Hi fellow writers,
I have just started to submit my query letters to literary agents this week, and whoah has it been a learning curve. After months of researching the query process, I still find myself learning new things and banging my head against the table after noticing mistakes.
I have read over and over again that the query letter needs to be perfect. I have been revising it dozens of times and I’m still convinced that it will never be “just right”. Now, I’ve decided to adapt to my journalism background of faking-it-until-I-make-it.
Back to the manuscript that I have been working on for the past year: It’s the story of South Africa’s first high treason trial since 1994, when the country attained democracy. There were 23 accused men when the trial started, of which 14 of them are still behind bars. The group of right-wingers, functioning under the name Boeremag, had planned for months to launch a coup in the country. They also attempted to assassinate former president Nelson Mandela.
I covered the trial for three years, but found myself visiting the alleged mastermind behind bars for the past six years – which has been a wacky, insightful journey. Since there were so many accused in the trial, there has never been a concise record of how they wanted to topple the democratic government – until now. I have spent the last year ploughing through tens of thousands of papers from the court transcripts, to piece together the different versions and events as they played out in 2001/2002. Through being in court for so many years, I learned more about the inner dynamics of the trial, which was characterized by betrayal, frustration and families being torn apart.
The book is a narrative nonfiction work, with historical, political, cultural and journalistic influences. It’s an interesting perspective in the current global political landscape, where populism has become an emerging political narrative.