Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Magical creatures that are not novel protagonists

There are a lot of vampires, ghosts, and dragons out there in children and YA lit, but some creatures and mythological beings never make it to the title page:

1. Sphinx- we have changelings, dragons, and even fairies, but no one likes a riddle-loving lion who will gobble you up. Poor sphinx!

2. Mermaid- Blame Disney for this. No one wants to tackle these fish-tails for the same reason that they won't retell the Hans Christen Andersen fairy tale.

3. Muse- Neil Gaiman and all the other writers who have written about muses made these nymphs a fictional cliche. Best version? "Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" by Stephen King.

4. Zombies- not brainless zombies, mind you, but emotional undead beings who are trapped in suspended animation

And am I going to write about all of these? Heck yeah!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Five Things about Queries

Finished draft 2 of my wolf novel. Sent out a query, led to automatic rejection. Found QueryShark, a blog that attacks queries and teaches you how to improve yours. I learned the following important components of a query letter:

1) Clarity- Make sure the editor understands your description of the plot, and the conflict your protagonist faces.

2) Brevity- Keep your query word count under 170 words, or at the very least under 200. Use as few words as possible to entice the editor and make them WANT you.

3) Logic- Subset of clarity. Make sure your described plot makes sense. Example of illogic: "Joy is a twenty-three year old millionaire working as a prostitute as a penance to ease her guilt over the death of her ex-boyfriend." (This is verbatim from the QuerShark blog.)

4) Voice- Give an inkling of the tone your novel is in. If it's a thriller set during the Cambodian massacres, write a fast-pasted query. If you're writing a satire involving cucumber gondolas and evil overlords wanting all the world's cheese, incorporate a few biting phrases. Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling are famous because they have writing styles that flow into their reader's mind; add that verve to your novel!

5) Consistency- My additional rule. If you write the query in first-person (that is, the protagonist's voice), make sure your novel is in first person. If the editor likes your query, have the novel ready for them. Can also be labelled at EXPECTATIONS.

Need to go now to slice some oranges. Tootles!