Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sample Query

I need to order a copy of Karl Iagnemma's novel The Expeditions. I'm a big fan of his collection of short stories On the Nature of Human Romantic Interactions, and I've been meaning to pick up his debut novel, a historical fiction, for months. Same goes for Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer. I've been following his blog, but definitely need the book. I also need some Richard Powers (Galatea 2.2 and The Gold Bug Variations, in particular) and some Jonathan Lethem. It appears as if I will have to leave my study of the classics aside and delve into more contemporary fiction, not to mention the reading I'm still doing to acquaint myself with cognitive and neurological sciences. No time for classics.

Today, I tried an exercise in which I wrote a mock query letter for Project Reach. I was racking my brain trying to think of a novel I can compare it to in terms of style and subject matter only to find that I've never read anything quite like the novel I'm attempting to write. Iagnemma's short stories at least are drawn along the same lines as they are works of fiction that involve science without being science fiction. They are primarily about people and relationships and science serves only as a backdrop and plot catalyst, which is precisely where Project Reach is headed.

I'm also going to have to pick up a copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as it was represented by the agent that I'm very much hoping will take me on when Project Reach is ready for publication. I've been following her blog since I began writing Project Reach, and she often mentions wanting to acquire more literary works. Hotel is the only literary work listed on her web site, but I noticed that her women's lit and romance titles frequently deal with the paranormal, so that's encouraging. And actually, the idea of writing a mock query came directly from this agent's blog. It's been a very useful and illuminating process. It has helped me continue to refine the direction of the narrative and to re-evaluate the balance between David's and Claire's separate dilemmas. I've also used excerpts from the exercise to update the abstract posted in the sidebar of this blog.

The big question raised by all this, of course, is "Does writing a sample query letter when I only have four chapters of the novel completed qualify as putting the cart before the horse?"

Well, if I'm to be perfectly honest, yes. But it helps me stay on target. As I've said many times, so long as the quality of my output continues to improve, I'll approve any means. I realize my process is quite ass backwards, but I'm making my peace with that.

1 comment:

L. Davis said...

Hey, this is my 100th blog posting!!! Too bad I don't have 100 pages of narrative to match it. That would have warranted a celebration!