Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jordan, Good; Queries, Bad

If editing is my favorite part of the writing process, writing queries is my least favorite. It's mindbogglingly difficult to simmer down 430 pages into two to three paragraphs of energized, informative, colorful text.

Case in point, I just spent two and a half hours writing queries for Eva. I created two solid queries, both which need refinement. Total word count: 556 words. It's a slow, deliberate process.

It's also hard to ignore the critic when writing queries. While writing the novel, I write for myself. I write what I think is funny or the type of action I want to see. I don't know how else to write. But with the query, the sole purpose to is to attract representation and to sell the book. There's no pretending it is for entertainment (though a good query will entertain).

I'm calling it a day on the queries. Two and a half hours of banging my head against the page is enough. If I'm lucky, inspiration will strike again later tonight, as it did last night.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying one of the perks of this phase of the writing process: reading The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan. I've written enough books for my own style to resonate in my thoughts, so I no longer worry about what I read while I write. (I used to see other author's influences in my own writing, and my editing notes would include things like "too Laurell K. Hamilton" or "too Jacqueline Carey" in the margins, and I'd have to rewrite those passages in my voice.)

However, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series always makes me yearn to write epic fantasies. Epic fantasies are what I cut my writing teeth on. (Hence a 1,000+ page novel for my first novel.)

I no longer write epic fantasies. Or I try not to. Faye, the book that went off the rails, turned epic. Reading Jordan while writing can alter my plot decisions, make crazy schemes of adding in a whole new plot line seem like the only logical solution, and twist an otherwise good novel into a hodgepodge. I need more practice in the art of writing a book, and more skill, before I attempt to create such enormous worlds and a quilt of intertwining stories.

So while I plan to reread all The Wheel of Time novels before I crack open the three written by Brandon Sanderson, I've been carefully pacing them between my own work. Now, while I'm editing and researching and writing queries, I can safely read Jordan, and any urges toward epic fantasies, I can write in my ongoing Story Ideas file and come back to with a clear head. If they still sound good, I'll consider them, but not while under the influence of Robert Jordan.

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