Authorguy's Blog

Something old is new again

Posted on: July 6, 2010

It seems to me that it’s probably a lot easier, in a relative sort of way, to write a query for a plot-oriented book than it is to write one for character-driven stories.  After all, the plot is the plot, a single line of endeavor that ties all the actions of the various characters together.  A character-driven story is people doing what they do, usually in reaction to events or each other, multiple lines of activity that aren’t necessarily goal-oriented and often cancel each other out, but somehow combine to make the story go.
  I read some agent blogs every so often (I really can’t take much more than that), and so many of them focus on query letters lately and the necessity of writing them and the importance of writing them well and that vital first impression etc. etc. and I start thinking, “Well yes, but doesn’t that sort of select for the stories that are easier to write queries about, i.e., plot-driven stories?”  And I really do think some of my thoughts with ‘i.e.’ and ‘e.g.’ in them, I’m kinda strange that way.  Not to mention that I write character-driven stories that I can’t query, and therefore the agents of the world will either never see a query about them, or they will see an almost-of-necessity poor query which will certainly not compare well to the ones about intricate plots and (perhaps) not a lot else.  In short, perhaps the standard query letter format is not the best one to display the charms and merits of the less plot-driven works of the world.
  Then I think that if the agents are selecting for plot-driven stories, that’s what the publishers will publish.  And considering the almost incestuous nature of the entertainment industry (not particularly entertaining, but certainly industrious), the movies and cartoons of the world will follow, perhaps contributing some nice special effects to make the whole empty show seem sexier than it is, and then I think, like Giles, that ‘the Earth is doomed’, and it’s time to go to bed.
  Of course, I could be wrong.

What do you think?


2 Responses to "Something old is new again"

You’re depressing me! I’m working on a manuscript that’s not action oriented. How will I write the query? You seem to have studied this problem, so I’ll let you do it, while I go to bed.

Straight From Hel


It gets worse. I never solved the problem, but my MS had several characters doing a variety of things that all came together in the end. Just because a MS is non-plot-centric doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just means it may be much harder to do it. I even used a dialog format but the agents I sent it to didn’t like it at all.


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