Questions to throw at your book summary:

When you’ve redrafted your query a gazillion times you start to lose your sense of objectivity. Not only is this the time to seek external feedback (ahem, that’s what the forum is for) but it’s also time to take a step back and ask yourself some serious questions about whether your query works or not, such as:

  • What do we learn about your protagonist?
  • What kind of atmosphere does your summary create? (Eg: Would we guess what kind of genre it is without it being explicitly mentioned?)
  • Does the summary leave us wanting to read more?
  • Are there any redundant phrases/words? (Eg: Do you waffle on about minor subplots or include twenty different character names in your summary, or list a bunch of unrelated hobbies in your bio section?)
  • Are there any obvious clichés, or does your summary use that over-dramatic movie trailer tone of voice?
  • Are there any overly-vague phrases (Eg: ‘overcoming insurmountable obstacles’ or ‘discovering a dark and secret past’)? Be as specific about the details of your story as you can.
  • Can you think of a way to make the query smoother and more concise? Read it out loud – are there any awkwardly-constructed sentences? Any extraneous adjectives? Slice ‘n’ dice and make it as succinct as possible.
  • Do you get a real sense of your writing style and voice within the query? Try to strike a balance between professionalism and personalisation. (Eg: If your story is comedic, your query shouldn’t read like a formal application – but don’t go overboard with the puns…)

And if writing your query is driving you to the brink, it’s time to TAKE A FRICKIN’ BREAK. Put it away. Don’t look at it for a few days. Then get some objective feedback from your wonderful WHQ peers:

Crowdsource advice on your blurb from the almighty Writers’ HQ online community!

Whether you’ve got a full letter draft or are still fiddling with your book summary, post what you’ve got in the forum and let’s be ‘avin’ ya.

Then pick at least one other student’s query and try to offer (friendly, constructive, useful) feedback using some of the following questions above as starting points.

Sharing is caring, y’all. Help each other out. We’ll chip in too. And we’ll all get better together. Awww. Love you guys.

Gif of The Golden Girls having a group hug.

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