Tricks of the Query Trade

I'm query-writing today.

*more silence*

Don't worry. I'm not exactly thrilled, either. I think I'm getting more comfortable with queries. At least, I'm beginning to hear Agent Janet Reid's critiquing voice in my head after reading through QueryShark archives {which, if you haven't done, you need to do}. But even though I'm getting comfortable doesn't mean I like it.

I figured out a little trick while writing my query today, and thought I would share:

When I write queries, I tend to get stuck on one sentence.

Despite their mutual unattraction, Jenn and Taylor set off on their mission and soon find answers. No, too long. And is it "unattraction"? Is "unattraction" even a word?

Despite their mutual dislike for each other, Jenn and Taylor set off on their mission... It's not a mission. It's a quest. Except that sounds like Lord of the Rings.

Despite their mutual enmity, Jenn and Taylor soon find answers. Mutual enmity? It's not like they're, I don't know, at each other's throats. I mean, yes, proverbially speaking. But they're working together. They're not enemies.

Meanwhile, I'm getting nowhere in the query. There are three or four more sentences to go, and I'm stuck on wording difficulties. I used to just sit there and pound away until I got it - which does work, eventually. But I've been discovering this little trick:
{Despite X, Jenn and Taylor set off and find answers.}
It's in cute parentheticals because I will come back to the wording. "X" equals their mutual unattraction. What it is they're setting off on isn't quite clear...and that's okay.

Now I can move on to the next sentence, one that comes together a little more easily. Now I now the rhythm of the sentences before and after the one in question, and I can play with it a little more easily when I get a skeleton query in place.

What about you? Any tricks of the trade you'd like to share?? :)

1 comment:

.jessica. said...

Hi! Fellow aspiring YA-er here. I just stumbled across your blog via Natalie Whipple's and thought I'd say hi. Congrats on just finishing your novel! I'm not quite there yet, and thus have no query advice to give, sadly. But I hear you on getting caught up on every little word. I think it might be kind of inevitable in something like a query, when every word counts. Good luck! :)