Show, not Tell

There are 3 rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

The Query Formula

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Tuesdays are for queries! Yes! A whole day for querying! Wait. NO! Just a post. Just one post is all I can handle. Queries scare me, just like cute five-year-old vampire girls. But that’s for next week.

Queries need to tell the story. It is supposed to, as the lovely Dictionary.com says, outline the proposed piece in letter format.

The Query Formula

  1. Back story. You have to reveal what went on before the story starts or people will be confused. If you skip out on back story, then the query will start at the beginning of your novel. No one does that in a query. That’s what you do in a synopsis.
  2. Summarize everything that happens before the conflict. That way, when the last line comes, they want to know what the conflict is so they’ll read your story. But do not reveal the actual conflict. Don’t reveal the stakes, either. The agent will want to read your story based on what they think the conflict will be–you see, they want to know if they’re right or not!
  3. Give the work’s title and word count. You might want to fib a bit on the word count because the more words you’ve written, the more impressive your work is. I suggest starting your query with this information or putting it right smack in the middle of the query so it stands out and creates flow.
  4. Describe the work’s genre with as many words as you can. Agents like cross-genre works and the more genres you tag onto your novel the more likely they’ll take it on.
  5. Close with a line about your credentials, as a person. This business is very personal, so you better be personal. Tell them about your family and friends and the hardships you went through as you wrote it. This agent needs to like you in order to represent you!
  6. Great formatting. Show some pizazz. Bolding, italicizing, and underlining are the best way to stand out. Strikethrough is rising in popularity, too!

Stay tuned next week for the Perfect Query (PQ).

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Written by Jessica Lei

September 21, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Humor, Queries

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