Write Your Query First

So, generally people look at novel writing as a linear process: Step 1, write the novel. Step 2, edit the novel. Step 3, submit the novel. So you write the book, make it pretty, and then worry about how you’re going to sell it. For those who have never thought about selling a novel, the query is the pretty letter you send an agent or editor telling them what your book is about in an attempt to grab their interest so they sign you and you get lots of money.

(I’m lying about the money.)

But, it turns out that writing your query BEFORE you write your novel can actually be helpful.

Don’t look at me like that. I’m not crazy.

Here’s the thing. Queries force you to take your plot and smoosh it down into a few paragraphs. It forces you to pull out what’s most interesting about your story and what your main themes are.

These are important things to know. And if you know them before you get 50,000 words into a novel and realize you have no idea where you’re going or why, you’re going to be able to write a more cohesive book that makes sure to focus on what you feel is important.

But Kit, I hear you saying, I’m a pantser. I don’t know where my book is going before I start it. How can I possibly write a query first?

Well, it’s a little harder for you, but not impossible. After all, there’s something that pulled you to start writing that particular story. Can you put what that is into words? Aside from helping you realize what’s important to the story, it might help you hold on to whatever it was that got the juices flowing.

Just something to think about, Squiders. Have a good weekend.

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