Friday, August 22, 2008

Back To The Drawing Board

I wrote a story about a girl who tries out for a class play. I sent it to a magazine. They rejected it.

Not to worry. I brushed it up a little, and got ready to send it off to another magazine. When I started writing my cover letter, and got to the part where I write a short, snappy introduction to the story, something occurred to me.

My story was kinda boring.

Only it wasn’t the summary that sounded boring, and that’s what tipped me off. My story paled by comparison. There’s great advice to be found on writing queries and cover letters, and now that I’ve learned more about this process, I realized it can even be used as a gauge for evaluating the story itself.

Does the story hold up to an engaging cover letter or query? It’s back to revisionland for my class play story. Meanwhile, I decided to do another illustration.


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Great post! That's so true for me too. As I'm working on a project, I continually try to write and rewrite (at least in my mind) the back of the book description or the query letter summary. It really helps me define what I'm going for.
I love that illustration! Such talent!

Mary Witzl said...

I spend at least one hundred more times rewriting any given piece than I do writing it. I wonder if there are any writers who manage to skip this lengthy revision process. Lucky dogs, if there are... And yes: my stories have been rejected because they really aren't enthralling -- or they're too wordy. Imagine how much fun I find writing summaries, given that I'm too wordy.

I've just noticed in your profile that you're also a fan of 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' and 'The Belleville Triplets'. I love both of those too.

adrienne said...

Becky - Thanks for the compliment. And yep, I'll be applying the imaginary book jacket description test from now on!

Mary - I have to laugh a little at your trouble with wordiness - I have the opposite problem! I long to try writing a novel, but the word count's so daunting. In fact one of my newfound interests is Haiku. I love the idea of conveying an image in so few words.

Great taste in movies, BTW.;-)