Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Query Week

Good Monday morning everyone. I hope your weekends went well. And as for the adage, "Be careful what you wish for..." As I was complaining on Friday about the blasted heat, a low pressure system moved in Saturday night and now it's rainy and c-c-cold.

And no, I'm not finished with the ms. yet, but well on my way. 89K and counting. Yes, I'm over my orginal word count but I did some editing Saturday night on the first act and already I've killed off several cheap scenes. I haven't yet figured out how much of the word count I'm missing. I'm hoping when all is said and done, I'll end up back at my orginal 87k.

Any-hoo, what I've decided to do this week was post the various forms of my query for REMEMBERING YOU. Kind of like before, middle and after. I thought it might help some of you see what kind of process I go through and maybe help you along the way.

There are four main things you need for a really great query;

Hook -- This is the first sentence of the query which summarizes what the book is about. Sometimes called a logline or an 'elevator pitch'.

Conflict -- This is what the protagonist (main character/s) must go through to reach the goal. I like to use both internal and external conflicts in my queries.

Motivation -- This is what drives the main character to the goal.

Goal -- And this is what the main character gets.

Now I'm not going to dive too deeply into why I did what I did, changed what I wrote, my thought processes on each and every version -- sometimes too much information can overload the system so I've noted what I thought was important and what wasn't.

I hope you'll stop by.

37 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Good info here, Anne. I like it!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Anne,
We seem to have the opposite problem with word count. :) Our weather has turned here too. Brrrr this morning. My solution: brew extra coffee. I'm in the querying process again and while I think my letter is pretty good, I haven't had a positive response yet to the first eight I sent out. I will be following along here to see what you've accomplished. Love the Atwood quote, by the way. Her novel is on my top ten list of all time.

Piedmont Writer said...

Bish -- Thanks, I hope you'll swing by for the rest of the fun.

Yvonne -- Hey, thanks for stopping by. I'm a big fan. LOVE the Atwood quote. I hope I can help you with your query. I've has so much good luck with all my help, I'm just trying to pay it forward.

Liza said...

I'm looking forward to reading and learning as you go through this process. Thank you for sharing.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I broke into a sweat when I saw your post title. Yep, I'm getting close to that dreaded day.

Great breakdown on the query. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Liza -- My pleasure.

Stina -- Oh no, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you. It'll get easier as the week goes on.

Matthew Rush said...

I was hoping to get you on my blog with some analysis of your query sometime soon, but this should be just as cool.

Justine Dell said...

Oh, having query blogs are awesome. I'm always in need of help in this area.

~JD

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet you complete it this week!
And I'm glad the temperature finally dropped.

Piedmont Writer said...

Matthew -- Well, if you don't see anything this week that you like, or a question that needs expanding, maybe we can get together on something. I'd love to do a blog post with you.

Justine -- Well I hope I DO help.

Alex -- As a matter of fact, I'm going to the WIP right this instant. And yes, I am SO grateful for the rain. I might complain about being cold but the heat is just too much for me.

Crystal Cook said...

I'm getting closer to querrying, but not really. I still have a long way to go. But I'll be here waiting for each post you have!

And I kind of like it when the weather finally turns and it feels chilly. :)

Amie B said...

can't wait to read it!

my word count changes a lot through edits and revisions too. i try to remember that word count is never permanent - and its just a goal to try to reach, not live by.

Tara said...

Aha! It was you. Sheesh it's ugly out there!

Great steps for the query writing.

Laura Pauling said...

Sounds like a good series! I'll be back. I def. need to start a few months early on my query letters for them to go through the refining fires!

Piedmont Writer said...

Crystal -- This info will be good for you, you'll be able to marinate in it.

Amie -- Yeah, my word count changes too, I just hope I end up with roughly the same thing.

Tara -- YES, it WAS ME! Ugly last night too.

Laura -- Good reasoning. I started on this query about three months ago, which is why, when you see it, some things just didn't fit anymore.

Lynn said...

My current writing road doesn't include query as literary magazines don't require one. Hopefully if I ever reach that point I'll have you come back to for some pointers!
(Thanks for the comment over at my place. And what is the special anyways? :) )

Creepy Query Girl said...

Oh what fun! I'm going to be focusing on query letters this week too!

Piedmont Writer said...

Lynn -- I'm thinking little necks in a white wine w/ garlic over angel hair. We're also making homemade fontina cheese bread sticks. And chocolate raspberry cheesecake for dessert.

Kate -- So a double whammy! This will be fab!

MB Dabney said...

Okay, I admit I am totally as a loss. No matter how I write a query seems to work. I don't know why. So I am REALLY interested in your help.
Got a rejection this morning. Was the 13th in this last batch of 29 queries sent. I need help. Need it badly.
So I'm counting on you. (No pressure, of course.)

Theresa Milstein said...

This morning, I started overhauling my query because it wasn't getting any bites.

Good luck with your writing!

It got cold here too.

Piedmont Writer said...

Michael -- No pressure at all.

Theresa -- I'm so afraid I'm missing something in mine and have to redo it too. I wish the leaves would turn though. It's still like summer and it's September.

Anne R. Allen said...

OK, I'm going to work on a query letter this week too. Misery loves company and all that. Just finished my new book two weeks ago and I'm about to dive into edits, so this is a good point to start composing the query and synopsis.

But it's so easy to say how a query should be done and so hard to actually condense your magnum opus into a couple of enticing paragraphs.

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

if i haven't said this before, i just want to say that i'm super duper jealous of your ability to write novels so fast and frequently.

Eric W. Trant said...

Be sure to nip me on my blog or email me (saulgoode35 at yahoo) if/when you post up your query.

You should post on Matt's site.

- Eric

Piedmont Writer said...

Anne -- That's why I'm posting all this on queries, I'm running through all my mistakes so you don't make the same ones.

Sarah -- Don't be jealous, I'm not fast at all. And believe me, I know others who can write a novel in two months so color me jealous.

Eric -- You betcha. I already talked to Matt.

Melanie Beuken said...

Always great to get some tips for query letters. Mine are about non-fiction, so a little different, but it can't hurt to read somebody else's insights. Looking forward to reading more about your query's.

Piedmont Writer said...

Melanie -- It'll be nice to have you here.

Donna Hole said...

Awesome. I look forward to reading about your process :)

.......dhole

Elliot Grace said...

...what is it with queries? A one page overview that sparks utter fear into my every core...despite topping off a 100,000 word manuscript only a month prior.

Oh silly me:)
Great post, Anne!

Patti said...

I love seeing other people's query process. I have several versions.

Shelley Sly said...

I'm looking forward to reading your queries. I just wrote the second draft of my most recent query, and though I haven't submitted it for critique yet, I already predict that there are problems. It's good to see what worked for other writers and learn from that.

Wishing you the best of luck with your MS!

Piedmont Writer said...

Donna -- Someday soon, I hope, you may be joining me in the trenches.

Elliot -- hahaha, I so hear you on the fear. It's almost like we're writing our senior thesis for the MFA. Only worse, the grade is an agent. Or not.

Patti -- Well, I'm only showing four but there are like 19, I think.

Shelley -- Well, there are spoilers that I don't think you knew about but I hope you like it.

Jen Daiker said...

This is so sweet of you Anne! I think this is going to be very informational for me.

Dominique said...

As the say, when the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.

Good luck with the rest of the MS. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I remember the query you sent me for Masquerade. You do really well with queries, in my opinion. :)

coffeelvnmom said...

Anne, I've been begging for cold - it was 100 degrees here today. Care to switch places? :)

Good luck with the MS, and where was this query breakdown a week ago when I needed it? (Just kidding. Kind of.)

Bossy Betty said...

We got your heat. You can have it back. It was 101 here today.