Friday, April 22, 2022

My Love Affair with Scrivener--Software for Both Sides of the Brain

My love affair with Scrivener didn't exist before I wrote books. I was a dedicated Word user; I wrote stories, essays, and poems, columns and articles which suited themselves to the restrictions of a word processing program.

Short stuff doesn't demand much organization. I kept copies of the multiple versions of each short story or article in separate files within Word--I found it fairly easy to scan the directory and open when needed.

I also printed hard copies just because I had doubts about the voodoo of all-electronic at that time, and I kept them in a paper file folder until the piece was published.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Query Letters That Actually Worked to Catch an Agent or Publisher

Query letters are a bear to write. So many writers who have finally published their novels, memoirs, or nonfiction books remember the agonizing process of learning how to write and refine this all-important document. It's the first thing an agent or editor (if you bypass an agent) will see of your work, so not only does it need to carry the flavor and tone of your writing, it needs to be catchy, snappy, and slick enough to stand out, while being heart-felt and authentic at the same time.


I've personally worked harder, sometimes, on my query and synopsis than on many parts of my books. I've hired editors and coaches to just help me hone the query--that paid off, by the way--and I've given myself many months to work on it so the process didn't feel rushed. It does require a different part of the creative self than the manuscript, though, and I often found it tough to toggle between the deep immersion of writing and living in story and the marketing focus a query required.