Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Not to Write a Query 5

It's time for another round of:

For those of you just joining us, the query process has taught me that I know very little about how to write a successful query. I'm just not good at it. Yet. But, like Thomas Edison, I am learning a thousand ways how NOT to write a query. And I'm sharing with you. 'Cause I'm generous like that.

Also, since it can help to see how a bad query can become a good query (and because, again, I'm no good at writing the aforementioned "good query"), I like to take the back cover blurbs of bestselling books and make them bad. THAT I'm good at. Then we compare the two and see what I did wrong.

Are you excited?

Today's lesson is on the importance of including story specifics, rather than hide-the-secrets vagaries. I've taken the back-cover blurb of a bestselling book and I've vagueified (vaguarized?) each sentence. The basic meaning of each sentence is still there (sort of), I haven't added or subtracted any, and they're still in the same order:
Many years ago, American life changed forever, and a new government took power. The new government keeps its citizens in line with high-tech propaganda, mass psychological abuse, and the torture of innocents.
Sixteen-year-old Jane Doe knows she’ll die when she saves a loved one from torture. But Jane is a survivor. She fights back. But if she is to survive, she will have to decide what is really important.
I think you can probably guess the genre, but can you guess the book? Leave your guesses in the comments and the winner will get a prize. Um, any ideas for a good prize? One that doesn't cost any money? Would anyone be interested in a query crit from someone who can only say what's wrong with it?


  1. Def. Hunger Games. I win because even though Matthew was first, he was uncertain. I have no doubt at all.

  2. That is definitly the hunger games.

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  4. Oh god, it sounds like The Hunger Games fan fiction when you write it like this.

  5. Yeah, I agree with Matt too. ;D

    Prize: query crit sounds good. Or maybe offer a query crit to giveaway on someone else's site? Just a thought....

  6. Well, since everyone else has already guessed Hunger Games, I will go with something different - Possession or The Handmaid's Tale.

  7. Huh. Looks like my vagueinator might be on the fritz. :)

  8. Sounds like Hunger Games to me. Sooooo glad I won't need to write any queries for a while since I suck at them;)

  9. I wasn't sure at first, but it does sound like HG.