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3) Write a query letter for a fantasy (any kind) novel

Dear Prospective Agent,

Nathan Gale doesn’t remember his mother’s face. He doesn’t remember much of anything about her, not since she left him at the orphanage on his sixth birthday. But he feels close to her every time a warm Texas storm passes through, and he wants to know “why”. Why he only feels connected to the world during lightning storms, and why she left him alone.

Taking a leave from his banal call center job, he rents a Jeep and starts driving the long I-10, hoping he’ll find something on the long highway; or he would until college dropout “on break” Anita Cozera talks her way into a ride wherever he’s bound, whether he wants her along or not.

Together they hit the road; Anita discovering she wants more purpose in life than she’ll ever admit too, and Nathan finding several people along the way who knew his mother and through them finding out much she seemed to make connections to so many other people who aren’t him. They talk about her like they just saw her. One actually did not too long ago. But Nathan is always two steps behind in his chase. Frustrated with trying to find someone who seems to be actively avoiding him, all Nathan wants is the simple answer of “why,” and he’ll chase every storm cloud he has to until he gets it.

LIGHTNING’S CHILD is a road-trip, soul searching fantasy at 85,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.


The list )
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On the advice and encouragement of one [personal profile] limiinal, I believe I'm going to get down to business and focus on getting some short stories set up to send out for publishment. Where exactly I will send them out, with only a twenty dollar bill, a sack lunch, and a kick in the ass, I have no clue. None what so ever.

But, on the other hand, I do have an idea of which ones I want to send out. While not rinse and scrubbed to shininess (yet), the ones I'm planning on refreshing and sending out are the Lightning's Child excerpt and this whatever it is.

The LC excerpt is gonna be a bit strange, because I'm not sure how to expand it much more (or even if I should expand it (quick check... it's only 1100 words, I may need to inflat it a bit)) without losing the wistful yet somber tone it has before plunging into full wangsting. It needs a bit of clearing up, but to me it holds pretty strong as is. But giving it another go over won't hurt. And I think I found a way to eat my cake and have it too; I said I thought that LC was going to be a third-narrative, and the first-person was just for fun and mind set, but I think I may start different sections of the story with first-person blurbs. They're fun to write, and could help connect to Nathan more.

As for the other story, it would actually be really easy to expand on. There's a lot left unsaid (and at barely 1400 words, more could definitely be said) so it's not like I'd have to dig deep to add anything. But what exactly I could add, and which direction it'd go in, is really up in the air. Because, looking at it, it'd be really easy to cut loose a bit and erotica it up a bit. It might limit where it could be sent out to, but I'm okay with that. Playboy still accept story submissions, don't they? You know, for the people who get them just for the articles?

At least working on these will help me keep my mind focused on things other than what it's currently knee deep in.
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Another new entry in the long (and growing) line of ideas I need to actually sit down and write, today's procrastination is Lightning's Child.

This is one of the few stories whose origins I can recount. It's also one of the few that was from an actual inspiration point instead of just a random idea that grew legs or something that I set out to create.

When I was but a wee lad, I lived in Texas until I was five. There were a lot of lightning and thunderstorms in the Midwest, and lightning was always something I've really liked. I was always pissed that good, shake-the-earth storms rarely passed through after we moved, and took the time to watch them when I could. About four years ago or so, I mentioned this to my mom as we were driving somewhere, and she said that affinity for lightning had a basis in reality. Something I hadn't thought about in years, she said that as a child she would take me out on walks at the edges of thunderstorms so that I wouldn't grow up afraid of thunder. We'd go to a nearby football field, usually preceded by a stop at a 7-Eleven for Crunch ice-cream bars, and we'd watch the natural show for a while.

I never knew that (but remembered aspects of it after being told) and then was the moment the seed was planted. Nothing came about for a few days, but gradually the story grew. The basic idea was there, and I wrote down the title and a few plot elements, but really didn't do anything with it. I'd other projects already, nothing was finished, and I figured I'd be back to it soon enough.

Three years later. I really hadn't given any more thought to it, but just recently, after having gotten more involved with LJ (pre-Twitter/FB fubar), I made mention of it in some post and it returned to the surface, with freshly sprouted plot branches even.

Nathan Gale is a young man who is finding himself at a lose in life. He's mildly depressed, has a lackluster job and feels like either something is missing or he's missing something. His mother abandoned him when he was six, for reasons no one could explain, and he doesn't know whether to hate her or feel nothing.

One of the few things that can get him stirred is lightning. He loves thunderstorms. Ever since he was little, he's always felt some connection to the electric arcs, and even can tell when and where a bolt will fall. It's not always perfect, but he's gotten much better at it than when he was a kid. But it doesn't always help; when he was ten a friend wouldn't listen when they were caught outside during a flash storm, and was killed from a lightning strike under a tree.

But now he's grown listless, and decides to set out on a road trip to try and find whatever it is he thinks he's missing. With little more than a bag of clothes, he travels to Texas to the group home his mother left him at to try to find out anything he can, then gets a rental vehicle and starts to search.

I wrote something of an excerpt over here. I'm not sure if I'm keeping the first person perspective. While I like how it comes across, originally it was going to be third-person for more outside description. Maybe a mix, to keep the more solemn emptiness of Nathan but without it having to come directly from him.

If asked, I guess I'd have to say the story is something of an urban fantasy, but with less fantasy and just a more fantastical feel to it. There isn't some "hidden world" or just another layer under what we consider reality. There are just some things that don't always draw attention to themselves and most people just don't know about. I'm going for a kinda Neil Gaiman feel, like what he did with American Gods, just less dark. The whole idea that there is "more" to what we see, but that doesn't mean we're going to always see or understand it.

Nathan... wow, now that I think about it, Nathan may be as close to myself as I've come to in character creation in a long time. For the most part almost every character I've come up with (barring self-insert characters from RP games, those weren't for writing so I don't count them) I've tried to make different and have their own feel. With Nathan, and the lightning as the base foundation of the story, he's going to very close to myself.

Well, sorta. I'm not depressed (you know, most of the time) like he is. My mom is still alive- wait so is his... my mom never left me to state care, and my dad is alive and very much a part of my life. So there's that. There are probably a few things that are going to leak over into him, but I think I can keep it from being an author insert.

Pieces for this are falling together pretty quickly. There are some things I need to expand, otherwise the story will be over pretty quick, but I know what I want from the story overall. I also know how it ends; well, that's kind of a lie. I should say, I know what the climax is. But not what the end result will be.

This is going to be strange to work on, the more it comes together the more I'm seeing there's not really going to be any real "action" to this. It's mostly just a road-trip-soul-search. There's no sword-fights, explosions, fantasy lands, side-kicks (opp, wait, new character, scratch that), vampires, nothing that's really going to amp up your adrenaline. And I'm okay with that.

I just realized I'm being kinda vague on Nathan's mom. And that's because I don't know how much of her I want to give away. I could, I know pretty much the whole story, but I keep thinking that even now while it's still in the planning stages, to give it away is almost a cheat to the reader. But then I really want to give it away, because I'm kinda excited about it, because I like how it all fits.

But there it is, another hole in the brain that needs to be filled.


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January 2013

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