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Querying: my writing journey part one

April 26, 2017

This is the first post in a series of Writing: My journey posts.

And warning… they re NOT in order! 🙂

More like a crazy mishmash of thoughts that occur to me.

 

So this post is about queries, rejections and how to keep going…

I have a fabulous theatre mentor – and I have learned a lot from her and the casting process over the past few (eons) years. I think some of the things I have learned about the casting process has really helped me to deal with the query process as a writer… stay with me now, things could get a little weird.

When I first began querying as an excited and naive, positive and still enthusiastic writer I thought Aha! My stuff is great… everyone will love me.

Then… the rejections came in and I was like…

Whoa… what happened?

Yup, talk about shock and surprise.

 

Then, I went to the auditions for my my local theatre company’s latest performance. (This is a few years back… I am now Assistant to the Director to my fabulous director/mentor whom I shall now call… The Director).

 

So, The Director chatted with me about what she was looking for. Talent and acting skills, of course, but also “the right fit.”

So I asked what she meant.

She answered she would “know” and I would quickly see what she meant.

hmmmmm.

So, I assisted in the audition process by reading against the poor auditionees (ahem, I mean… The Talent) it was a fun night. The Talent took part in a cold read which meant they hadn’t see or read the script before.

All were amazing. I watched them with awe of their talent and the belief that ALL would get the part. (Impossible). The Director had them read against me, read against each other and read alone. She asked them to reread scenes hitting certain lines harder, softer and with different emotions.

I couldn’t initially pick who she would choose. They were all fabulous to my eyes.

Then she told me who she’d picked and why.

Huh

Over the past six years I have assisted her in several more shows.

I now see what she is looking for and why… sometimes I get it wrong… but in all cases it is NOT because The talent was THE BEST… (okay, yeah sometimes it is… sometimes you watch someone read a part and you almost fall to your knees in amazeballs.)

 

But now I watch The Talent with a different eye.

Some Talent just look and sound amazing.

Some Talent look and sound amazing together.

Some, read for a different part, but when you see them read a line the way The Director wants, it’s like The Sun Comes Up!

Sometimes, it is a look, a voice, the way they hold their bodies.

Sometimes, its the chemistry between two Talent, or between a group

Every time… You watch them and yes… you just know.

And the ones who don’t get the role… Its NOT that they are awful.

Okay, to be fair, some ARE (and sure, there are a few who are inexperienced but The Director can see if they have potential… OR that they could do it, but they are just not ready yet.)

But what I have learned over the many many years is that The Director picks them for what she can see will make the most impact IN THE SHOW.

And every show is different so there are different requirements.

But you KNOW when you see it. At the end of auditions now, I can sit with the The Director and we are both like…  “That one!”

And then we are like… “We have a show”

 

I guess… what all this has taught me is this.

When I send out queries now… I know there are A LOT of things an editor or agent or publisher is looking at and looking for.

And I might not have it… I might not have it right now…

Or I might never HAVE it…

Then again… I might totally have it and ring ring, I get The Call.

It’s a waiting game yes, and every time  I send out a query I am nervous.

But I can see that it MAY NOT be my talent, my skills, my AMAZING story.

It might be a factor, yes, but it might NOT be that I SUCK!

Final message

It might NOT be YOU.

Don’t stop sending those queries… Don’t stop writing or learning or trying, or making friends or forming a Community.

 

Cheers for now

L

 

Other parts in the series

Part Two – Research

Part Three – First Draft

Part Four – Plotter or Pantser

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13 Comments
  1. Super advice. I love the comparison to the theater.

    • Thanks John!! It just struck me that it is soooo similar and of course at the same time not. But it made me feel a little better!

      • Ha ha ha. I had a rejection letter that as a summary said, “so for these reasons I have to reject you.” It was then I realized there is no one on the planet authorized to reject me but me. I totally got over the personal part and went on to find a publisher.

      • And fabulous books were born!! Yes i think it is easier when you really do think of it as one person who is looking for someone… like looking for a job… might be many qualified but so many variables too.

      • Great advice, Laurie

  2. Wow! This is such great advice and so freeing. Thank you

  3. Awesome post, and I love the parallels to theatre. When I see stories in the slush pile, 80% of the time I can tell within the first two pages if the writer has the current skill level to be writing at a professional level.
    The analogy I use comes from Brandon Sanderson. Here is a rough paraphrase: “Writing is like music. It only takes a few seconds before a listener can figure out if a pianist has been playing for a week or ten years.”

    • Thank you Steven. Yes it just really struck me… when on the other side… you certainly know. Of course I want to believe that my stuff is amazing but everyone listens with a different ear or has an image for a play that someone amazing is just not right for. Its helped me understand a lot more and to take some of the emotion out of the process. Keep that for the story, right? Ha ha

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. First Draft: My writing journey part three | Rambles, writing and amusing musings
  2. Research: my writing journey part two | Rambles, writing and amusing musings
  3. Plotter or Panster? The joy of a fight scene. My writing journey part four | Rambles, writing and amusing musings

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