Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Tremblessent

I've spent the evening carving out a query for a novel I completed a couple of years back and have been buffing since. I haven't read all of the query shark archives yet, or I'd send my shiny new query in to be judged by her. Thing is, this is only my second ever. My first was BAD BAD BADBADBADBADBAD and I was so unaware of how bad it was that when I realised I felt incredibly embarrassed to have wasted that agent's inbox space.

This time round I've been contemplating queries in the back of my mind for a while and I have a much better idea of how to do it. Really, that wouldn't take much. It was very bad.

I still don't think I'm great at it, but there was a Twitter pitch thing for The Knight Agency and since #FridayPhrases really got its claws into me I've felt so much more comfortable putting myself out there on Twitter than through any other medium. So I tweeted my pitch for two novel, just to see if there was interest.

There was interest in one pitch :)

Please note: this is the first time that I am aware of that any professional writing related person has given the slightest indication they think they might be interested in reading my works. I really hope it was for the alliteration because I was *so* pleased with how that felt!

Anyway. As soon as I'd done squeaking and rushing around in a panic, I suddenly realised I needed a query.

Whole new kind of panic. My old one would not suffice for reasons already discussed (principally its badness) and I didn't want to risk this opportunity. Speed reading of queryshark.blogspot.com gave me a top level frame. I went away and wrote my query. I went back to queryshark and read their responses to 60 more queries (there are a lot on the site). I looked for evidence of crimes in my own query and couldn't find any obvious ones.

With very little time on my hands I extracted some key points and scrubbed the rawness out of my query. I was quite savage by the way.  My natural over-wordiness was not permitted its moment in the sun, which may go some way towards explaining why I felt the urge to write this!

Key points (all the good ones are stolen from the shark):

  • Good spelling and grammar. Already a bug bear of mine, I dread to think how ashamed I will feel if it turns out I missed one.
  • Who is the main character?
  • What are they doing?
  • Why are they doing it?
  • Why do I (the reader) care?
  • Is the writing style the sort that would keep my interest for a full book?

I am more than willing to keep working on this (although I obviously hope they'll just throw bucketloads of cash my way, no further questions) - but it's still impressive what you can do with a couple of hours of really intense focus and the right motivation!