I use twig-words to build my nest. Inside it I place my plot, characters, theme and voice, being careful not to crush their fragile shells. I nurture them until they have hatched and sprouted strong wings.* The fledglings fly from the nest - a small flock ready to make its way in the wide world.
*Ugly Fact: weaklings may be ejected from the nest.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Thursday's Children 11/28/12
Perils of Querying
As some of you know, I've been querying TENDRIL. I was trying to approach the whole process cautiously and scientifically. By that I mean entering pitch contests to get feedback and help on my query, querying in batches, testing the waters with various incarnations of my query letter, and not blanketing AgentLand all at once with a desperate cry for representation.
Rather unexpectedly I got a request from an agent for a phone call.
I can't go into details, and this isn't a THE CALL post. Though, I would LOVE to be doing one of those...
This is more about a deer in the headlights experience.
Based on her email, I thought we would be discussing her suggested revisions-and we did.
I hoped she would tell me what she liked about TENDRIL-and she did.
I was worried that I would have technical difficulties using Skype-which I didn't.
I was worried that I would involuntarily start imitating her accent, because I sometimes do that when I'm talking to someone whose accent isn't like mine-but I didn't, THANK GOD.
Unfortunately I was not prepared for her to ask me why I queried her specifically.
I mean, I had reasons, but I didn't explain them eloquently. AT ALL. It was more like...
"Um, well, I saw you on Twitter. And then I went to your site. And your bio said stuff that seemed as though TENDRIL would be right up your alley..."
See what I mean? Sounds more like a lame Match.com convo.
Perhaps even more tragically, I was not expecting her to ask me how I came to write the story, what INSPIRED me (here's the tie in to Thursday's Children) to write it.
I, who have been spending nearly a dozen Thursdays rambling about inspiration, drew a complete and utter blank. Damn pathetic.
What I came up with was something along these lines...
"Uh, er, I have always liked fairy tales, and I liked the movie Tangled a lot, but of course because I wanted to write for a YA audience, and not copy anyone else's work, I had to make it different. So, uh, I..."
Well, I'll spare you the rest. It was lame. And not even true. Because what really inspired TENDRIL was my love of old cemeteries. That's what got me started. Thinking about a girl who discovered she could communicate with the lost souls in a graveyard. I didn't even realize I was writing a retelling until I was a good halfway through the first draft.
Hopefully you've gotten a laugh at my expense, and if an agent wants to discuss revisions with you, bear in mind that he/she might also want to discuss INSPIRATION and other matters.
Thankfully for me she was still expressing interest by the end of our chat.
If it all ends up going nowhere, at least I'll be ready next time.