This entry has nothing to do with this cartoon.
But it’ll have to do.
So, let us skip beyond the common sense conversation about writing a query, getting contradicting information and advice, and figuring out about too many cooks in the kitchen. Instead, I wanted to ask if this phenomenon has ever occurred for you.
When I first came to the point of being pleased with the pitch for my novel, The Momentary Light Afflictions, it was only a few sentences long. As far as literary fiction goes, it is really important to get to the pulse of the story – what motivates moreso than what happens. I can’t remember on which agent blog, but I really agreed with what I refer to as the formula for capturing this particular novel. It admittedly was the equivalent of a comically overstuffed suitcase, convulsing precariously. But, really, I did like it – and some measure of it is actually used on the TMLA page located at the top right end of the banner (and linked here).
I still like it…and I think intelligent readers can easily interpret it. Or, intelligent readers who aren’t reading hundreds of such letters at a time. At which point, I could see my pitch being quite packed and requiring far too much analysis. Which is unintentional, by the way. So, anyway, along with the help of my siamese, Jordan; my bro-i-l, Andy; and my hubby, I started unpacking it. For me, the process isn’t over until I stop agreeing with the criticism – lest you think I’m lamenting over only the second incarnation. Hah.
But something strange seems to now be happening. The more I try to unwrap the query and talk about “what’s happening”, the more it sounds like women’s fiction. It’s…very misleading. How is this happening?
Do other literary fiction authors have this problem when writing a query?
I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I won’t ask the most irrational question that’s occurred to me; I shan’t dignify it with my breath. (And for those of you inclined to the wisdom of “perhaps you’re just finding out that your novel is women’s fiction”…major side-eye. You’ll have to take my word for it.) Wouldn’t it be easier if the agent read the book before the query so they wouldn’t be misled?! Hah-ZAH! I have unearthed the antidote!