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Moved

August 17, 2010

I’ve moved. Any future posts will be at my new Blogger address: http://richardpieters.blogspot.com/

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Backstepping

April 7, 2010

Sounds like a dance. Something cloggers might do. Not important how I found out, but doing a Google search for one thing related to my book and querying and posts, I discovered that there is already a published book by the same title. I’m not completely tied to the title, but it felt the best of a long list of possibilities. So I Googled them all. Obviously I didn’t hit “next” often enough. I guess it’s a good thing that I hadn’t started sending out queries yet. I’m still looking for a way to simply and concisely put into the manuscript one thing that my brother found to be missing or lacking. The answer dangles like a word you need, just out of reach. You know what it is, but it just won’t coalesce.

Now instead of worrying about it, what I should do is NOT think about it. (Which “it”? The title or the missing element? Both, of course.) I should be writing a short story or two for the contest in our local paper, which is connected to the Antioch Writer’s Conference. Or for publication anywhere. Well, anywhere that would be platform building. So, open Word and go. Wait. Whatever happened to one step at a time?

Dancing is good.

Never too late?

April 6, 2010

Easter’s over and the beautiful spell of warm weather may be, too. And along with it, the initial rush of thinking I was finished with the novel and moving on to the process of finding an agent and on to publishing. The more I read and learn, the less I know, and a quiet, insidious panic settles in. One blog leads to another, and invaluable information inundates a briefly positive outlook. Is it possible to begin at a time when one should be, what? Retiring? A quaint concept.

One proceeds, taking each step as it comes. Today, the issue is building a platform. The publishing world, never an easy one, has been squeezed and downsized until marketability has become a key determinant, more so than a great story well-told. Not that people aren’t looking for that. They are. But when the agent who loves the piece has to sell it to the publisher, who has to sell it to the booksellers, everyone is asking what are his credential? How well has she sold in the past? Why should we take a chance? So all those in the know say build your platform, build your platform. Publish. So we go back to more research, more time away from the pursuit of the original goal. Which markets? Genre or literary? If the novel is a paranormal thriller, must every short story be paranormal, or a thriller, or horror? Yes, they say, until one is established, then try another type of fiction, maybe under a pseudonym, so as not to confuse one’s fans. And how does one build a platform? Start small, local pubs, work up to regional, national, prestigious, and the dance goes on. Articles? Essays? Short stories? All the above.

Well, meanwhile, I haven’t even figured out how to work this blog thing. Something else to research. Oh, and list and sell real estate, day job. And no, the novel isn’t quite finished after all. Just one more thing to work out. Enjoy the process. But first, a meeting to list a house. I’ll think about that little bit o’ fixin’ to the big book later, tomorrow. At Tara. After all…

Spring! (Good Friday)

April 2, 2010

Questionable at the last post, a week ago, with snow on the ground. Yesterday and today reached 70 wonderful degrees, and I was able to get into the garden and do more trimming and cleaning up. I tried not to notice that the thistles are already springing forth. Preferred concentrating on the hundreds of daffodils declaring Spring. This morning my snow fountain Japanese weeping cherry burst into bloom. So today has been productive, cleaning up the garden and then cleaning up my query, posted below. Still in the process of culling a list of agents and fine-tuning one aspect of the novel, but wherever this goes, it’s going. That’s a good thing.

Spring?

March 26, 2010

Snow last night. The beautiful little irises got frozen and daffodils are bending low. But plenty left to rally, so the promise continues, and a cold snap makes the warming even more welcome.

But I’ve had work to do. Finally got a couple versions of a query blurb ready to go out. One a bit longer than the other. Every agent wants something different. Another member on AgentQuery sent her query out yesterday and already got a request for the full manuscript and a synopsis. Great for her. Great site for writers working on their queries and submissions.

So here’s a sample of what I’ve been doing. Query blurb for GUARDIAN AT THE GATE (minus closing remarks for the agent being queried)

*****

(Query deleted)

Daffodils and queries

March 22, 2010

Yesterday fulfilled the promise of renewal, fresh starts, and all that. I began the day reading critiques of my latest attempt at honing my query and catching up on other critiques. A cram course in the finer points of navigating the heavily trafficked waters from manuscript to agent (and thence to publisher and onward, one hopes.) Now I have to rewrite it again. Who would think that the short single-page pieces such as a synopsis or a query could be every bit as daunting as carving a novel out of a block of unformed ideas.

 

So, with that on my mind, and for some absolutely unexplainable reason the song “Green Grow the Lilacs” looping incessantly in my brain, I went out to spend the first full afternoon of Spring in the yard, trimming ivy, pulling down last year’s sweet autumn clematis vines, and cutting back the ornamental grasses. Lots of them. Big ones. By hand with pruning shears. Twelve large bags of clean-up. And one aching back. Ah, but it’s glorious to have it done, to stand back and look at the gardens cleaned, blank, and ready to shoot forth. Of course, the weeds have already started, but that’s another story of alien invasion. Oh. Supposedly the word “gringo” used by Mexicans for us Americans comes from the cowboys in the Mexican territory singing the then-popular song that shoved my query letter out of my brain all afternoon.  When all was done, I had the first bouquet of the season, a half-dozen various daffodils. Lovely. Now back to that query.

Spring!

March 20, 2010

It’s been a long winter, but today I got out and cleaned up the back yard and garden, and it’s ready for a new season of growth. I also worked on my basic query to find an agent for my novel, Guardian at the Gate. One step at a time. Maybe I’m old (ya think?) to be a newbie at all this, but I love the learning process. A huge tip of the hat to the generous folks on AgentQuery. When I get this blog thing figured out, I’ll post some of those things, maybe a chapter or so. Meanwhile, it’s a lovely cool spring evening, and I’m finally able to sit outside and enjoy my newly cleaned up space. Yay Spring!