So, in light of my query wars, I've decided to post some updates. I've started to query my YA Mystery and out of the three I sent around december 15th, I had two requests. One partial and one upfront full which was awesome. The agent who asked for a full actually read the first ten pages at the bottom of the query because it was in her guidelines. So, it makes me feel really good to know my query and first ten pages of Never Kill a Boy on the Fifth Date is agent-worthy.
I'm going to recap on what I've learned this year about querying before I get to the awards (I know how excited you guys must be about those. I know I always am).
Okay. Deep breath.
Writing a query is different than writing a novel. But, really, good writing is still good writing. Learning about query writing can even help with your novel. For instance, the first thirty pages should be able to be summed up in one action-packed opening sentence for the query. If it sounds boring, then you took too long to jump into the heart of your story. If the sentence is too complicated, then your beginning may sound rushed or make little sense to others. Its hard to judge your work when you already know everything about it! Sometimes I forget the reader isn't me and reference world-building points that are in my outline for myself but never discussed in my novels. Whoops.
Anyway, back to queries. You have one page to make a breathtaking first impression as a writer, a person, and for your story. You have to entice the agent with your story and impress them with the freshness of your voice. And at the same time you have to outline the main plot of your story in just a few sentences and show your experience and why you're submiting to a particular agent.
Doing all of this, I believe, is a lesson in editing that will help with your book. You'll develop a better understand of the rule "make sure every word counts." You'll also, with practice, pick up on how to write just the right words to tell your story in the briefest and most interesting way with the flow, action, et cetera. The main thing queries help me with is understanding the voice of my novel. With Evie Dawson, I had to go back after my first query rough draft and edit a chapter because I suddenly realized it lacked my voice. All in all, I've learned that as writers we should invest time in every word of our novel like we do with our queries.
Writers: I'm interested in hearing what ya'll have learned the past year about queries and how the knowledge has helped your writing skills.
Now, on to the awards!
First off, we have the lovely Honest Scrap Award. Thanks, Marce! Seriously, ya'll need to check her blog. It's one of many blogs I'm addicted to reading. The rules of the award are that I must list 10 honest things about myself and then pass the award on to 7 blogs.
My 10 truths:
1. I grew up in Rhode Island. Since I left for college, I've become annoyed by the fact that the south has never tasted the luxury of coffee milk and quahogs.
2. I'm shamelessly addicted to the show GREEK and CRIMINAL MINDS. If you've never heard of theses shows, I suggested going over to surfthechannel[dot]come and watching the first episode of each. Be warned: you might become a nerd like me.
3. Staying with the nerd thing, since I was sick ten years ago my eyeshot has been HORRIBLE. I can't see without my glasses contacts. And only through recent developments have I learned that I also cannot drive without them. I'll save that story for another day.
5. I draw my main characters before writing about them. If their pictures don't resonate with me, I remove them from the story.
6. I have two jobs. One of which is waitressing. So, I feel the need to inform you the customers who ask me stuff that's clearly written in the menu I purposely stall ten minutes before putting their orders into our computer system. Believe me, I'm one of the nicest. You should see what my coworkers do to the S.O.S's (Stuck on Stupid's).
7. The term S.O.S. is a code my mother and I share for when we are around people with no common senses whatsoever.
8. Since my college is in the South, I've started saying ya'll which only adds to the corniness I've inherited from my dad.
9. I once ran over an armadillo...and cried about it for three days. To this day, I still feel sorry for the first, and hopefully last, animal I've ever killed.
10. I have an obsession with Ireland. No, I'm not Irish or anything. I just really want to travel there someday.
Now, I'm passing the award on to seven blogs I enjoy reading. This was really hard because there's so many I love. I hated only picking seven!!!
4. Book Junkie
Another award I've received is the lovely blog award. It's so cool getting this blog again because it means new people are stumbling onto my blog and liking what they see. Thanks so much Lovely Miss Lucy : )! The rules are I have to link back to the person who granted me the award, pass the award on to ten blogs that I've recently discovered, and let them know that I chose them
My recent finds:
Okay, so it's about 12: 30 a.m. and I'm finally finished with this post. I really encourage readers of my blog to check out the links of fellow bloggers. I'll let all the winners know tomorrow since there are 17 total...I don't think my eyes will stay open as I sift through more blogs.
So, night everyone and I can't wait to hear about what you've all learned from queries tomorrow!