Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Can't Write Anymore

I wrote my first query letter today for the WriteOnCon online writer's convention. It was a horrible experience and I never want to write another word again.

It wasn't the critique suggestions, they were terrific.  It was my own experience of writing.

I cannot be succinct.  I just can't.

Okay, that last paragraph was pretty succinct.  So I can do it if I really need to.

So, here's the query letter with the first edits suggested by one of the incredibly generous participants of WriteOnCon (and FYI .. in real life one should never query a WIP, but they let you do it on WriteOnCon as long as you put WIP or Work In Progress in the subject line of your thread):

Dear Ninja Agent,

When an international cyber-attack disrupts power and communication, bookish 13-year-old Lena Ladimer decides to chronicle the events in her own small rural neighborhood in Gibeon, Connecticut.  Armed with her great-grandfather’s 1947 Thin Paper Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, paper and pencils, she tries to distance herself from events by writing about them.  She begins to be drawn into the community as they work together to cope with the outages, but everything changes when her father is killed.

Lena decides to set off to New Reading to exact revenge on her dad’s killer.  She enlists the help of her best friend, neighbor Gus Lennon and two others, but does not reveal the real reason for the twenty-mile journey.  Instead, she tells them she wants to make sure her father has been properly buried. They all have their own reasons for wanting to go, and when the others finally find out Lena’s intentions, a startling connection to her father’s killer is revealed.

The real trouble, though, is brewing back in Gibeon as the unsuspecting neighbors welcome a stranger who seems willing and able to help them. Lena and Gus realize that help is the last thing on her mind when they discover that she has instructions to do whatever it takes to destroy their community—and they will do whatever it takes to save it

Lena Ladimer Chronicles: Bury the Dead is a 15,000/50,000 word work in progress.

Thank you, Ninja Agent, for taking the time to read my query and for your involvement in WriteOnCon.com.  Attention from an industry professional is thrilling and appreciated!

Best Regards,

I choose not to put the original on this post.  It's on the YA thread over on WriteOnCom.

Too bad they don't have a genre called "Pseudo Literary Blather."  The Ninja Agents would be all over me like a cheap suit.
Who ever knew you could floss with a laptop?



  1. Okay....no panicking. Query letters are some of the hardest things you will ever have to write. Until you get to synopses.
    But seriously, hard hard work to be able to accurately convey your story in so short a time. And while this sounds mean, you have to remember that not every critiquer will be right. You really have to sort through that feedback and only take what feels right in your gut.
    Now I'm going over to WriteOnCon so I can give you some feedback to throw out if you want. :)

    1. I am RoWrites on WriteOnCon. I posted the query letter twice by accident. I can't begin to tell you, Faith, how nervous I am.

      How astute of you to read my blog post title as panic.

      I can't wait to see what you've got up over there!

  2. First of all, congratulations on being so brave! I could never do what you've done -- posted a query (hard to write even after the fifth draft) on a work that you are still discovering. I haven't registered for WOC so I can't read anything there, except for archived articles, but I'll tell you this ... I liked your character very much, and her courage to try to fight the enemy. But in the end, I asked myself: So what if the community is destroyed? Can't she find a different one?

    I've moved umpteen times and although it's hard, it is doable, and sometimes even necessary for new growth. Come to think of it, I love moving. Discarding baggage and one bad habit at least (I have numerous to draw upon). You can see my reader bias. For another person, community might be *everything*. I think you need to show more stakes. What's so special about *this* community that I should care.

    I know, hard to do in a query. But that's okay. You're still working on it. You will know more when you finish the book. You might even find that you stray from your original idea ... I've written two novels so far and it's shocking how different the final draft is compared to the first. So do not panic and take all comments with a box of salt. And keep writing!

    1. Great advice! It never ceases to amaze me how many ways there are to look at things, and the stakes for one character may look very different to different readers. I'll tell you one thing that is happening as a result of WOC: I'm writing. Thanks so much, Vijaya!