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Thread: Question about setting in a query,

  1. #1
    figuring it all out epullins's Avatar
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    Question about setting in a query,

    Okay so when you are writing your QL and they say that you should include the time and setting for your book. What if you have multiple settings but there is One main setting. For instance in my novel my MC lives in New Orleans and two thirds of the book does take place there but he travles to Boston and there is a good deal of the book taking place there. Would I say this takes place in Modern day New Orleans, or would I say modern day United States? Just wandering this?

  2. #2
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    stick your query in QLH. I think if your setting matters, you can mention in passing, but I'd still avoid "Ken Kilmore lives in Boston and..."

    honestly, i've written a number of queries now, though, and maybe half of them have a location? If it is important you can leave it in, but I'm not convinced you do.

    btw, you shouldn't have to say "modern-day" anyplace....
    Three words that convey the meaning of six will always look better than twelve...


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  3. #3
    is watching you via her avatar jjdebenedictis's Avatar
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    As a rough test for whether the setting is important enough to mention: if the book could take place somewhere else without the story changing much, don't mention the setting.

    For example, a story about actors in Los Angeles would have a very different flavour if you moved the story to Toronto, but a story about janitors in Los Angeles potentially could shift to Toronto without changing much. Therefore, you'd only mention the setting for the story about actors.

    Historicals and SFF tend to be genres where the setting is important enough to almost-always mention. With other sorts of books, it's going to depend on how important to the story the setting is.
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    figuring it all out epullins's Avatar
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    Okay so you think that I possibly may not need to mention my location at all? Or should I possibly just smoothly slip it on in the mini syn somewhere.

    For example something like this : Darrell caught a glimpse of the black SUV that had been following him for the last week, as he fought through the New Orleans rush hour traffic.

    Oh and I totally agree "Modern day" is a little dramatic and unneeded.

  5. #5
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    not sure if you're clear from what you just said, but a synopsis is different from a query itself.
    Three words that convey the meaning of six will always look better than twelve...


    a' traveling:
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  6. #6
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epullins View Post
    Okay so you think that I possibly may not need to mention my location at all? Or should I possibly just smoothly slip it on in the mini syn somewhere.

    For example something like this : Darrell caught a glimpse of the black SUV that had been following him for the last week, as he fought through the New Orleans rush hour traffic.

    Oh and I totally agree "Modern day" is a little dramatic and unneeded.
    Epullins,

    Are you talking about your query letter or a synopsis. I ask, because your example sounds like it would belong in a synopsis as opposed to a query letter.

    Also, beware of over-telling in your query letter. The meat of the query is suppose to be short (around 150 words or thereabouts) and tells the main plot to get the agent to read your work. The synopsis is longer, anywhere from 1 page up to 5 pages or thereabouts, depending on what the agent wants.

    As quicklime said, take your query letter down to Query Letter Hell. People there are very wise in helping you see what belongs in a query and what does not.

    Oh, and modern day is a fine phrase. If that's when you story is set, that's when it's set.
    Susan

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    practical experience, FTW
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    Modern day is fine, but contemporary saves you a word.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
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    The only time I've mentioned a setting in a query is when it either 1) matters to the storyline because it affects the plot, or 2) the agent/editor has some connection to the setting, such as having grown up there or gone to school there or vacationed there.

  9. #9
    figuring it all out epullins's Avatar
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    I guess I was asking in reference to my query, I know I have only a very small space to condense the entire book (the example has nothing to do with my manuscript I was just using it as an example) but I just wasn't sure how important it is to include the setting and location.

    I am getting the QL ready for QLH now. I had to rewrite it because the only copy of it I had was lost when my laptop was stolen out of my house.

  10. #10
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epullins View Post
    For example something like this : Darrell caught a glimpse of the black SUV that had been following him for the last week, as he fought through the New Orleans rush hour traffic.
    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Littlefield View Post

    Are you talking about your query letter or a synopsis. I ask, because your example sounds like it would belong in a synopsis as opposed to a query letter.
    Actually, it sounds like it came straight out of the novel. A synopsis is written in present tense and it summarizes. It doesn't include descriptions of people driving.

  11. #11
    figuring it all out epullins's Avatar
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    well Beth that isn't anything I intended to include in my synopsis because it has no relation what so ever to my book. I was just using it as an example it I wanted to just slip the location into a sentence without directly saying He is located in New Orleans. That wasn't my question in the thread and I am aware that a synopsis is written in the present tense and is not meant to describe someone driving but that wasn't my question.

  12. #12
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    easy, pullins, beth was trying to help.

    again, toss the query up in QLH....the easiest way for anyone to give you a reasonable opinion on if YOU should include location is by having some actual background info...like the rest of that query. Generally speaking, if he's everyday joe in everyday America, we don't need to know he's in Toledo instead of Chicago or Phoenix. If the story involves a guy racing to save the Twin Towers, then we probably need to know he's in NY, as well as why he's "the guy" to save us.
    Three words that convey the meaning of six will always look better than twelve...


    a' traveling:
    --April 20th week: Miami
    --April 27th week: Dallas
    --First week of May: Chicago (again)

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