Query Blurbs

I was going to write about voice today, but something happened the other night that didn’t just refill my well, it flooded it. (I’m referring to Marilyn’s post yesterday, REFILL TIME.

I got a call from one of our new members and it flooded my well! I love it when women like this one joins our group because they love writing and the want to learn and write and achieve their goal of Published. (Insert angel choir singing.)

I was just like that when I first joined. I knew what I didn’t know and wanted to learn, learn, learn.

The ugly truth is, I got a C in English my senior year in high school (although I did much better in college) so to this day, I depend on my critique partners.

If a trusted critique partner (trusted is the magic word there) tells me my participial has taken a hike, fallen off a cliff and is dangling by its fingernails, I’ll believe her.

If she tells me my G dissolved and my MC got hammered, I’ll back up the bus and go to work.

If she tells me my black moment is actually a dull shade of gray, I’ll get out my paint box and go to work.

So when this woman called for advice the other night, I was stunned.

“I hear you’re really good at writing queries, and I wondered if I could talk to you for a minute.”

“Me?” Nearly fainting, I grabbed a counter top for support. “You’re still kind of new to the group. Are you sure you don’t have me mixed up with someone else?”

“No. They said Susan Shay.”

“They did? Who did? Are you sure they weren’t teasing?”

“Linda and Marilyn both said it.”

“Wow. I’m good at writing queries? I had no idea.”

Seriously. No idea. So I said, “Tell me about your query and I’ll help if I can.”

Turns out she was talking specifically about the über short synopsis blurb thingy in the query, not the entire letter.

We talked. She asked questions and told me about her WIP. I asked questions and explained as I could. Know what I figured out? I do know a little bit about queries. (But I learned everything I know from Marilyn, so there you go.)

Here’s what I know:

  1. Throw out all the rules you’ve learned about writing. A synopsis for a query is an entity unto itself.
  2. Keep the blurb thingy in one POV. (The one that’s most interesting.)
  3. Write about the main story question if you can.
  4. Think of the blurb thingy as a very small appetizer. Leave the editor or agent hungry for more.
  5. Don’t be boring.

She asked a hard question–“Since this is a romance, should I focus on the romance more than the paranormal?”

Answer–They should be so intertwined that you can’t talk about one without the other.

The Long Story:

Say your goody-two-shoes heroine goes on a date with a guy and wakes up the next morning in a parked car with a big hicky. They guy she had the date with is next to her, dead.

Inciting incident–the policeman working the murder scene.

The police release her, because they have no proof and she has no memory of what happened. Almost immediately, she develops an aversion to light and her canine incisors start to elongate. And she thinks she’s seeing the same cop, following her.

TP: Cop helps out at a soup kitchen, where he sees heroine working in the hot kitchen. He offers to help, and learns she really is good people.

This former vegetarian starts eating meat and ordering it bloody rare. When she starts eyeing small animals and drooling after them, she decides to make a off hours withdrawl from the local blood bank. But she’s stopped by the cop who really has been following her.

TP: She’s stopped by the crime scene cop when she tries to break into bloodbank.

He’s been researching cases like hers in a multi-state area and believes there’s a vampire at work.

Together, they hunt for the head vampire.

Black Moment: As the head vampire gets closer, his control over heroine is stronger. Cop thinks she can fight it, but she won’t and leaves with vamp man.

Cop won’t give up because the heroine is with the the head vampire. Cop realizes he loves her and can’t live without her.

Heroine exerts her strength of will and is able to overcome vampire’s and together they finish him. With head vampire dead, heroine becomes the new head.

So they pull her incisors and stop her blood thirst. She has implants to replace them and she and the policeman live happily ever after.

So how would I write that super short synopsis thingy?

Just for fun, Click Here.



6 thoughts on “Query Blurbs

  1. Good blurb!

    You ARE good with both queries and the blurbs that go in them. You manage to keep your voice front and center in both, without going all dry and droning.

    I love our new hungry friend, too. It’s such fun to see someone who knows that writing/publishing/selling isn’t easy-peasy and still wants to do it anyway!

  2. I have to agree with Marilyn and Linda. Youse da bomb of query synopsis! As shown by the one you used to illustrate. Soooo, are you writing the story. It sounds great!

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