Query Writing Tips

Go online and you’ll find many sites offering tips for writing query letters. I have compressed some accepted “Dos and Don’ts” for you.


  1. Spell the agent’s name correctly and make sure he is interested in your genre. MSWL is a good site to check.
  2. State the title and word count.
  3. Mention why you are contacting the agent.
  4. Be professional and keep the query to one page only, double-spaced.
  5. Give your contact info: phone number, address, email.


  1. Don’t mention that you found the agent on a database or writing guide.
  2. Do not say your novel is fiction!
  3. Do not claim that your book is better than others.
  4. Do not apologize for being a novice writer or for being unpublished.
  5. In your closing thank the agent for her time.
  6. Don’t query until you have completed the fiction manuscript or if it’s a nonfiction piece, you have an outline, table of contents and sample chapters.
  7. Visit the agent’s website to see what they like included with a query. Sometimes they only want ten pages, sometimes three chapters. Abide by submission rules.

Your task is to write a query letter for a piece you are ready to submit.

Have fun with this one.

Siblings in Our Stories

Our characters might have brothers and sisters. If so, we have to define their relationships and how our character feels about the siblings.

For example, in some families, siblings seem to get along marvelously. This has a lot to do with how the parents treated them. If achievements are applauded equally, if discipline is handled fairly, and if comparisons never come up in conversation, then there will be no/little ill will.

In other families, it’s all about competition for parental attention and favor. Sons might be held in higher regard than daughters. Sons might get preferential treatment when it comes to borrowing the car, staying out at night, doing chores around the house. Girls might be subservient, only being able to use the car if the boy doesn’t need it, having restrictions that prohibit socializing at night, and having to clean the entire house, including the boy’s bedroom, before having free time.

Sons might be expected to learn to mow lawns and care for the car, while girls learn to cook, sew and shop.

You have to decide how to handle siblings in your stories.

Your task is to write a scene in which siblings interact with each other and with at least one guardian. This will require some dialogue, some description, some movement/change.

Have fun with this one.