Miranda Kenneally

Mexican Food Cures Writer's Block

Archive for September, 2010

Querying Isn’t Algebra: There’s No Set Formula

Recently I participated in an online chat about queries. Everyone was throwing their ideas out, so I decided to give some opinions, based on what worked for me.

First, some stats. I sent out 17 query letters. Based on my letter and sample pages, I received 9 requests for a full. Also, I broke just about EVERY query letter “rule” there is: I wrote in first person; I used more than 500 words; I used a freaking split infinitive; and I wrote a long paragraph about myself.

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Jedi Trick: Memorize Your Edit Letters

I’ve gotten an edit letter that was 4 paragraphs long. I’ve gotten an edit letter than was four pages long. I’ve gotten an edit letter than went from one email to twenty emails, discussing all sorts of possibilities.

In all instances, I read the letter and emails about 50 times before starting to revise. No joke.

I’ve found that before I dig in and start revising, it’s better to have a comprehensive understanding of what needs to be done, so when I start re-tackling the novel, it’s all in my mind and I can edit as I go.

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When Writing, Do You Trust Your First Instincts?

My 7th grade science teacher once told me, “Miranda, a human being’s first instinct is correct 90% of the time. If you’re going to deviate from your first instinct, you’d better have a good reason why you should.”

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this is hard science or what, but I live by it 🙂 — especially when writing, especially when considering comments from beta readers.

When I send out a first draft (or portions of a first draft) to beta readers, I’m always open-minded when comments start coming back to me, but before I consider implementing any suggested changes – I have to remind myself to think about why I wrote what I did in the first place.

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