Monday, April 22, 2013

Forging Fridays...on Monday - Query Necessities

Today is our thirteenth Forging Fridays Query! Yay! We love volunteers! As stated before, I won't be revealing the identities of the volunteers for Forging Fridays unless otherwise requested. If you feel like unmasking yourselves in the comments, be my guest. But, I won't mention anyone by name.

Here is our next volunteer! *applause* *cheers* *confetti*


Dear (agent),

It was just a stupid rock. An amber-colored stone the size of Tish’s small human thumbnail that looked as innocent and benign as a rock should. Until it launched itself at Tish’s chest like a missile, separating into glowing energy and merging with her very being before she could blink. This is story narrative and doesn't really belong in a query. If you want to talk about this stone, in your query, I'd recommend having it be a single line, maybe two. A rock shouldn't be the focus of an entire paragraph of your query. The only thing that should get that much attention is your main character or your plot. Of course alien rocks weren’t going to just sit still like earth rocks, how silly of her to assume such things. Now she’d become a carrying case for Her Lady’s world stone as well as being her body guard. And here where we're getting a bit more of the plot, it isn't clear enough. what is a world stone? What does it do? If it's alien, does that mean she's on another planet? Is this Sci-fi? Fantasy? We need a lot more grounding in the world, the character and the inciting incident instead of the narrative bits. Those will work great in the book...just not in the query. As if guarding Her Lady’s body hadn’t been difficult enough already, she could have just painted a target on her back if she’d wanted a harder job. You are nailing the voice here though, which is great. Focus your query on the right details and this will work much better. 

When the royal family decided to officially declare Her Lady unfit for ruling, Tish knew they’d want their stone back, but was quite unwilling to hand over her life to return it. This is more on the right track, it feels a bit jumpy, so maybe streamline a bit, but it's not like the above narration, so that's good. Feeling as if all the gods in that corner of the universe were conspiring against her, Tish is sent off-planet in the care of a mercenary. So far everything going on in this query is about things acting on Tish, first a stone enters her body and now even with her life on the line, it sounds like she's not doing anything. She's being 'sent off' meaning this isn't her idea. A proactive character is much more likeable. Tell us a bit about what SHE is doing. Not just any mercenary, though, oh no. Her Lady had found Ethan, one of Tish’s old human ship-mates, and bonded them to ensure the security of the world stone. What do you mean bonded? Using this word isn't necessary if you aren't going to tell us what it does/why it matters.

Chased by bounty hunters and wanted by the galactic police, Tish discovers her flight is about much more than the political upheaval of one planet. How so? Give us specifics. She must learn how to use the relic inside her, learn how to trust Ethan, and maybe, just maybe, fall in love. This last line kind of fizzles. Partly because we have no idea what happens if she fails. And partly because we have a lot happening and a lot of action and then the final segment switches to focus on a romantic subplot. The last thing you mention needs to pack a this point all the punch you've got lends itself to plot and action, so that's going to be your area of impact to focus on. If these are your main conflicts I'd recommend something more like: Running the risk of losing both her heart and her life, Tish much learn to trust Ethan and use the relic within her before... BAD CONSEQUENCE HAPPENS. Make sense?

Catch the Sun is complete at 95,000 words and is soft sci-fi similar to Julie Czerneda’s Thousand Words for a Stranger. I would be pleased to send you more pages upon request. Not necessary to say your willing to send. It's a given upon querying, I'd take this line out. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

This premise is interesting and you have the voice, which is honestly the hardest thing to learn. You need to re-focus on the information you need to have in this query and revamp. Who, what, when, where, inciting incident, main conflict, main goal and consequences of failure. Anything other than those points isn't needed. You can answer these questions, start there, add the voice and pull it all together with impact. You can do it! Good luck!


Okay, that's it for today and this query. Thank you so much for volunteering, oh mystery writer! :) I really hope this helped you. It takes guts to send in a query, to me or an agent. Go you! You have awesome guts! :)

So, what do you guys think? Agree or disagree with my assessments? Discuss! May we all be tougher and stronger thanks to our days in the fire.


I'm officially calling for more query volunteers! Anyone feeling brave? Read here for more details and send them in!


  1. That is cool you are offering this. Queries are some of the most annoying things a writer has to deal with.

    1. Thanks, Brandon! Queries can definitely suck, but hopefully they aren't as bad with a little help. :-)

  2. That's a lot of red! :) And a lot of great advice. You are awesome for doing this, Jenn :)

    1. Thanks, Chris! It may seem odd, but sometimes having less red is bad. If I don't connect enough to care at all or if something is so derivative that no fix will help...that is when a query is really in trouble.

  3. "Running the risk of losing both her heart and her life" ... AWESOME!

    I love A Thousand Words for Stranger - bring it on! :)