How do you write an amazing query letter? With pizza, alcohol, and friends, of course! At least that was our hope at last night’s “Query-a-Thon,” where a group of Novel Incubator alumni and current students convened to tackle that first hurdle on the path to traditional publishing.
We’re firm believers that it’s easier to describe someone else’s story and to critique someone else’s work than our own. To prep them, we sent out the first link in today’s Friday Feast.
- “In roughly 250 to 300 words, your query letter must create a connection with another human being whom you have most likely never met, investing them so deeply in your work that they can’t do anything but fall on their knees and beg you to be their client.” NO BIG DEAL. Diane Glazman expands on her Confessions of a Slush Pile Reader Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Query.
As conference and convention season approaches, author Kameron Hurley reminds us to remember the shy, introverted people we once were (and maybe still are), and encourages you to open the circle to others: “Because there is no greater joy than seeing the reactions of people who’ve had their first amazing convention, and who tear up all the way home because in a single weekend they’ve found their people, they feel included, they felt like part of something bigger than themselves.”
- One of my works in progress is set in the 80s (For now. You never know what will happen in revision). To jelly shoe or not to jelly shoe? That is the question. Should Fiction Be Timeless? Pop Culture References in Contemporary Novels.
- “Who wants to get attacked in a workshop for writing about race or social justice in a predominately white institution when you can easily ‘pass’ by not revealing a character’s race, never mind the fact that everyone knows that this means the character ultimately reads as white? Who wants to be an outsider if they don’t have to be?” Lisa Lee on this topic and more in a Report from the Field: Racial Invisibility and Erasure in the Writing Workshop.
- Let’s take a poetic break for Ada Limón’s gorgeous and meditative essay, To What Do We Owe This Pleasure: On the Value of Not Writing. “There’s a sense among writers that the world is so messed up you can’t talk about elation, or that, as someone who has a voice, you have the duty to speak only about topics of great importance. I don’t always think that’s true. The average human being has about 55,000 thoughts a day: some of them are about injustice; some of them are about ketchup. At the laundromat, while I’m folding my sheets and thinking about race and life and writing and mortality and Taylor Swift and how dog hair multiplies and I think the internet is destroying us, I suddenly feel like there should be a permission slip for writers. Something you can sign for someone that says, ‘You don’t always have to write. You have permission to just be in the world and grieve and laugh and live and do your damn laundry. Writing comes when it comes, and it’s not the most important thing. You and all the little nuisances and nuances of life are what matter most. Don’t miss this gorgeous mess by always trying to make sense of it all.'”