WARNING: Novel Under Pressure

contents-under-extreme-pressure-label-lb-2325You’ve written a novel. You’ve spent countless hours embuing your novel with nuance, subtle shifts in character, creating tension and building a narrative to a crescendo. Now the problem is how do I convey the emotion, peril and more sublime aspects of your novel in a few sentences. A paragraph to display the depth the runs through your writing seem inadequate. Even the deftest of all paragraphs will fail to communicate the layers of story that you created.

My story moves quickly, starting with a toddler and following them until they are twelve and are confronted with a mystery. The mystery unfolds as a quest of curiosity and leads the young person into a world of conflict. Threatening to everything on this planet that he cares about his athletic career, dog, family and friends. He has to choose between risking all that for what he knows is right or staying safe and doing nothing. That’s the basics of the story, a coming of age moral tale but that’s not the complete picture.

I’ve tried to craft a manuscript that works on several layers. My main character goes on a journey that pulls him from blissful ignorance to the weight of knowing. He goes into a world with wide eyes and struggles to come to grip with the realities he faces. He seeks help from the outside and struggles to find strength from the inside. He is confronted with choices that begin to define him. External pressures create internal struggle while requiring a physical resolution, emotional transformation and spiritual evolution for the main character.

Even here with more space than a single two or three sentence paragraph, it’s still a deficient description. So I continue hewn the query and sharpening it for each agent I send it to. I try to find the kernel of the story that would resonate with the agent based on the information the put out on the web. If the #MSWL that they want a dog story, I play up the more doggy aspects of my manuscript. If they say they love spooky, I try to tailor a query to help them see, I gots spooky.

I think the biggest gauntlet an author must run through is the one where agents beat you with non-response and form rejections. Even when you’re at the end of the line, a constructive critique refusal gives you hope but still hurts. I know I will persist and the right agent will reach out a hand and help my book find the world. They will look at the compressed, constricted reduction of my story and see the glint that they need.

 

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