I learn by doing. This means I make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Probably the first of my mistakes was that I didn’t think the rules applied to me (how could they? Won’t the first agent I query just fall all over my brilliant idea and my hidden genius? Maybe I hid my genius a little too well). Heck, when I first broke rules, I didn’t even know what the rules were. See, when I do things, I usually just try something out and see how it goes. When it doesn’t work out, well, I change a variable or two and give it another go (yeah, I know, I have the experimental petrologist’s approach to life; I said I was nerdy). It’s my process, and while I’m not good at many things, boy howdy, I know how to make mistakes. One could say I’m a professional mistake maker. And my writing mistakes, well, they’re awesome, cringe worthy, and I’m just getting started. Heck, even posting this is a mistake, but they’re good for a laugh. Seriously, feel free to drop your cringe worthy head desk moments.
The Dumb I’ve Done:
Queried a project not yet polished *D’oh!*
Used a mirror to get a description of my main character
Had an entire story take place in a bar where no one does anything but talk
Queried with a character waking up in the first scene *head desk*
Queried with a letter no one else had read (Could I get an extra helping of dumb on the side please? Thanks!)
Mary Sue and Gary Stew save the world then fall in love (nah, I didn’t see that coming)
Queried One. Agent. At. A. Time.
I wrote the sequel without having representation or a publishing contract
I wrote a sequel to my sequel (And could I get my fries smothered in stupid sauce?)
When I finally pulled my head out of sequel land, I wrote the cheesiest, most trend chasing piece I could lay my fingers on. Yeah, that’s me, trying to write the ‘marketable’ book (but not to worry, I’m sure I’ll edit the marketability out of it in the end; I’ve got 5k1llz like that.)
Manuscript adultery (but it was just the one chapter! How could I have known it wasn’t 18 yet?)
So yeah, I’m winding up the first draft of my WIP, and I’m struggling not to repeat my dumb (hence the post, it’ll keep me honest… well, maybe). I’ll probably be posting a preliminary query letter soon, cause, that’s my weakest area. Whenever I’m trying to sell myself, I sound like a pretentious pain in the butt, so it’ll take me longer to get my query letter squared away than to let the manuscript stew *and* rewrite *and* edit. (Yes, my query letter skills are
that pathetic unfortunate.)