Musing: Query Hell

Writing a query is harder than writing a novel.   Period.


The work out plan for writing a Query. Diagram A.

It requires a particular brand of awesome that does not come naturally to me.  You must be intimate with your characters on two levels.   The first being that you know them down to what color sprinkles they like on their ice cream, whether they like sprinkles at all, and what lengths they will go to get said sprinkles.   Then you must know whether sprinkles matter at all.

But THEY DO matter, you just need to acknowledge their existence without talking about them.  Confused?  Good.   Now you know my pain.

All joking aside, writing a query means taking a 120,000 word novel and capture its spirit and substance in 250 words.   It is made to sell your novel and leave someone watering at the mouth at the prospect of reading it.

Easy right?   Wrong.  My suggestion to anyone reading this that plans to do the same is prepare to please this guy.


Meh. Nah. Nope. Nada. Too cliche. Too frilly.

Try explaining to a friend why your favorite ice cream flavor is the best.   Now try explaining it to someone who hates ice cream.  Now find a uniform explanation that makes them both raise their brows and go “Damn.   That DOES sound good.”

You’re gonna need thick skin.  And realize that the problem isn’t your story.  That won’t even be addressed.   It is your ability to make your story sound cool.

Three questions need answered.

1. What does your protagonist want.

2. What do they do to achieve this.

3. What awaits them if they fail.

Eric Jackson, an everyman, want to write a novel above all else.   But the evil query letter monster stands between him and success.   He tries understanding his characters inside and out and uses his control of the English language to share a spectacular new world.  But the Query monster says he is crappy at writing—and will devour his soul if he does not learn how to be succinct.

Eric stands ready with his trusty blades, drama in one hand and wit in the other, ready to confront this oppressive beast.  Will he succeed?  Or is he doomed to face the slush pile like so many before him?


Get ready to face your nightmares.

You get the idea I’m sure.   My eternal optimism retains intact, but I am not too proud to admit frustration.   I cannot stress enough how important it is to understand why this is important.   Failure is only a stop on the way to success.   It’s about the journey as much as the result.  Ceremony means nothing– there is only the Write.


Throw in your two cents -- Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s