For my next WIP (Work in Progress for those of you not cursed with the joys of being a writer), I decided I would try a different tack. I would write the query first, and then the book.
The query, or the short pitch that goes out to agents, causes writers much angst. It has to be a little work of art on all its own, a short-form beauty that gives just enough information about the story to entice (but not too much! A man in boxer shorts gazing off at the clouds is infinitely more sexy than a man eyeing his exposed privates with a dumb, simian gaze.) It must convey voice, a delectable suggestion of the plot, originality, and no grievous errors that might cause an agent to shout: "Fail! Delete!" Whole query-writing forums have sprung up to address the delicate issue of writing the perfect query. I cannot possibly address all the intelligence here. Many much wiser than I am have written much on the topic; Google it, and visit Query Tracker—an amazing resource.
Writers complain a lot about the query. And the truth is, it is tough to distill your chef d'oeuvre into a nugget of wonderfulness that will cause an agent's hair to spring into wild, excited curls. Or, if she/he is curly-headed by birth, to give him/her an instant Brazilian Blowout. Tough, but then you realize: It's another writing exercise. And I am a writer! How handy. I shall use my skills to turn this task into an excuse to dodge, parry, thrust with my keyboard. Ha! Take that!
But then I thought: why not try the opposite? I'll write a query for a really fun and ridiculous book—the query that I would love to send out if only I could. And then I will have to write it. Oops! It was different. I wasn't trying to distill a book. Instead, I was just having fun with my keyboard. It was like a miniature short story. When I saw what I had written I thought: "Well, how the hell will I achieve that? What on Earth did this character do to get where he is? Did I have to include murder? Who the 'hey is getting murdered? How do I get there, anyway?"
The challenge is set. I have set out to meet my query. 5,000+ words and growing. If my blog grows dark on occasion, you will understand. Huzzah!