following recipes loses the cake

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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following recipes loses the cake

Post by ErinGayle » December 25th, 2009, 7:35 pm

It has always made me bristle when I read 'rules' for queries, and I think the Twilight phenomenon proves my point. Myer admits to writing a pretty so-so query, but look what happened when an agent disregarded the pedantics!
I realise that my philosophy is idealistic, but creative writing and query writing are poles apart ~ maybe that's just a personal obversation, but after reading so many of your comments re querying, I think quite a few of you feel the same.
I'd hate to be an agent reading this (with the exception of Jodi Reamer who's laughing all the way to agents' heaven ~ and the bank) they're probably shaking their heads. And the anomoly is that I see their point ~ the more honed the query, the easier it is to make a decision because the agent is conditioned to the required formula. BUT hell, I'd be topping myself if I missed a Twilight!

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Re: following recipes loses the cake

Post by shadow » December 25th, 2009, 7:51 pm

I see what you mean. Thought provoking is all I can say. Yes sometimes you can make a query too solid, and suck out all the creativity of it and sometimes there is no solididty and point. what is better?? It is honestly hard to balance.
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Re: following recipes loses the cake

Post by esther » December 26th, 2009, 8:08 pm

Umm.... I see your point.

I've heard agents automatically go for the delete button if the query is too "creative" but didn't Nathan say no agent will discard a query just because a few rules are broken?

Be creative, but not to the breaking point, I'd say.
But as for me, i think I'll stick to rules... you know, just to be safe :)

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Re: following recipes loses the cake

Post by Mira » December 28th, 2009, 12:42 am

Personally, I think the trick is to write a really good book. If your book is good, the query can be mediocre, imho. Maybe one or two agents will accidentally miss it because they are paying attention to the query only, but someone will see it. So write a d#$m good book, and do your best with the query and let it go. That's what I think, anyway. :)


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Re: following recipes loses the cake

Post by Kaitlyne » December 29th, 2009, 12:06 am

The thing is, we don't know what she means by mediocre. Have we seen her actual query? Also, we don't know what else was submitted. Did she include sample pages, etc? It might be that she had a mediocre query, but it was written in grammatical English and showed an interesting concept (isn't that the point of the query?) and the agent in question read some sample pages attached.

I think there's a big difference between a mediocre query and a bad query. A bad query shows poor understanding of grammar and sentence structure. It might mark you as an amateur who has done no research whatsoever. It might have decent writing, but describe a story in such a way that it is completely incomprehensible. A mediocre query isn't going to be riddled with mistakes and it will give a decent description of the plot. A great query will do it with creativity and voice and make the story sound amazing and draw you into the characters. I think the "rules" are out there to prevent us from creating a bad query.

And most of the rules I can think of for a query are very helpful to me. Thinks like address them personally, be confident, be concise, write in present tense, give your word count, etc. I tend to think of rules as more of guidelines anyway, but I guess my take on it is, "Thank you so much for telling me these things because now I won't write a crappy query and might have a chance!" If I didn't do the research and learn these, I can guarantee my query would be much worse.

I agree to an extent with Mira in that a good book will bring up a mediocre query, but I think the opposite is true as well. If you have a terrible query for a great book, you've just decreased the chances of having anyone even look at the book.

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