Thursday, August 30, 2012

so you want to write a novel...

(Post contributed by Brooke Hargett)

I found this on and I had to post it!  We just had our 1st Annual Riveting Writer's Bootcamp last monday so be looking for posts from each of us soon!  In the meantime...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Writing Reel #2: The Query

(Post contributed by Robin)

Everyone says that it's the hardest thing you'll ever do.  If you do it wrong, you can become an immediate failure.  Do it right and you can be on the New York Times Bestseller list.  That's right, people, I'm talking about the query letter.

Now, don't be scared.  Yeah, it can make or break you, but after reading hundreds of agent blogs and researching all the websites I could find, I've come to this conclusion:  once you're aware of the main parts of a professional query letter, forget everything else and have fun doing it!  Your query letter should allow the reader to get a feel for your writing style and a tiny taste of your novel.  Since I'm not an expert or agent, I've compiled a list of resources that will help you get started:

1. The Stress-free Query - a quick overview on what your query should look like.
2. How to Find an Agent - this article by an agent has great info and the comments section is informative.  The other links on the site are fabulous too.
3. Sample query letters -  dozens of examples already written
4. Basics of a Solid 3 Paragraph Query - skip down to Query Letter Basics
5. From the Query to the Call by Elana Johnson (I can send you a .pdf of this book if you can't download it from her website)

A little tidbit on choosing a genre:

On the importance of genre:
“Ack, it’s salty! Bleh, worst cookie I’ve ever tasted.”
“It’s a cheese straw.”
“Oh.” (second bite) “Hey, that’s really good! Pass me another.”
(brought to you by surprises on the potluck table)

By Savage and Dashner

Your hook is your sales pitch!

What is a hook?
  • Tells enough of your story to "hook" an agent or editor. Two sentences--make sure it sounds cool.
  • Don't try to tell the whole story.
  • Capture the voice of your story.
  • Shorter is better.
  • Doesn't start with a hypothetical question.
  • Makes it clear what is unique about your story.
Part of a Hook
  • The Protagonist--What makes a strong protagonist?
  • The Goal--Why must your protagonist have a goal?
  • Obstacles--The bigger the better
  • Consequences--Ups the tension--put on the pressure (i.e. time, death)
Names of writers to look at their query letters: Elana Johnson, Shannon Whitney, Alli Cross, and Jen Daiker (Unedited blog).