Children's:I was extremely lucky to be able to read the proposal and it is awesome - totally totally awesome! The characters are fun and complex, the set up is so unique and wow - what a world! I have been dying for this book to sell (a) so that I could talk about it and (b) so that she would hurry up and write it so I could read it. Congrats Diana!
Author of SECRET SOCIETY GIRL Diana Peterfreund's RAMPANT, about killer unicorns that can only be defeated by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great, and the teenage huntress whose birthright is seriously messing up her social life, to Kristin Daly at Harper Children's, in a good deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency (NA).
Film: Matt Snyder at CAA.
Suddenly I find myself re-reading Miss Snark's crapometer. Evil Editor. The Fangs, Fur & Fey contest. I re-read posts like Diana's on writing a good PW announcement. I scour the internet for posts like this by Jennifer Lynn Barnes about what can grab or drag a hook. I've been jotting notes on post-its like "why does the reader care?!" and putting the post-its on my computer (at work, which must cause my co-workers to wonder...).
I think what it comes down to is that I'm not sure I really know the essence of my story. And it probably helps to know the core in order to write the hook. I don't know whether to emphasize the world, the protags relationships, the journey. And I'm afraid of getting it wrong, of not properly representing my book, and of losing the chance. Of not being judged on the writing, because I couldn't get the agent interested enough to get that far.
I used to pride myself on how well I could handle this part of the business. But then it's things like the debate on one agency's blog over whether thanking the agent for their time in a query letter is considered grovelling that start to worry me. I tend to think that the writing trumps: make the query professional, get the story out there, show the voice and you're good. Now I have to worry about which agents like to be thanked? Seriously, in the legal world I sign all my letters with "with best wishes, I remain, yours truly," when I really want to say "up yours!" It's just the way we write things. And we thank people for their time - even when it's their job. Sorry for the mini-rant there - you can tell what side of the debate I fall in :)
I know, I know - it's too early to worry. I'm psyching** myself out, I need to finish revisions, listen to my beta readers, let them help with query letters and synopsis,*** etc. Most of all, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. But not too far...
For the past few months, I've made a concerted effort to keep my head out of the sales arena. To not doodle hook ideas, research agents, etc. To only care about the writing and the book. I'm starting to surface from that world and it's scary. What helps is knowing I'm not the only one out there. That I have great friends who can help me, talk me through it and offer advice.
I just needed to express a little of my fear before pressing on. And now you'll understand why the next few weeks' posts might just be about hooks and writing query letters :)
So, how do y'all go about this stage in the writing? Do you make lists of agents, scour the blogs to find out how they like their hooks and tailor them (find out which agents like to be thanked ;). Do you write one hook and go with it? How do you work on crafting your hook? Boiling the story down. Got and good links to other good advice?
** random: I only know how to spell psyched because we spelled it out in a cheer in high school. Seriously, when I have to spell that word, I'm mentally cheering.
*** I hate that I find myself in that awful morass of wondering how long to make the synopsis. Whether to write it in first person or third. Whether to double or single. All that crap that isn't really about the writing itself.