Friday, April 27, 2012


Pic taken while on one of my walks last week
Lets talk queries.

No, not rules and blah, blah, blah. But fun query talk. And it's fun because it's not so much about the query, but about that book you've written that you absolutely adore and dream of seeing on a bookstore shelf. I think that's where we go wrong. We make the query about the query. We make it about the rules, and format, and the opinions of others who are also trying to figure out how to write an amazing query.

Erase all that. Take it all away. For me, this meant going on nature walks and just thinking about my book. Thinking about my main character, Allura, and clearing my mind of the piles of advice I'd read on the subject.

Why? Well, because basically I'd followed the rules and my query still sucked.

I knew Dark Waters was super unique. And everyone who's heard the premise has expressed the same opinion. (Except my mom, she says it's dark and asks why I'd want to write about man-eating huntress' of the night.) So, I knew it wasn't the story premise keeping agents from requesting materials.

The main problem? My query failed at mirroring my manuscript. And while I've read lots of amazing manuscripts, but very few amazing queries, I would assume that's the case for other writers as well.

So, go for a walk, do the dishes, or whatever it is you do to think, and ask yourself, "What makes my story unique?". I'm not telling you to then devise a one sentence pitch to explain it's uniqueness. We don't want to deflate creativity by forcing a format onto it. Just, ponder the one-of-a-kind elements in your story. Why is your story so special? What makes it different from everything else out there?

When you figure it out, write your thoughts. Again, NO FORMATTING. Just random thoughts. And then come back and visit me next week cause I'll be posting about stage two in the query writing process.

Can you think of a few now? Tell me in the comments section, what makes your story unique?

~ As a side note, I want to let you know why I'm posting on this topic. I am by NO means professing to have this query-writing thing down to an art or science, or whatever. But, during the last few weeks I've been pondering what it takes to write a great query. And we've all seen them online. The ones that make our mouths drop, as we wonder what they heck that writer was smoking to create such a masterpiece in 200 words. 

I'd been taking walks, thinking on my story, stepping into my character's shoes, and trying to create a great query. It wasn't until Friday night (yeah, last Friday) that I got pissed off at this whole elusive query thing, stomped off to my room with my lap top in tow, and flung myself on my bed. I'd had it and decided to write the query that I wanted to write. The one that had my voice, and Allura's personality coursing all through it. 

I started the query with: Allura's done following rules. The words began spilling out, grateful to finally be released from the cage of opinions. When I had finished, my whole query length clocked in at 229 words. That includes my address. Then after I had my two critique partners double check everything, I started sending a few out. Only a few. Within the last week, I have received more than one full request. 

When I finally wrote the elusive--but not so elusive--query, I called my best friend who is also querying. I told her I'd had an epiphany and wanted to help her write her query too. And I want to share my thoughts on my blog as well. I'm hoping they're helpful. So stay tuned, cause I've got more to come. :) 

On an agent's blog, I read that a writer should learn all the rules of crafting a query. They should write a few, following those rules, and then throw it out and break a few rules. I couldn't agree more. :)          



  1. I only use the one hard and fast rule an agent taught me a year ago: Your query has to reflect your story in tone, voice and quality.

    Everything else usually falls into place!

  2. This is such a great idea! I think I need to try this!

    Just stumbled across your blog, love it and the photo at the top makes me homesick!

    new follower =)

  3. This is awesome. And they say that about writing too. To write well, you learn the rules and then you break them. Congrats on the full requests! I can't believe there aren't more comments on this great post! *goes to link to it and fix that*