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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Query Arts and Crafts

     I've been frequenting the blogs about this business, and hearing the bemoanings of various writers. I think it's time for me to put in my two cents on this one. There's no doubt that the publishing industry is odd. I don't even pretend to know the ins and outs about it. I am a complete and utter idiot when it comes to this industry.
     I have seen a lot of writers complain about not receiving feedback from agents aned editors. I have seen them complain that writing is an art, and that they should not be expected to write these bizarre query letters and synopses. I get the creative process. I understand the passion inherent in the writing. I understand how the process of writing a novel does not lend itself to writing a letter that captures the essence of the novel in only a few hundred words. I get it.
     Now grow up. Writing is a skill, a craft. It is the refinement to make a product, and not as lofty an art as people make it out to be. The art comes later. The writing is make something, to produce something, and it's never easy. Writing is not an all-encompassing entity. Learning how to write one thing does not make us proficient in every type of writing. We had to learn and hone to be able to write a novel. WE honed to learn how to write an essay. We honed to learn resumes and cover letters and business memos. We need to learn and hone our ability to write query letters and synopses. It's no different than anything else.
     So stop whining and get to writing. I have worked on my query letter for what seems to be forever. Just on this blog I have posts about query letters from half a year ago. Have I mastered the form? No. Writing is not one of those skills that are ever truly mastered. It's fluid, and a reflection of the crafter. Blacksmiths, shipwrights, and carpenters never truly master their craft, either. They keep pushing the boundaries, pushing the limits, and keep working at it. The best that can be said is that they become "good enough" to do the work. I think my novel writing has reached the good enough stage, though that's not up to me to say. I'll know that if I can get brass ring of book deals. I just know I feel more confident in my work, now.
     Likewise, I feel more confident with my ability to write (agonize) over query letters. I still don't know if I'm actually any good, but I have a feeling I'm almost there, and, you know what, I'm proud of my ability to learn this new form of writing. I'm proud that I can stick this feather in my cap to say I am familiar with this writing.
     So, fellow writers, there are a lot of resources on the web to help you with this form. Get your butt in the chair and start working instead of whining about it. Or maybe, whine all you want; it'll make less competition for me.
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