Interview with a Query

“Why don’t you say we get started?” I asked, sipping my cinnamon coffee. Digital recorder on the table.

“So, you want me to tell you the story of my life?” Query had his back to me. Then he turned. “I’ll tell you my story. I’ll tell you all of it.”

I pretended to stir cream in my coffee that wasn’t there. He sounded serious. Too serious.

“I’m paper and ink but not a real letter. I haven’t been the letter I want to be in years. Ever since Miss Snarky pants.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. He sounded troubled. Maybe I should slip him the number of my therapist.

“Back in the old days, writers had fun with me. Chocolates or homemade pumpkin muffins sent with me, or special clip art on the sides of my page. Now, it’s boring 12 point NTR font on nice white paper.”

“It’s called being  professional.” Didn’t he want us writers to succeed? I had my doubts.

“I know. I follow Nathan, Kristen, and Daphne. And I’ll never forget Miss Snark.” He paused, curling his sides as if upset. “But that’s not the worst of it.”

I glanced up in surprise.

“I used to take solace in the words. Words that spotlighted the writer instead of the story. Words that compared the story to that Potter boy or that sparkly vampire guy. Rhetorical questions made me leap for joy. Vague three sentence summaries gave me chills. I loved them all.”

My coffee had grown cold, but I didn’t care. “So, what happened?”

He turned his back to me again. “Query letters have become better. Professional. Detailed. Expressive.” His last words were a whisper. “Well written.”

We were almost done, but I wanted to leave him with words of encouragement. “You can still take pleasure in misspelled names, bulk emails, and typos.”

He shrugged but said nothing.

I had to cheer him up. “Don’t worry. To many writers, you are still shrouded in mystery and a source of great angst.”

He snorted. “You’ve been reading YA novels, haven’t you?”

I straightened my back. “Yeah. And proud of it.”

“Thanks,” Query said. “I feel better. We should meet for coffee sometime. On me.” Then he turned his back to me. The interview was over.

I slipped out of the room to go home and write a query. One that would send Query into the depths of despair. Maybe I’d leave in a typo, just for him. And maybe, I’d bake some pumpkin muffins.

6 Responses to Interview with a Query

  1. Anna January 8, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Haha, I love this! Poor Query. Now that there are so many resources online about query writing, his life has gotten so much harder. Then again, based on what agents say, there are still plenty of terrible queries being written every day. That ought to cheer him up. 🙂

    • Laura Pauling January 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

      I was just having fun. What can I say? I’m editing and need a creative outlet. I’ll be forward on my thoughts about the query tomorrow. Even though it’s Saturday, and I only blog on M,W,F.

  2. Heather Kelly January 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    I can’t believe that Query had time for an interview–I had assumed that he was busy running from all the angry writers. I know many who want his head.

    • Laura Pauling January 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

      I’m determined to embrace the query letter this year as a gift and a tool. And try to write one that encourages an agent to request a full. Harder than it sounds.

  3. Kristen Torres-Toro January 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Hey, Laura!

    Thanks for coming by Write in the Way! It’s so great to meet you! I look forward to getting to know you. And thank you so much for your encouragement!

    This was great! Query time is coming back up for me again… I’m hoping I write something fantastic!

  4. Laura Pauling January 8, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Querying is coming up for me too. Mixture of excitement, nervousness mixed with a little dread and fear. Thanks for stopping by!

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