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Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Screw-Up a Query


This godawful query was my first attempt. And yes, I actually sent this excrement to agents. *facepalm*

Comments are in red.


As a first time author, I am submitting a fantasy novel for your examination.
Never ever say this is your first effort as a writer.

As a life-long enthusiast of fantasy (is there any other kind?), I am delighted the current market seems very hungry for books about the supernatural and paranormal.
Who cares? Honestly, that sentence is a waste time.

I am impressed by the diversity of clients your agency represents. I aspire to be listed among your clients one day.
Well duh. Why else would you write this letter.

My synopsis follows:
ACK! Query, not ‘synopsis’.
                                                   
Dragons have walked in the midst of human kind for thousands of years, their stolen human bodies blending in with the populace.
They have always been opposed by the Masters, men who have bonded in symbiotic partnership with a supernatural sword, the Rapier.
Poor sentence structure.

Only this time, the new Master is not what the Dragon was expecting.
This time, the Rapier has bonded with a woman.

When Lee (bad spelling choice for a heroine. Later I changed it to ‘Leah’) hears the voice in her head telling her she is now the Master of a black and gold Rapier, she wonders why she should listen, especially when the tall black-eyed handsome stranger suddenly appears at her door.
Too many words.

And the Rapier must adjust to the growing interest Lee has for the Dragon that has come to kill her.

This is the first of an intended four novels. It is approximately 92,000 words with the title of, “Rapier”. I am currently writing the second novel and editing the outlines of the third and fourth novels.
Doh! Most agents want a completed novel and don’t care about the ‘intent’ of an unknown, unpublished writer.

Thank you very much for your time and the opportunity of submitting a fantasy manuscript.

28 comments:

Charity Bradford said...

Heh, heh. Thanks for sharing Huntress!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I commiserate. I've read over my first attempt and wonder what the hell I was thinking. I think I put everything, including the kitchen sink, in it. :) Hopefully I'm getting better. Hopefully...

Aldrea Alien said...

At least you didn't make the mistake of calling it a romance when it has a bittersweet ending, not a happy one. Apparently it doesn't qualify without that. *oops* ^_^

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I cringe to look at my early queries and submissions. I can't believe I thought some of those manuscripts were ready.

mshatch said...

I'm glad I never saved my early attempts. They were so so awful. But thanks for sharing :)

Charity Bradford said...

That is the rub isn't it? Early in our careers we don't realize how much we can improve.

Charity Bradford said...

Sometimes I HATE having to label our novels. "This is a good story" should suffice, right?

Charity Bradford said...

I still struggle with not putting everything in there.

Ink in the Book said...

It's the query that is hard for me. I haven't been able to nail it according to all the feed back I've had. So I am a super excited about the next few days:) I can't wait!

Huntress said...

My pleasure. Er...never mind.

Huntress said...

It does get better.

Huntress said...

Urban fantasy or paranormal romance? Fantasy or magical realism? Sometimes I flip a coin to choose :)

Huntress said...

It's all a part of the learning process. Cringing that is, LOL.

Huntress said...

I lost my first attempt at a query when my hard drive died on me. Probably due to acute indigestion.

Huntress said...

From newbie to established author, writers never stop learning their craft.

Aldrea Alien said...

It's Paranormal with romantic (and a bit of historical) elements. Apparently. I wonder if I could get away with calling it a Bittersweet Paranormal Romance?

At least most of the others fall under the 'easy' category of being either Fantasy or Science Fantasy.
Goodness knows what I'll wind up calling the one that's part historical, part ... paranormal, I suppose, since it's got gods and reincarnation ... and all romance.

Aldrea Alien said...

Ain't that the truth. I've been writing for fifteen years and I'm still learning. ^_^

Sharon Bayliss said...

Very brave of you to share! :)

Donna Hole said...

Could have been worse; you could have forgot to add the basic plot.

Not well written, but has intriguing aspects. But we all have to learn, and mistakes is the quickest lessons. Thanks for sharing this.

......dhole

farawayeyes said...

As usual I'm a day late and a dollar short, but trying to catch up. First, Huntress thanks so much for the share. Second, why is it that we can crank out 80 - 100,000 words of a story and a 250 word query is so hard? Third, I can see how much I need this.

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh Huntress! I admire your courage. This is a decent example, but it really isn't THAT bad. You should see some of my early examples.

Alicia C. said...

I too am looking forward to these Query days! It's a strange new world for me! :) Thanks for sharing Huntress! We can only learn from our, and others bravery!

Huntress said...

Hey, we all need a good laugh now and then

Huntress said...

It did got better. When you start at the bottom, there's nowhere to go but up.

Huntress said...

We all need this. And I wish I knew why writing a query is so difficult. It is one of the mysteries of the universe I think.

Huntress said...

Never stop learning. Never. Even as one of the moderators on Unicorn Bell, I am soaking up these posts like a dry sponge.

Yay, UB! Onward!

Huntress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Torggil said...

hmmm I wonder if this advice applies to resumes?