Friday, August 27, 2010

Will the real Kristen Hilty please step forward?

I am attending the Kansas SCBWI conference in a few weeks, and while doing research on the attendees, came across a great piece of advice.  Here, Marietta Zacker is quoted in an interview with Casey McCormick:
It is difficult for me to ask to see a manuscript or get excited about what I am about to read when the query or cover letter has no soul or personality. I understand that everyone is trying to be respectful and professional and I certainly appreciate that, but if I had to choose, I would prefer to know who you are rather than the word count or to what book your manuscript can most be compared (
I struggle with this balance between professionalism and openness all the time.  I worked at a law firm for several years, so the professional, well-worded letter comes easily for me.  What is not so easy is letting go of some of my inhibitions and revealing a little piece of who I am. 

Using my "monkeypatch" logo has certainly helped, I think.  I use it now at the top of all my letterhead, while also referring to my website.  I guess I'm hoping really interested editors/agents will take the time to peek at my blog or website, but that's probably not realistic. 

My plan then, is to be a little more carefree with my cover letters and queries.  I don't know exactly how that will develop, but I hope it's a positive shift.  I already have a beginning line ready for my "ugly mermaid" story (assuming it ever gets finished, polished, and decent enough to send out).  Here goes...what do you think?
So I went to the library with my daughter the other day and she wanted all the picture books about mermaids.  Guess what?  There were only three.  I said, "Mommy can write you a mermaid book!"  And of course, my daughter replied, "Great!  I think it should be about an ugly mermaid!"  (Lesson: Be careful what you say to a five-year old!)  The manuscript enclosed for your review was born of that conversation...
Will that pique someone's interest and give them a feel for who I am?  Or am I paddling out from shore in a sinking boat?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brave New World

My baby went to kindergarten today.  That means both kids are at school.  It's a bittersweet day.  Maggie was clearly nervous, and Elijah noticed right off the bat that a past-year bully was in the seat next to him.  We were nervous for both of them and a little sad at the milestone.  But...and this is a big but, not a little wimpy one...Mommy all of the sudden has writing time!

I sat at the computer today like a woman who has been crawling through the desert and suddenly sees a pool of water.  I picked up several stories, panting over each one, wondering where to start. 

For now, I decided to start with a plan.  I have a conference coming soon, so marketing needs to be considered.  Not  the favorite part of many writers, but a necessary one.  So here's the plan:
  • Update my blog, step one. 
  • Update my website, step two.  (Need to make the all important declaration that we no longer have a dog named Charlie...see previous blogs and be rest assured that he is in a good foster home awaiting a family who can love him despite his constant urination...but now have a dog named Allie.  And need to update my list of works).
  • Work on my application for the MO-SCBWI mentorship program, step three.
  • Then write, write, send, send, steps four through infinity.
This is a brave new world.  A world that I have never experienced and not quite sure how to navigate.  But as long as the puppy takes some naps (I see some long walks in my future to ensure that!), I should be just fine.