queries, be sure to check out literary agent Janet Reid's Query Shark (not for the faint of heart) and CJ Redwine's Querypalooza. And my Evolution of a Query page is up and running if you'd like a peek at the route my last query took.

Happy revisions and ¡Buen Provecho!

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