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scribbledoutname
03-05-2013, 01:09 AM
Should I try to make my query appeal to as many people as possible or should I write the kind of query that would make me rush to the counter to buy a book?

Atm I'm letting an MS sit. I've picked a bunch of agents but first I have to write the query itself. I'll definitely drop by SYW in a few days, but first I need to figure out what I'm going to try to acheive.

Basically, I want an agent who loves my idea (and my vision) so I really want to write it in a way that would make me pick it up. On the other hand, I know a lot of agents prefer the character dynamics, so I could easily focus more on that than the plot and use the relationships in the story as a hook.

I don't want to attract anyone for the wrong reasons, though. I'm a plot-driven writer (if we're going to use that slightly shaky term) and so it's usually the circumstances/danger/milieu that draws me to a story, not the personal issues. I don't want to attract someone who'll want me to revise my story so that the characters are in the forefront... if you see what I mean?

If I write a query that would appeal to me I'm hoping that it'll attract someone who likes the same books as me... as opposed to writing a more character relationship oriented query, which might attract any agent who likes my genre and interesting characters.

I hope I make sense!

Susan Littlefield
03-05-2013, 01:14 AM
The only purpose of your query letter is to entice the agent to want to read more, which leads to requests for pages or a full. I suggest going down to Query Letter Hell and reading stickies down there, as well as reading and critiquing some of the query letters there. You will learn real fast what a query letter is all about. (I feel like doing one of those diabolical laughs about now, but I guess I'd better refrain). :D

Debbie V
03-05-2013, 02:25 AM
Your query should reflect your writing style and your story.

Good luck.

Axordil
03-05-2013, 02:39 AM
Try the Query Shark blog: http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

kaitie
03-05-2013, 04:02 AM
The query won't matter in terms of revising for character.

Let's think of it this way. If an agent likes the query, they'll read the manuscript. If your book is light on character and an agent really loves character, one of two things happens: they just reject it up front, or they'll ask for revisions. If you don't like the revisions, you don't have to do them. It's really as simple as that. Even if you got an offer, you would discuss this sort of thing before you signed. If you felt like an agent had a different take on the work than you did, you don't sign with them.

A query has to be interesting enough to make people want to read more. It needs to convey the plot in an interesting way and showcase the tension. Usually, there needs to be some sense of character or voice. That doesn't mean your query has to be focused on the characters, just that it usually helps to get some indication of who the people are in the book.

Query writing is tough. Personally, I'd write it in a way that appealed to me and then work from there. If you try to write it with some broad, mass-market appeal it could come across as cliche or contrived. Sounding a bit like movie tag lines, if that makes sense?

KateJJ
03-05-2013, 04:47 AM
Definitely come to Query Letter Hell, and plan to stay for a few days... weeks... months. You'll get nice specific advice about your specific query. There's a thread full of successful queries down there, which makes fun reading. You might get inspired.

mayqueen
03-05-2013, 04:54 AM
In some ways, I think you're over-thinking the query. It is a short (200-250 word) summary of your premise. Like Susan said, it's entire job is to get the agent to read on. The agent will request (or review the attached pages) if the query is appealing. At that point, the plot/character balance should be apparent to said agent. Your query alone isn't going to entice the agent to read the full manuscript and then suggest changes. Maybe I'm reading your post wrong, but I want to be clear about that.

Now that I've said that maybe possibly stupid thing, whether or not your story comes across as character or plot driven will depend on how you set up the stakes in your query. (Look at katiemac's sticky in QLH for what I mean.) In your query, you'll set up the overarching conflict in the manuscript. That's what you should focus on "selling" the query on, to entice the sort of agent you want reading your work.

Definitely, definitely, definitely come and hang out in QLH. I showed up one day to work on my query and I never left. I've learned so much about query-writing by critiquing other people's work.

quicklime
03-05-2013, 08:56 AM
Should I try to make my query appeal to as many people as possible or should I write the kind of query that would make me rush to the counter to buy a book? visit QLH. Ideally the query appeals broadly, but you don't want to interpret "write the query you want" in the wrong way and spend thirty hours writing first-person drafts, etc...... so take a look at what folks are looking for or recommending there, especially in the stickies.

Atm I'm letting an MS sit. I've picked a bunch of agents but first I have to write the query itself. I'll definitely drop by SYW in a few days, but first I need to figure out what I'm going to try to acheive. a visit may help you get a better answer....

Basically, I want an agent who loves my idea (and my vision) so I really want to write it in a way that would make me pick it up. well, you want an agent, above all else, who can succeed. That doesn't preclude them loving it, and ideally they will, but it may be helpful to begin with that--you want an agent who can sell your book, and do that well--if you just want someone to love it, show a friend. this is now businesss. On the other hand, I know a lot of agents prefer the character dynamics, so I could easily focus more on that than the plot and use the relationships in the story as a hook. I think this is wrong, flat out. Agents like a good book that can sell. That said, anyone, ANYONE can write multiple explosions, so yeah, they are gonna want little things like characters that have more than one dimension. But agents like a book that sells...maybe you are thinking of "voice," which gets a lot of mention in QLH, but character dynamics and relationships depend on the book, not the agent preference.

I don't want to attract anyone for the wrong reasons, though. I'm a plot-driven writer (if we're going to use that slightly shaky term) and so it's usually the circumstances/danger/milieu that draws me to a story, not the personal issues. I don't want to attract someone who'll want me to revise my story so that the characters are in the forefront... if you see what I mean? agents don't try to move stories around like their personal playthings; if they want it changed, it is because they feel it can sell and do better with changes. If it isn't "their thing" they will simply pass on it. They don't have the time or inclination to try to mold the literature of the world to their tastes through their job.

If I write a query that would appeal to me I'm hoping that it'll attract someone who likes the same books as me... as opposed to writing a more character relationship oriented query, which might attract any agent who likes my genre and interesting characters. i'd hope your characters are still interesting....that said, queries do have a semi-standard format and you have to be somewhat aware of that before you write it regardless of "type of agent" you want to attract. A solid query will attract attention, I'd focus on that, because it gives people more trouble than you realize. Agents will figure out pretty quickly if it is to their liking

I hope I make sense!


I'm not sure you make sense yet, but a better idea what you think you are writing, compared to what you think is out there, may help. And a trip through QLH (or several) may help also. But I DO recommend visiting sooner, rather than later. For some folks it forces them to reconsider their book and re-write, for some it just helps them avoid their first three or four bad queries to learn what people are looking for--in either way, sooner is better.