I’ve been reading tons of literary agents’ and editors’ blogs, trying to find out who is looking for what and what kind of query letter they prefer. Long or short? Funny or formal? Also, I’m starting to feel like all my sentences are still overly long and contain too many unnecessary transitions, conjunctions, etc…
SHORT, DECLARATIVE SENTENCES! SHORT, DECLARATIVE SENTENCES!
Unfortunately, I’m also reading about how the number of query letters these people have been receiving has skyrocketed as of late. This makes me nervous. Even though I know my story is good, and I know my illustrations are good, are they good enough to negate the fact that I really have no 'real' published credits to my name?
So, I worked on my story again today, and I ended up adding words, something I’ve been telling myself not to do! I think I’m worrying too much about the story not flowing. So far, the only critique I’ve gotten is that it’s a little long. (So, I cut some, but now I’m almost back to where I started!)
But the majority of my day was spent reading blogs. All of which is turning from something that was maybe-sort-of productive to something that is really a ‘new and fascinating’ way to procrastinate.
Yesterday, I worked at the studio until the cold weather froze me out (it’s an uninsulated garage), so I was able to escape the evil yet tantalizing lure of the internet. And I got three SFD illustrations done. SFD, for those who haven’t read Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” stands for Shitty First Draft. Meant for writing, but I have appropriated it, because the concept has enabled me to get something, anything(!) down on paper.
Soooo…I have two, count ‘em TWO SFD illustrations left before I have completed the SFD of the dummy! So close! I will have to redo most of them, probably all of them, because now I have to work harder on consistency, meaning that my characters have to look like themselves throughout the story.
One more thing before I call it a night: So, I’ve been reading all about the things “Not To Do” in query letters, and I took them all out of my draft (yep, they were pretty much all in there, or at least it felt that way). However, I took all the stuff I didn’t even dare put in my query letter and put it in my JacketFlap profile. Now I’m worried that people won’t say, “Oh, that’s nice. I wanted to know a little more about her actual experience (or lack thereof) and that’s why I’m looking at her profile,” but instead will point their knifelike pointer fingers at me and hiss, “AMATEUR!”
All that to say, I know. I know! I know I’m not published in anything that counts to anyone in the children’s publishing world. But I had to put it somewhere. Otherwise, I would feel like I would be lying through omission. Please don’t sneer at me. At least not until I regrow a skin.
And by the way, I just want to put it out there that I got a letter in the mail two days ago from my UCLA Ext instructor saying, “…I know you will be published…I love your story.” Ahh, that's better. Nothing like a little bit o’ that to stroke my newbie ego.