Original idea = the best query?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Post Reply
User avatar
CharleeVale
Posts: 553
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 3:16 am
Contact:

Original idea = the best query?

Post by CharleeVale » January 22nd, 2010, 3:04 pm

So, I had an idea for a story, and I couldn't help but notice that the stuff I was writing down to describe it was eerily close to a query hook. So I pose this question, are we over thinking queries? Maybe we should just revert back to that first impulsive and tantalizing hook that made us write the book. If it got our attention, it very well may grab someone else's.

CV

LydiaSharp
Posts: 37
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 4:49 pm
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Re: Original idea = the best query?

Post by LydiaSharp » January 22nd, 2010, 4:29 pm

I'll never forget the first "first line" I wrote for my first novel. At the time, I thought it was stellar. And the fact that it just popped in my head out of nowhere made it even sweeter.

"Of all her visits to Rasa, this was the first time Olessa believed she might not make it off the planet alive."

Since then, I offered this project to a slew of trusted beta readers/fellow writers for feedback, and they all said it stunk as an opener. So I've changed it, and changed it again, and changed it a billion more times, and I think the more conscious effort I put into it, the more it totally sucks. I'm tempted to go back to my original. Frustrating.

Sorry, I guess that wasn't so much about a query letter hook. But it's what your post made me think of. :)
Lydia Sharp
Science Fiction * Fantasy * Women's Fiction
http://www.lydiasharp.blogspot.com

User avatar
marilyn peake
Posts: 304
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 4:29 pm
Contact:

Re: Original idea = the best query?

Post by marilyn peake » January 22nd, 2010, 4:56 pm

Charlee,

My experience is that it depends on whether or not your initial ideas are primarily intellectual ideas or plot and characters. For example, when I write science fiction novels, I spend a lot of time thinking about intellectual ideas, especially sociopolitical and scientific ones, and reading science books. I thoroughly enjoy creating future worlds extrapolating from current trends and scientific research. At that point, though, I don’t yet have a detailed plot or well-developed characters, and I think that’s what agents want to see. For that reason, I need to wait until my book is completed before writing a query letter.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

User avatar
Scott
Posts: 116
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 3:14 pm
Contact:

Re: Original idea = the best query?

Post by Scott » January 22nd, 2010, 6:29 pm

I do think there's something to over-thinking an idea and losing the original mojo, though. I'd say definitely square the query around the hook, and don't build on it any more than you have to. It's like getting dressed in the morning: you've got your basic look and then you add...just enough.

This message brought to you by the feminine side of Scott, apparently.

User avatar
Holly
Posts: 500
Joined: December 21st, 2009, 9:42 pm
Location: Gettysburg, PA
Contact:

Re: Original idea = the best query?

Post by Holly » January 22nd, 2010, 6:34 pm

LydiaSharp wrote:"Of all her visits to Rasa, this was the first time Olessa believed she might not make it off the planet alive."

Since then, I offered this project to a slew of trusted beta readers/fellow writers for feedback, and they all said it stunk as an opener. So I've changed it, and changed it again, and changed it a billion more times, and I think the more conscious effort I put into it, the more it totally sucks. I'm tempted to go back to my original. Frustrating.
For what it's worth, I love that line! Now I want to know what happens next. Are your trusted beta readers and fellow writers sci-fi types?

User avatar
CharleeVale
Posts: 553
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 3:16 am
Contact:

Re: Original idea = the best query?

Post by CharleeVale » January 22nd, 2010, 6:37 pm

Yeah Lydia, I love that line!

Anyway...I guess it also depends on your writing style. If you're a slower developer that this obviously won't work, but if you have a *BAM!* idea....maybe.

CV

LydiaSharp
Posts: 37
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 4:49 pm
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Re: Original idea = the best query?

Post by LydiaSharp » January 24th, 2010, 1:27 pm

Holly wrote:
LydiaSharp wrote:"Of all her visits to Rasa, this was the first time Olessa believed she might not make it off the planet alive."

Since then, I offered this project to a slew of trusted beta readers/fellow writers for feedback, and they all said it stunk as an opener. So I've changed it, and changed it again, and changed it a billion more times, and I think the more conscious effort I put into it, the more it totally sucks. I'm tempted to go back to my original. Frustrating.
For what it's worth, I love that line! Now I want to know what happens next. Are your trusted beta readers and fellow writers sci-fi types?
Most of them write fantasy, but some are like me and do both. *shrugs* I worked on that novel for a solid year and a half and then took a hiatus. During that break, I realized that, even though others may have your best interests at heart, many times it is more beneficial to trust your gut. Glad that line makes you want to keep reading. I'm getting ready to work on revisions again, so this comment has been a nice motivator. :)

And regarding the query letter... as I'm writing, if I think of a line that feels like it would be a good fit for a pitch, I'll save it in another file. But I can't put together a coherent query until the story is complete. That's just my experience, though. Everyone works differently.
Lydia Sharp
Science Fiction * Fantasy * Women's Fiction
http://www.lydiasharp.blogspot.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests