Monday, October 22, 2012

Query Letter - Another Attempt



The Query Letter is one of the more crazy things in publishing. It is also one of the more scary. To tell you the truth...I am pretty scared.

I've heard that most authors hate the query letter. I think the real reason for this is that it could be done a hundred different ways and still not be right. But, there are almost always a few ways that can get the agent or publisher to look at your book.  That is really what it comes down to. A query is an audition for your manuscript.  But when we get rejected - it can be painful. But that is the name of the game and it isn't always a bad thing. Round one of my query letters really taught me a lot. I ended up completely changing my manuscript into a far better one. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that the outcome will be any better this time around.

 I've read a ton of other query letters and some of the ones that succeeded  I didn't like very much. While others that failed had some interesting aspects. But collectively I could see why they failed. It's all a matter of opinion and what gets you on a certain day.

I've written about 20 different query letters and a few of the times I thought that they would work. I cooled off and read something else or worked on a different manuscript and came back to them. Each time, until recently, I wanted to make more and more changes. I am excited about my latest attempt. It feels and reads more solidly. I think it captures more of my story and the way I want it to be seen. But in the end...the agents will be the final judges.  So.....off we go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Adios to my Prologue

After much deliberation and the help of my most recent conference - I am putting to rest my prologue.

As a reader, I love prologues - if done well. They really can grab my attention and throw me into the story. The problem as a writer - it has to be perfect. Mine was far from perfect.

My real problem is that I have two stories wrapped around each other. One in present day and one about 50 years ago. The older story is small but helpful to understand my main story.

I was trying to start my manuscript with my secondary story and my prologue introduce that second story. Therefore, the prologue didn't have anything to do with the main story itself. The prologue often give a back story that helps the story move. I've heard many editors say that if a prologue is done - they will skip it immediately - read the story and then read the prologue. If the prologue teaches them something that they had missed in the story - then they would consider keeping it. My change wasn't hard at all.

If you can imagine - my manuscript has 56 chapters. 45 chapters are devoted to my main story and about10 chapters are devoted to the secondary story. Truth be told though - the secondary story is really just a single long chapter. My former prologue was the first chapter of 10 I just mentioned.

My change consisted of taking the prologue and moving it to chapter 5 of my story. From there - every 5-7 chapters I would add another piece of the puzzle. It was a fun way of doing it. In the end, I kept the chapter - because it is helpful in the overall story.

What are your feelings, as a reader, about prologues.

If you are a writer...does your idea of a prologue change?