How to Write a Query Letter that Makes Agents and Editors Swoon

How to write a clear query letter reblogged.

Michael Cristiano

This is a response to my earlier post called Why Your Query Letter is Making Agents and Editors Cringe. I’m so meta, right?

Writing a query letter is an art, they say. What they really mean is that it’s really gosh-darn hard. It seems that everyone and their sister thinks they can write a query letter, but out in the real world, it fails. Miserably.

That’s what happened to me. I thought writing a query letter was easy. I composed one in a couple hours and unleashed it onto the world. Little did I know, it was crap and yielded no return. It wasn’t until I joined the Absolute Write and participated in their forum that I was able to learn how to write a query letter properly.

Now, I shall bestow my knowledge upon you.

Step One: Write a Manuscript

A given, right? Wrong. I am a big advocate that writers complete…

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Another 1,000 words

This morning I rose at 7:30 a.m. by 8:30 a.m. I had written 1,531 words. I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull off another 1,000 words because yesterday my character ran off crying because the man of her dreams wasn’t returning her love. Before going to bed, I thought about how she could recover and had no idea. This morning I happily figured it out and kept writing instead of stopping at 1,000 words.

I would love to write more than 1,000 words at a time, but don’t trust myself or my storytelling ability for more than that.

Last year I wrote a novella of 41,o00 words in 15 days, which means I hauled butt. I wrote every night for hours. The story came easily, but I was disappointed that I only got to 41,000 words instead of the planned/hoped for 80,000. I ran out of steam. I’m hoping I don’t run out of steam this time and can get the story to 90,000 words (hey, I’d be happy with 80,000 or even 70,000) thus my slow going. I think if I can stretch out the story over a few months that I can get it to 90,000 words. Let’s see if I’m right.

Thank you for reading my blog and following me.

Snow Day and another 1,000 Words

I’m determined to finish my novel in another 60 days. If I can stay on track and keep writing 1,000 words a day, I’ll make that goal of a 90,000 word novel. After which the real fun of editing begins. I am looking forward to the editing phase of the novel because that will mean that I’m done with the initial writing part and on to the phase two writing part. This is a daunting task I’ve set before myself–one of which I can be very proud for what I’ve done thus far.

This morning I dressed and hurried downstairs to check my phone. Sure enough I had a missed call. As I dialed my voicemail, I turned on the TV to the news channel. I sat excitedly waiting to hear the automated  voice stating that our office was closed. The voice came on and I was thrilled, but skeptical. Could we really have two snow days in a row? What about all those people who had their heat shut off? What would this day be like for them?

I kept watching the news and it was announced that many state buildings were closed and to check to see if the building where you work was closed at I went online and checked. I located my office from a long list of closed State of Michigan buidlings. Whew! I thought and yeah! Another snow day.

Instead of going back to bed immediately, I took the time to write another 1,000 words. I’m not sure I trust myself to write more in one sitting. It seems writing 1,000 words is all I have in me at any given time. I’m happy with 1,000 words. It allows me to think up the next scene to include in my story.

30,000 words and counting

Today, we had a snow day at work. Actually we were sent home early because of the bad weather. Since I had the afternoon off (work was called at noon today), I decided to write. Yesterday, I wrote over 1,000 words to 28,464. Today, I wrote to 30,120 words.

I felt better about writing almost 2,000 words because these counted and don’t feel like I’m making my own slush pile of words. It felt like real writing. Like all these words actually matter. Okay, so maybe it’s the two pink frosted sugar cookies I just ate talking, but I think the work was pretty good. I’m counting on it being good. Once I get through with all the writing, I’ll go back through and edit it to fine tune what I’ve written. For now, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants and trying to enjoy the process as much as possible.

I have two cats seated on me. One is preening herself on my left leg with the other is purring contently in my zip-up jacket. I’m so thankful for content cats and cookies and 30,000 words (sugar cookies talking again). Even so I’m thankful for where I am right now.

Writing at 2 a.m.

I’m up again writing–getting in those 1,000 words before the day actually begins. I’m digging through the snow bank of ideas looking for some gems. Some yes, others, no. It’s hard to write when the snow bank turns out to be dog piles of poo that I’m pushing from one end of the page to the other. (Note to self: stop self editing. Just let it flow.) (I see a stream of pee–yeah, something is flowing all right.)

Up Early or Down Late

Last night I found I couldn’t sleep. It was 3 a.m., which dragged into 3:45 a.m. before I finally decided to get up and try my hand at writing some more on the novel. I cranked out around 500 words in about 15 minutes (it helps when you have an outline and know which direction the story is taking). In a half hour, I had written 1,000 words exactly from the previous days words of 26,357 only today I wrote 27,357 words. I feel any push forward is a good thing. Looking at the white screen of the computer even with my outline and general idea of where I want the novel to go next is daunting. I worry that I won’t have enough information or scenes to fill a 90,000 word book. After all my first true attempt at a romance novel only had 41,000 words to it. I lament the process of writing and worry about things that haven’t even taken place as of yet, such as not having enough scenes to fill a 90,000 word book.

I worry about the what ifs–things I still have control over. Looking at the white screen of the page is like looking at a glaring white snow bank. You know there is something worthwhile in there. The question is how to get it out.


Found It!

Someone else blogged about Write or Die the timed writing program online. I tried it. I liked it and found it helpful. At the top of the Write or Die page were other helpful writing websites such as: and Neither one of these are timed so no pressure to write. Too bad Write or Die at doesn’t offer writing prompts. Or too bad that doesn’t offer timed writing exercises.

By the way, most of what I write here is fresh off the cuff without any editing. So excuse typos if there are any because I be perfect. 🙂

Lost Word Writers Group

So it was me and the leader last night at the Lost Word Writers Group at Jackson District Library in Jackson Michigan. Even though it was just the two of us I felt it was productive. We did a writing exercise about first encounters which I felt good enough about to expand and submit to a writers contest for short fiction online. I’m hoping for runner up (one of 10 places) or honorable mention (one of 10 places too).

I don’t believe my piece is strong enough to win it all, but I don’t care. I’m going for bottom of the barrel type of placement and hope to make a good showing there. I just want my writing to be recognized. I would cut and paste it here, but putting it in my blog constitutes publishing and I don’t want to publish it randomly on my own. I want someone else to award placement to it and let me bask in the realm of honorable mention for all to see.

I liked the writing prompt and being timed. Think I’ll look on the web to see what is out there for timed writing prompts as I seem to do some pretty good work when I am under pressure especially if it is for an audience. I’ll let you know what I find or if you know of something that offers a writing prompt (direction for the writing to take) and a timed exercise then by all means let me know in the comments section of my blog.

As always. Thanks for reading my blog.

Write or Die: How I Got Out of My Own Head


When I was a kid I loved to make up stories, what kid doesn’t right? Then I started writing them down, and I never stopped. I’ve mainly only done short stories, and songs, but I have always wanted something more. I am currently working on my first novel, and the process is painstaking- to be honest. I have it all in my head so clearly, but as I get more and more pages down, I can’t seem to get it down on paper like I want it, move the story how I feel is necessary, or sometimes I just don’t feel the inspiration to write at all. Plain and simple.

In other words- I’ve been stuck on the same paragraph for about two weeks. So I am desperate. I WILL finish this novel, this year.

So, in hopes of a breakthrough, I have read probably 100 different articles on writing…

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24,000 Words

Today, I wrote just over the 24,o00 word mark. I was at 22,347 on Saturday. Writing over 24,000 words is a nice surprise. I find if I write two to three pages this gives me 1,0o0 words.I really have to push myself to get in 1,000 words a day (I skipped writing Sunday). It is now 9:22 a.m. Monday. I started writing around 8 a.m. so I’ve done well. This is probably all I’ll do for now maybe even for today.