Sunday, January 17, 2016

Query Letter Triumph, Craft Conundrum, Vat of Nothingness

I wasn’t going to say anything about my query letter in this post, because I’m aware that I was starting to sound completely unhinged. But…I had a breakthrough, folks! After working on it for literally eight hours yesterday, it finally clicked. I just “got it”—I have the hook, I have the right tone, and I think I finally have a viable query. I realized that I had been leaving out a key piece—the precipitating event that causes my main character’s crisis. I was starting the letter in the wrong place; being overly focused on the sequence of the plot, rather than spark that starts the fire. I sent an inquiry to an agent this afternoon, and I felt good about it. There are many, many more to send, but I feel like I’m in a much stronger position now to get a bite.

I’ve been getting frustrated with my punch rug hobby because I’m having a hard time creating finer patterns. Brimming with confidence due to my pillow success of last week, I got the bright idea that I could learn embroidery. I, who can barely sew a seam and have no patience even for that, managed to briefly delude myself that embroidery would be a great craft for me. And it’s all because I watched this really captivating video that made it look so simple and beautiful. I want to be the kind of person who can do embroidery. But I’ve also resolved to stop making aspirational purchases that will sit gathering dust for years. (Like my bike.) However, it turns out there is such a thing as an embroidery punch needle! Which solves both of my problems. I nipped over to Joanne’s today to look for one, but they didn’t have any. Undaunted, I bought some embroidery thread anyway, and tried to use my yarn needle with it. It looked hopeful for a minute, but then it all went to hell. So it’s back to yarn until I can get my hands on an embroidery punch needle. (Thrilling stuff, I know.)

I don’t have anything else to add because nothing happened this week. I worked, came home, ate dinner, and went to bed. I’m starting to feel like my life is very much like Norman’s. If I really stretch, I could say that I Feng Shuied my office thanks to the help of my friend, ate a high-concept burger at one of those over-achieving hipster restaurants, (it wasn’t great), and had a weird dream about a Victorian-era vampire. (The scary kind, not the sexy kind.) Gah, sorry I am so unutterably dull this week. Here, have a video. Lois CK is my go-to when I run out of ideas.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

Frank Moraes said...

Congratulations on your query letter! It does seem to be the essence of writing that if you just work on it long enough, you will succeed. Getting good at writing isn't so much about the writing but about the ability to spot good writing -- to know when what you have works. I, of course, and now stuck in the world of, "Good enough!" It's been a while since I've worked on anything that I've been able to really polish. I need to find something. I think my soul is dissipating.

I just bought a balloon animal kit. I've long wanted to do that. Part of it is that I like the idea of ephemeral gifts. "Here is a giraffe that will die within days if not seconds. Love it with all your heart!" But the punch needle you talked about is really interesting. When you are learning something, there are usually these things that are really hard to do and of course the past masters have solved the problems for you. That's what I've already found with balloon animals. There are tricks. This is what makes humans such amazing animals: our ability to pass on our discoveries.