Thoughts From the Depths...

At the risk of sounding mad, I am here to confess.
In the past week or so, I've become addicted.
Usually I'm addicted to Facebook... but now it's  something far more dangerous.
A Shark.

In my efforts to educate myself about the wide world of publishing, I came across Query Shark.

A blog run by one Janet Reid, Query Shark receives aspiring queries and basically rips them to shreds.

That's what sharks do, right?

The instructions are quite specific for submitting a query to the Shark.

The very first instruction says, "Read all the entries on this blog (aka the archives)."

There are currently 213 posts.

I finished them on Wednesday.

In my reading I have learned SO much. Janet gave an analogy in one post, saying that writing an effective query (or an effective anything, I might add) is like learning to drive. At first, you have to consciously think about doing everything - turn the key, put it in drive, adjust the mirror, check your blind spot, etc.  After a while though, you can subconsciously do all of that while eating, talking, texting, and applying mascara.

I have to admit that I (like so many before me) wasn't sure how much I'd be able to learn just by reading query critiques. I'll tell you how much I've learned - too much. Hahaha!

A few nights ago, I actually dreamed about queries.

I have gone mad, haven't I?

I find myself thinking about my novels and seeing the holes where actions are not organic or don't make sense, sections where I had characters do things for no reason other than I needed them to be done. I can see - especially as I try to write a query that works - that it's not the query that has problems, it's my STORY.

And that's a hard pill to swallow.

It makes me think, should I even keep working on that novel? Or should I move on to something else? I have five novels that are at least planned/outlined to some degree, so I could easily just let it go and move on to something else. Especially because I'm impatient.

Editing and polishing takes time, and I know I'm good at it. I'm just one of those people that wants it to be done NOW... and I don't have time for it to be done now. I'm a wife, and mother, and babysitter, and blogger, and teacher, and reader...

and writer.

I'm a writer, and I feel so drawn to these projects that I think about them constantly. I try to write down the little thoughts that come to me when I'm doing dishes, or cleaning the bathroom, or falling asleep. I want my characters to behave and react to things in organic ways. That's what makes good characters good - when they feel real and relate-able. And that reality needs to extend throughout the entire story.

In summary, thanks to Query Shark I am going mad. I don't think I'm going to be able to finish my NaNo novel, but I'm glad I started it. I'm also glad I only have six books left to read for the year.

Now if only I could count the Query Shark Archives as a book toward my goal... hmmm... maybe I'll add it manually to Good Reads :-)

I say it counts.

Shark bites and Safety nets,

Page Traveler

Have you read Query Shark? What have you learned?
What have you learned about writing, in the process of writing itself?

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