Friday, January 10, 2014

The Query Critique

I entered a contest on the YA Fusion blog and won a query critique from Manuscript Critique Services. My awesome critique was from Paula Stokes. Here are some of the things I learned. 

The novel summary should follow the emotional sweep of the novel. It’s easy for me to succinctly summarize the plot points, but especially with action novels, the character arc is key. 

Aim for 250-300 words for the plot summary. While many query-writing experts expound on the benefits of an elevator pitch and caution against more than 50 words or three sentences, nearly every positive example of a compelling query falls within this longer limit. 

Include enough of the plot so the story makes sense. A seemingly unrelated string of events is not interesting. The reader needs to know why the character is doing things. See the first point. 

Don’t forget the hook. What is interesting about the novel? Why should an editor or agent scroll down to look at those first five pages?

I highly recommend Manuscript Critique Services.


Vicky Lorencen said...

Thanks for letting us benefit from what you learned, Ann. You are most generous!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing what you learned, Ann. Queries are one of the many things I struggle with.

Virginia Rinkel said...

Thanks Ann, your insights are helpful.