Featured Post

Enter my Get Followers Giveaway and win a copy of DOUBLE PLAY

I'm so close to 1000 followers on Twitter! Follow, enter here, and tweet about it to win a copy after I get 1000 followers! a Raffle...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three-Hundred Thursday #2

This week's brave gladiator is coming into the ring with a query letter. Personally, I hate those pesky things, so I'm glad to cause pain to it. :D


Senior Max Sanchez has it all. He’s the star pitcher for Port Fare High’s baseball team. He’s dating the head cheerleader, hottie Emma McKay, and he has a great group of friends. Here I'm concerned with this lead in. Typically the first line or two of a query is the hook -- something that grabs the agent/publisher and says "You MUST read more about this book." This is somewhat generic. A main character who has it all. One line I heard over and over during the query and pitch events at WriteOnCon from the agents and editors was "What makes your story stand out? Focus on that." Having read the first pages of this story (cheater in the house!), this doesn't do justice to the uniqueness.

Junior JD Miller’s life isn’t so good. Unlike Max,(redundant) JD struggles with making friends. He’s a social misfit, and he’s being bullied at every turn. He’s also barely surviving. (Why?)
A tragic accident changes everything, uniquely merging their lives together. (How?) Now Max is in the battle of his life as he struggles to save the SOULS IN PERIL. (Titles are always in all caps. It makes them stand out against the rest of the query.)

SOULS IN PERIL is a YA paranormal novel (ALWAYS include the genre) dealing with the very real problem of bullying and teen suicide. (I'd suggest cutting this out, but it's only my opinion. I have heard mostly negative comments from agents when a query suggests it might be "teaching a lesson." Also, always SHOW what a book is about rather than to tell an agent/publisher "this is what my book is about." Suicide isn't mentioned above at all. Is it important to the story? It needs to be wove in above if it is.) It is my second full-length novel with a word count of just over It is complete at 91,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration. (It never hurts to be polite ;))

Has anyone here ever been over to the Query Shark website? It's a gold mine of query information. By going over pretty much ALL the entries. (No seriously, I did. Because Query Shark said to, and I obeyed ...) This is what I've come up with as a good outline for queries: *keep in mind, every agent is different, but most of them just want to see a great story and great writing.

1.      Who is the protagonist and what do they want?
2.      What is stopping him or her?
3.      What choice or decision do they face? (What are the stakes?)
4.      What terrible thing will happen if they choose right? What if they don't?

Oh yeah, and focus on what's unique. :D

Queries suck. I hate writing them with a strong passion. Good luck, lucky participant #2! And thanks for being so brave with an aspect of writing that nobody likes. (I don't think even agents like them! HA!)

Add your comments below and BE RESPECTFUL or they will get deleted. Just saying. :)
Are you interested? Use the Contact Me page to send your first three-hundred words or your query letter for critique. Be brave!


  1. Great insights!! Thank you! I'd not thought of most of those. I worried about giving too much of the story away, with Max's "accident" but since this is a query and NOT the back of a book jacket, your points make a lot of sense. Back to the drawing board. Thank you again!

    1. Since the "accident" happens within the first ten pages, it's almost not giving it away ... does that make sense? If you downloaded the sample, you might read that and also someone skimming the opening pages. Good luck! Have I mentioned how much I hate writing queries! Just when I think I have it right ... :D

  2. Yes, but you don't know what happens to Max, just that there is an accident from the first few pages.


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...