Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A tale of two queries

I took a vacation day from work on Monday.

I spent 90 percent of my time in front of my computer trying to compose a stellar query.

Here's what I realized:

1. It's incredibly hard to condense a 85,000-word ms into less than 300 words and still manage to let your writer's voice resonate.

You see, I'd been trying to give an overview of my ms in the most concise manner possible. I can do it in under 90 words, but it sounds pretty dry. Coming to terms with that realization brought me to my second epiphany.

2. There is an indirect relationship between the number of words used to summarize my ms and how cliche the story sounds. (The less words I use, the more trite it sounds.) It's deep. Really, the story has depth.

After reading some sample queries on agent Web sites, I decided I needed to add a little color to mine. My query needs to sing, not whisper, right? So, after I toiled and labored and perspired (well, maybe not perspired, but. . . ) to boost the frequency in my query voice yesterday afternoon, I had my third epiphany.

3. There aren't enough Twizzlers in the world to get me through this.
Maybe one of these days I'll get up the nerve to post these two queries so I can show you what I'm talking about.
But . . . not today.

If, by chance, anyone has tried to e-mail me, my account is acting up and I'm not getting all of my e-mails. Please send communication to this address instead.


Rosslyn Elliott said...

LOL at the insufficiency of Twizzlers!

If and when you feel like it, send me the queries. I'd be delighted to take a look.

Queries are weird beasts.

gzusfreek said...

Epiphany. Twizzler.

Kat, you knock them dead. I've read lots of your stuff and heard lots of good things about the things I haven't read. . .keep pushing that brain - the sizzling twizzlers will come. . .so will agents and publishers. I am confident!

Crimogenic said...

Queries! (Crimey runs and hides). All I can say is that after a few rewrites, you'll begin to sneak in your voice and writing style, and voila!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there...and send it over ANYTIME. Love the twizzlers comments...got me through many meetings (but no way do they help with the dreaded query!!!)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Ooooh, I feel your pain. Queries are just evil, evil things.

I also understand the Twizzler problem, but if you run dry, you can always try temporarily switching to Red Vines.