See, there’s this contest going on today, co-hosted by YA author Ruth Lauren Steven, in which thirty exceedingly lucky people will get their queries and the first 500 words of their manuscripts placed before ten different literary agents.
I hemmed and hawed about entering this. Query writing, let me just say, may be harder than writing the actual book for which you are writing said query. How do you turn 100+k words into a two-paragraph pitch? And 500 words isn’t a lot. It worked out to be about two pages, 12 point New Times Roman font, double spaced. For certain genres, that’s plenty of room for a punchy opening. Historical fiction (whether general HF or historical romance, which I’ve decided my MS technically falls into) usually needs a little more page space to ramp up.
I’ve rewritten my opening, oh, seven times now. I think it’s way better than it was, but it definitely has a long way to go. At least I think so. Somebody else might think otherwise. Still, had I been given the leeway of the first 800 words, for example, it would have been better.
Long short story short, I entered this contest. Mere minutes ago, I plopped my awful query and only slightly less awful opening 500 words into an email and fired it off. And now I can only sit back, work on other projects, and try to avoid heart palpitations as I wait.