I entered a Query Contest yesterday. For the first time, I finally have a query that I am proud of. My friend Tracy (TS) Stengel Foore, aka: the query conqueror, and all around brilliant editor, managed to pull a query out of me that nearly made me weep. (and no tears of disillusioned pain and vexed hatred) This query actually made me eager to participate in the world of query hell. I will still get rejections (because that is the way of the literary world) but at least now, I won’t assume that the rejecting agent in question decided not to take me on because they cringed at the idea of reading anything else that came from me. (yep, my queries have been that bad. This isn’t a self-deprecating moment, I swear. I’m sure that TS would be more than happy to back me up here. :P)
I readied my new and improved query, and waited with baited breath for the starting gate to open. 4pm on the dot, I was there. Off to the contest queens, my query flew. We had been warned that the limit of 200 queries would go fast, that last year closed down within a few hours. I didn’t want to miss out, not when my work had improved. TS had put in a lot of her time to get me ready. Failing to even be in the competition would have been a let down to myself, and disrespectful of the time she gave up to help me out. I didn’t want to sit around and forget to even try to enter. And that was when I believed I would have the cushion of a few hours to make the cut off.
HA. No such luck this year. Six minutes after the contest began, the 200 limit was reached. Yep, six minutes. I have never been happier that I ignored my need to procrastinate. My email flew into the cyber world at 4:01. Taking part in Michelle and Amy’s ‘Sun VS Snow’ query quest has been a great way to have fun, meet other writers, and get some much needed query practice.
The fun and games will continue through the will on twitter. Each day, there is a question to be answered and posted on twitter with the hashtag #sunvssnow. Today’s writer challenge: Share your Editing Tips. Usually I am one to put off editing for as long as possible. I want to sit down and write the next story, create the next world. Being forced to put that off so that I can fix my mistakes, reread old works, and fix, fix, fix…. yep, not my favorite pass time. But after participating in a questionnaire for unpublished writer that was being compiled for Yasmine Phoenix’ blog, I found a few points in the editing craze that I could enjoy.
One of the questions asked us what book we had out and ready to use at a moments notice. I admit, this was the hardest question for me. I actually got more out of my fellow writer’s answers. I especially appreciated learning about ‘The Emotion Thesaurus. I immediately purchased my own copy. While buying my copy, I also found two other great finds of the thesaurus world. The Negative Trait Thesaurus, and The Positive Trait Thesaurus… LOVE LOVE LOVE these books.
Back to the here and now. For today’s Sun VS Snow question: here are a few of the tips being shared on twitter…
Fave edit tip #2: Look for filter words like saw, heard, thought, decided, felt & reword those phrases to show instead.
Read it out loud. The whole thing. Anywhere you trip up reading, check to see if you could write it better.
Yes, reading aloud helps with dialogue in particular. Hey, no one can say all that in one breath, that sounds stilted…
-Diane McIntire Rose
Edit Tip: When you finish draft one, don’t touch it for a reread and delay the edit as long as possible. Distance = Perspective
Edit tip: talk to other writers. Have them read excerpts. Listen to feedback =). Be open minded!!
Save every draft. This frees you up to make drastic cuts, knowing you can always resurrect the darlings you murder
Edit Tip #3: “Was” is not your friend. Search and destroy. Remove whenever possible. Make writing more active, less tell-y.
I thought I knew something about editing until I read Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne. Y’all really should too
if you want to peek at writer’s comments, here is the list of questions for the follow days… answers can be seen on twitter when you follow #sunvssnow
Tuesday, January 27 Give us your best editing tip! Share some wisdom!