Monday, February 14, 2011

Shooting myself would be less painful

I won a query critique. Which was cool and exciting. I need the input, need to figure out if I'm getting on the right track on explaining what Being Human is about. I am getting there, trust me on that, but right now I'm a bit frustrated. It seems no matter what I say, which angle I approach, people are getting the wrong idea. They are being led in the wrong direction, thinking one part of the story is the whole plot and advising me to focus on that.

Obviously I'm doing something wrong.

Obviously I need to change the way I approach my query. I know what the plot is. Which is Tommy's trying to understand what it means being human even though he isn't. That is the focus of the story, the journey Tommy takes. He grows from being full of apathy for the human world, only caring about surviving to being ready to sacrifice himself for the ones he loves.

Now, how do I do it? The story is cut up into four parts, each one with it's own little plotline that moves the main plot along. It also takes place over three decades and I found that tricky to show. But maybe that's where I'm going wrong. I'm trying to give each minor plot a spot in the query when what I need to do is focus solely on the main plot: Tommy learning to be human. Everything else, names and years passed, does not matter.

Guess this means I'm starting from scratch again. Joy.

PS: For the record I know there is a show on SyFy called Being Human. I know 132,000 is a high word count for a YA novel. I KNOW! Stop reminding me.

13 comments:

  1. Good Luck Patricia.... step away from it for a day.. it sometimes helps.. but then you already know that..I bet

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  2. If you're looking for an another objective eye to crit your query, I'm more than willing.

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  3. Congrats on the win! Like PC Wheeler, I am also willing to take a peek if you want more eyes and feedback on your query. Just like all things publishing, I think so much it totally subjective and you just have to take the advice that you feel really works.

    I had (have) similar issues with my query (lots of story to squeeze into a few paragraphs), and the advice I have continued to receive is: stick to the MC's struggle in your query, everything else can wait. When I did that, I believe my query is stronger now than ever. I bring a tiny bit of the world into the query, one major plot point that turns things into chaos and the rest is the MC's internal journey.

    Best!!
    Corinne

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  4. Thanks, I'll keep you both in mind when I do take 134239854656. (yes I randomly hit numbers for that)

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  5. It never ends, does it!? I'm looking at constructing my first ever query now, and it's already so very intimidating. "What are you about in one paragraph?" Geez. All these hurdles just to get the manuscript into someone's hands!

    Good luck with it all! Look at it this way: you've written a 130k word book, a query should be a piece of cake!

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  6. I'm not an expert in query letters yet, but from my perspective, your third paragraph seems like a good starting point. Maybe add a little blurb about what Tommy is, exactly. My background's in engineering, and we tend to subscribe to the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don't over design. Don't over describe. I tend to like short and concise.

    But then, I'm not the editor who's reading your letter, so my opinion probably doesn't matter much.

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  7. Patty, that's awesome about winning a query critique! If you want, I can look over your query again. Remember, it's a trial and error process. Just do the best you can and be happy with it. You can't go wrong if you do that.

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  8. I'm totally not looking forward to doing the query. Good luck.

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  9. The query is harder than the book. Deep breaths! You can do this.

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  10. Hang in there! That sounds rough. :( Lots of deep breaths...

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  11. I still haven't finished reading it (I'll probably be done by tomorrow night though), but I'd have to say that I definitely note your theme of what it means to be human, and what one has to lose in order to hold onto their humanity.

    But at the same time, I also feel the main driving point for a good long while (almost entirely, until Fallen is introduced) is the brotherly connection.

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  12. I'll be a lot more specific when I get back to you with my overall thoughts, so don't worry that I'm being somewhat vague right now!

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  13. Thanks Brad. I can't wait to see your suggestions.

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