Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Query, Query, Why So Dreary?

Today's, or rather, tonight's post is inspired by a comment by the lovely A.L. Sonnichen from yesterday's post and my admission of how I like to write query letters. I think I need to explain this a bit more.

When I’m having writer’s block…well, I don’t really like to call it writer’s block, I’m more so just at a stall and need to let my mind focus on other things. So when I’m like that, I still like to be in the world of the manuscript and that often has me writing my query or synopsis.

I know some people think you shouldn’t be writing a query or even thinking about it until your manuscript is complete, but I say do what you want! If it helps to keep you in that world by drafting out a letter, then do it. I have queries written for books I haven’t even started. Now I will caution not to send out the query until the ms is complete, but write it whenever you feel like it.

So here’s my offer. Because A.L. Sonnichen wanted to know if I offer help to those aspiring writers who have queries they’re struggling with, I came up with this idea. If you look to the right sidebar you will see where the fan-tab-ulous Daphne Unfeasible--a.k.a Kate Testerman over at KT Literary--critiqued my query for LIGHT BRINGERS, or you can go here and read it. I’ve also posted the query I just wrote for my current w.i.p., PLATINUM DIARIES, if you like either of them and want me to take a look at your query, feel free to email me at kdrose72 at gmail dot com and I’ll have a looksee.

Also, feel free to offer an opinion on either of my posted queries!

Note: I can’t claim major success with my query for Light Bringers, but it did get me several requests for partials which lead to a few full requests. Ultimately I haven’t landed an agent, YET :-), but there are some problems with LB that I’m working on and I truly believe it will see the inside of the books stores, and not just from me carrying the ms into Barnes & Nobel-lol.

I am seeking representation for my young adult paranormal novel, PLATINUM DIARIES, where dreams can cause real life nightmares.

Sixteen-year-old Sayra Nieves’s dreams always come true. Usually, her nocturnal visions are glimpses of teen angst—who’ll get caught making out behind the bleachers, who’ll face-plant in the cafeteria, or which teacher has a pop quiz planned. When she dreams of a man being murdered by a gang of masked men, Sayra is shaken to her core—she’s never had a dream that hasn’t come true. Because the dream manifests after the new student, Chaz Bishop knocks her off her bike with his truck, she wonders if that accident is the reason for the violent turn in her dreams.

Weird by most standards, Chaz instantly lands on Sayra’s bad side with his gloved hands, tightly buttoned shirts and freakish aversion to being touched. He’s kind of cute, but to Sayra, not nearly cute enough to overlook his odd-ball behavior. It becomes a side project for Sayra, finding out why Chaz is so weird about being touched. But as her dreams become more sinister, Sayra enlists the help of her two best friends—and reluctantly, Chaz—to begin their own amateur sleuthing. As one mystery leads to another, Sayra quickly discovers that she and her friends are dangerously in over their heads. But once they discover the identity of the murdered man from her dreams, no one will quit until they help him, even if it costs them their lives.

Platinum Diaries is complete at 65,000 words. I majored in English at the University of Maryland, where I studied media arts and creative writing. I believe fans of Lisa McMann and Alyson Noel may enjoy my novel. The entire manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.


Jemi Fraser said...

Very nice. I'm not a query writing fan. I do pretty well with tightening up other people's work and finding hooks for them, but... It's always tougher to do well for my own stuff.

Nicole Ducleroir said...

I'm no where near ready to query, but your brilliantly written letter makes me wonder how I'd fare if I gave writing one a shot. Thanks for the inspiration, and thanks for following me!

I look forward to reading more from you :)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Karen, I am in awe. Honestly, that's the best query I've ever read and I'm not just trying to get on your good side so that you'll help me with my query. ;) lol. But seriously, thanks for quoting me (I feel almost famous!) and thanks for the offer of query help. I think I'm going to have to take you up on the offer. But let me work on it a little bit more. Right now it's pretty terrible!
Thanks again!

Shelley Sly said...

Whoa, I would SO read Platinum Diaries! It almost sounds like what would happen if Medium and Monk came together (two of my favorite TV shows... sorry, not to compare your book to TV, but it's awesome!) Great query!

Karen Denise said...

Jemi, I was never a fan of writing Query letters either but once I got it in my head that there is no such thing as a perfect query it took some of the pressure off. I get a lot of movies from netflix and if you read the description on the sleeve, you can find some pretty good query formulas.

Nicole, I'm sure you'll do fine when you're ready to enter into query hell and believe me, my query letters went through several makeovers before I ended with that.

Thanks A.L.! I'm glad you liked them and feel free to email me whenever you're ready.

Shelley, no problem comparing PD to tv shows. I love both of those shows and I never would've thought about the similarities to Monk! LOL. Chaz isn't nearly as bad as Monk and he has a good reason why he doesn't want to be touched, but it would be super fun to write a character like Monk! Thanks!

Falen said...

i like writing queries too, and i almost always write them before i start the novel. It really helps me keep a backbone of conflict running throughout the WIP

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I think it's a smart idea to write a rough query when you start writing a novel--especially if you don't use an outline. It keeps the story in your mind as you write.

Mechelle Fogelsong said...

I write my synop before I begin the novel, because the story is already in synop form when I pre-write. Once I've got the novel written, then it's too hard to cut its plot down to one page, if you know what I mean.

About your query letter, may I make a suggestion? The portion of the query that starts out, "who'll get caught making out behind the bleachers" needs a question mark or two or three. Also, I think a lot of agents get YA queries with the words "teenage angst" in them. I'd find another way to say that. Just trying to provide helpful feedback.

As far as feedback goes, do you have a BETA reader for PLATINUM DIARIES? Would you want one? I'm looking for good writers who want to do a manuscript swap--chapter by chapter--via email. If you want to know more about me and what I write, visit my site:
http://passinglovenotes.wordpress.com where you can also find my email.

Like you, I've had some agents ask for partials and two agents asked for a full. All of them turned me down for representation. So it sounds like you and I are at about the same point in our search for an agent.

Talli Roland said...

OOh, I'm glad you admitted it, because I like writing query letters too!

Great query, by the way. I'm not surprised you've got requests from that. Good luck! :)

AchingHope said...

Ooh... That books sounds pretty darn interesting.

I've been sketching out query letters early for practice. I wrote a pretty good one the other day and got all annoyed because I haven't finished the book yet. It just makes me want to finish it all the more.

Karen Denise said...

Falen--See, thanks for not making me feel so weird for liking to write queries-lol.

Stina—I don’t use an outline, but I agree, sometimes writing the query or summary will keep the story in your mind as you write.

Mechelle—Thanks! I’ll certainly make your suggestions. You all are the first to see this query so I knew there would be some things to tweak. I don’t have a beta for PD because it’s not finished yet. I’ll certainly check out your site and keep you in mind when I’m done. Thanks for the offer!

Yay! Talli, another weirdo who likes writing queries! Our numbers are increasing-lol.

Thanks, AchingHope, I hope when it’s done that people will find it as interesting as I do. You’re right, when you have a good letter, it makes you ready to be done with the book so you can send that letter out! Good luck with yours.