The Hardest Thing I Ever Wrote

Writing a book is hard. It takes a lot of time and when you’re particularly stuck, that blank piece of paper or the blinking cursor can be the scariest thing. You’ll do anything to avoid looking at it.

Writing this blog can be just as tricky, but once I’ve got the first few sentences down, I can write it fairly quickly. It’s a stream of consciousness that doesn’t need to go anywhere and doesn’t need to achieve anything.

But the hardest thing to do is to write a covering letter. Writing something to try and persuade someone that they ought to be interested in your novel is the trickiest thing I’ve ever had to do.

The industry standard is to send the first three chapters, a full synopsis of the novel and a covering letter.

It drives me mad, because the sample and the synopsis is there to sell the book, the covering letter is there to sell you. I understand why it’s important, but boy is it tough.

I’m going to spend this weekend trying to come up with the perfect covering letter and will post a blog looking at what I’ve uncovered.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever written? It would be great to hear about them – and I might make them the subject of a future blog post!

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One thought on “The Hardest Thing I Ever Wrote

  1. On the publishing side of things, I’ve always lost the most sleep over the synopsis. I always try to put way too much detail in, and keep thinking “Noooo how can they possibly understand the plot without all of the exposition in all the land! And of *course* that minor romantic subplot is important!” I know the point it to be streamlined and succinct, but it’s so hard for me to step back and decide what a fresh set of eyes truly needs to know about the plot.

    Which is not to say I think cover letters are easy, just so you know ;-). Just easier than condensing the entire novel onto one page. If you had any tips for writing synopses, I’d love to see a blog post about it someday!

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