Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writer at Work

So I'm hard at work on my query.  Well, mostly, it's been an interesting week.  Anyway.  I've been going through all my saved info on queries and wanted to share the posts in case anyone else can find them useful.

Nathan Bransford has some advice here and here
Barbara Rogan has some tips here.
A query letter broken down into it's parts here.
Agent Vickie Motter has a few here, here, here, here
Of course there's Query Shark.

Probably the best was this template that was suggested
What does the protagonist want?
What's keeping him from getting it?
What choice/decision does he face?
What terrible thing will happen if he chooses A, what terrible thing will happen if he doesn't?


The main character must decide whether to__________. If they do (this) the (consequences/peril they must face are).  If they decide not to do (this) the (consequences/peril they face are)


Who is the protag?  (A fairy princess unicorn)
What is their problem? (is lost in the forest and alone, being royalty she's never been alone before.)
What do they do about the problem? (she searches for her lost guide, in the heart of the forest where the sun doesn't shine)
Who/what is the antag? (where she meets the wizard Horace who wants to use her horn in his immortality spell)
What are the stakes? (without her horn she'll lose her magic and princess unicorns will become normal unicorns, thus losing their royal status and their access to crowns.)

No, that's not really my story but it should be.  It would be crazy amazing, right?  Moving on. 

Hope this is useful to someone.  I'm getting back to work. 


  1. It still amazes me how much querying advice there is out there. You really have to research your agent to get a feel for their flavor of query. There is no one size fits all (I wish!).

    1. There is so much info it can be intimidating, and time consuming. So worth it though when you get the requests coming in.

  2. Query letters are definitely helpful in many ways. They're also an exercise to get writers to clearly study the heart of their work, and translate that to the query.

    1. So true, you really need to know the essence of your story.

  3. Very helpful. Query letters are more than just query letters, often times they turn into a book jacket or synopsis. All the more reason to choose your words carefully. Thanks for the info.

    1. True, I've seen several that took parts of the query and put them on the cover.

  4. I'm not querying yet, but I'm bookmarking this page for when I am. Thanks for the tips and information!

  5. My FAVORITE is Elana Johnson

    LOVE her - but you picked sources I used the whole time!! Good luck!!

    1. Love it, so simple and direct. The hook part is hard though.

  6. Did you ever read Miss Snark? I so miss her. But Miss Snark's First Victim is a great place to learn as well.

    I think you should write the unicorn story. I hear unicorns are the new vampires.

    1. I've read some Miss Snark but I came to the blogging world after she had stopped posting. I do visit Miss Snark's First Victim though.

      I'll put the unicorns on my list of things to write someday. :)

  7. Oh the dreaded query letter... ;)

    Some great links you shared though :D And good luck with your query! That's exciting! Such a crazy fun business ;)

    1. Thanks, Crazy fun business describes it well. Both Crazy and Fun.