Tag Archives: aspiring author

Query Help!

I need your help. Yes, you, the one scrolling past my post. No, I’m not asking for money. I need your opinion. Your honest opinion.

Below is my query letter. If you don’t know what is query letter is, it’s a short, engaging clip that outlines your novel and hopefully captures the attention of an (agent/publisher/whatever). It’s been likened to the blurb on the back of a book that gets a reader’s attention.

I would like your opinion on whether this query sounds interesting, or would be something you would read. I’ve spent a lot of time studying Query Shark‘s advice and rules, and cut things even when it hurt, hoping to make a better query. In the end, only one rule remains: does is capture your attention. (If it’s not your genre – well then I guess I’ve struck out immediately. Tell me that too!)

QUERY:

Since the death of her sister by magical means, Fairian has devoted her life to finding answers. But answers are hard to come by when everyone ignores anything even remotely resembling the word magic. With everything from Parliament re-writing history to her mother breathing down her neck with the slightest infraction of propriety, investigation is just a mite difficult.

Luckily for Fairian, the new city she moved to happens to have someone who can answer her questions. Unfortunately, he wants nothing to do with her and refuses her entrance into his dangerous and subversive world. That might have something to do with the fact that he’s the biggest mystery of all.

Nothing is going to end up quite like Fairian expects. Her obstinate search for answers is going to attract the very wrong kind of attention, both magical and human. It’s going to take all of her cleverness and all of his inhumane power to get her through this alive.

Of course, there are things worse than death. And here, they’re everywhere.

Written from Fairian’s perspective, INITIUM is a completed 120,000 word Steampunk.

 

Thoughts? Questions? Criticisms? Please?


Last Minute NaNoWriMo-ing

After spending the day plastering my parent’s house, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month in true last-minute form. So okay, another yay-I’m-going-to-do-NaNoWriMo post. (To be honest, I didn’t even know there was an actual website you interacted on, I thought it was just something you did) It’s slightly funny, because I’m so stinkin’ close to finishing the novel I’ve been working on the past few months – I have ONE scene left in the middle of the novel, and then I’m done. I’ve written the ending and everything.

But despite the minor anxiety that is being caused by not immediately finishing my current novel, I’m excited about the idea of a deadline for a brand-new novel. (I probably will even try to get that last scene knocked out sometime soon) I’ve never worked with a deadline, so I’m curious to see how my creativity responds under pressure.

For the actual content to work on, I thought I had myself set on a newer idea that I’d been exploring a few months ago. But the night before last I had a new intriguing plan present itself. It’s an idea that I’ve had for a long time, but revamped. And, of interesting pertinence, I’ve decided to use this opportunity to push my technical skills as a writer (as suggested by one of the most important people in my life). Besides the obvious issue of the deadline, obviously. I’m going to attempt something I’ve never done before: writing the story from the perspective of a male protagonist. For obvious reasons, I’ve done my fair share of female protagonists, so I’m going to shake things up a bit. It’s a bit weird trying to get into a different gender’s head, but I have enough male influences in my life that I think I’ll have enough help for a good attempt.

I think it’s interesting when different genders try to write the other. Not only is it a test of writing empathy and ability, it ends in either disasterous or fantastic results. I think great gender identity expression and concepts can come out of it. At the very least, it can reveal particular elements of gender identity in society.

Can you think of any great books you’ve read that challenge gender roles and/or expression?

P.S. For NaNoWriMo, my username is Bluescale, and I will be writing fantasy. Come say hi!


Purple Bangs

So I dyed my bangs purple. It’s another one of things I’ve been doing lately just because. It’s a little unsettling, because I’ve been a huge self-analyzer since…well…probably as long as I can remember. And now I’m doing things just because I can. No internal struggle over the why. No big identity crisis.

Though, I’m probably directly contradicting myself here, because obviously I’m worried enough about it to talk about it. My nervousness about dying my hair in Portland of all places is pretty silly; and of all things to do when having a just-do-it moment, dying your hair is minor. It’s not permanent. It’ll wash out or grow out or whatever.

Or maybe it’s more along the lines of I didn’t have an identity crisis before deciding to dye my hair, but I’m wondering about it now. It goes along with the whole concern about identity that’s happening post-graduation: my sense of self and esteem has been tied to school for so long I’m feeling in limbo. Change in the moment isn’t necessarily scary because everything seems to be changing, but afterwards it’s like, did I just make everything worse?

Anyway, let’s move on from the whining session.

My word count for the novel I’m working on has a current total of just under 120k words. That’s definitely the largest I’ve ever written. Everything I’d researched before always said that novels really shouldn’t be over 100k, soooo, I kinda freaked myself out about having to cut scenes and gave myself writer’s block for a few days. (However, I have been doing more research about book lengths and I might be more alright than I think). Editing will probably take that down a bit. But anyway, I pulled myself out of it last night and wrote the ending scene. That helped. I’ve just got one more scene to write before I can bring the story full circle. . .

(We’re just going to skitter away from the whole idea I might have this novel done soon before I start spazzing out)

Speaking of finishing a novel! A few days left before NaNoWriMo starts. It’s been really fun to read all of the comments on it; some of you are really excited, some of you are done with all the updates about it already, and some of you are just like whatever. I can’t decide if I’m going to participate or not. I never have before, mostly because writing at least 50k words while attending college is a bit difficult, and this year I don’t have that in the way. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure I’m going to have the energy to write that much after wrangling my current project.

(I know, waaaa. Boo-hoo to me.)

But, there is also something very clarifying about moving from one project to working on another, at least for me. Maybe it’s because after working on something for so long it’s harder to step back and see the big picture. Moving to another project provides the break to allow clarity. Also, I think that focusing on a different story with different characters and places and tone allows for the subtleties of the first story to be more apparent when returning to it. There’s always the danger of screwing up the tone of the first one, but I think if the author is aware of it, it can be beneficial.

What do you think? Does working on a couple or few projects aid in your process, or does it hinder your ability to see the individual stories clearly?

(and is 120k words too long?)