My awful query email

I’m currently researching literary agents, somewhat dreading the query emails I’ll need to write because of the perfection they require. Yes, yes, I know agents are people, too. But the query needs to be perfect because I’m trying to sell these people my baby.

Wait…that came our wrong.

Anyways, here is how my mind exaggerates my queries into weirdly desperate cries for help. Something like this:

beggingTo Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for taking the time to read this query. I found your listing while searching for an agent to represent my fantasy novel, The Princess and the To-Be-Named Important Event.

This is going to be painful. My apologies in advance. This submission represents my first attempt to gain agent representation, as well as my first attempt to become a published author. I have no idea how to write a query email. I’ve written thousands of business letters and scores of cover letters, so you can expect this email to be well-written and typo-free. But when it comes to begging for your service, I’m lost. Continue reading

Blogging takes away from writing time?

This post is about 350 words.

You want to be a writer. You think you’ve got a brilliant author inside you, struggling to break free. The only way you’re going to become that person is devote all possible time to that endeavor, right? Maybe.


But perhaps you’ll go crazy if that’s your only outlet.

Like food, drinking, and hobbies, it’s all about moderation. Indulging too much will make you – where is this analogy going? – a fat, drunk, hoarder of words? Well, you’ll burn out, at any rate.

There will be times where you can’t look at your manuscript for one more keystroke. Other times, you’ve got nothing left in the tank. Or worse, you can do nothing but question your desire and ability to write the Great American Novel.


Continue reading

Tighten up your writing #2

This post is approximately 450 words. Many of them rewritten.

There are as many analogies about writing as there are fish in the sea. Today’s thalassic comparison will liken writing to lacing up a shoe.

lacing up.jpg

This is a simile I’ve been thinking about as I’m taking the first draft of my manuscript and tightening up the writing.

No, let’s try that again.

As I’ve been editing the writing in my first draft, I’ve felt like I’m tightening up loose shoelaces.

Better, but room for improvement.

As I’m editing my first draft, I often feel like I’m tightening loose shoelaces.

Ahhh, much better.

Writing a post like this is great because it allows me to show the evolution of the writing, literally as I’m writing it. Well, not exactly literally, but you get the point. And I digress.

I’m currently working on the second draft, which means I’m reading a lot of bad writing. That’s fine and was expected. Sometimes that first draft text is just stream-of-consciousness stuff or the channeling-of-the-muse-that-conveys-information-faster-than-I-can-type stuff. It’s loose, much like a shoe that first time your feed laces through the eyelets.

Try again.

It’s loose, much like a shoe as you feed the laces through the eyelets the first time.


It’s loose, much like a new shoe receiving its first lace.

OK, I could do this all day, but I don’t want to lose your interest. You could wear the shoe like that – laces untied and flopping about – and to be honest, I often did as a kid. But slack laces are no good for running and other shoe-related activities. The same is true for a loose manuscript. Right now, I’m tripping on things all over the place. I also have to move at a slow pace. If I tried to share this with a reader – even my forgiving wife – the story would fall flat on its face because I didn’t take the time to properly edit and rewrite it. Continue reading

Writing Update: July 16, 2016

This post is about 500 words. 

Fingertip sketchIt’s been a few weeks since my last writing update, and in that time, I’ve passed 92,000 words, done some painting, and added a few other posts to the site. I also added a new page – a placeholder for illustrators because I’m looking to partner with one or more people to bring some additional life to the website.

That might seem like a full schedule, but I did have two major events in there:

  1. Fourth of July weekend – with distractions abound. Some were the exploding kind, but many were the kind that required feeding.
  2. Bought a new truck – which necessitated a lot of time for research. And a bit of joyriding. OK, a lot of joyriding.

Neither of those was unwelcome, of course, but they left less time for writing.

Perhaps more importantly in that time period, the novel has officially reached Second Draft status! To be honest, it took longer to get here than originally anticipated, but now that I’m here, it doesn’t seem like I wasted too much time along the way.


What does this milestone mean? For one, I’ve hit all the primary beats of the story. All the things I wanted to convey are down on the page. Additionally, I don’t want to add any more subplots or characters into the mix because I’m happy with the balance I currently have. And finally, it means the real work begins.

Oh yeah, if it took an effort to get to this point, I expect even more challenges as I try to bring the words to life. The story has direction. A beginning, middle, and end. Character development and scenery.

On WritingBut there are holes. Flat characters and scenes. I expect there’s a bunch of garbage to purge, as well as scenes that contradict each other. That’s fine and was anticipated. Unlike that foolish youth I used to be, I understand that your first draft is not your only draft. Stephen King’s rule of thumb is to cut 10% of your first draft here. For those of you who like math, that’s a 9,200-word removal, or 2-3 chapters.

If you’re expecting perfection at the end of the first draft, I think you’ll be surprised to discover you have a poorly-written document that doesn’t accurately convey the brilliance of the full story floating about your head. And that’s not something that does anyone any good, especially the readers you hope to engage. For a little context, most of my blog posts are second or third draft. Some are fourth.

So, it’s time to add some layers, some color, some real personality, and some real emotion into my story. It’s in my head, even if I can’t articulate it yet. Here’s to the Second Draft.


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© Michael Wallevand, July 2016