My tummy hurts. I got up this morning and there was a tight feeling under my ribcage and I had a slight sense of vertigo. I always feel guilty about taking off work, especially since I've been out more than usual to meet repairmen at the house, so I stuck it out for three hours before I came home. Then I slept. Then I ate. Then I regretted it for a while.

At the moment I feel a little better. It comes and goes. I hope that by tonight it's gone altogether.

I was going to print out the snail mail queries and get going on that, but ultimately realized that I need to revamp my query letter first (pun intended). I've gotten four rejections from this latest batch of queries. Most were form rejections, one was a rather snarky, "Alas,this is not for us. SO sorry." And maybe that was sincere, but as a smartass, I sense one of my own (and I don't appreciate it).

In the meantime I finished incorporating more edits last night, so I printed another proof. I talked to another writer yesterday and she brought up the issue of backstory, so I need to really take a look at that. My first couple of chapters take place in the past, but it's hard to chop them up and sprinkle them throughout the story without making it feel disjointed... and I can't get rid of them altogether because there are things in there that play into this book and the next. I tried not to include extraneous information. I've read articles that claim backstory slows the reader down, I'm not sure it's always wrong to do it though. There are a lot of 'rules' out there, it's hard to know which ones are musts and which are preferences.

It is incredibly difficult to write because there will always be flaws in your story, and the flaws will vary according to the person reading it. You have to choose when to make changes and when to stick to your guns. The goal is to end up with something better, something you feel comfortable with. So I'll save it to a new file and see what happens.

So to summarize: Today, not a great day. It is raining, and that's good. We need it, and I like it... rain makes me happy. But I don't like feeling like crap. And I don't like rejection. Blogs can't always be happy.  =)

A moment of whining and then I'm going to take a bubble bath and go to bed...

I've been wallowing for the past couple of hours. I attempted to edit, to incorporate the back story, and it turned into a massacre. I gave up, because every line I read made me cringe, suddenly everything I had written sucked. It was one of those days. I've had them before, and they pass, but they're painful. It's like getting my hair cut... I should lock the scissors up when I get home... and on days like today I should not touch my novel.

The revised query letter that I was so proud of was slashed to pieces in the Absolute Write forum (despite my whining I am thankful to complete strangers for sharing their knowledge and trying to help me better my letter, and they were nice about it). The good news is that I may be closer to having a synopsis written than I thought... I'm just that much further away from a query letter. I am thoroughly disheartened. And overwhelmed by it all. I feel like a complete and utter failure. A spectacular failure. And I feel naive because I felt pretty good about what I was doing. Now I wonder if I've totally shot myself in the foot by sending out query letters when I'm so obviously unprepared.

I know writers are supposed to have thick skins, but I don't. Not all of the time. Definitely not today. My head isn't in the right place for this and I'm overly sensitive because I don't feel well. Everything's so jumbled up that my head feels foggy and I'm mentally restless. Tomorrow will be better... I'll get back on track, I just need to get through today first.

I think 'no' is a perfect word. One vowel, one consonant. Two letters. Two consecutive letters. However, I don't usually like being told 'no,' especially in the form of a rejection letter.

I haven't received enough of them to temper my enthusiasm, but I noticed that the couple that I have received are pretty vague. In fact, they remind me very much of the old adage, "It's not you... it's me." So I find myself laughing a little (when I should be crying).

The typical letter thanks you for submitting your work, and then politely tells you that they're passing on the opportunity to represent you. Then it usually says that opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one, and they're all different, so keep submitting your work, because someone else may be just the one to champion it. P.S.  Keep writing.

I suspect that I know the reasons behind the formula:
--  If you give specifics, you invite questions
--  If you say that you don't like it, it's personal
--  If you say that you don't like it, because it's personal, people may attempt to argue with you (because some people truly believe that's going to change things)
--  If you tell someone to keep writing, it a) keeps them occupied and b) gives them the impression that their writing doesn't suck, that maybe it is just a preference thing (which is probably pretty true).

Aside from all of that, this is a complete stranger who doesn't owe it to you to be specific, and they get tons of query letters. I'm not really dissing the agents, just poking fun at the rejection letter. And do I have a better idea? No. I don't.

The one thing that I don't appreciate are the websites that say, 'you won't hear back from us unless we're interested.' That's the kind of thing I did when I was in high school; if a guy was interested, and I wasn't, I ignored him and figured he'd eventually get the point. I'm sure on the other side of that equation it was pretty rude (so, my sincere apologes... I've grown a little since then). In the world of querying, it makes me wonder if my email ever arrived at its intended destination, because emails have been known to disappear. It would be nicer to send a form letter... and how much effort does it take... really...

All in all, it's the 'why's in life that eat at me. If something wasn't working, I want to know why. I can't help it. I'm a fixer if things can be fixed (to a point), I like to learn from the situation so that I don't repeat my mistakes. In Kristy's World I get answers to all of my questions, but in the real world I don't (Kristy's World is a really, really cool place--I have this giant cartoon hammer that I bonk people over the head with when they're being idiots AND all the freeways are clear AND I don't have to work for a living).

All this because I ran across a cool blog called The Rejector... the subheading was "I don't hate you. I just hate your query letter." Zzzzt. Reeled in. So, no rejection letters today (yea!), just ramblings based on someone else's (really cool) website.

Final thought (question) for the day: Why do they call them carpenter ants when they don't actually build anything?...