Monday, January 9, 2012

The Itchy Query Finger

It happened with my first manuscript, and it's starting to creep up on me again.

The itchy query finger. (Oh, July me. You were so cute.)

I know exactly what to blame. It's the first draft high, which I got a second dose of, laced with extra uppers, in the form of the first revision high I experienced yesterday when Gina, Alexa, and Marieke read ONE. (Shoot, Marieke's crit was pretty much, "You need to work pretty hard on fixing some things in the first half of this book," and I was still clapping my hands and squealing like a schoolgirl.)

Yeah. Clearly it's just a high. But still.

I have a pretty decent query that could be dolled up with a couple weeks of hard work, and yeah, writing a synopsis and the endless list of pitches one has to write is no tea party, but I could still do it.

But I'm no idiot. (No, really. I'm not. Bear with me.)

I read advice from query luminaries all over the internet:
Wait a few months to query.
Work as long on your query letter as you did on your revisions.
If you send too early, you'll find glaring mistakes in your MS and wish you hadn't.

I know. I know. And I agree. But still. My itchy query finger is CRAZY with shpilkes. 

I thought about why this is while I was procrastinating on starting to eliminate one of the ten kajillion times the word "just" appears in ONE (thanks G) and I think I realized why. You guys ready for this? It's kind of, you know, deep. Which we don't see a lot over here.

I'm afraid that if I don't query it now I'll realize how much it sucks, and I never will send that first letter.
Even though I know it doesn't suck.
Even though I know most books get waaaay better with revision.
Even though everything in my brain tells me that's wrong wrong wrong.....

The first draft/first revision high leaves me this the most confident I'll ever be about ONE? The most excited?

(Wow. I am a nutcase. Analyze away.
Oh. And in case you were concerned? I set up a querying date for myself, to avoid any stupid moves.)

What about you guys? Have you ever had the itchy query finger? Why do you think it got so itchy? Did you send or wait? 


  1. *giggles* I saw the posts on Twitter last night. I know that feeling only too well. But you can do it. Wait, make it better. Revise, revise, revise. The querying won't run away. You can still do it a few months from now. More prepared for what's to come!

    ^ I should take my own advice. I'm a really impatient person. O_o And no, I haven't queried yet, but I have a list of agents I want to query and I've been tempted before. Then I chickened out and that was good, because that MS really sucked and I learned a lot along the way. So... I'm still waiting. Until my next MS is ready!

    Btw, I really love your premise. It sounds super intriguing. :D *has peeked into the query post* :D

  2. Look at it from the other side - once you've revised it to shine, you'll be even more excited to query! To me, it works as a reversed bell curve - you start off on a high and even though revisions are awesome.

    It doesn't suck - AT ALL - even if I told you to revise half the ms *g* - but the lows set in when the initial buzz wears off and you have some distance. This is a GOOD thing. Because right at the bottom of the curve, you get to see where it was and how good it can be and with every step upward to brilliance you get to be EVEN MORE EXCITED.

    At least, that's how it's right now for me. I loved Paladin to bits when I first wrote it, took some time away, completely rewrote that, rinse and repeat and repeat again, and now that I'm *thisclose* I love it so intensely because it finally is the story I always wanted to write :)

    Besides, at that high point you'll be glad you didn't give in to the itch because you'll take the agentworld by storm! <3

    Also Carolin, there's no way you're querying ANYTHING without my reading it first... Just sayin' ;-)

  3. @Marieke Haha. Nooo. You will definitely read it first. Once I finish it. :D I need you to tear it apart, so I can revise, so you can tear it apart again, before I can query. :P

  4. Wow - I think you must be my query doppleganger! I am having the exact same thoughts right now about TB! I have some edits to make that I keep putting off b/c I'm afraid if I go back I'll realize how much it sucks! But at the same time, I'm desperate to query. It's so odd :)

    I think a querying date is a fantastic idea! I'm holding off on querying until the end of the month (and the edits are done), but I may need you to hold me back ;-) Good luck with the revisions!

  5. Of all the things I'm itching to do, querying is not one of them. I'm confident in my work UNTIL I start to query, and then the rejections chip away at me like a pick axe.

    Plus, I have no idea how to pitch LYM in a way that will make people crazed with lust to read it... though after your friend chimed in on Twitter last night, I'm thinking "His biceps haunt me" might be a good place to start...

  6. I'm trying to figure out how to pitch Sabre(a title that I don't like but can't think of anything else. Sigh). When I'm finished with my first draft, I do start to write my query because I know it's going to take a long time to make it not suck. It still sucks and is still too long.

    Thanks for sharing. Your posts are so funny.

  7. Definitely itchy! But I know the book isn't quite ready yet. But the closer I get, the more I want to query!

  8. @Carolin - Yesss it's quite the high. I can't imagine it gets much better than that. :)

    @Marieke - Oh, I've been there. Actually revision is my most favorite part. I really hate drafting, but knowing that everything I do with my MS is making it better? Well, that's just awesome.

    @Jamie - How about this - you don't query until I read? No, you did not shake me off with that gorgeous scene about cherry blossoms and dragon transformations. Not even a little bit. #obsessed

    @Gina - Yeah. I'd say haunting biceps are a win. ;) Seriously, though? We'll make 'em drool for it. I know I was....

    @Ladonna - Title trouble is the WORST. I have a concept for my third MS, but not having a title is keeping me from even getting that psyched about it. Weird.

    @Miss Cole - Here's the thing..."book readiness" is a whole other topic. *sigh* For another day. Can't wait to watch you query. :)

  9. Like I said, we need to set a date and time so we can all be there xD And it'll be like the New Year's Eve countdown only WAAAAY more epic. READY, SET, SEND!!!!

    I queried too soon with my first manuscript as well, but I learned from it and was adamant about waiting until the second one was ready before sending it off. I think querying too soon is like an aspiring writer's rite of passage or something lol.

  10. I've never finished a draft before, so I'm really not qualified to answer this at all. But I do imagine I'd have a terrible itchy query finger when I do.

    I totally agree with Lori that you should set a date. It'll be EPIC.

  11. BLOG MENTION BLOG MENTION BLOG MENTION AHHHHH Can you tell I'm a teenager(with a kid brain)? haha

  12. I had the itchy query finger for my past three manuscripts and I regret it. Beginner mistake that I think every writer will make.

    I was so eager to start querying that I didn't see the issues that still needed work. Now I have taken the time to revise, fix and let them sit, but I already queried them so there isn't much I can do. Now I will not let myself begin querying until I am absolutely sure, or as sure as I can be, that it is ready.

    Stay strong :)

  13. I think maybe I have a subdued version of itchy finger (is that possible?) I really really want to query because that means I'm done. It means I've written the book to my standards (which inevitably will still need revisions). I can cross that book off my list and move on to my next book project. I have no yet reached that phase because I keep finding blaring problems (where I find I really should have outlined...) that I have to fix before I can even think about querying. But nonetheless, I still get excited about the idea of querying.

  14. I can't wait until I'm at the point where I can get the itchy query finger! The first novel I wrote hasn't made it through revisions yet, and my current WIP is in its baby stages. I hope this is the year, though. Good luck, and I'm excited for when you finally do send out queries! Definitely smart to wait until it's ready :)

  15. I have MAJOR itchy query finger. I always have. And while I certainly believe it's possible to query too soon, I still say, "'Tis better to have queried and failed than never to have queried at all!"

  16. I get the itch every so often, especially when I'm really excited about a story. I've jumped the gun a few times, but I'm older and hopefully a bit wiser now. I wait. I make sure I've done everything I can do to make it the best it can be and then I send.

  17. You so owe it to this project to wait until it is beautifully shined.

    And you should be excited--I'm excited! I'm on chapter 5 already. Dishes and house work be damned--I've got ONE to read.

    I've never had the query itch. I'll tell you a secret--I've never queried. Ever. Hundreds of thousands of words, multiple novels critiqued and revised, and I've never queried. I could use some of your itch.

  18. @Lori - It's the QUERY COUNTDOWN!!!! (Let's see how this revision round goes. Then we'll set one. Fun times.)

    @Emy - we'll talk you down when you get the query finger. It's a bitch.

    @Alexa - Oh, I love you. Thanks for ice cream today.

    @Theresa - Thanks for the fortitude. :) I didn't query my last one too soon, but I DID contest it too soon. Oops.

    @Stessa - ARE YOU A PANTSER? Because I am and I really know that feeling.

    @Mara - I agree. I think reading and setting aside and rereading ad nauseum and tweaking will only drive me crazy.

    @Christine - RIGHT? It's the excitement that does it.

    @Heidi - Ohhhhh <33333 No words. <3333

  19. I think I had the VERY OPPOSITE of a itchy query finger! I didn't query my first three books AT ALL. (Which was good, because they'd have come with about a billion rejections.) And for my fourth-- the one that I deep down knew would make it-- I didn't query until I had spent ten months on revising. (I <3<3<3 the feeling that it keeps getting better.) Five months on my query. My deep down reason? I was afraid of closing a door because it wasn't *quite* there. And what if that door was to my perfect agent?!

    But I totally get the itchy query finger. I had it from typing the words "Chapter One." (Until I beat it back enough times and it became afraid to show it's face.)

  20. Pegggyyyyyyyyyy!

    Yeah, I guess to some extent I've had it from the time I wrote that scene that gave me that feeling. You know the one - the one that whispers, "You just might have something here."


    So glad you found your perfect agent, no matter how you did it. <3