Getting to the Heart of the Matter

I love writing fiction.  Putting my flights of fancy into a tangible form is extremely satisfying.

Writing and submitting query letters is Darwinism at its best.  Those who follow the  published guidelines, know the basic letter format, AND can create a ‘hook’ and synopsis (of varying lengths) will survive.  The rest have a tendency to go the way of the Dodo.

I struggle with the fine art of query letters.  Novel length manuscripts require one format and short stories another. Each publisher has certain requirements to be included in the letter.

Then there is the ‘hook’.  How can I get and editor/agent to read more than the first line? has a great article about the mechanics of query letters.

It took me six-months to write the synopsis of my manuscript and the first query letter.  Getting to the heart of the matter, the kernel of the story, was extremely difficult. It’s not that I didn’t know my story, it was the fact I needed to take out the extraneous and give them the facts.  Nothing but the facts.

I’ve learned how to relax about my writing.  Step back and see my projects with fresh eyes.  This way I could truly give a summary of my project.  If I focused to long and hard on it, the results were less than stellar.

Yes, I’ve been rejected – a lot.  But I’ve also had successes.  I’ve learned to write a better letter by putting myself out there. If we want to be published, querying is a necessary evil.  Just relax.

The process of being published is not for the faint of heart. You’ve written your story, now give it the wings to fly.



  • My query letter is trying to kill me! And so is the synopsis! But you’re right in that we just have to relax and trust our ability to write. We know the story and we know why its good. All we have to do is have faith and put it in words. 🙂

    • Exactly!!

  • Pingback: AWP 2012 | Now That’s a Novel Idea: Marketability (Gasp!) and Creative Writing Programs (Part 4) « Write on the World

  • Pingback: Not for the Faint of Heart | Write Am I

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