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Laura Pauling | Category Archive | Query letters
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Logline blog fest!

Perfect timing for me. I’m in final revisions and letting my eyes go cross-eyed as I work on my query.  My two sentence pitch is below, feel free to comment on it. And then click over to Steena Holmes’ blog to check out the others!

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Fiasco must solve the 1990 Gardner Museum Heist of paintings worth 500 million dollars to keep his dad out of jail, but each trip back in time to the crime scene screws with life in the present. Fiasco hits bottom when he realizes that he controls the fate of the people he loves – and he can’t save them all.

And listening to the feedback so far, here is my one liner.

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Fiasco must solve the 1990 Gardner Museum Heist to keep his dad out of jail, but each trip back in time to the crime scene screws with life in the present until he must choose between his family and friends – and he can’t save them all.

So, let me know which do you like better?

And thanks!

Comments { 41 }

Writeoncon! Rockon! (A thanks and my personal highlights)

Humongous thanks and a big basketful of confetti and a time slot on the Morning Show and a life time supply of chocolate for the founders of WriteonCon! Jamie Harrington, Elana Johnson, Casey McCormick, Shannon Messenger, Lisa and Laura Roecker, and Jennifer Stayrook. Find out more about them here. Seriously, this website will become the new go-to for writers. Thank you for all your hard work behind the scenes.

Also, a huge thanks to all the editors and agents who volunteered their time to present! Find out more about them here. And thank you to the authors/writers who presented!

Phew! I had to get that off my chest.

Reasons I loved WriteonCon:

  • I could “attend” all the workshops and didn’t have to choose!
  • I wore my jammies and didn’t have to put on any make up.
  • Hopefully, the material will be online forever, instead of just on some handouts or scribbled notes.
  • The organizers did a super job making sure there was something for everyone! And I loved that.
  • Um, I didn’t have to pay? Yeah, that’s a good one.

A few of my personal favorite moments and take aways: (this is according to what I write and what I’m interested in – all the presentations were awesome. But I just don’t write picture books (Not yet) or illustrate (Never).

  • The vlog of Myths and Misconceptions by Holly Root, Molly O’Neil, and Marth Mihalick. Must see.
  • The live chat with Suzie Townsend.
  • Writing a query letter with Jodi Meadows.
  • Query crits with Joanna Volpe.
  • Plot and pacing with Weronika Janczuk (I was in plotting heaven!) (And yes, I had to check about four times to make sure I spelled her name right.)
  • Vlog by Lindsey Leavitt. (Hilarious!)
  • Writing dialogue with Tom Leveen.
  • An Editor’s process of choosing with Martha Mihalick.
  • Vlog with Mary Kole on Avoiding Stereotypical Characters.
  • Author branding with Shelli Johannes Wells
  • First Five Pages with Kathleen Ortiz (lots to be learned).
  • Live workshop with Regina Brooks.
  • Any of the live chats or panels with agents and editors. Especially if you are researching agents to query.

As you can tell and see through twitter and blogs, Writeoncon totally rocked the blogosphere.

Which workshop or presentation did you enjoy? What stayed with you? (Some comments and topics stayed with me but that’s for another time.)

Comments { 13 }

How I Write: Knowing and Growing (when to submit)

(Check out Ansha’s blog for participating writers.)

I finished my first draft of my first story. And I knew I was ready. (cough, cough) So I submitted. Yup. And I got rejected. Double yup.

Agents wish writers would wait before submitting. Unfortunately, after our first story with maybe some revisions thrown in, we think we’re ready. Because we don’t know any better. And I say kudos. Go ahead. It’s a brave first step. We need those form rejections to realize we have a lot of growing to do.

After several rejections and critical feedback, I stopped. I knew I had more to learn. I wrote another couple stories, maybe queried a couple agents, but then stopped and moved on. Yes, I could have rewritten those stories and rewritten and rewritten, but I needed to take what I had learned and apply it to something new.  I could have queried every agent on the face of the earth, but I didn’t. They were practice novels. I could do better.

If you’re a beginner and you’re not quite sure how to revise yet, (or you think you don’t really need to) I say query a bit. Get your feet wet. But read craft books, read books, and continue to write. Don’t stall your writing for your first story. Move on.

You’ll know when you’re really ready. The feedback from readers/crit partners will be more line editing. You’ll know the checkpoints of macro and micro editing. You’ll have figured out how to intertwine emotion and tension into the heartbeat of your story. You’ll know about scene and structure and goal and motivation. All that good stuff.

And if you mess with that manuscript anymore, you’ll kill your voice and any raw emotion you had. That’s when you might be ready.

All you can do is craft the best query you can and send it out there. Easy squeezy. (cough, cough)

How do you know when to stop revising and send your baby out into the world?

Comments { 12 }

Dear Agent, Please, let me explain…

Dear Agent,

This has been bothering me for almost a year. And I always wished I could explain this to you, but I knew better than to send an email back justifying my writing.

You see, two years ago, I queried your agency on a whim after a conference. So, I was totally surprised and amazed when I received a super positive rejection. And I deserved the big R. I can see that. Now. But since you invited me to send something else, I did. Too early. And you rejected that story too. But again, you invited me to submit more. And you were nice. For the first time, I felt validated in all my time and effort. And I thank you for that.

I cringe now. It was totally too early to query you again a few months later. Even though, honestly, this third manuscript was the first time I queried more than two agents. The manuscript was ready. You see, previously, I knew in my gut the others weren’t ready. But something you have to understand about writers is that sometimes we just can’t help it. We have to query. Especially when we don’t have a lot of querying experience.

The third time was not the charm. I sent you a manuscript with a completely different tone and style, and it threw you off. I understand. I get it. But I’m not going to apologize for that. I enjoy writing humorous with heart, and I enjoy writing darker stories. 

But if it weren’t for my experience with you and the burned bridge, I wouldn’t have learned some valuable lessons.

  • A positive rejection is nice but it’s still a rejection.
  • I  better understand the meaning of story structure and how important it is to complete macro revisions, not just rewrite or polish.
  • I no longer query too early. Even though the trigger finger gets itchy, I wrap it in duct tape.
  •  When I write more serious or dark, I try to infuse a humorous side too, so I won’t completely freak agents out I’m querying for a second time.
  • I will always take my time querying between manuscripts. Make sure I’m growing in craft and bringing something new to the table.

I guess that’s about it. So, to wrap it up, I’m sorry I queried you like three times within twelve months.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

the-writer-who-queried-you-three-times-and-you’ve-probably-forgotten-all-about-me

Comments { 13 }

Let’s talk about no response means no.

More and more agents are hanging out the same shingle:

“No reponse means no.”

So, when you query them, if they are not interested in your work, you will never hear back from them.

For some, that can leave doubt. Did the query get lost in cyber space? Lost to spam? They sit and wonder and it might possibly drive them crazy.

Positive rejections can be nice. But they are still rejections. I guess for some writers, a rejection offers closure. They can move on to the next batch of agents on their list.

Honestly, it doesn’t bother me at all when agents don’t respond(if that’s their policy). I don’t know why. I guess for me, it’s harder to receive the form rejection than not to hear.

How do you feel about the no response means no? Does it bother you?

Comments { 32 }