Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Querying, round two

I'm still in the middle of querying my first book (well, by "middle" I mean "I send out 3 queries a day, except some days, and I'm in the middle-beginning of the alphabet on, so whee?"), but I'm gearing up to query my second. My first book (for those who don't know) is called Swindle Witch and is about a thirteen-year-old girl who gets magic powers and loses her family on the same morning--and has to trust a woman called the Swindle Witch to try and get them back. It's been hard to query because a) it was my first book, and therefore taught me a lot about writing a book...which means it sagged in the middle, and b) I'm not sure if it's middle grade or young adult. The concept is middle grade, I think, but the execution may be more young adult, and that makes it a tough mix. Still, some great agents have read or are reading it, and some have come back with personalized feedback that has really helped me revise. I count myself lucky so far, and I'm pretty happy with the pacing in the middle (now), which is wonderful.

This brings me to book number two. It took me three months to write a first (read: terrible) draft, another three months to write a second draft (much better), and another month-ish to write a third draft (best so far!). I've tentatively titled it Storyteller, and it's about Ashley, a senior in high school who lost her brother the year before. She meets a new boy at school, finds out she's developing powers as a storyteller, and ends up in a bargain with the boy to tell him a story every night in exchange for his protection of her friends and family. It's all complicated and twisted, and her stories keep bringing her closer to her big brother Ryan--and the secrets surrounding his death.

See? It sounds all pretty in my head, but summing up everything is hard. Basically, my second novel is pretty much all I could come up with for a modern spinoff of the Arabian Nights frame story. And it has a clear genre--YA contemporary fantasy--and it's better than my first book, even though I was worried that I was trying to pull off too much (a book about storytelling? with storytelling as the power? with grief and changing characters and world building?!? yikes!).

So...yeah. I'm thinking about queries. And protocol for querying more than one project at once. And beta readers. And revisions. And (somewhere in my head) about third books. In celebration of all this thinking, here is my favorite song off of Florence and the Machine's new album, which I am going to listen to while I submit my three queries for the night...

Edit: I still love this song, but I just watched the video, and...well, I'll leave it here, but I have to say that the symbolism disturbs me. I've never been comfortable with the racial implications of the simplistic "black = evil, white = good," and I try to avoid that sort of thing when I tell stories (although it's easy to fall into, I think). Plus I was hoping for some nice blue eyes with no light in them! Ah, well. I like choirs of boys (poor kids!), and red hair trailing down the sky is awfully pretty...


  1. Sorry I haven't been around to prop up a shoulder in case you need it!! I send you luck in the form of virtual cupcakes as you click through the agents - hopefully you'll hit upon yours soon :0)

  2. Jeremy: Thanks!

    Sophie: Cupcakes! I've missed you! I hope all is well with your laptop situation soon!