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Thought for the Day

I love it when people start their query with something along the lines of “I know a query should get to the point, but that’s not my style and I like to do things my own way,” or “I know you don’t accept unrequested manuscripts, but that’s not my style and I like to do things my own way,” or “I know a mystery should really have a mystery in it, but that’s not my style and I like to do things my own way.”

Isn’t that a little like me saying, “I know I shouldn’t get fall-down drunk at writers’ conferences, but that’s not my style and I like to do things my own way”?


Category: Blog


  1. It's like getting pulled over for doing 75 in a 55 and telling the officer "I know there are laws, but I like to do things my own way" and expecting to not get a ticket. Silly people.

  2. Jessica, at what point does rule breaking become respectful, as opposed to stupid?
    An author’s unique voice may butt heads with accepted rules.
    I guess I’m asking does style ever override arrogance? (Ah, to me arrogance negates just about everything.) I think I just answered my own question.

  3. These people seem not to realize that Snowflakes melt, even Special ones. And crossing lines is a good way to persuade gatekeepers to point flamethrowers at you, which won't help.

    The whole process will go better if you don't piss off the people you need.


  4. I had a friend in college who used to get so upset and angry that she had to write her English essays a certain way. I told her to get over it — that was the expectation and the requirement.

    A few years later we worked together. Guess what. She *still* got upset when asked to do things the way the business wanted them instead of her way.

    The mind boggles.

  5. Why not just go ahead and post that Workshop Wednesday that made it out there by mistake? It's still alive in any rss reader.

  6. your truth is good for you. It's relevant for you but it's not for me and don't force it on me because your truth is not relevant for me.

    It's the same schools of thought that taught us -ly words were appropriate as often as we could use them

  7. I'm the exact opposite. I'm more the type that writes "I humbly apologize for intruding but could you look at my query, please? Yours sincerely, Miss Door Mat".

    I do have two questions though. Does this uber-confidence color your opinion too much, to the extent that you spare their work no more than 30 seconds of your time? And, are these types of queriers ever any good?

  8. If you really do decide to get fall-down drunk at a writers' conference, let me know so I can pitch to you.

    Kidding! (Mostly.) 😉

    The gall of some people, I swear…
    Have a great weekend!

  9. Generally speaking, I'm not a rule follower, & I've always questioned authority. I like to do things MY way. (I'm a first born aka: narcissist.) That said, I don't like shooting myself in the foot. (Makes my Manolos look bad.)

    You need to be wise enough to know the difference between (gently) bending the rules to make your query shine and shooting yourself in the foot. They are NOT and NEVER WILL BE the same thing.

    PS: I'm available to drink with the great folks at BE at the next writer's conference. Let's not dally. Life is short, and getting shorter by the minute. (Hah! I just used the word, "dally"!)

  10. @ Wry, 8:39am:

    I think breaking rules is a little like the old saying that "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it." If you break the rules, but you do it "right" you don't need to call attention to it. If your novel works, it works.

    The Query Shark has posted a number of queries that break every rule in the book yet would inspire her to ask for (and sometimes demand) pages. None of them states that it's breaking rules, however. They just do it, and brilliantly.

    Sometimes the best way to deal with the 2,000 pound dragon in the corner is merely to act as though everybody has one: "His name is Dave. He likes peanuts. Would you like more tea?"

  11. Id like to invite you folks to come to Amish Stories for a recipe for "Famous Pennsylvania Dutch Sticky Cinnamon Buns" along with a book signing schedule for Amish fiction writer Wanda Brunstetter for Pennsylvania and Ohio as well as a contest to meet her. I hope everyone so far is having a great weekend. Thanks everyone. Richard from Amish Stories.

  12. Everyone knows you are only supposed to get fall-down drunk at book launches. Writers' conferences are for hooking up (physically speaking). 😉

    Bonnie Ferrante

  13. @SusanS: I like that comparison. It's kind of a show-don't-tell kind of thing. If you need to break the rules in order to be awesome, your awesomeness will speak for itself. If you have to justify or defend your decision, however, there might be something wrong there.

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