TIPS ON QUERIES:
- Never start a query with a rhetorical question.
- Be professional. Including a little personal info is fine, if it relates to your ms.
- Absolutely find the submission guidelines for each editor you query. Do not send a snail mail sub to an editor who accepts only email.
- Personalize each query letter. The temptation is to write one query and send it to everyone. Be sure that you're following each individual agent/editor's submission guidelines.
- There is no need to say, "I'm looking for representation/publication." This is assumed by the fact that you're sending a query.
ANATOMY OF A FOUR SENTENCE SYNOPSIS:
- Who is the protagonist and what do they want?
- What's standing in their way?
- How are they going to get around the obstacle?
- What compliations arise from their course of action/promise of conflict?
Brian points out that the synopsis in the query letter should be short. It doesn't (in his opinion) need to give away the climax, but it does need to indicate some idea of what the climax might be. Lastly, he said it's important to remember rejection of a ms is highly subjective. The fact that you can pick up a published book and hate it is proof of that.
Example four-sentenct synopsis by Brian:
Jason Scott has one dream that will make his senior year complete: he wants to take a starred first for acting in the state high school one act play competition. But when Ms. DeRosa, the Lincoln High School drama coach, opts to do a play with an all-female cast, the curatin seems to fall on his hopes. Determined to win the acting award, he forms a student-run drama club and enters the competition with a different one act play that he's directing and starring in. With three rounds of competition to pass before the state finals, Jason must fend off mutinous divas, scheming stagehands, and an escalating war of sabotage between the rival casts that threaten to derail both productions.