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WinterDusk14
09-22-2012, 10:05 AM
Hello,

Not sure if this is the right to place to ask. But anyway, I've read a couple of queries and got some neat ideas how to write mine. But, most of those queries focused on one protagonist.

How do you write a query for a story that has more than one main protagonist? Mine has two, and they never even actually meet (face-to-face, at least), but both of them are equally important to everything concerning the plot, plots, rather, because each of them have their own storyline. Basically, it's like two novellas pieced together with some links here and there. Protag A did this and Protag B suffers for it, that kind of thing.

So, what? Do I try to cram up these two as coherently as possible? Do I try to make one, slightly more important to give more emphasis there? Or do I just pick one of the stories that is more interesting?

Thanks so much your time.

heyjude
09-22-2012, 02:48 PM
I'd see if I could write both into the query, while keeping it as simple as possible. Give it your best shot and post to query letter hell. :)

JanDarby
09-22-2012, 07:44 PM
Pick one and tell that story.

It's more important (in the query) to tell ONE coherent story than to try to tell two stories, skimping both of them to fit the short word count of a query. Let the agent be pleasantly surprised to find the added complexity when she reads the full manuscript.

Trying to do two in one query often leaves the impression that neither one has a complete arc. You might have the inciting event and a goal for character A, and motivation and conflict and stakes for character B, rather than all of the elements for a single character.

Corinne Duyvis
09-22-2012, 09:10 PM
This is hard to answer without having read the book. My advice: write two queries--one with a single PoV, one with both--and ask friends for advice, or post them in SYW on this forum. See which one goes over better with people.

For the query with both PoVs, an approach I've often seen--and used myself in the last book I queried--is to have three paragraphs: the first focuses on character A, the second on character B, and the third on how their plot intertwines. Given that the characters in your book don't meet, I'm not sure that'd work, but it's worth a shot.

Kewii
09-22-2012, 09:35 PM
Query Shark addressed this in one of her entries. I found the link here: http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2011/03/199-ftw.html

Basically, she likes it when people do the query from one POV, but then reference that there are multiple POVs somewhere else, usually towards the end where you have the word count and such.

Hope that helps :)

hillaryjacques
09-22-2012, 10:04 PM
It's more important (in the query) to tell ONE coherent story than to try to tell two stories, skimping both of them to fit the short word count of a query.

This. You're querying a story that happens to have these two characters in it, not querying two characters.

Look at the cover copy on books with ensemble casts to get an idea of how to pitch a story that's not driven by a single character.

WinterDusk14
09-24-2012, 11:27 AM
Thanks for all your advice guys. I checked out that query from Query Shark, and it was awesome, got some idea how to work through mine.

Arisuzawa
09-25-2012, 06:59 AM
I would also recommend Query Shark.
Aside from helping people directly with their queries, she also gives a really good insight into how agents go about analyzing everything said within the query. WE may think certain things need to be said. WE may think that '~~~' is important, but from an agent's POV, things can look a lot different.

And PLEASE read all of the past posts on her blog before you submit to her (if you think you would like to in the future). Very, very helpful stuff there!

Roxxsmom
09-25-2012, 10:28 PM
I've seen queries that mention two characters, but I've also seen advice that you should focus on whichever of the two plot lines is most central/essential to the story. If your story really does have two completely independent plots (that may only intertwine relatively late in the game), then some say to pick the one you think sounds most compelling. An agent I spoke to once told me that most novels have several very different and equally valid queries in them, so you should just try to pick the one that will get the job done (entice the person to read some of your novel while representing some aspect of it fairly, at least).

What you don't want is to write a query that is confusing as to what the actual plot is or that throws so many characters out there the agent is left scratching his head in confusion.

victoriastrauss
09-25-2012, 11:24 PM
Basically, it's like two novellas pieced together with some links here and there. Protag A did this and Protag B suffers for it, that kind of thing.
.

Not to confuse things too much...but given the above, I think you risk giving a misleading impression of the book if you focus on a single storyline. In the QueryShark example, it's a single story told from three points of view--the story is described in the query, so the viewpoints don't necessarily need to be individually detailed. Yours, though, sounds like two stories that don't occupy the same space but connect in thematic ways, which is a different thing.

How about approaching it from a different angle? Maybe think about what it is that links the two stories. What is it that makes these two stories a single book? What is the single thing, or group of things, that unifies the novel? Focus on that, and perhaps you'll be able to make a frame for the query into which both stories will fit. If that makes any sense at all.

- Victoria

rmgil04
09-26-2012, 03:07 AM
I'd see if I could write both into the query, while keeping it as simple as possible. Give it your best shot and post to query letter hell. :)

I was going to recommend Query Letter Hell also. Consider writing it two ways. One with a Protag A focus and the other with a Protag B focus. See what they say. I would agree with the others who say that the query letter should focus mainly on one character. You can mention both, but focus on one.

What perspective sells best? Start with the one provoking/attacking or the victim?