Thursday, August 16, 2012

Never. Give. Up... Never!

I want to begin this new post with a quote I recently discovered. The original post and interview of this fabulous author can be found here at Christi Corbett's Blog.

“Do your thing. Do what you love. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find the time to put in the necessary work to make it shine.” author Moriah Densley.

I was encouraged when I read her interview the other day, and this quote seemed like a flashing sign of hope. Almost like one of those signs you see in Las Vegas. If I want it badly enough, I will find a way to make it work. Never. Give. Up. Never.

Then, after reading the critiques on WriteOnCon, I just felt deflated. I NEEDED those remarks. I know I needed them. I was ab;e to look at me work through the eyes of others and the insight was pure gold. Be honest with yourself and everyone else. Who WANTS to read remarks about their work that aren't flattering? Even though it's helpful and informative and necessary it still hurts when no one says, "This is really good. Nice work."

THEN, I read here, just this morning, and my flame was reignited!! Matt went through the same thing I am going through. He posted his query, didn't get good feedback, asked some friends to read through his query for feedback and found most were too busy at the moment. But he didn't quit. Discouraged? Yes! But he Never. Gave. Up. and it paid off for him:)

So, in preparation for query school critiques next week, today, tomorrow and Saturday will be dedicated to Matt's advice and breakdown of a good query. I hope that next week my query will pass with flying colors by the time the week is up. What about you? Do you need help and advice for making your query even better? Then, let's do it!

You can read Matt's complete article here on Unicorn Bell.
He says the first paragraph of the query needs to introduce the main character in an interesting way and finish the first paragraph with the inciting incident.


Who is your main character and why are you writing a story about him or her? What makes this MC interesting, that I would want to read about him or her?

My MC is River Morgan. She knows how to erase other peoples memories. She was taught by her grandfather to erase memories. She is a member of the Healers. Erasing memories is a unique field of medical physicians who are physiologists. Those who were traumatized, say by abuse, memories of war and other terrible events can have their memories erased in order to ease the hurt caused by the memories. Her grandfather has decided it was time to teach her the art of erasing memories because the Takers are hot on his heals. Grandfather wants to protect River and unknown to River, he erases River memory of who she really is and who her family is. River's family are the only ones who know everything you need to know about memories. It's been handed down through generations. It's been recorded in a book. The memories must be written down when they are erased because it's a written record of the truth. Also, the Healer who erases the memories is only protected from the atrocities of the horrible memories they have erased when they write them down. If the book ever leaves the healers hands, the memories will haunt the Healer until the Great Hǣlan healed him or her. (the Great Hǣlan is River Grandfather. (He, by the way, left clues in the book as to who River really is and who he is and her family) Just as River begins her lessons, her grandfather disappears. Thief Takers have been chasing the Healers for years trying to get their hands on the ability to erase memories. What would happen if the President no longer remembered he was president? What about someone who discovered a cure for cancer? If they forgot what they did, it would of no use to them or to the ones who needed it.

You can't put all that into the opening paragraph of your query! So, what do you put? How do you introduce River and her inciting incident? Here is what I have rewritten so far. It's only the first paragraph.

For her sixteenth birthday, River's grandfather gave her a Memory Book and taught her how to erase other people's memories. To keep the memories from becoming her own she must write them in the Book. When the Memory Book is stolen, River is no longer able to tell the difference between her memories and those she's wiped away. Unless she can find the Book, her identity will be lost forever.

Fire away people! What can I do to make this BETTER? According to my Spell Check, I have 25% passive writing. I don't like passive writing. Someone mentioned I need more active voice and I agree 100%. So I am going back to the drawing board to see what I can do about that.

And if you feel up to it, post your first paragraph in the comments and let me know how you used Matt's formula and advice for improving your query!








photo by Free Digital Photos








18 comments:

  1. Fortunately I don't need to query anymore. But I wouldn't help much anyway. Think it was a miracle a publisher picked me up. What you have sounds really good to me though.

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    1. Thanks Alex. I appreciate your feedback:)

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  2. I find your first paragraph very interesting, enough to make me want to read more. About the passive voice, I'm guilty of that too. Good luck.

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    1. It's easy to slip into passive voice without even thinking about it, you know? Thanks for the good wishes:)

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  3. You have offered up some helpful insight while simultaneously scaring the pants off me! Ok, maybe not really... but the whole idea of being judged on a query along is very intimidating. I've never done one myself (sadly because I've yet to finish anything as an entire work I'm confident enough to publish), so I may not be the best one to give advice. However, I think the point of the query is akin to the tag line for a screenplay, right? How can you hook the person reading it? To do that, you need to be clear, concise and to the point... but also create mystery and intrigue. I think you've done that with your sample query here. Based on your query alone, I am curious to learn more.

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    1. You are right T. The point is to hook the reader. The query is to be written to the agent, hoping to hook them and if that is achieved, then the agent hopefully will ask to see a partial or a full of the manuscript.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I really appreciate it!

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  4. I think it sounds a great idea for a story so keep going. You CAN do it! *sending positive vibes* seriously though I know exactly what you mean. One day I'm all fired up and think I've nearly nailed it - the next, well the complete opposite really! The good thing is that on those bad days, there's usually someone out here in blogland willing to give us a bit of much needed encouragment. We are not alone. Good luck.

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    1. Suzanne. Thank you. I appreciate the positive vibes. I felt them! I'm fired back up and ready to go:)
      Thanks soo much for the encouragement.

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  5. Thank you so much for this! I keep revising my query, sending it out, and getting mixed results. The old version seemed to garner requests, but my new and improved query didn't. The path between my computer and the drawing board was beginning to resemble a wagon wheel rut on the Oregon Trail. Your advice is priceless, and timely! Thanks!

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  6. Thanks Laura! I am preparing to post the second piece of advice from Matt. Come back soon!

    And the rut in my computer is probably just as deep, if not deeper.

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  7. Nice blog! I'm really enjoying reading through your posts. :) And your book sounds really interesting! You're right, don't give up! :)

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