It’s been a minute since my last post. Every week I feel like this is the week that I’m going to post again, but as each weeks sails by with me piled under a mountain of other work, I keep moving those goalposts forward. So this is the week …
I’m finishing up my final edits for my latest manuscript. It’s just about query ready. I did the query letter a while ago – and will probably revisit that soon – but I still have to write the synopsis. That’ll happen once all of the edits are completed.
Some people recommend that you should write your query letter first before everything else. As your query letter is the core concept/conflict, it makes sure you stay on track while writing your novel. I can definitely see the merit in this, but often times I know my core plot conflict from the outlining stage, but I don’t discover my core emotional or thematic conflict until I’m deep into the story.
For instance, my latest book is a heist novel. The core concept is my main character overthrowing a bad guy in charge and stealing his power of office McGuffin … That was never in doubt. That’s what I wanted to write the book about. What I didn’t know until after I’d written the thing is yes, the book is about the heist, but it’s also about her relationship with her partner and what she’ll do to preserve that relationship. People smarter than I am may have known that from day 1, but I needed to get there in my own time, I guess.
To that end, I agree writing your query/marketing materials early can definitely shape the content, but I suggest waiting until after the first draft. Go ahead and take a stab at it earlier if you like, but you’ll probably end up revising it anyway once your manuscript comes together.
I’m going to keep this method going forward, I think. At least as long as I’m querying. The other thing I changed this time around was that I didn’t wait 6 weeks before edits. I gave myself maybe just the 1 week but then it was back to work. That’s because I still had the story fresh in my head and didn’t want to lose what I know needed to be corrected.
Some distance can help with perspective but for me, I rarely change the plot when I go back. It’s more fine-tuning to make sure what unfolds makes logical and character sense. So waiting this time around would only just delay my progress. I still have to write two books yet this year, but more on that next time …