Saturday, January 26, 2008

D is for Discombobulate

In an effort to stir your interest to the blog where I post with six friends from a critique group, I'm sharing a sample. Each week, we take a letter, in sequence, from the alphabet and use it to describe how it applies to our writing or lives. My other blog spot is called Synoptic Storm, and you can find it in my favorite links on the left-hand side of this blog.

D is for Discombobulate

I get discombobulated just trying to spell it. :) Our word this week, taken right out of on-line Merriam Webster's dictionary is:

Main Entry:
dis·com·bob·u·late Listen to the pronunciation of discombobulate
transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):
dis·com·bob·u·lat·ed; dis·com·bob·u·lat·ing
probably alteration of discompose
circa 1916

: upset confuse
— dis·com·bob·u·la·tion Listen to the pronunciation of discombobulation \-ˌbä-b(y)ə-ˈlā-shən\ noun

There are many things in life I find discombobulating. By far, the most confusing are the various editing and formatting rules used by all the different publishers and agents. Writing a book is very time consuming and requires effort; it's no simple chore. Shopping the manuscript for publication is even harder.

You have to compose a query letter guaranteed to grab the attention of your targeted publisher or agent, create a synopsis that captures the essence of your book in the most precise and detailed light, then determine if your manuscript meets any one of the zillions of extra requirements needed to submit.

Do they want it formatted in 12 point Georgia font, or Times Roman? Single spaced or double...or maybe one and a half? Do they want page numbers in the header or footer? Centered, or perhaps left or right justified? How about those margins--one inch or one and a quarter? Do they allow em-dashes and ellipses? How about gerunds? Do they forbid or allow them? C'mon folks, how about some consistency?

My point is, most people don't engage in multiple submissions. And this is the reason. You can't just print off a copy of your manuscript, query and synopsis and stick them in the mail or attach them via email. You have to make sure each is formatted to meet the nuances of each publisher or agent. In my opinion, writing the book is the easiest part. The rest is totally discombobulating.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ginger, you are spot on with all the things that you need to know in order to submit. I applaud all the hard work and effort that you put into each and every one of your synopses, queries and submissions. Here's hoping that your hard work will pay off very soon.

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