Sunday, December 6, 2015

Query Letter Hell, Transition Purgatory, Film Fog

Well, I did it, folks. I sent out my first three novel queries to agents yesterday. It was nerve-wracking, but I needed to bust through the fear and the only way to do that was to just take the plunge. I also posted my boiler-plate query letter on Absolute Write’s “Query Letter Hell” feedback forum, where it was instantly torn to shreds. Like the novel summary, writing a query letter is a total nightmare. It’s almost impossible to figure out what to include and what to leave out, and how to make it come together coherently in less than a page. I chalked up my first three queries to test runs, and I plan to re-work the letter based on the feedback I got from the AW site. So if you see me crouched in a corner, sobbing and clutching fistfuls of my own hair, you’ll know why.

Transitions are an interesting thing. I’m in the middle of a big one right now, and it has felt very intense. Never one to think of myself as anyone remotely impactful or influential, I now realize that I have indeed had an impact on my own little corner of the world. But just as I’ve influenced others, I’ve been equally influenced by them. Over the last few years, I have thought a lot about what it means to be a leader, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the mark of true leadership is allowing people into your heart. And that means opening yourself loss and pain and whole host of other uncomfortable feelings. But what else are we to do in this world but let people in?

On a lighter note, Mr. Typist and I were recently pondering our complete lack of interest in going to the movies. He thinks it’s because we’re aging, but I refuse to accept that. I simply find the whole endeavor exhausting and unsatisfying. Most movies these days (oh God, I said “these days”—maybe I am getting old) seem bloated, overly-long, hyper, in-your-face, and unbearably frenetic. I rarely leave a movie feeling transformed or even emotionally sated. I just leave feeling like I’ve wasted three hours that I could have spent writing or creating something. I’m perfectly happy to waste exactly the same amount of time on mindless video games, but somehow I resent any time I spend at the movies if I leave feeling like I just ingested a bunch of empty visual calories. Having once been an avid filmophile, I’m a bit worried about what my growing indifference to movies says about me. For now, I’ll just tell myself that it’s the films that have changed, not me.

I have a reputation for being Grinchy, so here’s my one big Christmas-y act of the season: Enjoy this video of Sir Colin Davis conducting The Messiah with the London Symphony Orchestra:

--Kristen McHenry

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