Wednesday, September 21, 2011


In this world of writing, there are some facts of writing that you're just going to have to swallow.

One of these is queries.

A Killer Query must knock an agent's socks off. A Killer Query must grab your potential agent in a combination of voice, clarity, and focus. A Killer Query must relate to your agent the voice of your story, that is, the unique style that is your writing. A Killer Query must WOW an agent.

All this fuss for a query, you say?


A query is an essential element to the writer's workshop. A manuscript without a query is like a sandwich without the cheese. It's still good, but the cheese makes it fantastic. (Or bacon, if you prefer.)

A query gives an agent insight to who you are as an author. It portrays the voice and plotting strength of a writer, and gives a hint as to your writing style.

Don't be fooled. Queries are not easy. As a matter of fact, they can be downright evil. A query must convey to your potential agent, editor, publisher the full substance of your story without feeling like a lecture, or sounding like a complete waste of time. A query must be clear, concise, focused, and interesting. It must convey the entire plot of the story... in less than a page of writing.

I am in the process of crafting a query for my two WIP's; The Key Keeper, and Whisper Mansion. It is an interesting new view of the writing world. I've never seen it from this side before, and it's a challenge!

For information on how to craft a query, check out Nathan Bransford's advice:


  1. Wishing you all the best with those queries, Cat!

  2. One trick I learned was to write the query as your MC and then go back and change it to third person. That way you are sure to get the MC's voice in the query.

    Cat, I love critiquing queries so feel free to shoot them my way if you want some feedback.

  3. Teresa, eggsactly.

    Thanks Ruth!

    Kelly, will do!

  4. One approach I've had success with is to be detailed and vague at the same time in my query statement. So, you have to find a balance between proving to the agent/publisher that your characters and story are complete and have depth, yet you only tell enough to tantalize. It's tricky for sure, and it works more or less well depending on the type of story. A story with some kind of mystery or quest is probably best suited to this approach.

  5. Anne, I must be lucky. Whisper Mansion is a mystery, and The Key Keeper is a quest. Hurrah!

  6. Cat, I totally agree. And I am digging these suggestions in the comments!

  7. Hi Cat, thanks for the link. It's going to be very helpful because I think writing queries is just about the hardest part.

  8. Isn't that fun, Katie! Hoot hoot, and all that. :)

    Claudine, you're welcome. Nathan Bransford is amazing with his writing and agenting know-how.


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