Thursday, August 21, 2008

Letter Writing

With all the writing I do, letters are something about which I've always felt good. What better way to express yourself for a purpose, that of articulating a specific message to a specific person?

I wrote a really difficult letter last night. It had to be tactful, respectful, while to-the-point and here's-how-it's-going-to-be-with-me-from-now-on. I had to convey knowledge with one thing, my distaste with another, and offer support for future standings. 'Twas not easy.

It was as I continued to tweak and retweak a portion here, a segment there, that I compared the process with writing my query; it's such a seemingly delicate art.

I wasn't satisfied until everything was just.right. I'd omit something just to bring it back. I'd use words of over-reaction, then return to them and pull it back a notch. Or I'd stumble upon the best phrase for the point I was trying make and replace seven words with three, making the whole thing less clunky.

Finally, as with my query, I got to the point where I could say, "Okay, Janna. Enough." The end result with last night's letter left me confident and comfortable with what I'd written. I knew I'd represented myself well, to the best of my ability. And that's how it sits with my query. I realize that though my query may need rehab down the line, depending upon how it's continually received, I've approached it the right way as a writer - by saying what's best, and saying it in the best way.

8 comments:

Melissa Marsh said...

Queries are such finicky creatures. You can only play so much with them before you go slightly insane from the need to be "perfect."

RE: letter writing...

I actually have started to write letters again to some penpals - actual pen and paper letters that you get in the mailbox instead of emails. There's something so neat about getting a letter written on nice stationary in the mail. Much more personal, I think.

Janna Qualman said...

Melissa, I haven't thought about penpals in years! I used to love the same thing when I was 10-12. And it's a great idea to pick it up again!

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, you do realize you've got me going crazy with all this elusiveness, right?

Janna Qualman said...

lol!

colbymarshall said...

Try not to let the queries drive you crazy...it's all about shaking that letter around until it works.

Janna Qualman said...

Good advice, Colby!

WendyCinNYC said...

I really don't remember the last time I wrote a pen and paper letter that wasn't a thank you of some sort.

Although I did help my daughter and her friend write one to Mayor Bloomberg telling him to clean up the environment. 'Cause it's all his fault, you know.

I'm working on my query and my pitch right now--I had to stop because I think I was overworking them both.

Joshua said...

happy thoughts