Blogging makes the writing process different. It is faster, without the ongoing revisions and drafts that other writing generally entails. For me, this is sometimes challenging. I find myself wanting to obsessively reread everything I post, hung up on word choice, grammatical errors, and length, realizing ten minutes after I walk away from the computer that I left some gaping hole for all to see.
While this can feel very vulnerable, blogging can also be the rare opportunity to just get your words out, perfect or not. For me, it is also an exercise in moving away from perfectionism, something necessary to improving my voice as a writer. And, it provides the opportunity for instant collaboration that does not always occur in the regular drafting process.
As such, I’ve decided to be brave about blogging my pitch for my query as it improves, (or worsens, depending on the day). I am working on it bit by bit as I digest feedback and finish polishing my manuscript. The feedback is amazingly helpful, gradually resulting in a transformation that I am excited about, (even if somedays I totally mess it up as part of the process).
So, if you’re interested to watch this evolution, I will keep editing here:
I am not so self-absorbed as to imagine that people care to watch it change, but somehow its existence as an evolving mass of words in a public space is liberating for me.
Helping an English-speaking person with such a subtle and accurate matter as drafting a pitch letter is clearly beyond my reach (English isn’t my native language, as you know). I try to read as much as I can in English, to improve my limited skills. I read books and mags, newspapers, websites and blogs. As far as blogs are concerned, I find most of them deadly boring (including mine), and hence I just follow a very little bunch of them (including yours).
I find your writing … how to say it … musical? Yes. Musical. Your posts are a joy to read (when you don’t speak about haircut styles or things like those) and, as someone who loves writing (in Spanish), I am very interested in the struggles of fellow writers with the daunting and hard, but immensely rewarding art (from a moral point of view, at least) of writing well.
So, with that said, and regarding your pitch letter, all what I dare to suggest is this: don’t put all your efforts in just one pitch letter model. One morning, with your mind fresh and a cup of coffee in your hand, try to write another one from scratch, with another mood, with another focus, with another tune. And repeat this procedure any other morning, until you have three or four completely different pitch letters about your novel. One may sound as “a list”, other as a drama, other as a comedy, other can be full of life and character … I’m sure one of them, at least, will sound as a symphony. Select this one and send it to your potential agents.
Everybody loves music, and I think you are a very good composer.
Thank you for the kind words. I am certainly a work in progress. I like your suggestion. It makes sense to write multiple pitches instead of reworking the same one and never quite liking it. I’m going to give it a shot.
I try to do the same thing that you do by reading Spanish. I actually majored in Spanish in college, but I don’t use it nearly enough, so I feel it slipping. Do you have any favorite Spanish blogs to recommend?
Spanish writing has a much more musical quality than English for me, which always disappoints me when stories are translated from Spanish to English. Two of my favorite novels are in Spanish: Las batallas en el desierto (José Emilio Pacheco) y Como agua para chocolate (Laura Esquivel), although I’m sure that part of my affinity for these works is tied to the accomplishment of actually understanding them. You’ve reminded me that I want to read more in Spanish, thank you.
When a fiction book is translated from any language into any other, the result is always disappointing. I think any good book is 50% story and 50% what I call “music” (choosing the exact word, the unexpected phrase, the surprising “tune”, just to get that unique and awesome feeling that only great writers can achieve in their respective native languages). If you translate Shakespeare from English into Spanish, you get surprising stories, but the “music” is lost. When you translate Cervantes’ Don Quixote from Spanish into English, you get a crazy and beautiful story, but you’ll miss all the amazing “music” that flows in this outstanding novel (by the way, I’m planning to post about this novel one of these days).
As far as blogs are concerned, I don’t follow any Spanish blog in special (the blogging world for me is mainly a virtual place to learn and to practice my English) and hence, I don’t dare to specifically recommend any of them to you. Usually I pick from here and there, depending on the issues or news or whatever. If I had to say one, perhaps one of the most famous (in Spain, as it’s focused only in Spain) is that of the successful (and rich) writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte called “Patente de corso”(www.perezreverte.com/prensa/patentes-corso).
Blogs are ok, but nothing beats classic books …
Yes, Spanish books are what I really should be reading! Thank you for the recommendations! 🙂
I like to think of blogging as a stream of consciousness style of writing. It is certainly a vulnerable position as a writer, but a lot of the time I find editing comes full circle anyhow- sometimes raw, off-the cuff writing is what people can relate to…”perfect or not”. Nice post.
Agreed! I’m coming to appreciate that blogging is its own form of writing, (edited or not!). And, it’s nice to take a break from rereading everything so carefully. I think it’s helping me grow in not caring so much about what other people think, which is pretty cool too! 🙂 Happy Tuesday!