Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Query and Wednesday's Writing Update

*Hello, A-Zers, Crusaders, and Fellow Blog Followers!*

Query letters are the bane of most authors’ existence if they want to find an agent. They rank up there with the dreaded synopsis, and there are times when I’d rather face a tornado in the dark while walking on an open, steep staircase than write a query letter. Okay, maybe not really. *shudders*

There are a gazillion websites out there that will tell you how to write a query letter. Personally, I’d recommend downloading Elana Johnson’s From the Query to the Call. (!query-to-the-call) If nothing else, it’ll help you start thinking about queries, why you need them, how to write them, etc. It’s free, and Elana says it best.

The most important thing about the query letter is to tell a prospective agent what the book is about in a way that makes the agent go “wow.” It needs to make them want to read more. I haven’t taken the query plunge yet, but I will show you my query for Virtuoso. Lynnette Labelle critiqued it for me, but I'm always open for more ways to make it better. Let me know what you think. Does it make you want to read more? Or is it back to the drawing board for me?

[Virtuoso query – the basic part]
Russian-born, teenage violinist Nadia Godunov struggles to reclaim her life after a tragic accident crushes her dream.

Nadia awakens in the hospital from a three-day coma with a broken left hand and is devastated to learn she may never play the violin again – and worse yet, her boyfriend, Marcus, died in the accident. She must battle to overcome her grief and guilt, but her fear of change is overwhelming. She has to find a way to move on without him or her music.

When the broken bones in her hand heal, her fingers refuse to find the correct notes, shattering her dreams of going pro. Nadia fights to overcome this challenge and keep her virtuoso status. In doing so, she discovers another ability – telekinesis. Her newfound gift may help her play, but the headaches it produces make her question her second chance. And just as normalcy returns, an undead Marcus waltzes into her life and wants her back. Now a vampire, he offers her a lifetime of forever, and Nadia must decide between her love for him and her love for music.

Do you have a hard time with query letters? What do you think is the hardest part about writing?

Now on to Wednesday's Writing Update.

My story "Druid Song" is up on Raven and the Writing Desk.

I've been working on rewrites for Virtuoso – I'm about to start chapter eleven – and writing "Mage Game." I hope to finish "Mage Game" today, so I can get back to my PWP edits/critique. Yes, I've been very bad about it this month.

I'm beginning to get nervous that Virtuoso won't be long enough. The first draft was 68,000 words. I'm ten chapters in, and it is only 12,500 words. The complete manuscript will only be twenty-eight chapters. For YA, it can fall between 40,000-60,000, but I hope to at least have 50,000 words when all is said in done, although I was shooting for 60,000. We'll have to wait and see.

Well, I suppose I better get back to writing. Have a good week!


PK HREZO said...

Great advice! I did query today too. I'm one of those weirdos who like them. It's the synopsis that gets me. :(

Aubrie said...

Boy, this query has really come a long way! I love it!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I'm with PK. Firstly, Elana's query book totally rocks! When I first attempted to write a query letter, I absolutely stunk at it. But there were amazing writers out there who took me by the hand and helped. It took a few months, but I finally did create a solid query that gained me requests for material!

Amy Saia said...

I agree, this is great advice. Your query has a nice feel to it, it's dramatic and you can see where the stakes are for Nadia. Good luck with finishing the draft! You never know when the words are just going to start avalanching out, and before you know it, you've reached your goal.

Natasha Hanova said...

It's hard to take 50,000+ words and condense it down into one page. Hard, but in the end worth the trouble.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Query letters are brutal but I really like this version. :)

And don't stress over the word count until after you're done with the rewrite. That's my advice.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've read Elana Johnson's book. It took me forever to write a decent query.

Christine Rains said...

Query letters are difficult for me. How can I hook a person to read my manuscript with one sentence? That's a lot of pressure for one sentence.

You're doing great with Virtuoso. Save the nervousness until you send it out to a publisher! ~_^