Friday, May 20, 2011

♥.•*¨ A Formula for Queries? ¨*•.♥


I hope you don't think I'm cheap by reposting this, but I think it's a perfect fit for FFW's topic. I've updated it as well, so I hope it's better now!

You can see what the other Fantastic Friday Writers have to say about query letters. Alex J. Cavanaugh, Anastasia V. Pergakis,  J. D. BrownDeirdra Eden-Coppel, M. Pax,  Jeffrey Beesler, Charlene A. Wilson, and Andrew J. Cooper! 


First off, when I create my query letters, I keep it to 3 paragraphs. Always make sure that it is written to the right agent. I know I wouldn't want a query letter on a horror novel when I only handle children's picture books, so make sure you do your research and get it to the right person!

Para #1: A simple logline, the book title, genre and word count.
Para #2: A short, but catchy blurb
Para#3: Your credentials

Closing.
Don't forget all your email addresses, and phone numbers!

Okay, now for the meat, but we'll start with the bread. ;)



How is the food pyramid like a query letter? Well, let's see. The broadest part bread, cereal, rice & pastas with the most servings a day is at the bottom. So on so forth with a "Use Sparingly" at the top.

source

Darvell Hunt introduced this formula in my writers group, though it isn't a new concept:


source

It's an upside down pyramid that is very much like food pyramid.

Journalists and other writers use the "inverted pyramid" to show where the most important stuff goes within text. This is a common way for writing news stories for journalism students!

I feel the reason why we have a hard time writing queries is because (and I quote Darvell because he said it SO sufficiently I'm afraid to mess it up): 

"I think this style very much applies to writing queries, but not so much to writing fiction--and therein lies a possible reason why we fiction writers have such a difficult time writing queries. We think in terms of the path of the story rather than supplying important information quickly. Queries are really non-fiction--a business letter, if you will--and we should write them as such."

Bravo! Well said, Darvell!


So, what do you think? Do you agree that it could be a formula to query letter writing?

25 comments:

  1. I think Darvell is absolutely correct! Great post, Elizabeth!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolutely - as you said, journalists have been using this formula for writing new-stories for ages. Great reminder to all writers. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kbrebes, I'm so glad that he let me use his idea here, I thought he was brilliant!

    Sue, you're welcome! I hope this helps everyone and makes it a bit easier to handle the maddening query race! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post - saving on hard drive and printing :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great unique way to look at it. I'm sure this will be helpful to those querying. I'll go tweet about it. :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is an exelent formula to keep in mind when writing a query! And you (and Darvell) are write. Quereis are completely different than fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a great help!!! Yay!! Thank you for sharing! I think queries are definitely a creative form of business letter writing! Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  8. to write perchance to query perchance to sleep.

    you keep egging me on elizabeth so i return to paint on your wall! on your site i feel like a graffiti artist in the middle of the night looking over his shoulder. i'll do some stuff and maybe she won't catch me!

    its great though what you're doing for writers. i don't know how you find the time.

    C

    ReplyDelete
  9. Queries are just difficult, formula or no - still, formulas can help a whole bunch. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! What a great visual formula! Thanks for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Vanilla Mom, great idea! I'm happy this helped!

    Lisa, I'm happy that it's helpful. I think that's a great idea!

    Taryn, so true, isn't? Having to remove what we've hammered into our head for so long a time, it's great to step out of that thinking. :D

    Jennifer, thank you! *hugs*

    Cadan. You? Graffitying my wall? Nah, go ahead and paint away! I'm happy for your visit always! :D

    Bethany, yes, they are difficult. I hope this has helped a bit, though.

    Melissa, thank you! I look forward to using it for my next query letter. Hopefully i can get my publisher to fall in love with my novel again! Xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  12. That makes so much sense. No wonder I don't like it! Thanks for the insight.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is very cool! Thank you for sharing. This visual will stay with me when I think about writing my first query.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is a really good example. now to check my query against it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. awesome information thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've never really been fond of nonfiction except in my blog. What you've said here makes perfect sense for why I try to avoid query letters.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree completely with your post! A query letter really is a professional business letter and should be treated as such! After all, you're sending it to a professional of the industry. I think the inverted pyramid is a wonderful visual tool to use to keep all your information on track.

    Awesome post!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Awesome post! I never thought about it like a food pyramid, but you're right. It's an interesting analogy for sure and I'm sure it helps to break down a query in such a way - easy to swallow portions!

    ReplyDelete
  19. More notes to add to my stack on query letters. Thanks for the awesome information! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I stand amazed at people who devise such charts. Awesome! Very useful information, Elizabeth.

    I see I was a follower way back before my Blogger glitched and I had to start over. So I'm signing on again so you'll come up on my blogroll.

    You have a gorgeous site to go along with your photograph.
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great information. This is my first visit to your blog and I love it. I am new to all this and am learning so much. Thank you!

    ~Tracy
    www.evolvingsoul11.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've never realized, either, that it is a NONfiction thang we're tangoing with. Sheesh. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love the upside down pyramid idea - what a great post! :)

    ReplyDelete

Welcome to my blog! I love reading your comments, so please don't be shy and comment away. Also, because of the outrageous number of Anonymous Spam comments I've been receiving, I have opted from that availability--I apologize for any inconvenience!