Thursday, September 27, 2012

The relationship between work and talent

I was reading Nicole's latest post about conquering our writing weaknesses.  Inside her post she had a quote: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

I love quotes and words of wisdom and this one stayed with me after I closed the browser.

When you are an accountant (a subject I majored in), working hard can compensate for initial lack of mathematical talent - all you have to do is practice and practice some more.  Or when you are a lawyer (like me), drafting and redrafting an agreement or a submission will make you better - it is not that hard to pick up the mechanical skills.  All you really need is patience, time, and hard work.

But when it comes to creative writing, can hard work really compensate for lack of talent?  Can someone with just a good measure of talent get better by working consistently?  Or is the resulting novel or story going to be only as strong as that person's underlying talent?

I understand how hard work can improve one's writing if that person does, in fact, have a way with words that is combined with an impressive imagination.  But what if all you have is good language and grammar skills but not enough imagination?  How can you improve that?

Imagine a story where the words sign, but the story goes nowhere because of lack of imagination.

Or am I looking at this from the wrong angle?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ready to Query

My first novel, which I have titled In The Shadow of Honey Locusts, is finally finished.  It took five drafts and 19 months, many sleepless nights and countless lunch breaks, a good number of hopeful days and hundreds of others when all I wanted to do is quit.

But I did not and, for better or for worse (I hope the former!), it is now done.

I have also crafted a query letter and a synopsis, and made a list of agents.

Yes, I know, there is always that what if I go over it just one more time and change a few more words but I think I am now satisfied.  At last.

But now comes the silly question - is there a best day and time to send the query?

Do some of the unwritten rules of business apply to querying?  That is, don't really send an email / query on Monday, especially early morning, because everyone is too busy focusing on the must-get-this-done tasks, and certainly don't bother to send one on Friday because everyone is in weekend-mode and won't really pay attention.

Any thoughts or experience with this - or am I going too far?

Thank you!