This week in novel writing I have been tackling the dreaded Query and Short Pitch. For those who are not initiated into this most stress-inducing of rites, let me enlighten you. Or not. Everyone has a different idea of what works, and it is the ultimate game of “read the teacher’s mind,” trying to figure out whose solution will actually work. I have lost all confidence in my ability to write. I am convinced that I will never, ever, ever get my novel published, and in fact the only reason I get any freelance writing gigs is because I got lucky and now about three editors know I can hit a deadline.
In other words, I’m having a Don Music moment.
This is ridiculous, of course, but recognizing excess drama for what it is doesn’t banish it, because the central problem remains: I can’t figure out how to distill my story into something that sets it apart from the slush pile. Despite the drama, I do believe in both the story and the writing…but how do I find the words that will get somebody to look at it? I am in desperate need of inSpiration. Please pray for me.
You know how bad I’ve got the pubescent self-loathing bug? Right now I don’t even believe I have anything to say on my blog that anybody would want to read.
So I think I’ll blog at least once, and maybe twice a week, on Down syndrome topics during the month of October, which is DS awareness month.
Probably what I need is a few days’ distance from the book. And the timing on that is good, because I have quite a few nonfiction deadlines looming. But the way I’m feeling right now I’m more likely to turn a couple days’ space into a giant mental block. I am in serious danger of writing paralysis.
Okay, way too much navel gazing. Practice update: In the month of September I have practiced 16 days out of 26, for a total of 6 1/2 hours. I still shake my head when I think of spending three hours a day in a practice room, but I suppose that’s not bad, and I definitely feel my chops returning. The music is coming along nicely, too, and aside from the endurance question I’m relatively confident that I’ll be ready come spring. Now if only I could find an accompanist.
To end on a positive note, I’ve been under 130 pounds ever since my horrible virus two weeks ago. And that’s a darned good thing, because Panera has pumpkin bagels and cherry vanilla bagels right now, and my world is a richer place for it…both in the experience and the calories.
If you made it through this self indulgent drama fest, congratulations. You win a prize, or something. Or not.
I am kind of dreading October in the blogosphere. There are just so many ways the same facts and information about DS and people with DS can be written, and half of my online friends do it, and have done it for the past several years. Most of the posts are now copy pasted from previous years, and it is, to be honest, sometimes boring.
What is getting me excited that some of them decided to share stories of their children or other loved ones with DS, because that is not something that can be Googled… and something that really shows what life with DS is like, and that it is not something to be feared.
…Though I’d love to see someone finally address the myth of the asexuality of teens and adults with DS.
I know a few people who do daily posts during October. I don’t have anywhere near that much to say, and if I did I am convinced none of it would be interesting to anyone. I suppose the point is to keep Down syndrome front and center (i.e. “awareness”), not necessarily provide new and earth-shattering information to rock people’s worlds. But I admit I feel like a heel because I don’t read a lot of it. You’re right, the stories about the people are a good idea and I may focus there. I’ll probably re-share links to some old posts, too.
As for the asexuality…that one’s beyond me and I hope it stays that way for a while! 🙂
You will get through the query and short pitch. I don’t think anyone likes writing them (I sure don’t). Now I’m struggling with my synopsis and my fears of putting my baby out there for rejection. We can all do this.
And pumpkin anything is my downfall, too. Just ate pumpkin muffins for breakfast. Have a pack of pumpkin bagels AND pumpkin cream cheese in the fridge. Yum.
Thanks for the encouragement, Kerry. I think I’m going to have to find a new “formula,” because I can’t make any of the existing ones work for my manuscript.
I will think of you when I scarf down pumpkin bagels. 🙂
This is rather personal I guess…but how much does a flute run? Helen’s mentioned that as her instrument of choice to learn to play and I have no idea if it’s something in the budget or not. Lessons really aren’t right now anyway…unless I can find someone willing to teach her for only $5/a week or something and that truly is a laugh, right?
As for the writing, I have no idea. Many times when I read your posts about writing I wish I would have stuck with my original major (Secondary English Education) because I would have gotten so many more creative writing courses instead of all the business writing courses. I hope to encourage the writing with my kids and not tell them how they can’t really make any money at it (like my dad told me). I hope the block comes undone soon.
Good for you being under 130 (how tall are you, anyway? I am all sorts of nosy today). I’m on my way back down, thank goodness and hoping to be at goal by Chrismas….we’ll see how that goes.
Hee hee! I’m 5’4, and my goal was always to get back into my “ideal” weight range, which is 125-135. So I’m very happy.
You can probably find a pawn shop or other form of used flute for $100-200 (possibly even less, if you hit the Craigs List/classified postings), but it might need some work to get it in good playing condition, which could run another $100. A lot of old instruments have been sitting around and the pads split and crack, so it’s not just a vanity thing to have it gone over. There are a ton of brands; I would suggest staying with the biggies: Yamaha and Jupiter are my favorites, but Selmer, Gemeinhardt, maybe Pearl also are standard.
As for cheap lessons, you might see if there’s a good high school student who is looking for experience. The high school music departments might be able to think of someone.
huh, I never thought of high school music teachers!! And duh…UMKC is right here in town…I wonder if any students at the Conservatory are looking for paying gigs…. (maybe I’m ill-informed or something…but I DO think UMKC has a conservatory????)
You’re right about UMKC conservatory, but college students will be more expensive, that’s why I thought high school students. 🙂
Hang in there, Kathleen. Sometimes, stillness helps — waiting for the message to rise, like cream. It won’t happen, though, if you keep stirring the milk.
Oh, now that is a useful nugget of wisdom. Stillness has been on my mind a lot lately. You are right.
Who, that’s deep! Love it!
I totally feel ya on the season of writing difficulties. St. Thomas Aquinas is a good prayer buddy on that one, he who gave up writing because, in light of the beatific vision, it’s “just so much straw.” This is coming from Mr. Summa! I’ll be praying for balm for your soul on this and all issues.
Yeah, even with my minor experience I’ve realized that query letters are such a difficult hill to climb, especially since one can’t just write, “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese read this awesome product of my blood and sweat! Please, just give it a chance! Please, sir!” (Oliver Twist voice).
When I’m intimidated by the need to achieve a certain goal (such as catch an editor’s interest) it helps if I “trick” my mind by writing “fake query letters” or “satirical query letters” or “throwaway query letters.” The pressure is gone, and I may actually get something good and usable.