Specialized Query: Mystery

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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wonderactivist
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Specialized Query: Mystery

Post by wonderactivist » September 5th, 2010, 4:43 am

In my mystery there are 7 major suspects. I wrote my query following the advice online and from a conference, but I realized tonight that it doesn't sound as mysterious as I would like. It focuses on the main conflict of the story which, in the absence of the other 6 conflicts, pretty succinctly tells you who did it. I know I can't possibly go over the top suspects in the query because I tried that in early drafts and it sounded too confusing. I've been told that I shouldn't try to hide the killer in my query or my synopsis. I do mention the path of clues, etc...but I'm still not satisfied.

Should I add a line saying that there are 7 major suspects and keep the focus on the central conflict, or should I rewrite the query focusing on a feeling of uncertainty? Does the mystery genre require a different type of query?

Thanks, I'm learning a lot from this forum.

Lucie

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Mira
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Re: Specialized Query: Mystery

Post by Mira » September 8th, 2010, 8:20 pm

Lucie - it's really hard to know from just a description. Have you thought about posting your query in the Feedback section? People might be able to give specific suggestions there......

Just a thought, if it works for you.

wonderactivist
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Re: Specialized Query: Mystery

Post by wonderactivist » September 9th, 2010, 1:07 am

Thanks Mira,

I will consider posting it, but I'm fairly new here and thought it would be important to get my feet wet before asking for critiques. My query needs major work, I've sent it four times now with three rejections, plus one request for a partial which was eventually rejected. From a different query, I had a partial request at a conference which was eventually rejected.

This is my first book and the whole query process seems much more intimidating than the actual fiction. I think after a total of five rejections, it's time to revise my query. It doesn't sound like my book. I think I try too hard and sound too forced...so I'll rewrite and maybe eventually post here.

Warm regards,

Lucie

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Mira
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Re: Specialized Query: Mystery

Post by Mira » September 9th, 2010, 1:26 pm

Absolutely, Lucie. :)

Well, it's up to you, but personally, I think it's just fine to dive in and post it here. If you also give feedback on other people's submissions, I'm sure they'll return the favor!

Another good resource to post your query and get feedback is The Public Query Slushpile: http://openquery.blogspot.com/

Good luck - I totally agree that writing a query is a daunting and difficult task! It's good to get support to make it through together. :)

wonderactivist
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Joined: August 24th, 2010, 8:10 am
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Re: Specialized Query: Mystery

Post by wonderactivist » September 11th, 2010, 9:26 pm

Thanks Mira! I deeply appreciate the support.

Over this weekend I've been skimming through The Fire in Fiction by Maass - great book! He talks specifically about mysteries, saying something like, 'So you're going to start with a murder - now that's original.' His point is that, yes, even in our genres we need to be saying something deeper in the book and I agree. In my book there's a murder investigation, but the real story is very much about the inner turmoil of the protagonist and her relationships; plus the community and the forces tearing it apart.

My old query didn't bring out her true, inner conflict. I have to find the right way to balance talking about the mystery, talking about the deeper story, and telling the agent why he/she's perfect to represent me, and I'm the perfect person to write this book...all in 250 words or less.

Ugh! I'm sure you can relate. Still, since I'm torching the old query and starting fresh, I think I'll wait til I've taken it through a couple of self-corrections before bothering y'all.

Thanks again!

Lucie

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