Saturday, August 30, 2008

Can't See the Forest for the Leaves?

I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with the opening line of my Best/Worst Pitch Contest submission. I’m not asking you to offer advice on it, but the whole query aspect of writing is overwhelming me. Instead of sending manuscripts out like my other writer friends, I just sit here like a dunce collecting them. What is my problem? One silly letter and you’d think I was attempting to write the equation for Einstein’s theory of relativity.

And right now I’m stressing out over whether or not the commas in my post reply were correctly placed.
A. You are definitely over-thinking this. Nobody writes at their best when they're stressed out.

B. What was the first line of your pitch? I separate them from names, so I have no record of which was yours.

6 comments:

Kimberly Lynn said...

The opening line for my Best/Worst Pitch Contest submission was:

In the forest of Giants a bluebird’s greatest song tames all the wild creatures – for one night.


Is it a grammar tragedy or you simply do not care for the idea in general?

This particular manuscript does not have a traditional story arc in that the main character goes through some type of dramatic transformation. I guess that’s why I’m having a tough time writing a pitch for it. It is a poetic bedtime story but the text is more involved compared to others on the market such as Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

Thanks for taking the time to calm my anxieties. I truly appreciate it! I have no idea why I make my life so difficult. Grin.

Editorial Anonymous said...

Ok, now I'm really sorry I gave you that feedback. I did not mean to paralyze you!
What stopped me there was that there were two things that many people could not be expected to understand in that sentence--the Giants (capitalized why? Though I understood that you meant the Sequoias, not everyone will.) and "greatest" (why is it his greatest song?).

Starting a query is the same as starting any story- you have to introduce us to what we might not know about this situation.

I think I'd strongly suggest starting with the fact that it's a bedtime book, because that fact alone will prepare the editor for the text not following a standard storyline. Bedtime books are really their own genre, and follow different rules. Page-turn becomes very important, for instance, because all aspects of pace must slow the reading.

Don't worry about conveying Conflict or Plot Arc. Convey what happens in a clear and understandable way, and convey how the text is calming, and you'll be fine.

Kimberly Lynn said...

It was a good thing that I was temporarily paralyzed in this instance. I certainly do not want to send out a confusing query or cover letter. And I’m relieved to hear that bedtime books are in their own genre because writing this manuscript wasn’t easy and researching the market has been even more challenging. I enjoyed the contest and your feedback from it was wonderful, I just didn’t know how to fix the first sentence without knowing what specifically was wrong with it. Now I get it. I am sadly scrapping it. Sniff. Great advice in regard to mentioning the manuscript is a bedtime story earlier on.

Thanks again for all your help. If this manuscript gets published, to whom shall I address my thank you card? Grin.

sylvia said...

Oh no wait, don't scrap it!

I paused over the line initially: it didn't sit right but I would have read on.

I couldn't have told you what was odd about it but EA is spot on. Making those two changes:

In the forest, a bluebird’s song tames all the wild creatures – for one night.

Now that has my attention.

Nicholos Poma said...

I do the same thing, especially when I am having a bad day, or writers block. I would not worry about it too much. You have a great blog by the way, keep it up!
Sincerely
Nicholos Poma
http://onemansviewpoint.blogspot.com

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