Monday, January 1, 2007

Sublimation


On the blog's title---can I say it was an accident and not a hopelessly megalomaniacal choice? Having been a complete blog-o-phobe, I was just fooling around. Imagine my surprise (and embarrassment) when it turned out I actually created this title.

The dilemma. Should I change it? Delete it? Could I follow simple instructions?

And then I wondered. What if it were a sign? What if I'm supposed to read it, chant it, make it come true? So, I'm sticking with it for now. I'm not delusional. Really. Come chant with me.

And Maggie Robinson Means Other Things, too. Like Business. Writing is an art, but publication is a business. So, I'm trying to get more savvy when it comes to selling myself. For two years I just wrote for the alleged fun of writing. For the past year, I've been tentatively querying. The hard truth: very few agents read sample chapters. They look at query letters only. And boy, compressing 90+ thousand words into a one-page semblance of sanity is tough. Even I wouldn't want to read my two completed books after I described them!

I discovered Miss Snark's blog. She's a literary agent who hates romance but is so smart and funny (and snarky, of course) that I forgive her. She just ran the Happy Hooker Crapometer, where she looked at almost 700 assorted ravings of aspiring writers (for free!). I submitted two hooks to her for my unfinshed things, TRR and LRR. While she didn't give me the dreaded purple WTF?, I did not master the whole "hook" concept. According to Miss Snark, it goes like this:

X is the main guy;Y is the bad guy;they meet at Z and all L breaks loose.If they don't solve Q, then R starts and if they do it's Lsquared.

Think of it as the blurb on a back cover. After reading it, are you going to plunk down $6.99 US/ $9.99 CAN or stick it back on the shelf? We had to do this in 250 words (or less). Not too much backstory. And not really conducive to romance, as we hope there's not a bad guy! She described TRR as "spun sugar gimmick," which I'm sure to her was an insult, but that was EXACTLY what I was going for, LOL! It was amazing to read other writers' concepts for their books, intimidating sometimes---and other times quite unintentionally hilarious.

So, I learned a few things, the most daunting of which was that after reading almost 700 entries, she requested pages on about 50 of them. These are not good odds! Hmm, let's do the math. 1 in 14 has hope of advancement. But then she explained about half of those would probably turn out to be disappointing.

All right. Is that going to stop me? Nope. I just have to get stronger and sneak into that very brief window of opportunity I have in a query letter to knock someone's stillettos off. It helps if my story has a fresh twist, but if it doesn't, I have to be brilliant at my hook. And, of course, brilliant on the actual page. ...but sometimes the bulb seems pretty dim.

4 comments:

TiffinaC said...

Well I want to visit miss snark's blog...and it is great you didn't get the dreaded purple WTF...lol.

you know, T. Medeiros said she wrote her first book ten times before it was picked up.

first you have to share your work and get crits to see what could use adjustments and tweeking! Other's imput always helps and you can take it or leave it, right?

marciamellow said...

I just know that the bulbs will be as bright as the moosemastree lights of years past! You will be glorious, and I will be in a long line at Borders (or failing that, at www.borders.com in the middle of the night) to read your first (and all subsequent) published novels!

Tessa Dare said...

Yay! Maggie Robinson has a blog! I'm linking you right away.

You were so brave to brave Miss Snark, and the Snarklings *loved* you, even if you didn't hook her. (Yes, timid me paid scrupulous attention to everyone else's hooks instead of submitting her own.)

I loved absolutely everything you wrote for FanLit, and I will plunk down $6.99 for a Maggie Robinson romance without even reading the blurb.

nearhere said...

YEEEEAAAAAH, Maggie has got a blog! I'm a huge fan of your drabbles and have absolute confidence that you'll get your book sold. (are there dwarfes in the WIP LOL)