What’s the hardest part of writing a novel?
Nope, it’s not forcing yourself to sit down and write every day. It isn’t having to think of plot developments, characterizations, or world building. It even isn’t editing. (Actually, I was surprised to find editing the most rewarding part of writing a book.)
So, what IS the hardest part about writing a novel?
Writing the damn query!
If you want to sell your book to an agent (who then sells it to a publisher), you have to write one of these God forsaken things. In it, you are asked to sell your book AND yourself… in less than a freaking page.
It’s a nightmare.
I’ve totally lost count of how many drafts I’ve written. I’ve gone to places like The Absolute Write Watercooler (an invaluable tool for writers of any ilk). I’ve asked for help from my beta readers. I’m about to the point of going to a mystic to see if she can conjure me one from the ether.
My elevator pitch I give anyone who asks me about my book in person is- “In 2011, Empire, Nevada was closed by the mining company that owned it. They announced the closure in January, but stayed open till June so kids could finish the school year. By the end of the year, only 15 students remained. The character I’ve created, Paul Simpkins, is one of them. After this, he tries rebuilding his life. He does a crappy job, and ends up running back to Empire with his good friends. There, the poop hits the fan, and Paul has to finally break out of his shell and start to move forward with his life again.”
Or some variation of this.
I guess the problem with my book is that Paul just wants to be a normal kid. He doesn’t want to be caught up in all the crap that keeps happening to him.
Hey, it’s a freaking coming of age story!
I’m going to get some help soon. Michelle Hauck is going to post the current version I’ve been sending out over on her blog sometime. I’ll post my new synopsis there when it’s up. Hopefully, they can help me salvage this hot mess.
In closing, I want to leave you with some awesome news: Five of the students I teach are, at this very moment, reading my novel! I find myself both excited and nervous. These are the first people to read it that are actually in the age range I’m aiming for. So far, I’ve had great readers that have been immensely helpful, but this feels like a real test of my material.
My only concern is them being afraid of being critical. I am their teacher. Still, I’ve told them to be as brutal as they feel. I’d rather get punched in the gut now. Later is way too late.