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Author Topic: Some basics, before you post your query  (Read 50229 times)
LateToTheParty
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« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2011, 11:18:27 AM »

Perfect!  Thumbs Up

Hmm.  I think I'll go rewrite my query (again!  head bang ) based on this advice.
You too?
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« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2012, 07:09:52 AM »

Hey Patrick,

Nowhere do you mention The Hook. Besides myself, why aren't there any suspense writers in this forum only YA or Sci-Fi?
Would you consider reading my query? Thank you and everyone who contributed for the information on queries.

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munley
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« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2012, 08:20:14 AM »

Another suggestion for posting queries or plot summaries is to read this thread first and check out some of the helpful links before asking for people to comment on your query. Then try a few drafts based on what you have studied about queries. Some posters announce that they don't know anything about queries and this is their first draft, so, HELP!

Please critique several other writers' work before asking people to look at what you have written. Giving careful thought to someone else's query is good practice in imagining a stranger (agent or publisher) reading it. Is something confusing to you? Is it too wordy? Does it lack some main character with a motive or problem that would prompt an agent to want to know more and request it? There are some other good questions posted in this thread to apply to the queries you read. Seeing a problem or a strong point in another writer's work can be very helpful in assessing your own.

It is also considerate to make a few contributions (critiques) before asking for one on your query or plot summary.  I don't mean cursory responses, such as "Great!" or "Good job" just to build a track record of responses to other writers' posts, but some particular thing you noticed and why you think it works or doesn't work. You don't have to mention everything you notice. Even one point can be a help.  I remember seeing someone's first post ever here as a request for a critique. A few days later, after no one responded, the writer's second post ever was an annoyed-sounding nudge for us to respond.
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bodwen
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2012, 11:22:15 AM »

Hey Patrick,

Nowhere do you mention The Hook. Besides myself, why aren't there any suspense writers in this forum only YA or Sci-Fi?
Would you consider reading my query? Thank you and everyone who contributed for the information on queries.



There are quite a few suspense people here.  I'm one of them.
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2012, 08:21:25 AM »

Hey Patrick,

Nowhere do you mention The Hook. Besides myself, why aren't there any suspense writers in this forum only YA or Sci-Fi?
Would you consider reading my query? Thank you and everyone who contributed for the information on queries.



There are quite a few suspense people here.  I'm one of them.

Yeah i was going to say this as well. I can think of quite a few thriller, suspense and mystery writers that hang out here in the forum
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« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2012, 11:45:21 AM »

Wowza this is awesome D:

Thanks for this!!!  Grin
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2013, 10:47:37 PM »

Heads up: what used to be Kristin Nelson's Pub Rants blog is now at http://nelsonagency.com/pub-rants/. It looks like she's moved the old site's archives to the new site.
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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2014, 06:24:50 PM »

This is so incredibly useful!
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« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2015, 06:04:04 PM »

Can you give some examples of a "Teaser Query?"
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« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2015, 07:42:39 AM »

here's a good example

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2010/12/192-ftw.html
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munley
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« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2015, 11:09:51 PM »


This is a great example of a query including the one thing a query can't do without  ----  something that will interest an agent or publisher in reading the manuscript ---- given that that's a query's fundamental job

A striking thing for me in this query is what happened, happened, happened. How the MC thinks and feels is entirely implicit in the actions taken once the initial disturbing event is laid out:   One week ago, Claire's cousin Dinah slit her wrists.

I seriously question this advice on the part of Query Shark:

Now, how the hell do you know if you've got something that breaks the rules but works?  First, you write something that doesn't break ANY of the rules.  You write a query that shows, doesn't tell. That's concise, and conveys what the book is about.

In other words, you write to the form of a query letter before you write something that ISN'T to form.


I must have read hundreds  of queries here on Query Tracker, and I've noticed that efforts on the part of authors (including myself) to get a query right are often impeded by being mired in some approach already taken. For example, the author manages to get the "obligatory 4 C's" (Character, Conflict, Choice, and Consequence) into the query, but they are done in ways that drag the story down, making the book sound dull or trite or been-there-done-that. The same phrasing, tedious statements of feelings,  and static verbs (or whatever else dragged the query down) reappear in every revision, and these are often things that are explanatory, things the author is convinced the query can't do without.

If this query sample from Query Shark were to be done that way it might go something like:
One week ago, Claire's cousin Dinah slit her wrists. This upset Claire so much that she couldn't get it off her mind. But her depression soon gave way to a wish to hurt the boy drove her cousin to the point of suicide and she made up her mind to get revenge. Determined to make Damian Smith sorry he ever rejected Dinah in such a cold way, she changed her look to one an innocent one, all the while moving in for the big strike.

The trouble is, Damian has already moved on to Dina's twin sister Leah, and Leah has fallen for him hook, line, and sinker. Leah suspects Claire is up to something, and she's not about to let any harm come to Damian. If Claire's going to get her revenge, blah, blah, blah.

I can picture a dozen revisions of this query preserving things the author is convinced need to stay. Not saying everybody does that, but I've done it myself at times a fresh start would have been better.

I don't know why QS gave that advice. There's no indication that the author started out writing a query that "followed all the rules" and eventually came up with this enticing rule-breaker. 

It sounds to me that the writer had a clear sense of the action of the book and brought the reader to the point of wanting to know how the MC was going to pull off her intent.  No need to mention who or what was working against the MC's goal or what the Consequences would be if she didn't reach her goal. No need to spell out explicitly how she thought or felt at any point along the way.

Deducing how the character thinks and feels is more engaging for the reader. The reader gets to do something: think, as opposed to being spoonfed every emotion and thought.




 
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« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2015, 11:34:28 PM »

All you had to say was -

One week ago, Claire's cousin Dinah slit her wrists.


-and the whole query came right back to me. That is so damn good. 
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« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2016, 02:22:40 PM »

   Wheelman, a novel set in the near future, speeds through a series of crimes and acts of terrorism leading to a sensationalized trial. The story begins and ends in a working class neighborhood in the Northeast Bronx, taking some circuitous routes in between. Wheelman, an everyman story with a twist, appeals to a diverse multi-generational audience beginning with new adult and up through mature readers. It does contain some graphic violence. I believe your background experience covering police and courts, as well as your interest in fast-paced narratives, makes Wheelman a good fit.
Bruce Moss is Wheelman-- a quiet guy who scratches out a living driving a taxi or van when he can find work. He agrees to give an acquaintance a ride for twenty dollars and gets sucked into three crimes connected to “The Islamic Brotherhood.” We are pulled into Bruce’s reality, both fascinated and horrified by his actions, compelled to go along for the ride.
Bruce is arrested and dubbed “the homeboy terrorist” by the media. The Trial of the Century is fraught with drama and controversy: Was the confession coerced? Is Bruce suffering from PTSD due to sexual abuse by a local priest and trauma from his tours with the US Marine corps in Iraq and Afghanistan? Both the jury and the reader must decide: Is Bruce a victim of his environment or a ruthless killer?
When a dirty bomb wreaks havoc near the courthouse in lower Manhattan, the judge declares a mistrial and Federal authorities use the rendition system to incarcerate Bruce Moss in El Salvador. When chaos escalates back in the States, the Salvadoran guards don’t get paid and Moss walks free. He meets Ruby, a survivor of the Salvadoran civil war, who becomes the catalyst for him to begin a new life.  Bruce moves from loser/follower to confident leader, discovering, in a place far from the Bronx, who he is and where he belongs.
            Wheelman is best categorized as up-market fiction, for its commercial pull and literary flow. The novel contains a variety of eclectic sources and side stories delivered in first and third person narrative, all connected back to the main character. Outcomes are unpredictable and initial assumptions are turned upside down (such as when the so-called “Islamic Brotherhood” turns out to be nothing but the local Bronx mafia). A non-linear time–line creates a jig-saw effect, which engages the reader in fitting the pieces together.
As a community college writing teacher, I modeled the practice of writing in a notebook every day. My collection of over seventy notebooks contains a wealth of stories, plot lines and characters related to Wheelman, to add now or create a sequel. Other stories are completed or under development. I always told my students, “Write about what you know;” therefore Wheelman is set in the Bronx neighborhood where I was born and raised, left for twenty years and returned to.
I authored The Little Brown ESL Workbook (Harpercollins1992- 500pgs.) and have published poetry, articles and “dharma talks” over the years. Wheelman is my debut novel.
The first chapter follows; the complete manuscript (word count 70,000), is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration
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Bronxwriter
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« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2016, 02:43:12 PM »

I'm still learning the ins and outs of navigating this site.  I believe  I posted my Query letter for review in the wrong place.  I'm trying to figure out how to move it.
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« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2016, 02:45:12 PM »

you can't move it persay... you just have to delete the post AND THEN RE-POST it in the query review section.
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