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Monday, September 18, 2006

Queries--If it's not relevant, cut it

This is a tip similar to writing synopses--if the sentence is not relevant, then get rid of it.

Each sentence, each nugget of information should pertain to:

--The main storyline. Typically, the story blurb doesn't take more than 1-3 paragraphs.

--The main protagonists. The villain only if he/she is a very major character.

--The characters' spiritual or emotional arcs, and the epiphany or realization at the end/climax. I'm not talking sentence after sentence. One sentence or phrase at the beginning about each character's emotional conflict, and (optional) one near the end about what he/she learns or realizes.

--The characters' external goals and the major obstacles against those goals. Notice I said major obstacles. Leave the minor stuff out. Again, just a sentence or phrase about the characters' external goals.

--An issue dealt with in the book. Say your heroine is an abuse victim. Then any information pertaining to that might be useful. However, don't go overboard and list too many statistics. Keep it simple and short.

--Why you as the author are qualified to write this story. If you've been an abuse victim or worked with abuse victims, then include that. Don't include your three dogs and your church if it has nothing to do with the story.

--Your writing credits. If you don't have many, don't point it out. If you have a lot, point only to the relevant ones. If you wrote an article on abuse in Woman's World and an article on stretching in Runner's World, include the Woman's World but not the Runner's World.

--Your writing groups. Again, don't list all of them if you have a lot.

--Closing thanks and polite nothings

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