This query letter business is getting old.
I typed up one version, then took it to a few literary-minded friends. They looked it over and gave me suggestions. One recommended I change "harrowing choice" to "impossible choice". I did so.
I changed lots more, set it aside for a bit, then changed some more stuff. Today, I sent it to The Husband to inspect.
"I don't like 'impossible choice,'" he said. His reasoning--perfectly sound, I think--was that an impossible choice is just that. If it's so impossible, then how does she make a choice in the next sentence?
Very well. I searched about for the right word to describe the situation.
"Harrowing! A harrowing choice!" I said, thrilled to have found the perfect word. Twenty minutes later, as I tried to spruce up another section, I pulled out the original, marked-up version. Harrowing is crossed out, with "impossible" written underneath it.
And that's when I realized...I'm running in circles.
If you don't feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then possibly what you are doing isn't very vital. If you don't feel like you are writing somewhat over your head, why do it? If you don't have some doubt of your authority to tell this story, then you are not trying to tell enough. --John Irving