Friday, October 25, 2013

Why "Learn to Howl" is different

I understand there are a lot of agents who don't want to see werewolves anymore. There are some agents who never wanted to see werewolves in the first place. That's cool. I didn't write a werewolf book (and start a second, with the third in a "notes" sort of stage) because I was thinking about what other people were writing, and reading.

Of course, now I have to. Once Learn to Howl has been read by people who are not me, had appropriate things added in certain places, and been edited within an inch of its pages, I need to write the query letter that says BUY MY BOOK. And the query letter that says why my werewolf book is different from the others.

I can do it in in "normal language", certainly. I can tell you that Learn to Howl is an Urban Fantasy novel about family, and the decisions people (or werewolves) make when people they love are involved. I can tell you Learn to Howl is about responsibility, and change (with an absence of puns), and about learning how to feel comfortable in your own skin. And oh yeah, there are werewolves. Obviously, that figures pretty heavily in the story, or I wouldn't be worried about having written the next To Kill a Mockingbird or something.

I can tell you the wolves of Learn to Howl do not need the full moon to change, nor does it affect them overly much. Silver does. I've kept the werewolf origin of the family to folklore that I've read, but of course made my own fictional changes. Werewolves are born, not "made".  No other magic is actually involved with the story; no telepathy, no "pack bindings", no Alpha theory. No dominance, no submission, or at least not any more than "regular folks" might use when being overbearing, or not. I use a lot of body language, because body language (canine and otherwise) is interesting and effective.

Any resemblance to people living or dead is strictly coincidental.

I have to learn how to express this in query letter language. I have to reflect these things so that I'm not expressly assuring the reader, "Oh yeah, it's in there" but so the reader takes it away from my 250 word or less letter and actually wants to read the pages. And then wants to request the full (Janet Reid, though I will not be querying her with Learn to Howl, has said that with electronic subs, if she requests, it's the full. Because why not?)

With NaNoWriMo looming, and Learn to Howl "resting", I'm not really working on the query right now anyway because, well, I don't wanna. I was perhaps correct, a few months back, when I wondered if I should query The Last Song first (to get my foot in the genre door, as it were). Of course, The Last Song isn't finished, or fully edited, so it's far behind in the process. And right now, while planning for NaNoWriMo, is not the time to start editing it.

And oh yes, of course I started planning for NaNoWriMo far too soon, and when I realized I couldn't start writing my occult biker novel, my brain put it on a shelf and presented me with another novel entirely. This one is actually based in a place I've been, if you can believe such a thing (Asbury Park). It will be Urban Fantasy; I'm just going to go ahead and embrace that it's my thing (like I've been fighting that anyway). And I've got that rosy "Maybe this one is the one" sort of feeling associated with starting a new idea I quite like.


  1. I really hate those in-between times. I'm happiest when I'm going full bore on a project. And seriously, I hate, hate, hate querying.

    1. Yes, querying is not something I'm looking forward to. Or I am, but I'm not. Once I'm actually doing it, it means I'm done beating myself in the face with the letter writing, anyway. Ugh.

  2. It sounds very intriguing! I wish you all the luck!

    1. Thanks!

      It looks like Angry Robot is having an open 2 month, non agented submission period ( Since many agents don't want werewolves right now, maybe I'll give it one last polish after NaNoWriMo and sub it!