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abluerwhite
09-06-2012, 02:19 AM
Are they frowned upon? I just came across a link from an author saying her query was in the voice and point of view from her main character. She said an agent claimed the query was refreshing and interesting.

Is this okay to do so even though it's breaking rules? Do agents like to see this? I'm a new writer so I don't want to make it seem as though I don't know the rules and I'm breaking them just to break them.

mayqueen
09-06-2012, 02:35 AM
You should understand the rules and know when to break them. Some creative queries work, but there's a formula for a reason: it works. I would stay write two queries, a conventional one and a creative one. Share them with writers and friends whose opinion you trust and, once you reach 50 posts, with SYW.

Some rules are worth breaking and some will just land you a fast and furious rejection. That said, writing with your character's voice and point of view is encouraged. You want your query to reflect your novel. But you don't want to get so into the point of view that you are writing as your character, if that makes sense.

Little Ming
09-06-2012, 02:43 AM
You can break any rule you want as long as you break it well. The problem is how do you know you're doing it well? Lots of writers have tried to be "refreshing and interesting" and most of them fail miserably because their execution was poor.

I will also say that most (if not all) queries should be written in the voice and from the POV of the main character. This does not break any "rule." Unless you are referring to using 1st person POV, in which case you need to go read queryshark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/). 1st PPOV is not "refreshing and interesting," many writers have attempted it and have failed.

All this said, there are "creative queries" that have succeed, such as this one (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2010/12/192-ftw.html). But there are plenty more that have failed, like these (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/slushpilehell.tumblr.com/).

EllenBrock
09-06-2012, 04:02 AM
Creative queries are generally extremely frowned upon and, frankly, can be pretty annoying. Especially since authors all seem to have the same sort of idea of what makes a query "creative", which is writing it in first person, which definitely comes across like 1. you don't know the rules, or 2. your work can't speak for itself so you need a gimmick to get ms requests.

I'd definitely avoid first person queries and most "creative" queries unless there is a very, very good reason for it (which there probably isn't).

Cyia
09-06-2012, 04:26 AM
There's a fine line between "creative" and "gimmick." Toe that line at your own peril.

quicklime
09-06-2012, 04:35 AM
I'm not clear, by "her character's POV" are we talking close third, or an actual first-person query?

first-person DOES work on occasion, but is also pretty widely (and vocally) panned in agent blogs.....close third is actually pretty common, and the comment in your OP could have simply meant her mastery of voice was refreshing, after a million and three "Emily Daniels is a shy and retiring housewife" type voiceless pitches.

abluerwhite
09-06-2012, 05:30 AM
Okay, thank you! Oops, failed to mention that. I meant first person. From what I'm gathering just use a fresh voice, as in the one you used in your novel, but generally it's best to keep your query in third person.
I really appreciate all of your answers!

abluerwhite
09-06-2012, 05:30 AM
Also, thanks for the links! I've been reading Query Shark quite a bit recently.

quicklime
09-06-2012, 04:12 PM
Okay, thank you! Oops, failed to mention that. I meant first person. From what I'm gathering just use a fresh voice, as in the one you used in your novel, but generally it's best to keep your query in third person.
I really appreciate all of your answers!

I've seen a few first-person queries that worked, but seen many more panned, and especially if reading them is your job, and you've already seen 100, "My name is Darius, and I kill people for the Fifth Legion of Sage" starts to sound pretty fucking silly I suspect....that's the problem, volume--any gimmick you can think of, an agent has probably already seen 100 times.

Go voice. Not enough that's just your new gimmick, queries can drown in that too, but go close third and let your character really show as you describe his coming shitstorm.

Elizabeth Holloway
09-06-2012, 08:20 PM
"My name is Darius, and I kill people for the Fifth Legion of Sage" starts to sound pretty fucking silly

Or pretty fucking crazy. And given the high percentage of crazies that submit to agents, do you really want to start off that way?

Decker
09-09-2012, 05:42 PM
As someone else noted, I think there's a big difference between usinig a gimmick and truly being creative. I think being creative involves conveying all the information an agent needs about the work and does it in a way that stands out, typically a unique voice, and also makes it sound like something the agent would want to read.

Gimmicks typically don't offer the necessary info or have anything truly unique about them. They try to mask the lack of voice and detail by offering the illusion of creativity. Agents hate that.

Kitty27
09-10-2012, 04:39 AM
Gimmicks reek of excessive thirst and are annoying. Truly creative queries are a totally different thing.

I would go by what the majority of agents say and read their guidelines to get a sense of what they like in a query. What one agents thinks is creative will annoy the hell out of another. Do your research applies here.