For starters, I didn’t meet the goal of sending my first queries in mid-July that I wrote about a few posts ago. In fact, I haven’t started sending them at all. It would be easy for me to complain about not getting things done, but I really have made progress on quite a few fronts – just not enough progress to meet the aggressive goal I set for myself back in May.
Chapter Outline – Synopsis – Query Letter
The most frustrating thing I’ve undertaken in the past couple of months has been writing my chapter-by-chapter outline. No big deal, right? It’s only an outline. That’s what I thought, until it took me two and half weeks of note taking to get the rough outline written. On top of that, I thought the outline would be a huge help when it came to writing the synopsis – I thought it would be pretty easy to edit the outline from it’s original length of 17 pages down to a 1-2 page synopsis. I was wrong again.
My first editing pass shaved the length down to 10 pages, not a bad start. The next couple of passes took me down to 8 pages, still far from where I needed it to be. My approach wasn’t working, so I googled a few articles and came across this one that helped me a lot. I still haven’t finished the synopsis yet, but made enough progress that I could put it aside while tackling a couple of other important tasks.
My query letter is done, pending any revisions I may need to do based on how the synopsis turns out.
It seem like I’m in a continuous revision mode. I thought I would be in the last round by now, until I read The First 50 Pages (excerpted here), by Jeff Gerke. Most literary agents want to see a sample of your writing – usually the first 30-50 pages of your book – before they will request to see the full manuscript. This book not only tells you what types of things in your sample pages may cause them to reject you, it tells you how to fix those problems. I think I have one more big revision left to correct the problems I see in my book right now. As it stands now, I’m starting to get the feeling that I’m making changes on one set of edits, then changing things back the way they were on the next set.
I’m continually amazed at the number of errors I find each time I go through the book: Missing words and punctuation, words that I meant to delete but didn’t, etc. Since I’ve been through the manuscript so many times, and I know what should be there, it’s easy for me to miss them. Because all of my previous editing was done on a computer screen, I printed a hard copy to work from for a change of pace. I also some proofreading help to go through the book with another pair of eyes before I started my current read through.
The Bottom Line
While I’m really, really excited and anxious to move on to the the next stage of my journey, I’m hesitant to throw another target date out there with so many things all needing to be done at once. I’ll gladly delay things a couple more weeks if I feel that I’ve put together the strongest possible submission package to send out.
Thanks for reading, and as usual, any comments are appreciated.