I remember the occasion well, even though it was years ago. The hubs and I were out to dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant. The sun was sinking into the horizon, painting the waves in gold. Surfers were catching their final rides before heading home. Romantic doesn’t even begin to describe it. And there I was…in another world.
Hubs: Lynnie? Helloooooo, anyone home?
Lynn: <stares off in a fugue state>
Hubs: <picks up butter knife and clangs it on my wine glass> Hey, guess what? Antonio Banderas just walked in asking for a brilliant editor for his new book.
Lynn: <mentioning Antonio gets her attention, and she endures neck spasms looking for his backside> You dog. Antonio wouldn’t come to Laguna Beach without telling me. It’s the law, you know.
Hubs: Um yeah, I’m tired of holding a one-way conversation. You’re as exciting as a bowl of warm fish.
And there it was. A fabulous dinner in a fabulous setting, with a fabulous hubby, and I’m thinking of how I’m going to have to kill one of my characters…and it grieves me to no end. I’m almost in tears because I’ve come to adore this character. My muse’s timing couldn’t be worse, but my dear hubs is patient and waits for my inner plotting situates itself.
I’ve learned that ideas hit on their own schedule. They don’t wait until I’m at my computer, ready to pen brilliant tomes. They strike at weddings, fancy dinners, driving to the vet, shopping for jeans, or at 3 a.m.
I’ve also learned that we owe a platter of gratitude to those who suffer because they’re crazy enough to live with us. They’ve learned to inhale that coconut shrimp so we can madly scribble down a delicious plot twist on their cocktail napkin. They’ve learned to clarify our conversations about someone dying by making sure we’re talking about a character and not a real person.
Writers are a different breed, and I salute those brave souls who love us in spite of our passions…and insanity.
What are some of your crazier stories about writing and your loved ones that have gotten you into trouble?
#color-me-annoyed: When I see three different fonts in your query letter, I know you’ve cut and pasted – which is no big deal – but boy, is it ever annoying and unprofessional looking. It’s the literary equivalent of your bra strap sloughing down your arm.
#color-me-annoyed: When you write your pitch, you don’t need to litter Wikipedia links throughout. Truly, I know what a Japanese woman is, I know where Belfast is, and I do know what happened at Dunkirk in WW II. Not only do these ridiculous links make your pitch hard to read, but I begin to wonder if you’re trying to sell a story or give a history lesson. Avoid this. Really.
#color-me-annoyed: “My book compares to Eat, Pray, Love…” Shoot me now and blind me with eye bleach. In the past week, I’ve had no fewer than fifteen manuscripts use this as a title comp.
Note to authors: Avoid comparing your books to JKR’s Harry Potter series, Dan Brown and his DaVinci Code, or Elizabeth Gilbert’s E,P,L. They did it. In fact, they own it. You do not compare. Really.
#color-me-annoyed: You put this in your query – “I would like it printed in standard memoir size (6” x 9”).” Guess what? The trim size isn’t your call – nor is 6 x 9 “standard” memoir size.
#color-me-scared: “I plan on querying you the minute I finish writing my book.” Noooo…please, Oh Holy and Wise Cosmic Muffin, let this not be the case. Please intervene and let the book marinate for a spell, and then let the author go back and revise. The only fresh thing I want is a margarita…
Blurgh…just to state what should be obvious…there are no “informal” queries. You either query or you don’t. And, anyway, I don’t get it. If you’re taking the time to “informally” query me, what does that mean? What are you trying to say? It’s like you’re saying, “I’m a little bit pregnant.” As a mom of three kids, I know for a fact thar be no “little bit” about it. It’s an either/or proposition.
Do you think an “informal” query gives you a pass so you don’t have to supply all the pertinent information I need in order to render some sort of decision?
Is this a pre-query, as in, “I’m querying you to ask you if I can query you.” Facepalm.
Or is it a case of, “I’ll give you barely enough to whet your appetite, but I won’t give it all to you in case you blow me out of the water”?
I think that’s so strange. In those cases I’ll just blow you out of the water anyway. Well, not really. I’ll politely decline to review the work. After all, my mother would ground me if I was that rude.
But can someone please explain what an “informal” query is and why anyone would partake in such silliness?