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  1. #1
    M T
    Guest

    I have a disease

    ...I have writer's block. I have had it before in small doses, the odd cough that didn't quite develop into a full blown cold -- this time it's the real thing. The problem is with my query letter. I thought I had it done, but something didn't feel quite right to me. It just seemed a little bit dry. It's a non-fiction book, yet the query came across, to me, as though someone else investigated this experience and wrote about it as a reporter, rather than bringing across the idea that it was actually my experience. So I started again. And again. And again. I constantly type lines then delete them. I feel that maybe it would be good for me to step away from the thing for a while, but I feel wrong about letting time go by without trying to get my book published. The poor manuscript is ready to be born, and dummy here can't figure out how to get to the hospital. Even now, I'm writing this as an excuse to get away from my query. Oh Please someone give me penicillin or something!



  2. #2
    julia
    Guest

    Re: I have a disease

    penicillin?? to cure the cold
    penicillin?? to cure the writers block
    penicillin?? to give birth to the MS
    penicillin?? to help with the query
    build it and they will come
    work on the manuscript since its determined to be born now...follow it where it wants to grow....when it slows in its growth..go back to the query.
    Some epiphany will come to you and the words as well.
    Visit the places of your research if possible.
    Have a talk with the grocery clerk about whatever comes up
    Someone will say something having a minute link to what you need to hear.
    build it and they will come

  3. #3
    Jane Forsman
    Guest

    Re: I have a disease


    MT,

    I found that when I was writing my query letter, I liked having someone who knew how to do it correctly pushing me to just get it done. I think it's good to have someone who knows the busines side to thing, or the technical side to things, to tell you what exactly needs to be done and then push you to write it in your own words.

    If you don't have that person, then maybe you could ask yourself these things:

    What would be the perfect format for a query letter?
    How many paragraphs should it be?
    What's the longest you would like it to be, and the shortest?
    What do you want to say within its limited borders?
    What do you think would catch your eye if someone wrote a query letter to you?
    Can you put some of the passion that you felt for your book into your query letter?
    Have you read a good number of examples of query letters that struck a chord with you?
    From those query letters, what do you think worked best?
    What didn't you like all that much?
    When you look at someone else's query letter, what do you think could have been better or tighter?

    Don't be scared to just write and see what happens. That's a good feeling. I bet you'll get some wonderful words and expressions just from writing out an elaborate query letter, then taking what you liked best from it and creating a more concise, businesslike query.

    Play around with the technical aspects, toy with your heading, write your address a few times, write the name of your book in capital letters.

    I'm just throwing ideas at you, 9/10's of which I'll bet you've already thought of. I think it should all boil down to one thing: if you were an agent, what would you be looking for? An example of quality writing within a few short paragraphs? Credentials? A good plot? A hint of genius? An obvious marketability?

    Good luck, MT, and just do what I think we all do from time to time - open up a blank document and stare at it until words start popping up out of nowhere. Or go read your favorite chapter from your book, remember the passion you felt when you wrote it, and focus the passion into a few paragraphs that a huge agent will want to read.

    In fact, just think of that huge agent. The agent that you want very badly. Just think of that agent, and some ambition to get cracking on your query might get those fingers moving.

  4. #4
    Roger Duval
    Guest

    Re: I have a disease

    I have at least a dozen Word files entitled Query03, QueryApril, QueryCool, etc., inside my computer. M.T., the ones that are the best and the ones that have at least gotten some agent interest have come to me while I was lying in bed trying to sleep. I know this is bad news if you are an insomniac, but if you just relax and allow your mind to play word games, maybe--just maybe--your writing muse will plunk a winning idea into your near-dream-like state. Only problem; you need to have a notebook handy, or get up to fire the laptop.

    Anyone else overcome writers block while drifting off to sleep?

    Roger

  5. #5
    Sheer gen
    Guest

    You're cured

    You will be 'brilliant' when you wake up tomorrow. Have you heard that exact phrase somewhere before? :-)

  6. #6
    toby
    Guest

    I hate query letters,

    Hi.

    Thanks for taking my call.
    First time listener,
    long time caller,
    love the show.
    I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,

    I don't think I sould have to write them because,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters,I hate query letters.
    I'm here to help,
    toby.

  7. #7
    Joe Koppe
    Guest

    Re: I hate query letters,

    Some Scattered thoughts I've had on The Dreaded Writers Block
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. No one ever suggests that a pregnant woman is doing something wrong, but she sure spends a while gestating that rascal before producing something for the world to see. Don't get frantic when it pauses, sometimes the unconscious is gestating...

    2. Time to work on some of the boring stuff that makes up the business
    of writing - setting up files, reading market lists, getting sample
    copies, etc.

    3. What a wonderful chance to review (or read for the first time) some
    of those books and other resources that are "on hold!" Naturally,
    you'll want to summarize them, perhaps even posting some of the "nuggets of gold" (whether fool's or real is somebody else's problem) to friends on writers.

    4. Good time to lay in some "firewood" for future blazes - sketches,
    plot outlines, topic lists, etc.

    5. Play some games - round robin, jokes, etc. Sit down with a
    dictionary and stretch those words - try out some new ones for fun.

    6. Do some "little" pieces - an intro FAQ, for example (hint!), maybe
    some non-fiction (how DO you put on eye makeup, anyway?), etc. Heck,
    watch the boob tube and write your crazy friend in Japan to tell him
    about some of the stuff happening there - what is ST:TNG or Deep Space
    Nine? What's a Capio commercial?

    7. Personalize that block - it's yours, right? Well, what kind of
    monster is it? Is it more than one? Is there a comma-lion, gleefully
    adding commas where they aren't needed with one slashing paw and wiping
    away needed commas with the other? Or a grey word muck, sucking your
    words into the dank boredom? Or maybe it's a wild hedge of thorny
    options, blocking your path with too many choices to make? How about
    the shining statues of great writers, sitting on their white pillars so
    far above you that you don't dare smudge their pristine bases with your
    little mudpies?

    Personalize it, then (at least on paper) wage war with it! What is the
    worst possible result of being rejected by the blob known as the "nasty
    editor?" Suppose the windmills of the great writers do blow your
    writing away? And so forth, and so on...

    8. Change media - artists often do this, and I think it will help
    writers, too. If you use a computer, switch to pen and paper for a
    while, or vice versa. Try pencil and paper, too (my personal preference
    for thinking times - somehow, crossing out, copying over again, and so
    forth "feel different" from the simplicity of the computer.)

    You also may want to shift subjects - if you write fiction, try poetry
    (we should have a class going soon, I hope) or non-fiction. If you
    write fantasy, try doing a hard-boiled private eye. Do some
    description, some dialogue. Shift from first person to third, or vice
    versa.

    9. Take in some new sights, watch some of those funny art movies, take
    a walk through the local art museum (you should do that anyway
    sometimes), talk to the news stand operator about the "regulars" that
    drop by there, wander through a toy store, take a walk through the
    aisles of the library that you don't ordinarily visit. Don't worry
    about writing all this down, you are "laying in firewood" that will pop
    up later to feed the raging blazes...

    10. One that I use sometimes (Step 1. I am a procrastinator) - suppose
    a truck (or pick your accident) made sure that what you are doing NOW
    was the last thing you did. Take a moment and think about what you
    would like that to be - then write that letter to your father, or give
    your friends on writers a piece of your mind, or whatever, but do it!

    11. If you haven't read it, read One Minute For Myself (part of the
    series that started with The One-Minute Manager).

    12. Look around. Sometimes (dreadful as it may seem to say) there are
    other things in life besides your writing, and your unconscious may be
    trying to tell you that if you don't talk to your significant other, the
    rope around their throat will cause some damage. Take a walk, smell
    some flowers, bang that basketball through the hoop, see what the world
    looks like from the top of the rocks, learn that rolling naked in
    nettles is a really bad idea.

    Sometimes I think it is not so much that I am blocked as that I am
    pushing too hard, expecting the muse (unconscious, my pet tink[erbelle],
    whatever you call it) to come when I say, and that makes the fluttery
    dear nervous and shy. Sit back, watch the clouds for a moment, and ..
    don't jump when the winged fairy lands on your knee, just gently enjoy
    their company...

    Block? This may be the busiest time of your life, if you listen to me...

  8. #8
    Liz
    Guest

    Re: Joe

    Wow. Joe. Talk about identifying steps that need to be taken. Bet you're a producer kind of guy. Thanks for sharing.

    Liz

  9. #9
    Rebecca Fryar
    Guest

    Re: Joe

    I've got a little box of cards to promt me if I get blocked, but usually, the best thing I can do is just let it go. I walk, go running, skating, anything. I find that practicing my slapshot up against the garage door is helpful. I think my small brain tends to overload when I get on a tear for a while, and I just need processing time. At any rate it doesn't seem to be a permanent or fatal condition. It's more like a chronic cough.

  10. #10
    M T
    Guest

    Sheer Gen you were right!

    Hey! I am feeling better today! I really, really am!!! Thanks everyone above, you have pried me from my hospital bed and I am running as fast as I can down the hall with my i.v. scooting along beside me and my hospital gown flapping open in the back! hehehe! What a sight!

    Seriously, I believe my problem was, I was laying down too many poetic sentences in my query and just never really getting down to the actual point. I was rambling. I feel totally rejuvinated. Yesterday I was tearing my hair out, today I can't wait to get started. But first I've got to feed the cats, clean the litter boxes, feed the chickens, get them some clean straw, medicate one of my goldfish (fin and tail rot dontcha know) but he's recovering nicely thankyou. And then it's down to business. My head is spinning and my fingers are rarin to go. Yay! :-)

    and thankyou everyone again and again!

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