Life as Seen Through Queries

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Aug 23 2011

If life were like queries:

  • All children would be orphans
  • All husbands are keeping a marriage-destroying secret from their wives
  • Small towns would have an impossibly high murder rate
  • At the age of 16, 17, or 18 we would all learn the secret our parents have been keeping from us (and it’s always some super-cool paranormal power)
  • Returning home always means falling in love with the hunky man (or gorgeous gal) we left behind


40 responses to “Life as Seen Through Queries”

  1. Avatar Susan says:

    This. Is. Awesome.

    (And I'm glad queries are not real life.)

  2. Avatar Nathan Rudy says:

    Wait, I don't have a marriage destroying secret? Oh, man, that's a relief!

  3. Cool post! Thanks a lot!

  4. Avatar icountwords says:

    So the ultimate story would be:

    Detective John returns to his childhood home, a small town called Mysteryville, to solve three seemingly wild animal attacks, but the only clues he finds are about solving his past instead of the crime.

    John's natural ability to sniff out the victims and sense the relationships between people lead him first to the 16 year-old orphan boy, Robbie, with the same colored eyes and spiral birth mark, who's natural connection with wolves seems more than just chance. Then to his old high school sweetheart Sara, whose distance with her husband is less to do with their screaming fights and more with what they don't say about each other. When John happens upon the two one night in a dark alley way, he learns the most dangerous secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.

    Everything is Predictable is complete at 450,000 words.

  5. Avatar wry wryter says:

    If life were like writing:

    My children would belong to someone else or they would be perfectly behaved and allow me uninterrupted hours of writing while singing my praises to the father of their best friend who is a BIG agent and their mother who is VP of one the Big 6 publishers.

    The secret my husband is keeping from me is our yearlong sabbatical in Tahiti.

    No one in our little town gets murdered, actually they never die they just, (MacArthur-ize); they fade away.

    The only secret my teenagers will learn from me is that I have no secrets, I am boring. They are paranormal because they already know that.

    The only ‘hunk’ in my house is a piece of cheese that has been in my fridge so long it needs a shave.

  6. Avatar Standback says:

    And what percentage of us would have MFAs? 😛

  7. Ummm… and don't forget, we'd all be caught in a love triangle amidst two impossibly sexy/possibly paranormal fellas.

    Oh, and we'd be a bit of a plain jane that just doesn't see why everyone [EVERYONE!] in town is falling for us.

  8. Avatar Cynthia says:

    Life, is a story, thank goodness they are all different.

  9. The only secret my parents revealed to me at 16 was that I had to get a job, where I discovered my supernatural power of making pizzas.

  10. Ah, to be a fictional character.

  11. Avatar Nicole Pyles says:

    You know? At 16, I totally waited for my superpower (still am.)

  12. – every new writer would be able to make an agent a multi-billionaire
    – every book the agent has published previously was rubbish
    – aliens have landed on earth multiple times
    – all new comedy is funnier than terry pratchett

  13. Funny!

    On the other hand, if queries were like life:

    1. The main character went to work again today.
    2. Tonight the main character will go home and have dinner with his mostly-functional family.
    3. Next week will be really exciting, as the main character pays bills in a most interesting manner.
    4. Next month is the family vacation, which will play out much the same as last year's. Our main character will be seen much later in the day in his underwear, and each afternoon he will charge into the fray represented by his to-do list.

  14. Avatar Huntress says:

    Query-eyed additions:

    But her world turns upside down when
    But her ordinary life is about to change
    (and my personal fave)
    MC has a problem
    Well duh. Oops sorry

  15. Well, damn, that explains it. I didn't do any of these things in my books. No wonder my querying's gone poorly.

  16. Avatar ryan field says:

    Could also be life as seen through Lifetime movies.

  17. Well, looks like I need to move back home! 😉

  18. Avatar David Klein says:

    In other words, fellow writers, find something more original to write about.

  19. Avatar Laura W. says:

    Hahaha. I didn't wait for my superpower, but…After reading Harry Potter, I waited for my Hogwarts letter. When it didn't arrive by owl, I told myself (and my friends whom I had talked into believing this delusion) that in America wizard schools sent out letters at age 13. Like, duh, guys.

  20. It's a comment on today's society that Paranormal is more popular than Normal. I think we are convinced there is no way out of this mess. I like slightly skewed normal myself, as a topic for my writing.

  21. I'm guilty of a couple of those in the past. Hilarious post, Jessica! Loved it. 🙂

  22. Avatar SBJones says:

    At least life would never be boring!

  23. Avatar Lucy says:

    Ouch. Rolling on the floor laughing oneself silly hurts. (Thanks to you, Other Stephen King.)

    My list:

    If life is like queries…

    *All the old people are wise (but few). Find them.
    *The only purpose of siblings is to be kidnapped. Don't have any.
    *At least half of all kidnappings will see you in a plane over the Amazon jungles. However, airplane safety inspections do not exist. Take your parachute and be ready to bail.
    *Hating someone at first sight means you will go to bed with that person. Get used to it.
    *Ninety percent of babies are secret love-children. Expect this.
    *The earth has been annihilated roughly 382,000 times. It's pretty resilient.
    *Plots to annihilate the earth have been foiled 1,543,339 times. Evil masterminds are actually quite stupid.
    *There are more secret societies, natural and super-natural, then there are human denizens of the planet. You're outnumbered.
    *If you are tasked to save the earth, you will be assigned a partner whom you must automatically hate until you go to bed with that person (or only discover you love them when they are about to die/actually dying). Or you could just try to get a head start.
    *People tasked to save the earth are allowed only one super-power, maximum. They aren't usually very good at it. Don't expect yourself to be any different.
    *And even if you thought you were different–

    *Your life is a novel, and your author is a closet-sadist. You're screwed.

    Oh, man, do I ever need to quit and go get some sleep!

  24. Avatar Lucy says:

    Oh, and whatever you do, DON'T forget the Evil Overlord lists!

  25. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    I got nuthin. The brain is stuck on Wry Writer's hunk of cheese that needs a shave.

  26. Avatar girlseeksplace says:

    Sometimes, it would be easier if my life were fictional. This real life stuff is killing me quickly.

  27. Avatar December says:

    Don't forget – when you meet the hunk of your dreams, you will discover why you CAN't be with him. And its something really important. NOT like him wearing tye dye and you wearing la coste. *gasp*

  28. I'll admit to being guilty of the orphan trope for one story, although I have thought about altering it a little. Still undecided, as the character is one of a number of war orphans and it's important to her identity, but at least I've stayed away from the rest on your list (and most of the ones on Lucy's)!

  29. Avatar Stephsco says:

    RE: discovering hidden teenage ability. Don't forget younger readers and obsession with princesses!

    After watching the Princess Diaries movie my cousin said, "Maybe I'm a princess and I don't know it…" It was so sweet!

  30. Avatar Kneazle says:

    Damn. I was doing so well until I got to the 4th point. If it helps her sister got her powers at 15….

  31. Bwahahahaha!!

    Thanks for the laugh.

  32. Avatar Sam Wood says:

    Where is my long-lost mysterious uncle? Why won't this unknown man die already and leave me a fortune? I WILL SLEEP IN A SPOOKY HOUSE EVERY NIGHT FOR A WEEK IF NECESSARY.

    Why don't I have three hunky suitors? Each with an increasingly tragic past?

  33. Avatar Caleb says:

    you make us sound boring…. when's your vacation coming up?

  34. Awesome!
    Where was the secret-that-my-parents-hid-from-me when I turned 17, huh?
    :), Marie at the Cheetah

  35. Avatar Tam Linsey says:

    Great post (advice? hehe) and I have to admire the awesome responses, too.
    Now – off to try to be unique along with all you other unique writers 🙂

  36. Oh how true, haha. My fiction class devoted an entire meeting to delving into that stormy sea of cliches. 🙂

  37. Avatar Cara M. says:

    And remember – never ever invite Miss Marple over to your house, or someone will end up dead.

  38. Avatar Leigh Lyons says:

    Hey, my boyfriend can tell you that the last is true. He goes to college 4 hours away from our hometown. When he came back for a visit, he and I reconnected and have been together almost a year at this point.