Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Beginnings

I have a winter glove elegantly balanced on my head.
Not sure why.

This week I'm back to writing about writing.

Last week, my house was hit by another snow (and ice) storm, and I was lucky enough to get a snow day off work (I felt like a little kid). Then I guilted myself into using my time wisely (like an adult). Now, I've got a new first chapter for my YA Fantasy Dragon Bait (and some clean laundry).

Part of the reason I hadn't felt much like writing about writing was that I'd gotten a few more rejections on Dragon Bait. Conventional wisdom says that either my query or my first few pages aren't working (or I was querying the wrong agents, but I did a lot of research on those agents, so hopefully it wasn't that).

I spent a long time thinking about whether I wanted to change anything, what to change, and how I might change things. I decided that I like my query letter, and, besides, I'm not certain what would improve it anyway. But my first chapter wasn't terribly action packed. There was, perhaps, a bit too much explaining and not enough fun. So I had my answer on what I ought to change. The only question was: How?

Beginnings are tough, for me at least. You've got 5-10 pages to hook your reader on your book. This is part of what I love and hate about the query process. What I love: If you can't sell an agent on your book with a brief synopsis and the first few pages, chances are you aren't going to be able to sell too many readers on it either. What I hate: I've got 5-10 pages and a synopsis to sell someone on a 75k word book! I've got a lot happening in this book. So many pages upon pages are dedicated to cool characters, action packed scenes, and snarky conversations. With only 5-10 pages, you miss out on a lot.

But I think I found the right note for the beginning. I am heading into action earlier because I think that's what I was really missing. Whether or not this will change my rejection rate, I'm not sure. But I'm hoping.

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