Sunday, April 15, 2012
My Search for that All-Elusive "Yes"
What happens after we die?
From the moment our oldest ancestors looked into the sky and caught a glimpse of a far-off supernova, we've been obsessed with life after death. We've discovered paintings on cave walls of a bright, oval-shaped light in the sky, gods flying high above the heavens depicted on pottery, and there have even been theories about the ancient Nazcans drawing huge pictures in the sand so their gods had something to look at when they descended.
But that doesn't answer the question.
Well, the long answer is very, very long -- convoluted with theories, religious interpretations, and even some "first-hand" experiences. But, the short answer is, "We don't actually frackin' know."
My opinion? You don't want to know it... trust me; it's not relevant or happy. Which brings me to my point about finding that one agent who will say "yes" to my book.
"Seventeen-year-old Katie Bunny has thirty days to accomplish everything she’s ever wanted in life. Before she dies. Again"
That's the hook for the novel I'm pitching around. Most people I've come into contact with have said, "Wow, I want to read it based on that". So, why haven't agents told me the same thing? Because they're busy, they're picky, and they're right.
Katie Bunny (yes, she has a strange last name, but it's integral... trust me) is seventeen, moderately freckled, and socially awkward. What I mean by that is she's too busy watching old B movies and trying to finish high school to think about what she needs to do in life. She figures once she graduates, she can do the things grown-ups do without having to worry about cliques and cliches. Unfortunately, she dies first. But because she never achieved her purpose, she isn't allowed to pass onto the next phase (a dimension without bodies, only consciousness). Katie is suddenly given thirty days to achieve her goal so she can pass on. But she nearly spills the beans right away, so this alter-dimensional being, Martin, is sent to follow her around like a lost puppy. In addition to sanity threats on Katie's behalf, alter-dimensional wraiths are trying to acquire her soul by any means possible -- usually by exchanging it with some bogus but tantalizing offer. But if Katie gives it to them, then they own her and she'll spend eternity being consumed by them once she dies.
I can't tell you how many times I've drafted and re-drafted my query letter. Okay, maybe I can: it's about 30 or 40. My blood, sweat, and abundant amount of tears are smeared across the pages of THE DEATH OF ME and on the wall in my computer room (from bashing my head against it if you didn't catch that). So, having to rewrite a query and spend more time on it than the actual book just seems odd to me, but it's like a job interview, right? You can spend ten years working for the same company and hate it. But you can spend fifteen years searching for the perfect job and tailoring your resume. So, I understand.
But, I haven't even garnered any requests; only form rejections based on my query. What am I doing wrong? Probably nothing. I'm just one of the unlucky 90% that never gets a chance no matter how good the writing is. Just like a job interview. It doesn't matter how good a person you really are. What matters is the first impression you make. It has to be fantastic, solid, and awe-inspiring.
In conclusion, I don't need help with my writing, I need help with my QUERY! Dog have mercy.