I think if I had to go back in time and pick one thing to just never exist, it’d probably be ironing.
Alright, and the concept of social class.
In any case, query letters would be somewhere up there as well. Near-ish the top.
Because at this point I think I’ve spent almost as long writing, rewriting, redrafting, researching and junking the query letter for The Twist than I spent writing the novel in the first place. I know there’s some arcane formula for the perfect query letter out there (that may actually be what the Voynich Manuscript is), but there’s just no straightforward way to twist my brain around that formula.
The difficulty, clearly, is that there’s very little to actually go on, and to judge your own query letter against. I know what a good book reads like, because I’ve read (almost certainly) thousands of books in my lifetime. By contrast, I’ve read maybe a few hundred query letters – and those are mostly drafts or rejects over on QueryShark. While QueryShark does a great job of pointing out flaws and going over what to do and not to do, it’s still not even close to wiring my brain up in the right way to be able to see what does and doesn’t work, and to instinctively know what a good query letter looks like.
Which is all, of course, compounded by the fact that there are limited chances to actually submit it once it’s been agonised over.
Still, we keep at it.