With the DFW Writing Convention a couple weeks away, I thought I’d start working on my pitch / query letter. This would require me to stop re-writing one of my older novels, Dreaming Vicariously, which is the writing I really WANT to be doing now because, you know, it’s actual writing and storytelling, not some boringass summary.
So I bit the bullet and took 2 days to write a query letter. I thought I put some serious effort into it, because with the conference a couple weeks away, it’s time to get my shit together or wait another year. Out of those two days I got 2 solid paragraphs that I thought I’d take to my critique group for input, with the caveat that I don’t know shit about writing query letters.
They were pissed. “How the fuck do you take a story as exciting as yours and write a query letter this boring?” “Your voice is completely absent from this query letter.”
Ok, maybe I didn’t put serious effort into it. At the coffee shop yesterday, I sat down and told myself I’d work on it, and I did. half an hour later I had a solid paragraph that I felt was a million times better than both the previous ones, and after I chew on it a little longer I’m sure I can come up with another couple to match. Granted, I had some really good insight that got me headed in the right direction, but the first time around I didn’t have my head in the game. That or I was eager to get a crit group smackdown, which I did.
In either case, the moral of the story is that there isn’t a fucking shortcut. If you’re gonna do the work, jump in, and if you’re only ankle-deep, that ain’t enough. #19 of My Own Personal Kerouac is “Throw yourself at the story or don’t tell it,” and I should’ve taken my own advice.