Query Letters…oh my!
Have I mentioned how much I don’t like writing query letters. I really don’t. I have done my homework–read books, participated in contests, I have a critique partner, posted in forums…seriously, I’ve done it. So, what’s my problem. There are three things that every query letter should have:
1. Who is the protagonist and what do they want?
2. What does the protagonist have to do to get it?
3. What happens if they don’t?
I can see these things in other queries–no problem. But when I write my own, I tend to be very vague. I don’t mean to be, but there is a fine balance between enough information and too much information.
I’ve recently started reading this book called “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder. If you are a writer (of any type of story–novel, screenplays, whatever) then you NEED this book. I think I read the whole thing in one sitting. Now I’m going back to put it into practice. One thing he states right up front though is that I should have written the logline/query BEFORE ever attempting to write the book. Until he said it and explained the reasons, I never would have thought to do this.
So, why do it this way? Because we as writers, get very attached to the scenes we write in our books/screenplays. If we attempt to do this before a single scene is written, we stand to look at the whole thing as an idea–that idea is our logline! If there are holes and problems in the logline, then there will be holes in the novel. How much easier is it to fix two sentences over hundreds of pages?
Anyway, I am posting my newest query attempt. Feel free to critique.
When seventeen-year-old Tessa Chase agrees to go to the Peddler’s Fair in her small town, she hardly expects to stumble across a dead girl—or bump into the Guardian angel at her feet. Then she rests her hand on the angel’s arm and her ability to feel the emotion of others is kicked into overdrive. It’s hard to scream for help when she doesn’t even know how it happened or when the boy is invisible to everyone else.
This is Tessa’s first meeting with the Guardians, hunters dedicated to finding fallen angels and sending their souls to heaven. It’s also her first encounter with John, an angel whose slightest touch feels both dangerous and exciting—and makes her so dizzy she can’t see straight. In less than a day, Tessa is pulled towards John with a vengeance when he saves her from being crushed by a bookshelf and later when a fallen angel attacks her. But why would the Fallen be interested in a girl like Tessa? And how is it possible for Tessa to see them? The Guardians would like to know…
Tessa must uncover the secrets to her ability and the reasons she can see what she shouldn’t before she is chosen as the next victim. But the clock is ticking and by the next new moon another girl will die.