Sorry I’ve been gone for a while. You can assume that when I’m not blogging as much, it also means I’m not writing as much.
College Life has kinda got me like:
I can hear your response:
Okay, yes. I’m being dramatic. I only have 2 finals this week, and neither one will be that painful. Hopefully. I’m really enjoying college, and I’m also really ready for break.
So. Writing. I’m still writing The Sequel, just not as fast as I’d like to be. (This is the sequel to my finished-and-edited novel, The Sound of Color.) I’ve been reading a ton, and not super motivated to write. I’m feeling very un-motivated. I think this is why:
I don’t feel like I’m moving forward. There’s a voice inside my head going what’s the point in writing the rest of this series if it’s never gonna get published? And I think this has to do with the Querying Phenomenon. Let me explain.
In all other parts of the writing process, it’s fairly easy to see your progress. For example, in writing the rough draft, you can see your word-count go up. You can measure that your plot is moving forward. You have an End To The Story, and each paragraph you write gets you closer.
Same with re-writing. Each scene you cut or add is a tangible step towards the finished story. Okay, editing can seem endless. But you know that the novel will only take roughly four or five “passes” before it’s “done,” or at least “good enough.” (Four to five is my own personal number. You may have your own, and that’s cool.) With each editing pass, you can feel the story getting stronger, better. You’re streamlining, adjusting, and you can see the Final Product take shape before your eyes. There is a clear end to editing.
But querying? Not so much. There’s this far-off day when maybe an agent emails back, asking for more chapters of the story. There’s this impossibility that perhaps they’ll like that chunk enough to ask for the whole story. And then, perhaps, per-maybe-haps, they will sign you on.
And even after that, there’s more work. More edits. And finally, finally, you get published.
Getting an agent… it just seems so improbable. Agents get tens of thousands of queries each year, and they might take on two or three new clients in that year. So the “getting an agent” thing is just hard. And it’s not like “oh yes, once you send out the magic number of 43 query letters, you are certain to get an agent.” Nope. Your first query letter could land you an agent. Or your 402nd. Or you could sent out 1,000 and never hear back from an agent, except for “no thank you.”
If I just knew how many query letters my personal novel required, I would have finished by now. Like if I knew it was going to take exactly 78 query letters, I would have sent out those 78. But as it is, there is an unknown number between zero and infinity. It’s hard to make a single query letter, or even ten, seem like a substantial stepping stone compared to an unknown infinity.
That’s not to mention that each and every query letter requires about half an hour of research. It’s a lot. And it’s not really fun research. It feels like half an hour down the drain when they reply a week later saying, “This sounds delightful, but most fantasy novels should be over 100,000 words. Your isn’t. So thanks but no thanks.” (I got an email back basically saying that.)
And just when I was feeling ready for another round of queries, the holidays hit. Most literary agencies close shop in December and January, so I can’t start querying again until then. So, here’s my goal.
By February 1, 2017
- Finish the re-read/edit of TSOC that I’m doing now
- Re-evaluate (for the 100 millionth time) my query letter
- Write my synopsis (because some agents are evil and want an amazing query letter AND a flawless first ten pages AND a 1-2 page synopsis. Yay.)
- Be ready to send out fan-tab-u-lous query + first 10 pages + synopsis when necessary
Also, if time:
- Finish the rough draft of The Sequel.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
If you’re doing finals this week, best of luck. Study like Hermione Granger is watching you. Be kind to yourself, and be kind to others. Remember that stories are important. Your story is important. Someone out there needs to read it, so please keep writing it.
I’ll be over here studying, reading, and writing. Oh, and also drinking coffee like this:
I’ll see you when I’m on Winter Break. And as they say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.