Wrote my last promised quote for another writer over the weekend. I don't know the writer personally at all, and it was not a piece of cake this time. The novel was excellent and extremely well-written, but it was also one of those stories that just doesn't want to be pinned down.
Not to be snotty, but I think I'm pretty much quoted out for this year.
Part of my problem is that I'm wondering if I'm doing this right. Hardly anyone ever talks about writing quotes, and I've never understood the politics involved.
When I write quotes these days, I try to go with something about the author, something about the book, and a short ending tag line (six words or less) that can be used as a standalone quote. Three, four sentences tops. I have no idea if this is a correct or even desirable sort of quoting -- there is no Chicago Manual of Quote Style, I've checked -- but that's how my quotes have evolved over the last year.
I don't mine quotes by others for their buzzy wording; I prefer coming up with my own. No one writes the quotes but me, but I am generally okay with editors snippeting or changing a little of the wording, although that's only happened once or twice. The same editors have asked for quotes from me more than once so I think they're okay with what I write. No one's bitched, anyway.
I am enthusiastic, which is probably all to hell vulgar, but I don't know -- why be lukewarm? Honestly, I don't quote books that leave me lukewarm (and yes, I have sent a few manuscripts back with a polite no-thank-you.) Sometimes I've done multiple versions or different quotes for the same book and told the writer or editor to pick the one he/she liked best. Again, have no idea if this is the accepted practice.
Sometimes -- most times -- I feel pretty ridiculous writing quotes, as if part of me knows I'm winging something serious and important. Kind of like deciphering those weird symbols they put on a copy-edit; after fifteen novels I finally broke down and begged an editor to tell me if I was screwing them up. She reassured me (and sent me a comprehensive symbol-definition list which I consult every copy-edit now.) Those feelings don't help.
Anyone got a how-to-quote list?