Friday, June 25, 2010

Old To Be New

At 5:30 AM, the query that's out there in the hands of a few overworked agents is definitely not the one you want to have written and sent. It isn't telling the heart of the story. It isn't engaging with its unique and compelling voice. I've made the antagonist appear to be one thing because there isn't room in the few allowed words to show what he really is, or that the normal-appearing town is full of dark beings invading in the persons of neighbors, friends, and cops. The bad guy isn't really a bad guy, he's just possessed by a seriously bad entity from some other dimension in space/time. Slowly the protagonist learns what's really going on, and what appears to be a prosaic story of good gay guy confronting rabid fundamentalist evangelist is really a story of invasion to overtake the vortex, the portal, the gateway of cosmic light energy that the town was founded by early visionaries to protect. Okay, there's the story. But as it's shown, a battle between fundy and gay guy, it doesn't project what it morphs into, or that the stakes aren't Carter saving his father, or even the town, but ultimately preserving the life-force of the planet. But I roll over and try to go back to sleep, because it is 5:30 in the morning, and I'll have all day to fret over it.


Revision four-hundred twenty-seven coming up. It's old news that the query is almost more difficult than writing the novel. See the many professionals disagree on what constitutes the good query here, and here, and those are just two. The synopses (yes, plural, because one never knows what will be requested) were difficult enough. No, worse than that. They're a f*****g bitch. But they're Snow White compared to the query. And on the other end of 5:30 AM, when it isn't wake-up time but I-still-haven't-f*****g-gotten-to-sleep-yet time, then of course all the pondering over the difficulty comes round to a simple fact: the whole novel sucks, so how could a good query come from it, let alone attract an agent to want to take on trying to sell it?


Not that any of this is unexpected. It's just that, like trying to figure out how to create a blog, how to handle it, and what the hell to write in it, with all the experience I've accrued, I'm pathetically old to be a newbie at all this. I've written all my life, but it has always been practice. Read. Read about writing. Practice the craft. Read more. Write more. But never, ever take that leap to actually writing for publication. That's for when you really have time, or know what you're doing, or have practiced long enough, or, or... when you grow up and get very old and wise. So now it's about doing it for the doing of it. But do it. And keep doing it. And keep writing, and honing, and fretting, polishing, starting again, rewriting, sending it out, taking all the steps. But damn, at 5:30 AM, it's a long, dark hallway. 

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