It’s all about the prose, isn’t it?

by gavrusik

I feel a bit of a buffoon.

Although I’ve written several hours a day for over five years, I’ve accepted it’s a very long journey to literary proficiency, and there’s always another step in front of me. Always. – A day where I make a mistake is an opportunity to grow and learn. Trust me, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow over the years…

So, anyhow, I’m a buffoon. Earlier this year, I spent a few hours writing a query to a couple of agents and sent them off. – After all, it is about the standard of the novel I’ve written, yes? The query is just a polite introduction to it so an agent knows a little about  my prose, and me, before reading.

How could I have been so damned naive? I rambled out a letter, checked it thoroughly and sent it, attaching excerpt and synopsis.

What I failed to realise is just how many other queries from other writers I am competing against. Perhaps a good analogy would be to suggest the query letter was a job application, and the attached excerpt the interview. Which employer in their right mind would consider asking a potential employee to attend an interview who’d sent them a misshapen and ill thought out job application?

So now I think I get it, and that’s all thanks to @njcrosskey who looked at a query letter I had intended to send. After her laughter had ebbed, she pointed out a dozen glaring oopses, and several omissions that were essential to a query. Together with a link to ‘query shark’ I now feel a little more confident, and a lot less like a buffoon.

So, no, it’s not all about the prose.

Or at least not until you’ve earned the right for it to be.