Achievement Unlocked: Final Draft Complete

I am back to weightlifting like a beast! It feels so good to be back again, and not only back, but at 100%. I did a decent squat set last Wednesday, but really dug in with my deadlifts on Saturday and pushed through a barrier I’ve been hitting up against for the last six-eight months. Hopefully that sticks and wasn’t just a fluke. We’ll see this week.

In other quest for superherodom news, I locked myself in the bedroom for seven + hours on Sunday and finished my final draft. I discovered that not only locking myself away, but live-blogging my progress on my LJ were great motivators. Suddenly I had made my struggle and last push public, so I either had to chime in every hour or so with my progress or admit defeat. Which I simply cannot do. So I finished instead.

Last night I sent said final draft out to my betas, which I suppose means it’s not truly final since if/when they find anything wrong with it, things will need to be fixed. But it’s the best I can do without letting it fester in a (metaphorical) drawer for a year. Because right now I’m so wrapped up in it, I can’t see the garden for all the dirt. If there is a garden. Because my nose = in the dirt. Lots of worms down here, for sure.

So while that’s out being eviscerated, it’s time to turn my attention to something even more dreadful and distressing: the query letter.

I once interned for a short time with an agency and was lucky enough to see the other side of query submissions. I got to see a truckload of queries from all across the board – the good, the bad, and the WTF. It was heartening to learn that about 75% of queries fall into either WTF, did-not-read-submission-guidelines, or simply bad. It was a really great lesson on what not to do. However, standing out amongst those last 25% is a bit more tricky. About 20% of those were just mediocre or cliche. And the last 4% are more of a matter of not-quite-right-for-that-agent, for which there’s not much one can do aside from very thoroughly researching the agents to whom you submit.

But even knowing all that and seeing all that and reading all of the Query Shark’s archives, query letters are freaking hard to write. It is quite possibly the most difficult 250-500 words that relate to your novel that you will ever write. Because now that you’ve had your nose in the dirt, counting the bugs and the worms for the last few months (weeks, years), you’re told to condense that garden (which you still can’t see) into the fruits you would sell at market.

Wow. That’s a labored metaphor if one has ever been written. 😛

It’s like holding a hundred or a thousand strings, all attached to balloons, which together, at a distance, form a cohesive whole, then being told to select just five of those balloons to represent what that whole means, or would look like once whole again. It’s do-able, but only in very specific and limited configurations – otherwise it just looks like a bunch of disjointed balloons.

So here’s to the next step – balloons! the query letter!

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