I'm waiting to hear back from the critique service... I must admit, that I'm a bit of a mess. What if they're drinking beers laughing at my dangling participles?! And I'm paying them for this. Who you callin' a gerund? Sometimes I wish I hadn't slept through high school grammar class. Worse still, these are professional readers who have read hundreds of manuscripts... and published dozens of novels themselves. The pressure is enough to make me want to get a croissant with Nutella!
But fear not, I am not sitting there knitting an afghan! I picked up a very promising book by James Scott Bell, "The Art of War for Writers." I really like his work, both his novels and his non-fiction material on the craft of writing. Good stuff. I have another one of his books in my "Must Read" list of this blog.
Also, I'm pouring over sites and articles about the "Query Letter." For aspiring authors these two words cause a disturbance in the time-space continuum. It's a one page sales pitch that very briefly describes your work to an agent. And you hope that your three or four paragraphs are convincing enough to excite that agent to say "Why heck! This guy is the next Tom Flippin' Clancy! Send me your manuscript! Pronto!"
It is odd... you slave over every word as you prepare a novel (in my case 91,000 words)... and if your one pager is a dud, the agent won't even want to look at it. But hey, let's not fight the wave. We ride the wave!
Janet Reid (agent extraordinaire) has a phenomenal blog Query Shark. You submit your query and the shark gnaws away at it, until she's happy with it. Apparently if it's good enough, she will ask to see your manuscript. She's a tough one. My fragile heart will not last long under her piercing glare. But when I'm ready, I'll jump in the shark infested water and see what happens. What makes this site fantastic is that you can look at all the queries that she has gone through, her comments, and the revisions. Very informative.