Tag Archives: manuscript

Query Love Begins . . .

I have sent out five queries today! It is the beginning of my querying adventure for my latest manuscript I finished, and I’m sure will be a long and patience-inducing adventure.

The last time I tried to query, it was for a different manuscript that wasn’t ready. I’m sure the self-doubt will creep in here shortly, but I feel positive about this manuscript. It’s better crafted, has strong characters and plot, flows well, and its concepts are better articulated.

So now the waiting game begins. The anxious, trying-to-stay-still, deliberately not checking email fifteen times a day waiting.

To make matters worse, I noticed a typo on one of my queries AFTER I sent it. On the word count, no less. I somehow switched two numbers around, which makes it substantially bigger than the actual count. I’m feeling pretty stupid, but am endeavoring to not let it get me down. It was a silly mistake to make and quite avoidable, but it is what it is now . . . I’ll just have to live with it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing to work on Book 2 and the short stories I have cooking in my head. The deadlines for two literary magazines I’ve been watching are coming up shortly and I have short stories I’d like to submit.

I hope you all have a lovely and creative week!

What is Improving, Anyway?

All around us we see stuff about improving as writers. I’ve even said vague things about “can improve writing” or whatnot in various things that I’ve written.

But what does this even mean?

I’ll be the first to admit I have a hard time separating my writing into it’s individual parts. These individual parts are important in being able to do things like: be able to tell what the problem is. Pinpoint specific areas that need improvement. Actually figure out how to improve.

I’ve always just been told that I’m a good writer, and have always succeeded in classes – and maybe that’s to my disadvantage. I haven’t learned how to improve; or more accurately, I’ve never learned how to deliberately improve. I’ve improved over time but I’m not sure how I did it.

So maybe it’s just my issue. But really, what are the signs of improving writing?

I realized the other day that the sentences in my current manuscript have become increasingly short and clear. Supposedly that’s a thing, though I worry I’m going the other direction. I’ve also been noticing superfluous filter words and have started to realize when I write them (I’m also seeing them in other works and have started editing a bit in my head, while is only slightly distracting), but am a little worried I’m losing style. Yesterday I noticed a few parts in my manuscript that didn’t seem to fit with the character’s personality and tweaked it to sound more like her, which I figure is pretty important. I’m noticing certain scenes that seem to be slowing down the pace of my novel and perhaps aren’t necessary.

This whole thought process started because I was researching more about author platforms and query letters. I got caught up and how awesome some people are able to write: clear, concise, engaging. And it just makes me feel a little hopeless that I’m never going to write like that, and don’t know how to improve to get there. I have a 118k word manuscript that could be utter crap for all I know, and every time I think I’m ready to start on the publishing road, something else catches my attention that needs to be fixed.

There’s a very good chance that self-doubt is the real thing stopping me. Lord knows we all suffer from that.

Anyway, that was a bunch of whining, now let’s all move on with our day.

Has anybody else encountered this problem? What areas have you pinpointed improvements in your writing? And what do you think helped the most?

Dying Slowly

This past week or so I caught the Disease of Death and became bedridden for said time of dealing with Disease of Death. I had probably every “sick” symptom imaginable, which was just awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever been that sick before, though my mother informs me that I was probably sicker when I had seizures as a baby.

That being said, I pretty much just lost a week of my life. Since insomnia was on the list of symptoms, I ended up finishing the TV show How I Met Your Mother. Which while entertaining, it left me with dreams and nightmares so vivid I couldn’t wake up from them. Literally, I was awake trying to get water and couldn’t make myself focus on anything except the crazy dream that was still playing in my head. Also, the ending just made me angry.

Now I’m left with zero energy and a heck of a lot of errands to run. On the bright side, a dental appointment got me out of the house, shopping for food, and finally taking my car to the DEQ. Have you ever noticed that the DEQ attendants phrase every question with “When your car passes…”? Like, “when your car passes, would you like to pay with cash or credit?” and “when your car passes, would you like new tags?” I have this image of DEQ-worker-trainings where a half an hour is spent reiterating the need to preposition every question with “when your car passes.” What happens when a car doesn’t pass? Or is my car so shiny from the wax job that they couldn’t imagine the car not passing?

Anyway. On the writing side of things, I’ve definitely been feeling very stupid with how long it’s taking to edit and polish my manuscript. For goodness sake it should only take me a couple of hours. I keep procrastinating somehow, though I can’t pinpoint with what exactly. Or maybe it really is taking longer than I expect. Yay, #writerproblems .

I’m decently skeptical of pushing yourself to write when you don’t feel like it, because I feel like that can hurt, but this might be a situation where it’s needed. Time to strap on the big girl panties and just freaking do it.

Who else is having writing problems this week?

CNTRL-F is My Best Friend

My manuscript is complete. It’s an odd sensation, because I’m not getting the urge to jump up and down and squeal excessively (or collapse in a bed and sleep) as I thought I would. There’s a mellow satisfaction, along with the itchy sensation that I need to start pruning filter words and honing down my query.

(In case anyone is wondering what the heck filter words are and how to handle their menace: this is an excellent post.)

I’ve just created a document of 44 words I’m going to obsessively delete – or, more practically, cut down as much as I can (command+F is my best friend right now). I’ve already gone through and whittled away at “seem” and “suddenly,” and am quite frankly sick of looking at them. There are still a few of them in my manuscript, but they are no longer choking up my prose to the “-nth” degree, so I’m satisfied about those for now. I’m going to state the obvious and say how fascinating it is that there are so many ways to say one thing.

As for my query – that I actually started a couple months ago. I’ve had a little practice with query-making, due to the first manuscript I completed but is on hold because of a lot of structural problems. This query was easier to form, which I believe is due to practice as well as the lack of structural errors that plagued the writing of the other query.

Of course, there will be a few more rounds of edits for the manuscript, and hopefully a few beta readers. I’m hoping to start querying in a month or two. For now, it’s editing, editing, editing until my brain falls out!