Greetings from the Land of Limbo!
First, a quick update. I am still actively querying The Curse Merchant, and there have been nibbles on the old fishing line. Beyond the blog contest in February which generated some requests for partials (and a full!), I have had two agents request full manuscripts from cold querying. Now proceeds the Long Wait. Nothing can really prepare you for the Long Wait. You just dive in and… well… wait.
What I have learned from the query process so far:
1. Social Media can be an invaluable tool, if used properly. Improper use would include querying via Twitter/Facebook, badgering agents, spamming Twitter feeds, etc. I have learned volumes not just about the agencies and their requirements, but also about the particular flavors of fiction that the individual agents are really wanting to see.
2. Blogs = free information. The querying process itself has its own set of unwritten rules. Scratch that, they are totally written and published on agent blogs. It’s out there, it’s free, and it’s absolutely worth reading.
3. You’re never too cool to feel the sting of rejection. I’ve steeled myself for rejection, prepared for it, meditated and even endured an 80’s era training montage set to Kenny Loggins. Still, when that form rejection rolls into the inbox, it stings. I figure it always will, because if it didn’t, I wouldn’t care about my manuscript.
4. It is absolutely vital to keep busy writing, but at the same time it doesn’t totally work.
On that note, here’s what I’ve been doing to keep moving forward on my writing career.
My next long-format project is still in pre-writing phase. Namely, outlining. Any reader of my blog knows I can be unspeakably left-brained about my pre-writing. This next project has a lot more twists and turns than did Curse Merchant, and so a waterproof outline is the only thing keeping me from slipping into a Salvador Dali-esque landscape of dangling plots and melting clocks.
In addition, I began a short story that had crawled into my noodle and refused to wiggle its way back out without being written. However, I ran into a snag. Point of View.
I am brutal about POV. It was drilled into my head at an early stage in my writing career that POV must be ruthlessly restricted. Head-hopping is a cardinal sin in Sloan-ville. What’s worse, I find that the books I have enjoyed recently have been Deep Third Person, burying the reader into the head of the protagonist. The Hunger Games are an example of this. Nothing happens outside of the sensory perception or internal monologue of the main character.
That said, I must admit to being overly dogmatic in this regard. There are other perfectly valid POV’s out there. This is the bias I was given long ago, and I haven’t had much luck shaking it. The good news is that it has steered me clear of certain liberties that plague poor writing.
The bad news is this short story has wandered into omniscient POV. I’m not comfortable in omniscient POV. It’s just too… wide. I get agoraphobic when writing in omniscient. Right at the midpoint, I started the double-guessing game. Is this good? Does it suck? Should I drink more whiskey until it improves?
Then it occurred to me. I’m writing a screenplay. Yep. It’s all there. Emphasis on blocking and physical descriptions. Setting. Camera angles. All I had to do was start over.
Well, start over I have, and I’m past where I left off with the prose version. The good news is that I may or may not have a contact on the West Coast who is eager to take a look at it when it’s ready. How’s THAT for motivation?
Image credit: David Castillo Dominic