Personal Notes: To explain a little more about the whole "forgets why she went into a room" thing in my sidebar, an example. I got up this morning, as I usually do, grabbing whatever cloth-like things I could snatch first to cover a decent amount of my body before waking small children and preparing them for their learning institution. I did not put on my glasses. I'm--funkily enough--far-sighted in one eye, and near-sighted in the other, so I can see all right without my glasses, but I get a headache after a while. I tweeted to my friend Michelle to remind me to put on my glasses. She reminded. I went to my bedroom to get them. I powdered my nose. Forgot my glasses. Saw tweet reminder again. Went into my bedroom to get them. Put my hair into a ponytail. Forgot my glasses. Saw Michelle's icon, thought of glasses. Got up, detoured to coffee pot for fresh mug. Forgot my glasses. Few minutes later, remembered, FINALLY got glasses onto face.

Someone, anyone, remind me to go through my Pandora bookmarks today. There was a song a couple days ago I really wanted to add to Ian's playlist.

This post is mostly about loving something, but having that little niggling doubt, regardless. There will bits and pieces of other things later, but pretty much, Rabid refers to how I feel about my query letter, or more specifically, the synopsis. I'll put it below, because not everyone's familiar with it.

Sixteen-year-old Jocelyn doesn’t claim to be an expert on the subject of boyfriends, but she’s pretty sure the right one shouldn’t be able to electrocute you with a kiss. Too bad her feelings for uber-smooth, sardonic Sebastien go from best buds to true love before he fesses up to being only ‘more or less’ human. That ‘less’ part’s giving Joss some grief.

First, as a Dionadir, a race of supernaturally gifted beings, Sebastien tends to be kind of bossy. Secondly, he’s got enough voltage running through his body to jumpstart a VW bus, making even holding hands a death sentence. Third, Dionadir only experience familial love, knowing nothing firsthand about the romantic variety.

So how is it, months after they agree to stay just friends, Sebastien realizes those bizarre feelings he’s had about Joss mean he loves her, and definitely not as his kid sister? Even more mind-boggling, how does Joss appear immune to Sebastien’s energy, along with defying a whole crap-ton of other Dionadir expectations?

The hand-holding’s good. The making-out’s a whole other world.

Unfortunately, Horace Huckleby, a Dionadir nut job with a coup to stage, decides their unorthodox relationship makes the perfect soap box from which to preach his traditionalist sermons. The couple is forced to justify their bond to the Dionadir court, the Curiae Septrum, and just in case Huckleby doesn’t like the court’s ruling, he’s hired a dozen mercenary thugs to knock off Joss and Sebastien. Then again, why risk wasting a perfectly good hit contract?

I worked on this baby. I researched like a fiend. I read over a hundred example "bad queries" to avoid making the same mistakes, then I read a few dozen "great queries" and broke down what they had in common so I could emulate them, and then I reworked it and reworked it until I'd made it my own, or maybe I guess Silver's. I sent it out there, confident it would get the responses I wanted. And it rather did, in that I'd gotten partials, which I'd never done before. Eventually, it even got me a full (see Jessica Faust's helpful Publishing Dictionary for a little more on those terms), another first.

Another writerly friend (the super adorable and ambitious ferret-lover, Jodi Meadows) recently tallied up the numbers for me and said I had about a ten per cent request rate (where a queried agent asks to see at least some of the manuscript). So, that's not bad, not at all. But it's not fantasmagoric, either. It could be better (she also reminded me one shouldn't worry until one has q'd at least 100 agents--seriously, the lady is amazing, and you should completely, utterly, devotedly follow her blog, especially if you want to learn some fantastic things about writing and publishing, ferrets, and things one knits with).

"But what's WRONG with my blurb?" I wonder, because I love it. Not just because I worked so hard on it, but because I feel it really captures the essence of the book. Like with anything else I produce (including the babies; you think I'm protective of my characters? Try offering one of my babies candy if we don't know you), I'm fierce about it. With the writing, with criticism, with doubt, my first knee-jerk reaction is anger and offensiveness. Sometimes it takes a couple of days, but I usually get over that. Which is why I'm now looking at my query and asking, "How?" as in, "How could I make it more compelling?", as opposed to "what?"

Incidentally, over on Rachelle Garner's blog (another fab blog for writerly things), there's a post addressing the exact issue I mention in my post yesterday, namely "Foreshadowing V. Telegraphing". Read it. It's totally worth the click.

P.S. Have decided Elisabeth Moss is my ultimate "Delia". I mean, seriously, can't you picture it??


Dan Holloway said...

Hey, you know Jodi - she is just SOO cool
(and her ferrets are just beautiful). She was so helpful when I subbed her for the "personalised rejection" thing last year, and goes way above and beyond what she needs.

Hmm. Your blurb. Tricky one. I can tell you what I think but it's only me. I think the first and third paras are amazing, but the second and final don't quite flow - the reason's obvious - they're the ones with the expo - BUT, that's the kind of expo you cuold maybe get away with leaving in the synopsis. Try cutting out all the explanatory stuff and writing the paras in the same cool style as the opener - it will make no sense at all, of course. Only...I think you'll find it works

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...

Dan, you're a complete doll for telling me that, and honestly, I think it helps out a ton. My brain is already condensing.

Wonderful point about exposition, and I think it really applies in my last paragraph, too.



Kari Lynn Dell said...

I think your blurb sounds great, although the suggestions you got above are good. You're just looking at your success rate the wrong way, because you're assuming that 100% is a possibility. Truth is, ten out ten editors and agents who read it may love it, and a percentage still won't request a partial or a full. Why? Because they just bought something similar. Because they don't have room on their roster for another YA writer. Because of a hundred and one different reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of your query or your book.

Put it this way--I love cheesecake. With a passion. But I'm not going to buy it every time someone offers me a piece. Can't afford it calorie or cashwise. And if I just bought cheesecake from somebody else, or if I'm on a no cheesecake diet, or if I'm having friends over who love vanilla and yours is chocolate, chances are I'm going to pass on it even though it looks absolutely fabulous.

KariLynn Dell

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...


*laughs* Great analogy! Thak goodness even I'm not megalomaniacal enough to expect a 100 per cent rate. I was thinking between thirty and forty per cent.

Also, cheesecake? I'm not sure I can get on board with the idea of EVER turning down cheesecake. My friends can bring their own freakin' dessert if it comes to that, and I'm pretty sure they all know it.

Thanks for commenting!

Denise said...

We know it. And if you don't like cheesecake, you might be a communist. For serious.

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...

I knew it. I knew you'd seize on the cheesecake issue. *laughs*

Love you, miss you, making your favorite author's book the best it can be (again).


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