Monday, November 25, 2013

Pitch Wars and the SUCKY-NESS OF QUERIES

Hello all!

So a friend of mine suggested I try participating in Pitch Wars this year. So I checked out the site, and looked through all the mentors, and then realized the submission day (December 2nd) I'd be in Disneyland.

Of course, this resulted in a crazy, rush-to-get-everything-ready sort of frenzy that I'm still in the middle of. It is ridiculously difficult to chase around two children, write enough words for Nano, critique for my group, AND write my first ever query letter. That's right. I've never written a query before.

And you know what? IT SUCKS. I listened for so long about people "diving into the query trenches" and "drowning in query hell" and I shuddered and thought "Man, I hope it's not that hard for me."

Ah the naiveté of youth. It is hard. It's very hard. It's so hard I want to rip all my hair out and light it on fire. (Okay, BIG exaggeration there, but you get my point.)

And it's scary. To know you're summing everything you love about the thousands and thousands of words that make up your novel into two tiny paragraphs? It sucks! A LOT. And anyone who tells you otherwise is crazy.

Crazy eyed Nicholas Cage kind of nutballs

So after four days of panic, I think I have a somewhat workable query. Though, it's so not what I want it to be, and I don't know it that's possible. In fact, I know it's not. Because I want it to be perfect, and there's no such thing as a perfect query, much like there's no such thing as a perfect book.

And if anyone is interested, this is what I came up with:

Seventeen-year-old Olivia has one goal: to get her overstressed mother through the station before the train to Charlotte leaves without her. But when she’s inexplicably drawn to the back corner of the terminal and her feet move toward the farthest train without her permission, she panics. An invisible force rips her thorough the crowds and yanks her inside, where the walls bleed, floors vanish, and passengers’ worst fears manifest to the soundtrack of bloodcurdling screams. A place no one has escaped in more than a hundred years. 
After narrowly fending off a psychotic old woman with an oozing, bloody scalp, Olivia is swept into the care of the other passengers. While most are warm and friendly, Richard, their handsome leader, greets her with nothing but disdain, insisting that once you enter the Blood Train there's no escape. Olivia must adapt or die, in a place where her wit and right hook aren’t always enough to keep her safe. 
It soon becomes clear the others won’t risk their lives to find an exit they don’t believe exists, leaving Olivia to figure it out on her own. But her mission is quickly complicated by stolen, guilt-ridden kisses with Richard, and attempts on her life. Someone wants her dead and will go to great lengths to see that she doesn’t figure out the secrets of the train. With only Richard at her side, she prepares to make a run for it, when an explosion sends everyone running for their lives. To save herself and those she’s grown to love, Olivia has to conquer everything—including her own heart.

What do you guys think? Not terrible, maybe. And it's only my… fifteenth draft. Ugh. Kill me now.

Do you have query trench horror stories? Are you participating in Pitch Wars? Tell me, tell me!