Okay, okay. I can hear the phantom voices of a million agents screaming out at that headline.
So, I’ll explain. Do you send queries after writing one chapter? If you think the answer is yes, then do us a favor and run quickly toward the nearest brick wall.
Many writers fear the query letter. The dreaded query letter. The undoing of their brilliant manuscript. “I’d be a best-seller if I could just write a query, because my manuscript is a winner.”
Writing a query isn’t easy, but it certainly isn’t complicated. It’s painfully simple and hard to execute. But trouble writing your query may point to trouble with you manuscript. If you can’t sum up the characters and major conflicts in a paragraph or two, then you may just have a muddy manuscript that needs your attention.
So, why find that out at the end, after you’ve labored over every word and comma? With my current manuscript, I got a chapter in and decided to write the query letter.
It was an amazing exercise, and helped me identify where my story had focus and where it didn’t. It was like taking the vital signs of my story. Was it healthy at this stage? Mostly, it was.
My last manuscript revealed its problems after it was written, when I tried to write a query and struggled with it. I struggled with it because the manuscript was not in good-enough shape to show.
So, take your story’s pulse. Write the query early, play with log lines. Can you do it?
Now, I’m not suggesting that the query you write after one chapter is the query you’ll actually send out. No. But, it’s a start and should be a rather telling exercise in the life of your writing.
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