Facing the Perilous Query Letter

I hate writing query letters.  I don’t know what it is about query letters that make me cringe.  Maybe its because I’ve already written the book, and the idea of telling people about it in one page seems overwhelming.  Or it could be that I know how wonderful I am and believe that others should know it too.  Whatever the reason, I write horrible query letters; I can admit it.

I just finished writing/ editing/ editing/ cursing at/ editing my latest novel, and I think it’s about as polished as it’s going to get.  I considered editing it a little more, just so that I could put off writing the query letter, but I decided to be brave.

I’ve looked at a lot of websites that talk about query letters, and they usually leave me more confused and muddled than when I started.  But fear not!  The single best website for query letter advise is Query Shark.  Query Shark is an agent who allows people to submit query letters to her so that she can rip them to shreds in an open forum to help both the writer and the rest of us.  I’ve done my best to read all the archives (and take notes), and I hope I’ve learned quite a bit.  My query letter is sitting, written, on Word.  I’m going to let it sit this week and revise again next week before submitting it to agents.

Wish me luck.

Editing, Making Lists, and Other Writerly Stuff

Under normal circumstances, I whine and complain when I have to hand write anything.  Even signing my name is a major chore for me.  In the day of electronic payments for just about everything, I don’t even have to write checks.  If, for some odd reason, I leave my husband a note about something, he’s lucky if he can read it.

The equation changes when we’re talking about editing or brainstorming for stories.

Normally, I can “think” better with a keyboard under my fingers, but when it comes to editing or brainstorming, I must have a pen in hand.  I’m very environmentally conscious, so I’ve tried and tried to edit work on the computer.  I just can’t do it.  I’m so much more efficient and so much better at it when I print it and go at it with a pen.  When I write character notes, lists, or brainstorm, same goes.  There’s just something about a pen in my fingers that makes it easier for me to think and to write.  Now, if I had to hand write the actual document, I know I couldn’t do that.

I’m constantly editing my stories, as I do believe that great stories aren’t written, they’re re-written.  Here’s a link with 20 quick and dirty tips for editing.  What I like about it is that it’s short, sweet, and hits the high points.

How do you edit?  Any special way you like to do it?  A certain pen?  Specific music?

Editing, Editing, More Editing

I often feel as if the process of editing is never going to be done.  Just when I think that a story is about as good as it gets, I get some feedback that maybe this isn’t right, or that isn’t right, but not how to fix it.  Of course, nothing in life comes easy.  Everything is a process, and the more you work and fix and tweak, the better something is and the better it will be next time too.

It would be nice to have my own dedicated editor, helping me fix things and pointing me in the right direction.  Since I don’t have that, I’ll have to research and read until I get it right, just like my long and frustrating process with query letters.

Here’s my advice for the editing process.  Keep at it.  Take frequent breaks.  Drink iced beverages.  Get out of the house into a new environment (yelp is a great way to find a local coffee shop).  For those of you who’d like some instruction on the actual, you know, editing process, I’ve included a few good links.  Good luck, and happy writing!

http://www.eclectics.com/articles/selfediting.html

http://www.anthologiesonline.com/editing%20fiction.htm

http://marg09.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/ten-editing-tips-for-your-fiction-mss/