Writing Conference Day Three: And then I won some wine!

That sound you hear right now is me weeping over the fact conference is over.

Look, if you have the chance to ever go to a conference, I’m telling you: do it. Stop thinking about it and do it. I cannot adequately describe (and that’s sad, because I call myself a writer) how amazing conference was. It was by far worth the cost to go, because I learned a TON, made several new friends (hi Laura and Claudia!) and–oh yeah–pitched my novel to an agent and got a request for my first 50 pages.

And then I won a bottle of wine.


Crazy awesomeness.

You may see, in the corner of my hastily taken picture, the one book I bought, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. I started reading it today and it’s really good! And, as expected, it made me wish I’d snagged the workbook too. Amazon here I come.

Today was only a half day, which meant only two workshop sessions and the “closing ceremonies” which consisted of impromptu cake and me winning wine.

So, now back to the real world I guess. Boo. Tomorrow morning it will be the same old grind: work-home-dinner-dishes-get the kids to bed. Well. Actually it will be the same old grind plus the fact I have a partial to submit. To an agent.

Last night I sat down at the laptop to write a new query letter. I figured hey, I’ll put what I learned into practice. Opened up my little Word document and boom.

My mind went blank.

I had nothing. What’s my book about? What’s going to hook an agents attention? I don’t know. It was one of those all too frequent moments where I was fairly certain I’d written the most boring book ever. Ever.

Then I watched the season finale of Dr. Who (which was amazing). And then The Hubs brought me an oatmeal cream pie as a snack.

And you seriously can never go wrong with an oatmeal cream pie. I certainly can’t–and promptly wrote 75% of my query letter. I compared it to my original draft and, look, something from the workshops sunk in because it was better. It was more descriptive. It was fewer generalities. Success!! The heavens were opened!

Then I thought about a “hook” for the beginning of my letter for like, two hours. No amount of oatmeal cream pies was going to resuscitate that mess. I even thought about it with breakfast. Nothing.

Right before the workshop on coping with rejection started, I pulled out my notebook to take notes (obviously) and then idly scribbled down the first “hook” that came to mind.

And it was awesome.

So, boo for things having to go back to normal. But yay for so much progress and inspiration.

But, just to show I didn’t get away unscathed, at lunch yesterday I was joking with this really nice guy about my blueberry pancake/blue teeth horror story from Friday. He wasn’t wearing a name tag. After I wrote my “hook” this morning, I was flipping through the conference program and saw his picture. Yeah. He was the editorial director of a major publishing house.

Heather Hambel Curley: Smooth as ever.


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