After completing my first college writing class, I felt mildly more comfortable with what I was crafting. I had made several revisions of the whole novel from line by line edits to overall plot revising. I was ready to do a round of querying. For those of you who do not know, a query is a letter sent to prospective literary agents or editors. The standard query consists of three to four brief paragraphs telling the recipient about yourself and your work. Sometimes the agent will ask for a few pages or chapters of your work, or a brief synopsis of the story. It is important to read an agent’s or editor’s submission guidelines before querying.
I usually send out only a handful of queries at a time. Then I wait for feedback. After a few months I collect that feedback and make another round of revisions. I also make sure to revise my query letter.
At this time I also attended a writer’s conference in which I pitched to several agents and editors. During one of these sessions I met an agent who asked for me to submit my full manuscript to her agency.
In the version I sent her I added action. Lan is kneeling over her mother, her face pressed to her mother’s chest. You can see in the highlighted portion Lan’s physical appearance. I have depicted her as petite, she is supposed to have a fragile aspect to her. I also tried to show her turmoil. Her eyes are squeezed shut, too fearful to look at her mother’s still body. She is pleading with her mother to breathe, to not let the unknown him win.
Not now, Lan thought. This is not supposed to happen.
She willed her mother to take a breath, but no amount of strength on Lan’s part made a difference. Her mother decided her own fate, and unlike her daughter, she had never been a fighter.
Lan bent her small frame over the still form, resting her forehead on her mother’s chest. She squeezed her eyelids shut. “Breathe, mother,” she commanded. “Don’t let him win.”