Thursday, February 25, 2010

Writing Queries

Hi everyone. I've seen a lot flying around the writing loops I'm on about writing queries. I know it's hard to condense 60-100K words into one or two paragraphs. My queries have consistantly gotten interest from agents (though still haven't gotten past that stage!) and editors (doing better on that end) - but getting your query noticed out of the hundreds they receive every week is a challenge. Your query must stand out if you want to get your foot in the door.

The best advice I ever received for writing queries was this: Imagine the paragraph on the back of a book. The one that hooks you in and makes you want to read the story. Every sentence is filled with intrigue. Your query should introduce your hero (and heroine if a romance), give a brief outline of the GMC - Goal, Motivation and Conflict and leave the reader dying for more.

Here is a copy of one of my queries that has resulted in several requests:

It's hard enough being seventeen, but when your boyfriend's an Egyptian Demigod and your mom's dating a soul sucker, things can get a lot worse. Pandora has seen ghosts since she was a kid but now she finds out she’s a Veil Walker. She can bring back the spirits of the dead, but why would she want to do that? She has enough trouble getting rid of the ones stuck on this side. One annoyingly perky ghost wants Pandora to find her killer. Joseph, her super-hot sometimes-panther boyfriend doesn't like the idea, and soon enough she finds herself in way over her head. When the killer captures her, she must escape him or her soul will be trapped forever in her own Pandora’s Jar.

In this paragraph, I have introduced my character, outlined her problems, and led up to the story's climax.

Good luck to everyone with your queries!!!

Until next time.... Julianna


  1. Awesome information Julianna...I enjoyed the post.


  2. No one does a query better than you. Thanks for all the help and thanks for reminding us about what works.
    ~~ Eliza