Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making it Yours

There is nothing quite like the high you feel after finishing a draft. The draft. The one that agents and editors have requested to see. Thirty thousand words that shoot you flying high in a cloud because people other than your family can read it. And then...

The query.

250 words.

250 words that will suck you into a hole faster than mud.

250 words that will force you to use the other side of your brain, which has slowly shriveled away as you etched out thirty thousand.

I don't have a prescriptive formula. I don't have worksheets. There are plenty of other people on the net who have great resources, like Elana Johnson.

But after twelve hours of staring at the computer and multiple drafts of drivelous puke, the query that worked had something different than the others. It stood out above them.

Because I made it my own.

Much to the surprise of both sides of my brain, I wrote my query the same way I wrote my book. Draft after draft. After draft. After draft. Draft. Draftdraftdraft.

No formula. No worksheets. Just me, showing them what they need to know.

So now I can go fly high again. Until I have to send them out this week. But that's another story...

How is your query process going? Are you ready to? Or thankfully done with it?


  1. I haven't actually written queries to agents yet, since the few stories I've sent out have been to literary magazines and short story contests. But good for you for completing your query, because I think it's definitely difficult to write. I think the hardest part would be summarizing the book into just a few sentences that would engage the agent. That's something I definitely need to work on.

  2. I'm with you on doing it your own way. I tried formula's and months and months of trying to force things. Then, one day in the car, it just came to me what words I should use. That ended up being my best query. It actually got me some requests.

  3. Wow! Incredible! I tried a few how to's and formulas and have found they are good guides and things to look toward to make sure I haven't forgotten anything (editing mostly) but can't seem to use worksheets or the like...

    So excited for you!!

  4. Good for you on writing your query!

    I haven't tried writing a query; I'm still writing the book itself at this point.