Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Do you know what really clogs my pen?

Now, I'm going to discuss the writer's dreaded enemy - the query letter - though you could substitute this for any other professional letter, eg. Resumes and Job Applications and ... okay, can't think of any more.

What I want to rant about is the Good vs Bad samples you always see. Every writing book and site presents two versions of a query letter. One is the Good version - really a pretentious version with so many beefed-up credentials it makes an emerging writer cringe and realise they must live two-lifetimes of employment before submitting their own letter.

The other version is the Bad one, and this is what I want to complain about. The Bad one seems typed by an IQ-challenged monkey, perhaps a turtle (because monkeys are smarter?), and cannot possibly represent anyone in the real world. If you, reader, have written queries stating your work is the best in the world and you're doing the agent/publisher a favour by giving it to them and you'd like a billion dollar advance though you've only half-finished the manuscript... well... no, like the tooth-fairy I just don't believe you exist (and if you do, please get every writing tool in your residence and throw them out now!).

So then surely someone can present writers with samples that represent a truly Bad version. Well, perhaps Bad is not the word, just...Lacking. Many queries are certainly lacking that extra edge - that catchy hook, a succinct word-count, a high-profile name to compare their work to, and so forth.

If anyone can point me in the direction of such an actual, HELPFUL set of samples, I will include it in future posts (and will start a LINKS section) and would be much appreciated. My wife would appreciate it too - one less bitter rant from me to put up with!

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