April 20, 2008 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
I learned about poem in your pocket day when one of my students pulled out a poem from her pocket. I liked the poem, but liked even more the fact that she thought I’d appreciate the whole poem-in-your-pocket concept. Unfortunately, I never got my own poem, and right now the only thing in my pocket is a stripey paper napkin with dried snot on it. I suppose that is a poem in itself, but I am not going to make anyone look. Not even Thundercat, who would only understand poetry along the lines of ‘Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an MOUSE!!1!!1!’ Better go here. (If anyone’s ever written a poem about Rick Astley, that could take the concept of rickrolling to a new level!)
Completely rewrote my query letter, as I was doing it All Wrong. Nathan Bransford has some excellent posts on it. The Query Letter Mad Lib is, I think, a good introduction, boiling everything down to the essences: why you want to work with this agent, the basic conflict in your plot, and the facts about You, The Author.
Having said that, I got a much better sense of the development of a query letter from the first installment of Anatomy of a Good Query Letter, and worked on mine with that as a template. (Was kind of sad to check out the website of the author whose letter he used as an example, only to find that she doesn’t seem to have a publishing deal yet.)
Given that no agent wants to see an unfinished manuscript, it may seem a bit premature for me to be writing query letters, but I find that boiling conflict down to a paragraph really helps focus the through story.