Back in the Saddle

Sorry for the hiatus, it’s been a bad few weeks.  My Crohn’s is acting up again, but I think that I’ve about got it under control.  When I’m able, I’ve done a lot of editing.  I’ve sent out about 20 or 30 query letters on WITHIN and have yet to hear anything except form rejections.  I’ve grown a tougher skin for rejections these days, but it gets very discouraging to not  ever get any feedback.

I believe the problem stems from my query letter.  That is the first thing agents look at and if it is not well written, concise, and does not summarize your story and make it sound interesting, you’re going straight into the slush pile.  This past February I was able to attend a Writing Conference in Seattle.  Chuck Sambuchino was the speaker and I felt like I got a lot out of it.  I often read his blogs on Writer’s Digest, and recently noticed that he was editing query letters.  I contacted him and sent him my letter.  I was very pleased with his edits.  Now my letter is tighter and less vague.

There are so many wonderful resources for writers these days.  Writer’s Digest has answers to almost any question about writing that you might have.  They list new agents looking for queries.  There are also quite a few apps and programs that help you to research, outline, and write your work.  Hemingway is an editing app that helps make your writing more concise.  Spice is a wonderful thesaurus app that gives you access not only different words, but tells shows literary quotes using the word you are looking up.  Werdsmith sets alarms to remind you to write and is nice for notes when you are out and about and have an idea.   There are so many more, but these are my favorite.

What apps or technology do you use in your writing?  I’d love to hear!


Sometimes Writing Sucks

It’s June 1st.  The kids are home, the house is a mess, and I’m not writing at all.  It’s really hard to get in the zone when someone’s asking for a snack or the potty every five minutes.  Not that I’m not happy to spend time with them, but I’m really looking forward to a few hours off tomorrow!

I’m deep in the midst of my least favorite part of writing right now – querying.  Most writers with aspirations towards publishing is familiar with that loathsome word.  Querying, otherwise known as constant, soul-crushing rejection.  For those not familiar with the process, a query is a letter sent to literary agents explaining your project and why you think they should represent your work.  Think the inside of a book jacket plus a resume.  There are probably people out there who are fantastic at summarizing their novel in two short paragraphs, complete with a catchy “hook” to entice potential agents.  I am not one of them.  While I believe I am a good writer and that my novel is interesting and well written, I am apparently incapable of showing that in a snappy letter.

I have written many versions of query letters.  I read Chuck Sambuchinos’s and Janet Reid aka Query Shark’s blog regularly (two excellent sources for examples of well written queries).  Still, though, the perfect query letter eludes me.  But like every other part of the writing process, you can only improve by continuing to write. So, I’m off to rewrite WITHIN query number 37.

Good luck to all the other writers stuck in the hell that is querying!