Sunday, January 20, 2013

Analysis Paralysis

After spending all weekend anti-socially planted on my couch, I am finally (finally) moving toward what I think is a good query letter and synopsis. And honestly I think one of the single biggest things I did to get myself there was to STOP reading advice articles on how to do it.

Now, I am not saying not to read the articles at all. I have everything to gain, and everything to learn, from reading them--and I've learned a lot. But at a certain point, I just had to stop, because all I was doing was driving myself in endless circles of "Is it good enough? Did I do this right? Is it ready? Have I edited the MS enough? Am I ready?" Not unlike when my boss's cat gets freaked out by the sight of his own tail, and then attacks it, and then gets confused and gives up, and then three minutes later gets freaked out by it and attacks it again. I found that I was holding my own material up to this magical unattainable standard of the examples given, and the criteria listed, until I had convinced myself that it was so incredibly difficult to write an interesting query that I was never going to actually be able to do it.

So I stopped. And took some deep breaths, and went back to my most recent critique, and wrote another draft. And I think it's pretty good. Maybe not totally there yet, but most definitely moving in the right direction. Part of it was, instead of trying to query my heartfelt story about love and loss and memory like a plot-driven paranormal where stakes are high and danger looms around every corner, I accepted that--as my prized, trusted beta reader pointed out--emotions are plot. And I need to play to my book's strengths, not throw smoke and mirrors at it to try to make it look like something it's not. The smoke and mirrors were adding up to a much less interesting book, anyway.

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