Status: No longer on a break. I've been sending out some queries, and working on my one line pitch. I'm going to try to enter a contest! I say try because I believe that I have to be one of the first 50 people to enter to be considered.
Number of queries sent: 16
Number of form rejections: 4 (it's been a week since my last response)
Number of requests for additional materials: 0
Waiting is definitely still the hardest thing ever. But at least I've found a good distraction: Absolute Write. (I borrowed their tagline for the title of this post.) This is such an incredible resource for aspiring writers. There are all sorts of forums where people can ask questions and have other writers help them get the answers. Plus there's a whole section of forums, separated by genre and/or category, called Share Your Work. This is where people can post things like the opening paragraphs, pivotal scenes, queries, synopses, or whatever else of their novels (or, in some cases, whole short stories) for other people to critique.
And then Absolute Write is also just a place to connect to other writers. To rant and rave about how the process of writing a novel and/or trying to get published is slowly killing you. But you just can't seem to stop. One thing I think is hilarious is that the Share Your Work section for query letters is called "Query Letter Hell." Very much mirrors my own sentiments, as seen by the titles of two earlier blog posts (found here and here).
I haven't posted anything of mine yet (even if I wanted to, I can't until I've reached 50 posts, which I think is more than fair). But I have been racking up my post count by critiquing other people's work. And it's been awesome fun. I've been doing the simple, mechanical things like saying there should be a comma here or you spelled this wrong. And then I've also been letting them know when something just doesn't make sense to me, or there's not enough description for me to understand what they're trying to convey. When the choice of word(s) just doesn't seem to fit. Or when they're going on about something needlessly (being redundant), and they could tighten the writing by taking something out. Anything and everything that comes to mind as I'm going through their work, including when something does work really well for me, or when I think something is written beautifully, brilliantly, or otherwise particularly well. It's been a great experience.
In fact, I received a wonderful response to one of my critiques this morning: "This was, imo, exactly what a crit should be. You're very concise pointing out what doesn't work, and you're clear as to why. You, ma'am, are on the road to making an iron-clad, respected name around here. I can't thank you enough. Overall, you've helped improve this opening immensely. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So much." Absolutely made my day! :D