Showing posts from May, 2013

Query Tips: End With the Heart of the Conflict

What is the heart of the conflict in your book? What's truly at stake? It's bigger than just defeating the bad guy—there's the battle that your MC is facing within herself, the battle to become the heroine she is meant to be.

In my previous post, we discussed the MC's internal goal versus the external goal. I think the heart of the conflict, the true conflict, is usually found in the relationship between those two goals. The internal goal might be in direct conflict with the external goal, or perhaps the external goal simply doesn't help with the internal goal. Sometimes, they do go hand in hand, but not in the way the MC expects. Exploring this relationship is a strong way to end a query because it's often the very thing that motivates readers to keep reading the manuscript.

Let's return to our Harry Potter example from the previous query tips posts. Harry's internal goal is to find family. He actually has two external goals: a long term goa…

Query Critique Winners Announced!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my query critique giveaway! The three winners are...

Marlene M.! Zoë M.! And Heather D.!

Winners should have received an email from me.  If not, feel free to contact me via my contact form or tweet me @mayaprasadwrite.

To all of the other participants, I do hope that my query tip posts are helpful to you.  Go forth and query boldly.  Thanks again, everyone!

25 Ideas to Freshen Up That Query

Today, I'm guest posting over at kick-butt urban fantasy writer Tina Moss's blog.  I've got 25 ideas to help you freshen up your query and look at it from a whole new light.  Check it out!

Query Tips: Be A Tease Without Being Vague

So, you have a great plot twist in your novel.  How can you best utilize it to capture the agent's attention?  How can you frame the big secret so that she just has to read your book?
Let's continue with last week's Harry Potter example. What if our query read:
At Hogwarts, Harry enters a world of magic and mystery. When he and his friends discover a three-headed dog in a forbidden area of the castle, they realize that something strange is going on. It's up to the three of them to stop it.
While this might accurately describe the plot, it's also pretty vague and boring, right? We might as well have written “Harry discovers a shocking secret.”  Unfortunately, readers aren't going to take your word for it that your secret is shocking—you'll have to be a lot more specific than that to grab their attention.
But we don't want to give everything away either (um, spoiler alert in case anyone hasn't read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone!):
At H…

Query Tips: Introducing Your Character With Subtext

Why is your character the main character of your story? Why is he/she the person that can kill the bad guy, love this man, or overcome whatever your main obstacle is?

Very often, I see writers begin their queries with a statement about how ordinary their character is. I understand they want to make their character relatable and an “everyman.” However, your space is better utilized if you skip to the good stuff.

After all, your character is not truly an everyman. There is a reason why she is the protagonist of the story, why she is uniquely situated to overcome the conflict.  When you introduce your character in your query, try to hint at this. Also consider her internal goal. Regardless of whether your character even realizes what her internal goal is, there are probably things you can establish that will help the reader guess at it.

For example, we know that Harry Potter's internal goal is to find family, as evidenced by the Mirror of Erised. His external goal is to stop …