Queries, Tenses, and Horses

A long time ago in a galaxy far away. . .

The Quest of Queries continues.

But seriously folks, I’m obsessively checking my email, and it’s getting a little weird.

I’m an actor by trade, and actors book gigs by auditioning. Either that or knowing a guy who knows a guy, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll say auditioning.

Just like when an author queries a project, there are set rules. Dos and don’ts, niceties to be observed. Don’t sing The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow at an audition. Don’t show up to a Rockette dance call in sweat pants. It’s just how the game is played. We all toe the line and hope to stand out without doing anything other than wearing a pretty red dress. But sometimes the red dress isn’t enough.

I was at a mass audition once. There were hundreds of actors auditioning over a three day period. The casting directors were all sitting there slack-jawed, watching another girl in another red dress sing her song. She left, and a guy came in. He sang a great song, which didn’t pull the directors out of their “I’ve heard a hundred people belt today” coma. Then the guy announced he would be doing a monologue from Equus, the show about the boy who really loves his horse. He took a deep breath, and then cantered around the stage, making horse noises. And you know what? He got more call backs than anyone else had that weekend.

Now, if he had been terrible and tried a stunt like that, it would have backfired hardcore, but if you present a good project and then add a twist that doesn’t involve a red dress, you might just be destined for greatness.

I’ve been to the might-as-well-gouge-my-eyes-out-phase of trying to craft the perfect blurb for the middle grade story. I came up with something I really liked and asked a few people to take a look at it. All those sweet and very informed people made suggestions about wording and details to include, but they also didn’t like the tense. It just isn’t how blurbs are done.

I curled up in a ball for a bit and then decided the be that Equus dude. I took the comments, used what I wanted, and kept my weird tense. Sure it might bite me in the butt, but at least I won’t be trying to belt in a standard red dress.

If I’m going to query, I’m going to canter around, making horse noises. ‘Cause that’s how I do.

And if someone I’ve submitted to reads this blog, I really hope you liked my unconventional use of future tense, and I promise I don’t actually say “’Cause that’s how I do,” in normal conversation without a sense of humor to back it up. Nor do I usually blog about a horse and his boy.

I’m gonna go eat a cookie and stop blogging now.

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Categories: Publishing, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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