It’s time for another Liveblogging Wednesday.Â I’m having a hard time deciding what to liveblog today.Â I could work on revisions to my query letter.Â Or I could work on the initial pages for the sequel to my novel.
But what I really, really want to write is a pan of Sex and the City 2.
So if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I promise we’ll get to the liveblogging in due course.Â Spoilers in…
I used to love Sex and the City.Â The writing for that show was scintillating, not only funny, but also often very interesting and moving.Â The writing for the movie… uh, not so much.Â They ditched the interesting, and the moving.Â And the funny?Â Well, they tried for it, but it didn’t really manifest, since most of the lines seemed forced.Â Case in point:
Sexy Stranger: Lovely to meet you, Samatha.Â I’m Rikard Spurt.
Samantha: Isn’t Rikard the same as Richard?
Samantha: So your name is Dick Spurt?
Rikard:Â Could you be any more American?Â I don’t think so.
Samantha: So your name is A Name Obviously Constructed In Order To Give Me a Very Moderately Funny Joke?
Rikard:Â Could you be any more carelessly written?Â I don’t think so.
Samantha was a complete disaster in this movie.Â She used to be lewd in a way that was downright erotic in its frankness and confidence.Â But in this movie she was gratuitously, pointlessly lewd in a way that was, frankly, a little bit gross.Â Even Samantha ought to have had more class than to scream “labia” while surrounded by Muslim men.
Samantha annoyed me a lot in this movie, but the character who really got under my skin was Carrie.Â Sadly, this is the one thing that did remain consistent from television to movie:Â Carrie can be the most unbelievably selfish brat.
On the show, she was constantly doing things that shocked me (most of them to Aidan).Â But I put them aside and loved her anyway, because she was so interesting, and I really did want her story to have a happy ending.
If you kiss your old flame, and feel you have to tell your husband (and I’m frankly not sure you should), by all means do not call him in the middle of the night while he is in New York and you are in Abu Dhabi.Â It’s like, “Hi, sweetheart, I’d like you to know I kissed the One Who Got Away.Â While you’re home alone for the next few days and I’m completely out of your reach (but just a short walk away from that other dude), have fun thinking about that.Â I’ve obviously been thinking about it a lot, because I’m calling you about it at 2:30 in the morning.Â So, you know, clearly it meant a great deal to me.”
But even that wouldn’t bother me so much if Carrie’s lines during the scene where she debates confessing weren’t all about her.Â “I don’t want the secret.”Â I, I, I.Â No “Don’t I owe him my honesty?” No “Should I really hurt him that way?”Â Nope, it’s all about Carrie.Â She’s perfectly willing to indulge in any sort of flight of fancy if she thinks it’s something she needs.Â But she never makes the mental leap to thinking about what her man needs.
Ok, enough.Â I knew going in that SATC 2 was going to be, you know, mediocre.Â Really, after the first movie I stopped considering these films to be canon.Â But yeesh.Â What a way to kill a franchise.
And now, on with the liveblogging:
2:51 PM: I am thinking about amping up my query letter today.Â The way I see it, the query letter exists for two purposes:Â (1) To sell the aspects of your book that don’t appear in the first five pages and (2) To sell yourselfâ€”if not your publishing credentials, at least your professionalism.Â I think my query does a decent job of both, but it could maybe be slightly better at #1.Â That’s the goal for the first part of today.
3:49 PM: Ok, yugh.Â Mark dragged me out of the Barnes and Noble where I was working, and then we lost about an hour to Atlanta’s craptastic traffic.Â So, starting now, I am really liveblogging.
4:15 PM: Ok, first change: Replacing “It is the first in a proposed series that looks at the hard-boiled world of guns and gangsters from a feminine point of view” with “It is a spin on the classic hard-boiled detective novelâ€”from the secretary’s point of view.Â Although it could function as a standalone, it could also anchor a series.”Â Essentially the same information, except (1) stated in a more “hook-y” way, and (2) I left open the option for a standalone (even though I don’t think this is actually a major deal; these types of books tend to sell as series).
4:33 PM: Considering the possibility of one of those “This Book is a wild romp full of X, X, and X.” kind of sentences.Â So, what is my book full of?Â Making a list… I won’t include this sentence unless it can sparkle with specificity and interest.
4:58 PM: Ok, scrapping that idea.Â Here is what I really want to do: I want to inform agents that there is a strong romantic aspect to my book.Â Because that’s a significant selling point, and it’s not yet obvious from either the query or the first five pages.Â So maybe I just need a new paragraph related to the romantic subplot.
5:45 PM: How can it take so long to write something so short?
5:47 PM: How?Â Because I agonize over every phrase, that’s how.
6:06 PM: And because I get distracted.
6:53 PM: At dinner now.Â Actually, here is the real problem.Â The real problem is that I am having trouble, emotionally, letting go of my last query letter, which I liked, and which got about a 1-in-3 hit rate in partial requests.Â The plot summary went a little something like this:
Itâ€™s 1928, and farm girl Kitty Carmichael arrives in Chicago determined to reinvent herselfâ€”and to mooch off her rich uncle as long as possible.Â Instead she discovers that her uncle has been murdered, his fortune is missing, and his half-Japanese daughter, Koko, has been left in her care.
Itâ€™s a responsibility she shoulders less than gracefully.Â But as she works to solve her uncleâ€™s murderâ€”and more importantly, get her hands on his cashâ€”Kitty discovers a simple truth: you canâ€™t live the Big Life without a big heart.
I thoughtâ€”I still thinkâ€”this has a certain elegance.Â It encapsulates the core emotional storyâ€”selfish young woman grows upâ€”succinctly, and I think with a touch of flare.Â But it’s also tight.Â Each sentence depends upon the last one.Â It doesn’t easily admit the insertion of another line about “ZOMG, also, she meets this handsome dude.”
And yet that is what I have been trying to get it to do.Â So I think my job now is to try looking at this query completely afresh.Â I’m going to start from scratch with it, even though I’m hoping to later integrate some of the language from Query #1.Â But hopefully a blank slate will give me a fresh eye.
7:57 PM: Slowly getting somewhere…
9:15 PM: One sentence left…