Pub Rants

A Head Scratcher

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STATUS: Doing some client reading.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? TAXI by Bryan Ferry

I just finished reading a query where the writer spent the first two opening paragraphs talking about the interesting setting of Alaska but when the writer hit the pitch blurb, no mention was made of how the setting influenced the story.

It could have been set anywhere.

Well that’s a head scratcher.

I couldn’t help but wonder why all the detail on the location if the writer wasn’t going to use it. So my recommend, If you are going to great lengths to describe an unusual or important setting, make sure the connection to your actually story is clear.

19 Responses

  1. Maria Zannini said:

    Kristin, are you still interested in doing the OWW interview? I sent another email just now in case the first one got stuck in the query pile.


  2. Kimber An said:

    Alaska is an awesome setting. I know ’cause I live here. But, it’s the story that makes it.

    Sounds like a newbie to Queryland. I hope he or she isn’t discouraged. Instead, type ‘query’ into this blog’s search engine at the top left hand side of the front page and read all the posts which turn up as a result. Then, re-write your query, get some critique partners to crunch the dickens outta it, and try, try again.

  3. MeganRebekah said:

    It’s so easy for someone new to the world of queries to forget that the agents don’t know the entire premise of the book. Writers live inside their make-believe worlds for so many months, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

    Hopefully another query knocked your socks off to make up for this one!

  4. Rie said:

    Would be awesome if the book wasn’t even set there. Perhaps instead of a query it’s an ad for Alaska. Now that would be fun spam. Ads that look like queries!

    Sorry if this is totally random, a bit tired.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Um, Jeff Adams, Kristin isn’t a SIR, she’s a Ma’am.

    And she is nice, but not THAT nice, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to survive in publishing.

    Re: OP — welcome to a writer’s brain, Kristin. I often re-read my own WIP and think, wasn’t something really good right here instead of this crappy part? Hmmm…. must be the same with query letters, the writer only thought they told you the necessary info.

  6. ralfast said:

    Banging head against wall. Wall made out of concrete. Bloody ouch. Forgot everything I learned in English class since the 8th grade. Can’t write a hook to save my life. Back at the wall again.

    Is that blood?

    Call 9-1-

  7. nkrell said:

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…the world is an interesting place, is it not? Full of ‘interesting’ people. Wow.

  8. Aimee K. Maher said:

    Speaking of banging your head on the wall…

    Definition of writer’s block-

    A period of time when a writer’s mind is completely blank and drained of any kind of inspirational essence. They are unable to write. They start to bang their head against the basement wall. It bleeds. They scream and shout in agony. And finally, they pray that the pain from this blunt physical trauma and the sight of the sweet, sweet catalytic blood finally gives them SOME kind of weak-a$$ idea.

  9. Anonymous said:

    Aimee K. Maher — does this work? This banging your head against the wall? CAN you get an idea this way?

    Let me know, I’m deep in writer’s block hell over here. Deep. In. Hell.

  10. Diana said:

    *laughing* I believe they also wrote and submitted a story to my themed magazine. There have been one or two that I can’t, for the life me, figure out how the story fits the theme.