Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Play Time

Today's Mood: Relieved. Today's Music: Alison Moyet. Today's Writing: Queries. Today's Quote:
"Many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a [SASE] big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor." -Ring Lardner, How to Write Short Stories.
I am basking in the glow of having just sent off seven query letters. Yea me! Since June I have been worked on revising BD (several times in fact). And then I worked on creating an intriguing query letter. THEN I researched, and researched, and researched who to send it to. AND NOW I GET TO PLAY!

So what should I play with? Free Lunch? IFFY? poetry? an essay? The writing possibilities stretch out limitless in front of me like the Kansas highway. Only problem is I want to do it all. And paint. And draw. And and and....

What have you all been up to? Any exciting writing going on? Any advice on how to pick the next project?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Today's Mood: Dizzy. Today's Music: singing in church. Today's Writing: this blog. Today's Quote:
Do you suffer from blogaholism, Twitteritis, RSS Dependency, or Status Update Disorder? Then this is the seminar for you... -by Polly Frost
Okay, I just had to share this since I am definitely one who spends time in the blogosphere when I should be working on that query of mine. Check out the Polly Frost's article Reblock Yourself the Polly Frost Way. The truth hurts--and is also hilarious. My only complaint is her characterization of librarians. Hey, we can fracture and fragment the English language with the best of 'em!

So get to work and reblock yourself. Hopefully you can agonize over your real writing then.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hunting Season (for an agent, that is.)

Today's Mood: Upbeat. Today's Music: Neil Diamond (I know--but hey, I was a teenager in the eighties after all!) Today's Writing: Query letter for BD. Today's Quote:
The amount of time you spend formatting, coloring, bolding, italicizing, and adding pictures to your query is inversely proportional to how professional it looks when you're finished. -Nathan Bransford
Agent hunting season has officially begun! I'm dreaming of bagging one early, but just in case, I'm working to locate several different hunting grounds. And, of course, I'm making sure I have all the right permits and weapons. I bought the 2009 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, I have perused many writer, editor, and agent blogs looking for tips on query letters and searching for suitable game. Nathan Bransford has several informative posts about query letters (including a mad-lib style query letter format), and Cynsations has several interviews with agents that give greenhorns like me insight into the business.

I have to admit, I'd probably rather write a whole novel than a query letter. It seems like there is so much hanging on one page. I always like the agents that want to see several pages of the novel as well. Gives me hope. And the other thing I dislike about query letters is that even writing them forces me to think about what if. What if he/she doesn't want it? What if no one wants it? And maybe even a little bit of what if he/she DOES want it? That has a fear element in it as well. (granted, a more exciting, pleasant fear element, but still scary in its own way.)

Of course, I want to send my manuscript off to the person most likely to love it as much as I do, but who is that mysterious person? I find a dozen potentials in the Market, and then I search them on the web. Should I go with the one who is well-known? The one who represents several big time young adult authors? Or should I try one who is more actively seeking clients? I want the best. My novel deserves the best. But, in the end, a small trophy is better than none at all, right?

The query letter itself is stressful. Sure I know what my novel is about, but what tone do I take when talking about it? Light and humorous? Serious and professional? Like I'm talking to someone I know--except I don't know that person and THAT is the problem. I'm not a good social chit-chatter. It is hard for me to do anything other than serious with people I don't know. If I'm teasing you--then you can be sure I like you and feel comfortable with you.

So it goes back to research. I have to find out as much as I can about these agents in order to feel like I know them (even a little bit) so that I can write in my own voice--and not some stilted, fill-in-the-blank letter.

I guess I need to develop a stalker mentality. Notice all the little details, look up their myspace and facebook accounts and check out their friends. Read the books they like. Listen to the same music. Ewwww, I'm creeping myself out! Besides, I really don't have enough time to be a stalker. Guess I'll go for serious and professional.