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The Perfect Query Formula

August 11, 2010

Jodi Meadows, Author of The Newsoul Trilogy

As many of you know, I’m attending WriteOnCon for the next two days, an online conference for free, packed with lectures, prizes, and critiques. I read Jodi Meadows advice on query writing, and I have to say that most useful material on query writing I’ve ever seen.

Here is the copied formula:

KNOWING WHAT TO INCLUDE:

If you don’t already know how to format a query letter, get thee to Google. This post isn’t about what font you use. This post is about how to show the extreme awesomeness of your story.

Beginning a query description can be really intimidating! To get started, answer the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist and what is their goal? (Motivation.)

2. What is keeping the protag from achieving that goal? (Conflict.)

3. How will the protagonist overcome this problem? (Plot.)

4. What happens if the protagonist fails/what choice does the protagonist have to make? (Stakes, and why the reader should care.)

I can’t give you these answers, but I can help you learn how to turn them into a clear, kick-butt query.

So simple, right? You can read the rest of the post here. She also talks about filling in the blanks, what should be in every sentence of the first paragraph, the story world/conflict in second, and choices and more implications in the third.

My latest query, with the aid of WriteOnCon critiques, is not far off. The first paragraph is a little different, though, and I’ll look into that. There’s also lots more interesting things she reveals about the art of writing query letters.

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