‘Fall’ing apart at the query

September 14, 2007 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Meg, Queries, writing | Leave a comment

I love fall. Apple picking, leaves crunching under my feet, warm days and cool nights. Mother Nature at her highest glory as leaves turn all colors. Beautiful.To me, fall means a new start. A new class or new school, new job, new adventure. And there’s something about seeing the circular from Staples that makes me want to stock up on notebooks, folders and number 2 pencils. Makes me yearn to expand my mind and start something new. Unfortunately, my next project has to wait since I’m stuck in project limbo or as I affectionately call it: Query Hell.

Yup, the romantic comedy/ mainstream novel with romantic elements/ women’s fiction whatever-you-call-it is finished. Caput. Done! Written, edited, and readied to be shown to the world. What’s in my way? The damn query letter. How do I condense the plot, theme and unique nuances of 300 plus pages into one to two paragraphs? What catchy words and lines would attract agents and editors so they want to read more? UGH!

It seems every writer I know can write endless pages of dialogue, establish complicated plot and resolve conflicts with style and grace. But I’ve never heard one writer say they love writing queries. More often than not, I hear ‘well, queries aren’t my strong point.” And I confess I’ve actually said that three times this week (once in asking for help with my own letter and twice as I tried to help others with theirs).

So if you’re at the query stage either for an upcoming conference (good luck to all of you pitching at NJ next month!) or to send out in email or snail mail, here are some links I’ve used to try and figure it all out:

Lisa Gardner writes great romantic suspense and has Tricks of the Trade webpage with advice on writing a synopsis and the dreaded query letter.

Charlotte Dillon is a writer’s dream. Her website has information on everything from formatting your manuscript to writing the query letter. She’s my hero!

And here’s another one I just found that makes me want to revise my current letter: Writer’s World.

And check on agents’ websites for sample queries. For example, Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency posts her clients’ initial queries and explains what caught her attention on her blog, Pub Rants.

And you have a week to write that query since next week I’ll share the sites that post information on agents and editors. Then we can all flood the inboxes and mail bins of those who can help us get our stories to the world!

Oh, and for those who love or are skilled at writing queries, I suggest (and beg) you to open your own business writing queries for those of us who don’t. You’d make a million dollars in the first year, I guarantee it!

-Meg

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