Showing posts with label writing advice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing advice. Show all posts

Friday, November 16, 2012

Query Query Query

There comes a point in every writer’s life when they want to pull their hair out. This phenomenon is commonly called writing a query letter.
Query letters.
You spend months working on a novel. It tops out at over 50,000 words and stretches on for pages. You’ve taken care to choose the right words and create a rich setting.
How is it that a one page letter can cause so much drama?
For those new to the writing world, a query letter is a small blurb about your book to convince an agent to read it. You have to share just enough information to explain what the book is about, but not too much information. It has to be a fine balance of character and plot. It must have a unique and catchy voice that is true to the voice of the novel.
It is as difficult as it sounds. More difficult than writing the book in the first place.
My advice?
Eat chocolate and don’t be afraid to cry.
In seriousness, just try it. Maybe try writing a couple of version of it. Then get feedback. Have people who haven’t read your book read it. This will test how clearly it explains things and how inticing it is. Have people who have read your book read it. They will be able to identify if you maintain the voice of the book and can help you clarify plot points.
Don’t be afaid to try something different if things aren’t working. Save your drafts. You may decide you like your older version better or may need to use a specific line from an earlier draft.
Queries. They are a pain, but haven’t killed anyone yet. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Getting Attention

Getting Attention
A few days ago, someone came to visit whom my dog adores. While my roommate was talking with this person, I was napping in my room. I ignored Lucy’s pleasepleaseplease let me out to see them. When I finally got up, she looked at me and then began shredding a piece of paper on the floor.
Now, it is difficult to say that she was trying to get my attention, but it sure doggone felt like it.
She got attention, just not the open-the-door kind of attention she wanted, but more of the what-are-you-doing kind of attention.

As writers, we very much want the attention of an agent. There are plenty of ways to get their attention, but sometimes, it isn’t the attention you want.
The bad ways:

  •         Gimmicks. This includes, but isn’t limited to: asking a rhetorical question in the query letter, sending a letter with 26 point neon orange font, or starting your query letter with dialog.
  •          Breaking the rules. Example: Purposely misspelling the word green or writing an entire query letter as one giant run-on sentence.
  •          Not Following Guidelines. If they say no attachments, you attach something. If they say they don’t represent young adult novels, you send them your query for a YA novel.

These ways will most certainly get you noticed, but not in a good way.
So what are the steps to get noticed in a good way?
The good ways:
  •        Write something awesome.
That’s it. Plain and simple. If you want their attention, do that. It won’t work with every agent, everywhere, but guarantee, if you write something awesome, it will get noticed.
Happy Writing.