Thursday, February 18, 2010

Querying Your Query

I guess you've started writing seriously when you expose your writing to a workshop. You're well along the path to a first novel when you workshop your query. And you're a veteran when you workshop your procrastination techniques.

I've been at phase two for awhile, and Evil Editor is the first and most unique query workshop I found.

Usually you help other people polish their work in exchange for having your own polished. Oddly enough, that's not necessarily expected on Evil Editor's blog. You receive free and unreciprocated (unless you feel like it) help in exchange for accepting the fact that other people are going to make fun of your query letter, and first pages if you submit them. There are several games to this end. Each submission is used for an episode of Guess The Plot, where Evil Editor tells people your title, and makes up outrageous plots that might fit it. It would be easier if he weren't so cunning at slanting his brief description of your real plot.

If you submit the first hundred fifty words of your book, you may receive helpful advice on the all important hook. On the other hand, people will write satirical continuations of your opening, and Evil Editor will publish the one(s) he considers funniest.

The frequent writing exercises may be helpful, although after a short time I had to decide my time was better spent on my own writing. The exercises do offer opportunities to take vengeful digs at Evil Editor.

I like to think Evil Editor is what he seems - someone frustrated by the bland unhelpful politeness that is most prudent for an agent or editor rejecting work. Under the cloak of anonymity he could be both helpful and rude. Or not - who knows?

I'm going to give this blog two thumbs up. A good query letter and a thick skin are both important for a novelist. I'm glad I started polishing my query here, and even met one of the first people to actually find the premise of my novel intriguing.

Have you workshopped any queries yet? Are you planning to? Do you know of any writer's workshop you'd prefer to a special query workshop for this?

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