Saturday, November 12, 2022

Writerly Ruminating


NaNoWriMo 2022

I cycled through three possible projects before I settled on the one I'm working with now. It's a concurrent sequel to the book I wrote last year, and I have such a complicated mix of feelings towards it. The story is unfolding well because I've been in this world with some of these characters for so long and I know their universe. But I'm not nearly as connected to the main characters in this book as I was to the ones in the last book. I also keep getting hung up in editing mode because I've been polishing up their world for so many months that some days I can't let things flow. And yet, despite this project feeling harder and less energized, I suspect the quality of my work is better. It's so confusing. I'm keeping pace (13,434 words in 8 days at the time I'm writing this, and 35.7k for the total manuscript), but without my weekend morning hyperfocusing, I wouldn't be there. The chaos of the weekdays has been debilitating for my creativity. Hanging in there, though. 

Mood Pitch

I had no idea what this was until literally the day before it happened. In fact, I pretty much counted myself out because I was discovering it so late in the game. The cliff notes version is that writers create a small mood board or collage along with a wildly concise premise of their book so that literary agents can scroll through pitches quickly. There are official agents that participate in Mood Pitch, but lots and lots of others that join in to see what's out there. If your post gets liked by an agent, it means they are intrigued by your pitch and want you to query them. (More on that below.) So on Mood Pitch day, I was taking a break from my WIP and doing some scrolling. I was seeing all of these awesome pitches and thinking, okay, I might be late to the game but I could totally do this. It was maybe noon at this point, and Mood Pitch was only running from 8am-8pm. I decided to whip up a quick collage for my book and see if I didn't hate it. (I didn't.) So then I attempted to write a teeny tiny synopsis and got frustrated. I took a shower instead, and somehow several options came to me while shampooing my hair. I tapped them out in my notes app before I even dried off. Once I was dressed and able to edit my shower inspirations, I tossed it out to the internet thinking, hey this was fun practice for the next round. Most pitches don't get any likes. And then...minutes later, an agent liked it. My eyes have never bulged so much. For the rest of the day, I was revising my query letter and reformatting my manuscript and basically losing my mind, and before bed, my first official query was off into the world and in the hands of industry professionals. I realize it will probably amount to nothing, but it was a huge milestone, and I will never forget that day. 

Am Querying

So, like....I planned on procrastinating the shit out of this step in my writing journey. I was still kind of chipping away at the process, but mostly focusing in on NaNoWriMo and letting last year's book take a big old back seat. But when Mood Pitch went the way it did (and I also saw several agents saying they were collecting their last queries of the year before the week of Thanksgiving), I decided to just give it a little bit of extra attention. I did some agent research, started beefing up my query spreadsheet, and contacted several more after writing each of them personalized query letters. If you are unfamiliar with the writing process, writers approach agents with something called a query letter that introduces them to your book (including genre, word count, synopsis, tropes if any, etc.), lets them know who you are, and requests that they consider taking you on as a client. Each agent will ask for a sample of your manuscript, and they all want something different. It can be as little as a synopsis or your first page, or as big as the entire thing, and anywhere in between. (5 pages, 10 pages, 3 chapters...literally every single one is different.) There's a lot of work that goes into finding agents that you think would fit both you and your book, and then making sure you cater to their requests. I spent a whole day on just querying three agents. And when you do this, you're contacting each of them unsolicited, so the exciting thing about Mood Pitch is that you're basically skipping the slush pile by having an agent say "yeah I wouldn't toss this". So, anyway, this is time consuming AF and also freaking terrifying because it means pros are reading your work and could very well tell you it's trash.


Yes, this is all a dream come true, but I'm also literally dreaming about all of this. Even when I'm sleeping, I'm revising little details of my query letter, thinking of a detail I wish I'd added to my manuscript, coming up with a new scene for my NaNoWriMo WIP. It's madness. I literally never set it down. I will, once November ends - in fact I'm declaring a general writing break for the month of December so that I can actually survive the holidays and not entirely burn out the language center of my brain until there's nothing left but smoldering ashes. But for now? It's all writing all day, baby. I can't even describe how tired my mind is at the end of each day. I can't wait to zone out to Hallmark movies in a few more weeks - phew.

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