Monday, February 25, 2013

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

So last week I spent a lot of time researching different literary agents for Query Round #2. I narrowed a list of 78 down to . . . some smaller number. Twenty, maybe? And I have a top four list out of those.

Querying is a weird process. It's like speed dating. Or how I imagine speed dating to be, judging from episodes of Psych and Law & Order. You have a very small amount of time (read: space on a page/in an e-mail) to tell someone what you're all about, and you have to make yourself sound as awesome as possible in order to catch their interest.

Querying is all about catching interest. It's freakin' hard, man! I have never been very good at summarizing. My detail-oriented brain balks at the idea of leaving out all those shiny, shiny details. So it's a blood-sweat-and-tears act of will to take my own novel and distill its plot into a couple of paragraphs. To say nothing of trying to make it sound as awesome as possible. I opened my query letter Saturday after not having looked at it for a couple of months, and I thought, Wow, this is so dry. If I was reading that letter as an agent, I don't think it would have caught my interest. It needs some serious tweaking.

So I was a little relieved when I made the decision that day to stop the querying process for the time being. I'm giving myself a month to take my five-book series and restructure it into a trilogy. Mainly because the books as they stand now are too short, and the first one doesn't have much of a climax. Well, it does, but I realized my main character was just watching it unfold--she never actually participated. And that is BAD.

It's a big undertaking, but I gave myself the month deadline so that I don't get too bogged down in trying to make it perfect. Kind of a daunting task, but I'm totally up for the challenge. And I'm determined to push through it instead of going through my usual editing process: edit two pages, weep tears of boredom, edit five pages, primal scream, etc.

Frustrating as it is to be putting a halt to the query process, I kind of see now why I have six rejection letters in my inbox from last year. When I finish this restructuring, I'll have three more sellable, more readable books.

I haven't put my new(er) projects on hold either, though. The Snow White retelling is coming along. And by coming along, I don't mean that I've started writing yet. I've just fleshed out my characters and answered a lot of world-building kinds of questions. It's a lot of work moving an established storyline into a completely new genre, but it's fun too.

Wow, this is the driest blog post ever. I'll try to be more entertaining next time.