Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Changing Perspectives

So I'm querying again.

Shot that sucker right out there. So for now we'll sit back and see what we see. I hadn't realized it's been since October 2009 that I last sent out a query. Since then the novel has gone through three major revisions.

Last night, just for kicks, I took a look at the original draft from September 2009 and cringed. It's horrendous. Completely infantile. I can't believe I was arrogant enough to actually send that out into agent-land. It's hilarious when you think about it.

When you start your writing career in a vacuum, everything feels right. Your family tells you how great your stuff is. The words flow and before you know it, you think you the next great American novelist. It's funny to look back at those original words. They're awkward, overly-complicated and the writing style was so over-grammatically correct it was stiff as a board.

But what was there was passion. Probably more than I have now. There was a lot of feeling in that story, and it reflected in the plot. The basic concept was great. How do I know? More than a few professionals have told me so.

Haha, but therein lies the rub. I had to learn how to write my great story. And that took time. Make no mistake; I'm still learning to write. There's a reason the average time to publish is around eight years and a hundred queries sent. Make no mistake about it, this shit is hard.

So as I stared at the draft email containing my query, my finger paused over the 'send' button. I was fearless the first time I queried. Back then I treated the endeavor like I do with any request: the worst they can do is say no. In 2009 it took me two seconds to hit that button.

But two and a half years later, the stakes are higher. I've got a boatload more experience and learning, not to mention the scars earned from the monthly exchanges in Kelley Armstrong's Online Writing Group. In 2009 I wasn't afraid of failure because I had truly nothing to lose.

Enter 2011 and a different perspective. I am afraid of failure. Strike that. I'm not afraid of failure; I'm afraid of lack of growth. I'm afraid I'm no better than I was in the final months of my tour in Iraq in '09.

But I am better than 2009. There's no question there. Remember, I looked at that old manuscript and laughed. I have grown. This round of queries is a test to see how much. The goal is still to get picked up and published by 2015. So this time I did hit that 'send' button, it just took twenty seconds longer than the last.

Hey, the worst they can do is tell me no.


J D Waye said...

Well - so much for commenting on your blog. You pretty much covered the whole ball game. So I'll just sum it up like this: Yup, exactly.

Falcata Times said...

Hey Ken,
I think the thing that you're suffering from is feeling blocked. Not having the time that you want for revisions or for your writing.

One of the things that OWG taught me is that theres a lot more to know and the improvement on skills was rapid. I think once you've absorbed a lot of the lessons you fear lack of improvement on the same scale.

All you've got to do is take a deep breath, find some holiday time for you and have fun.

Danielle La Paglia said...

Good luck, Ken. I still remember those first posts the end of 2009. I thought I was brilliant. Damn did I have a lot to learn. You've come a long way and it will happen for you. Why? Because Rebels Rule, that's why. :)

Angela Addams said...

There's no such thing as failure if you're at least working and trying to get out there. The second you close yourself off is the moment you fail. Keep at it Ken - you're headed in the right direction!

Jessica Peter said...

Good luck indeed! I know I was querying last year as well, and have since decided that despite my many edits, it wasn't as good as I thought. (Perhaps it's a first-time-novelist affliction).

I haven't gotten back around to the full overhaul and re-querying, but that's only because I'm focusing on my second novel first! Not a bad thing for me. Thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

Passion is the force behind every penned letter. ;) Congrats on getting it out there. Great post to which i totally relate. Been there, done, got the rejections to prove it. You can never have your first time over again, but the second is always better anyways. ;)har har!

Kim said...

I see you are an active duty Major in the army. Artillery at that. My Father was a Captain in the army in the artillery. He fought along with General Patton. I am a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander. That went over well. Anyway, just thought I would say hi. I retired from the military 13 years ago and started writing. I've got one book published, and do a bit of writing daily. Thought about the similarities.
Good luck with your muses. God Bless.

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