Monday, November 15, 2010

What do Query Letters and Tootsie Pops Have in Common?

(Lovin' the new version!)

As you all know, I'm in the process of writing my query letter. It has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop talking about it. I go up to random friends and start venting my frustrations about it while they look at me with that look. You know the one. The what-the-hell-is-a-query-letter look? But I don't care. I keep rambling on as though they understand me and ignore their confused expressions because it's not really about them now is it? It's about me and my need to vent, so shut up, be a friend and just let me get it off my chest :-)

I can't stop bitching about how hard it is, but at the same time, I friggin' love the challenge because I know in the end, I will have a kick ass letter that will make every agent in the industry say, "OH MY GOD. I'M HOOKED! THIS STORY IS BRILLIANT.!!! MUST. HAVE. FULL."

Okay, so I know not EVERY agent I query will be interested no matter how fantastic and perfect my query letter may be. But, it's something to strive for, no?

Anyway, I have come to realize that writing this query letter is like trying to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. How many damn licks will it take to get the center???? Each version I write is like another lick, but eventually I HAVE to get to the center, right? As long as I don't quit, I will get there. And there's no biting to get to the center. That's cheating. That would be like having an expert query letter writer, write the query for you (but damn if that wouldn't be a HUGE money making business, heh?) So, I'll keep on licking and licking until my tongue is raw and cavities form because getting to the center of that Tootsie Pop for the that delicious chewy, chocolaty, mouth watering tootsie roll in the center is soooooooooo worth it. And so is my determination to write the best query letter I can!


  1. Haha great analogy Mel! I love it! I shall get to the center too - someday soon I hope. :)

  2. FAB way of putting it! I love Tootsie Pops. Mmmmmm. Now I'm hungry.

  3. I was working, working, working, on that blasted query, until Sunday morning I just decided to take a break. Did my stretches, got in the bath--and inspiration struck halfway through shaving one leg.

    So I finished up, got out of the tub, and shuffled around for some paper while still wet and nekked. Proceeded to write what I hope is the draft for a new and improved query. I'm going to take another polish at it and then post it again in query hell.

    I guess my advice is similar for any writing block: take a walk, ride your bike, take a bath. Just do something that makes you stop trying to force the words into shape, and they'll come to you.

    So I'm going to give you the opposite advice: don't keep at it!

  4. Actually, I went ahead and posted the latest query on my blog too. We now return you to your regularly scheduled bath--though I'm not sure you'll get the same solitude and thinking time in the bath with young twins in the house! ;)

  5. First, mmmmmm....tootsie pops. Haven't had one in ages. CRAVING. Thanks, Mel. :P

    Second, you'll totally get there. You have the drive and determination. What you may find, though is: 1) not everyone offering their advice will agree on whether the center is sweet (some may say it's slightly sour or even salty), and 2) eventually you'll need to trust your own taste (working this analogy for all its worth).

    p.s. Some good Stephen King recommendations from the comment you left over the weekend: you might want to start with one if his short story compilations - DIFFERENT SEASONS is fantastic, as is SKELETON CREW. My absolute favorite is THE STAND, but it is an epic novel (1,000+ pages). Really hard to put down, though. I've read it 3-4 times. Also, IT is amazing. Oh good grief - I could go on and on. Also, CARRIE, CUJO. Ok, enough! lol

  6. Thank you all for your thoughts, suggestions and encouragement. And yes, Angie WE WILL GET TO THAT SWEET ASS CENTER!

    Angelica, I like your advice and I have really been trying to take it. I take a hot bath almost every night, but use that time to read because, yes, it is difficult for me to be in my own thoughts with the twins. Most of my writing time is from 9-12, but that also often includes my time for watching shows/movies with the hubby and reading, so stepping away these days isn't too hard. I found it a lot harder to walk away from my novel.

    Joann, once again, you give me some things to really think about. And this is why I'm so afraid to post my query in QLH. There are so many varied opinions and not everyone critiquing there is familiar with the genre I write. And while the "query experts" can usually pick things apart based on proper query format and what hooks and does etc. I really wonder sometimes if opinions are skewed because of their unfamiliarity with the genre. Not sure if that matters or makes a difference, but I often read people's critiques to query letters and sometimes I walk away scratching my head thinking, Oh my God, this person must be left feeling so confused with such conflicting suggestions and thoughts. In the end, you have to go with your gut, just as anyone needs to do with the novel itself.

    And thanks for the info on Sk books. you got me on a good start.

  7. Mia, thanks for stopping by :-) Sorry to make you hungry, but fwiw, tootsie pops probably won't fill you up (unless you eat an entire bag, maybe :-))

  8. i don't even know what tootsie pops are nut you are hilarious!


  9. WHAT???? You don't-- that's it. I'm mailing you a bag of tootsie pops. Yes, all the way to Australia.

  10. Haha this is a great analogy.

    Definitely lots of good luck crafting that kickass query letter! And for when you start querying too! :D

  11. Thanks Karla! And to you and all your fantastic projects. :-)

  12. I have no doubt your query is getting better and better... it must be, if you're thinking of it as yummy, delicious tootsie pops! :) Bring on the full requests!

  13. Michelle, Oops, didn't see you there. Thanks for reading and commenting! Stay tuned for next week when I make an analogy between revisions and Jaw breakers :-) hahaha...hmm, actually, I think it could be a good one. Hmm...

    Jen, thanks sweets. And, yes, Pleeeeeeeeeeease bring on the full requests!!


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