MC "hijacking" query?

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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theepicwinner
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MC "hijacking" query?

Post by theepicwinner » August 12th, 2010, 3:34 pm

This may be an absurd idea, but I need an answer.

Would having your MC "hijack" your query be a bad idea? Even if they were the type of person to do something like that?

For instance, say my MC is an alien creature. In the query they could say some human (i.e. me) has taken it upon themselves to tell their story.

It would help the query stand out, but I also have a feeling it could warrant an instant rejection for being unprofessional.

Has it been done and/or is it completely stupid?
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CraftyCreations
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by CraftyCreations » August 12th, 2010, 3:54 pm

theepicwinner wrote:This may be an absurd idea, but I need an answer.

Would having your MC "hijack" your query be a bad idea? Even if they were the type of person to do something like that?

For instance, say my MC is an alien creature. In the query they could say some human (i.e. me) has taken it upon themselves to tell their story.

It would help the query stand out, but I also have a feeling it could warrant an instant rejection for being unprofessional.

Has it been done and/or is it completely stupid?

Sounds like an interesting thought and it definitely would make your query stand. It's not stupid but I wouldn't have the courage to try it. I hear that agents want queries to be exciting and stand out - so who knows?

Good luck!
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Mira
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by Mira » August 12th, 2010, 4:15 pm

This is such a tricky one, and I've thought of the same thing. Wouldn't it be better to have my MC write the query? Especially since agents really want to hear the voice of the work? When the novel is first person, well isn't that the voice of the MC anyway?

I haven't read widely on this, but I've heard it's - unfortunately - discouraged. I'm not sure exactly why. Nathan may have blogged about this at some point.

But it's a creative thought!

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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by theepicwinner » August 12th, 2010, 5:31 pm

Mira wrote:This is such a tricky one, and I've thought of the same thing. Wouldn't it be better to have my MC write the query? Especially since agents really want to hear the voice of the work? When the novel is first person, well isn't that the voice of the MC anyway?

I haven't read widely on this, but I've heard it's - unfortunately - discouraged. I'm not sure exactly why. Nathan may have blogged about this at some point.

But it's a creative thought!
Yeah, it's just something that popped into my head. I found myself imagining what it would be like to be an agent, and reading query after monotonous query.

But what I actually meant was starting the query by writing as myself, then have the MC butting in and sort of going "hey, this is my story, I might as well tell this humanoid about it"). But of course it's the same idea.
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by Margo » August 12th, 2010, 5:39 pm

Honestly, I think the query would be DOA. Can't remember which agent blogged about it, but she considered it a gimmicky way to dress up a poor query. (Which also means it's not a new idea. She posted an example of one she'd received.) There isn't a lot of room in a query for voice that does not also convey the pertinent polt details. Having the author and the MC bantering is wasted space.
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by theepicwinner » August 12th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Righteo. That's enough for me. Idea officially scrapped.
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by Margo » August 12th, 2010, 6:07 pm

theepicwinner wrote:Righteo. That's enough for me. Idea officially scrapped.

You don't need a gimmick or twist in the query to stand out. If you did some good writing, observed the rules for your genre, put a fresh twist on the genre, and made every word of your query count, you will stand out. Fear not.
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by theepicwinner » August 12th, 2010, 6:22 pm

Very true. It's just very easy to be overlooked. Though I do realise there are no shortcuts, hence why I decided to make this thread to be sure.
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by Margo » August 12th, 2010, 6:44 pm

theepicwinner wrote:It's just very easy to be overlooked.
Think of it this way: you are only really competing against 20% of the queries out there. The other 80% are so far off base (think SlushPile Hell) that they were never in the running. It's easy to stay out of the 80% with even a bare minimum of research.
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by J. T. SHEA » August 12th, 2010, 7:19 pm

Great idea! Particularly if the AGENT is an alien. You don't think they're all from Planet Earth, do you?

Where do you think Nathan got the low down on cosmic space kapows and burping planets? No mere human could read all those queries AND all those comments AND do all the other agent and blog and forum stuff.

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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 12th, 2010, 7:51 pm

While yes, I am an alien, I don't think this is a good idea. I have heard one agent say they liked a query written from the perspective of the character, but most everyone else I've heard from on this subject thinks it feels gimmicky. I'd advise against it, but of course, I'm sure it's worked somewhere before.

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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by djf881 » August 15th, 2010, 10:41 am

theepicwinner wrote:This may be an absurd idea, but I need an answer.

Would having your MC "hijack" your query be a bad idea? Even if they were the type of person to do something like that?

For instance, say my MC is an alien creature. In the query they could say some human (i.e. me) has taken it upon themselves to tell their story.

It would help the query stand out, but I also have a feeling it could warrant an instant rejection for being unprofessional.

Has it been done and/or is it completely stupid?
A query is a professional business communication. Also, a significant percentage of slush is generated by crazy people. Literary agents will not assume you are a sane person. You risk sounding like one of the nutcases who claim in their queries that they have been channeling angels.
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by dahosek » August 17th, 2010, 9:27 pm

It was Janet Reid at Query Shark who declared queries written in the person of the MC as a gimmick (it was just this week, in fact).

Can it be done? Sure, but it has to be done exceptionally well. And even then, it's likely to be a turn-off (sort of like the people who wrote term papers for English class as a quirky short story).

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 17th, 2010, 10:43 pm

Yup, here's Janet's Query Shark post: http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2010/08/171.html

Basically: what she said.

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Re: MC "hijacking" query?

Post by amyashley » August 21st, 2010, 1:23 pm

djf881 wrote:
theepicwinner wrote: Literary agents will not assume you are a sane person.


Wait, we are supposed to be SANE?

I have to admit that the idea of writing a first-person query is appealing. My book is written in first-person and it felt odd to do the query differently. I have to agree that it's a gimmick, and it is a business letter. Smacks of a used car salesman tactic.

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