Archive for January 13th, 2010

Jan 13 2010

Ten Facts About Queries That Surprise Prospective Writers

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

A query is a page-long business letter introducing your novel or comic book proposal to an editor or agent.  Here is some advice that will help you write a convincing query.

1.  What goes with the query? A novel’s query is usually accompanied by a partial manuscript (~50 pages) and/or a 2-5 page synopsis.  If you’re writing a comic book, you’ll probably send in a cover letter– a page accompanied by some combination of the synopsis, the full script of the first issue and art samples. (Follow the submissions guidelines, obviously).  Cover letters are very similar to queries, so I’ll refer to both as queries for simplicity’s sake.

2. Your main goal is to show that your story is strong and interesting. Do NOT give them opinions like “my book is interesting!” or “everybody I know loves it!” Give them the evidence so that they will conclude the book is interesting. “I’m writing an interesting novel about a detective solving a murder case” is weak. “I’m writing about a poisoned detective that has two days to solve his own murder” is much more gripping. Likewise, if you’re writing a comedy, you need to prove yourself by making them laugh. According to literary agent Janet Reid, “if you tell me your book is a comedy, and the query letter isn’t funny or amusing, you have a big problem.”

3. Most queries include the following: an introductory paragraph/hook, a body paragraph summarizing the work in a clear and interesting way, 1-3 sentences about your writing qualifications, and contact information. Don’t worry too much about your writing qualifications. It’d be nice if you had them, but it’s not a deal-breaker for fiction writers.

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Jan 13 2010

Some advice for authors interested in writing screenplays and/or video games

Superhero Nation specializes in writing advice related to novels and comic books.  Are you looking for advice about how to write movies, TV shows, video games, poetry or songs?  If so, I’d recommend asking professionals (or at least well-read amateurs) that actually know your field.  Here are some tips about how to get advice from professionals in your field.


1.  Read some how-to books. For example, I did a quick Amazon search for “video game jobs” and there were 654 results.   “Screenwriting jobs” got 234 results.  Pick out a few that look relevant.


2.  People love talking about themselves, so it’s frequently effective to ask a professional how he entered the field. He/she may offer a few tips about how you might get a job.  You can find industry professionals on LinkedIn or by checking relevant departments at a university near you.  For example, if I were interested in becoming a Hollywood writer, I might ask professors in Notre Dame’s Film, Television and Theatre Department.

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