Tuesday, June 15, 2010

10-Step Program For The Query Wuss

Step #1: Butt in chair.

Step #2: Chocolate. Or cookies. Or both.

Step #3: Write the names of your main character and antagonist. If you can't figure out who's who, slap yourself across the face. Twice.

Step #4: Write a one-sentence hook that will entice agents/editors to read the rest of your query. For example: "Seventeen-year-old Tom Cruise doesn't believe in aliens--until a mysterious cult jumps him on the red carpet while chanting 'Scientology rocks, biatch!'."

Step #5: Write two-three sentences describing the main character. Physical appearances need not apply, unless it's important to the plot. In that case, slap yourself again. You're ripping off J. K. Rowling.

Step #6: Think about what main character wants vs. what antagonist wants. Write as much as your mind can come up with, then delete all the bull#!^% until the essentials are left.

Step #7: Explain what's at stake if main character loses. This makes agents/editors care about it. They want to hug it, take long walks on the beach with it, maybe even cook it dinner. And that, my dear query wuss, is the goal.

Step #8: Make sure your "voice" is reflected in your writing. If you're thinking about printing the query and talking to it, don't slap yourself. I'll do it for you.

Step #9: Convince yourself that your query rocks. Wait fifteen minutes, then convince yourself it sucks. Wait fifteen more minutes, then go back to thinking it's awesome. Repeat for at least three months.

Step #10: Hit send.

Sounds easy, right?


  1. hahahahaha STEP 9 IS MY FAVORITE ZOMG

  2. Great post! I'm cycling through step 9 right now . . . the picture describes my feelings perfectly!

  3. Ouch - I've slapped myself too many times! LOL!

    take care

  4. :D I love step 9!

  5. Love this! Your blog and posts are always so much fun that I'm giving you an award on mine tomorrow.

  6. Love this! I just wrote a post on slush and then saw this! Going back to link to yours right now!

  7. Loved this. I should have this as my screensaver. :)

  8. THIS IS AWESOME! Only caps would sum up the sentiment behind those words. I love all the steps but especially step nine.

  9. Good stuff, and I love the picture at the end! It's very fitting.

    Took me three months to write a query I like. :)

  10. LOL, I so follow this! :D

  11. Oh yes, this is what I have to do. Except I'm stuck on step #9!

  12. Step 4 and 5 are definitely my favorites. Some really good advice, Amparo, I think I will go slap myself twice while eating cookies now.

    Just kidding, I don't eat cookies.

    Anyway, hilarious post and write on! :D

  13. Love this, number four had me rolling! I've got the Versatile Blogger Award for you over at my blog if you want to pick it up some time.

  14. Hahaha. This is fabulous! Step #4 totally made me smile because my own query letter opened with this wording! No kidding!

    Yours: "Seventeen-year-old Tom Cruise doesn't believe in aliens--until a mysterious cult jumps him on the red carpet while chanting 'Scientology rocks, biatch!'."

    Mine: "Twelve-year-old Danny Singer doesn't think aliens are real—-until he finds one knocking on his front door."