Friday, May 18, 2012
The Query Conundrum
(Imagine all these filled with red ink... how awesome that would be...)
This year has a purpose. This is the year I finally moved, reconstituted my life, and it will be the year I edit and query AT LEAST three novels, hopefully more. I've done a first round edit on 3 of the 4 novels I feel have potential. I have written one query, and in truth, my friend Heather rewrote it for me and it's sitting in my email until I have the strength to look at it again. Let's face it. The synopsis and the query are like the 9th and 10th levels of hell. You don't go there unless you have to. I think I'm getting close to "have to" - so I decided to get the gist of a query started before I jump into the second pass of edits on Endways.
So glad I did.
The thing is terrible, but there's nothing like writing the query to make you realize the book you should have written. Three characters drive the story, and in the beginning, they're widely separated by geography. That required multiple POV's. I did focus on just one character for the query. First decision: the book should start with her introduction so it makes sense if the agent asks for a partial. Right now, the one I focus on shows up in chapter 3. In just briefly mentioning that she has companions and an adjective or two to describe them, I realize there's a lot more threat I could be heaping on these poor suckers. A big part of this story is that the characters have nothing to hold on to - dead families for the most part, but through different situations that negatively impact the protagonists. Except for this one guy. He's a bachelor that lost his job before the real questing commences. In the magic that is story-making, the basis for his character has been there all along. He's "The Tracker" and when he's on the track, there's nothing else he wants to focus on. When he arrives, he's skin and bone, his beard is down to his chest and he's nearly gone mad that the track has led him to his destination. He's jonesin' for a new track. Kind of like an addict. Duh-herr.... How is it you think he wound up a bachelor with no job and nothing to live for?
Instead of setting this aside, I'm jumping back into the second round of edits now. I have a real feel for the pacing and the plot. I just need to layer in the new level of threat to each character as they go on this quest. I'm still not entirely sure what to do about the crappy ending (see previous post) but I realize that my characters need to be tested more once they start on the quest. That's something I can do without adding to the length. Fixing the ending so there aren't so many of them... that's my own quest.
Writers in doubt... query... and the query shall show you the way!