The Silent and Brave revision page #108
Okay, I went to Barnes and Noble again, searching for agents to query. I have mentioned before how this process depresses me, because it just makes me think “how will I ever possibly join their ranks?”
I wanted to take the advice of Sam Morgan at JABberwocky and look at the back blurb to Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings–“Now that’s how you pitch an epic fantasy.”
I had a little different experience this time. I should mention that work has been really bumming me out, and I really want to be a writer and not a bartender, and all that stuff. I just felt helpless. But this time I had a little different experience.
First off, I was again amazed by how many new books on the shelves are for young adults and how many are fantasy. I feel like my writing interests and what’s selling are right in lockstep, for whatever reason. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ve got a book to sell and it would look great right there on the shelf next to those. Or in a movie trailer.
Secondly, I opened up a few of those beautiful new hardbacks and immediately found long author acknowledgements, including the names of their current agents. I picked two, Joshua Bilmes (shocker, back to JABberwocky, but when I googled him I saw taking queries for the first time in forever, as of six days ago . . .) and Pouya Shahbazian. Yeah, that’s the Divergent guy. Hello Hollywood. So I had my agents to query, and they are heavy hitters.
Thirdly, I found The Way of Kings with ease, and as I was reading the back blurb, I was not thinking, how can I do this? I was thinking, this is exactly what I do! So then I copied it down on my server pad, hoping no one would accuse me of stealing or some other impropriety, and I ran out to the car and read it to Kim and said, “I can do this!” It’s not less invented names or maps or magic or swords. It’s more of everything! But the real difference, the thing that helped me the most, was it’s a BLURB. That is, instead of trying to tell the whole story in a page, it tries to get the reader excited about reading the story for themselves. I never understood that before. So now, I’ve written my own blurb, and it goes like this:
Empty now the pavement passes, laid in place by drays and draughtsmen; steel girded to reave the heavens, empty now, forlorn, forgotten
All Kavela wanted to do was sell rabbits. Rabbits for meat, brought to him by his giant Selessian hunter, rabbits for furs, sewn with the help of an outcast girl, who, like him, had found a place to survive on the outskirts of the Teilarata empire. He had everything he needed for his thriving business, including a stall on the busiest alley in Al–Akbah market. Then, one day, he arrived in the market and found a boy in his stall hawking squirrels.
With the newcomer came the beginning of the story of the champion. A story that would turn into revolution against the Teilarata, the rulers who seized power over the land of Malvada on the Day of Transition, driving science from the world, shuttering the four wards of the Pallbearers, and locking away the wisdom they contained. For Kavela’s Selessian hunter is also the champion, the chosen one, made immortal in Arlat, the ward of genetics, destined to lead Malvada into a new golden age where mankind can once again enjoy the benefits of knowledge.
On the way Kavela and his friends will travel to Los Lewr, the ward of matter, where the last scientist will give them the mistral, a powerful weapon to fight the Teilarata. They will have to convince the champion to accept his role, and if they want to overthrow the Teilarata, they will have to defeat an army of unkillable scaalite soldiers, bent on their destruction and determined to maintain Teilarata rule over the dark and ravaged land.
So that’s what I sent to Joshua Bilmes and Pouya Shahbazian, and you know what? They may not take it, but it’s a hell of a lot better than what I’ve been sending out. For the first time in a long time, I feel like my query is advancing, and that means that my chances of becoming a published writer are advancing right along with it.