It does seem a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but after spending the morning reading through the archives of agent Janet Reid’s Query Shark, I began formulating the query for ELEMENTAL in my mind.
Since I’ve only written 9,938 words of what will probably end up being a 110,000 word manuscript, it seems like an odd time to be writing the query. But the paragraphs kept forming in my mind, so finally I gave in, and put it all down in a Word document.
And surprisingly, it’s been quite helpful.
I can see now where ELEMENTAL is focused, and how my various story lines do come together in a way that makes sense (to me, at least).
Since I don’t outline, I don’t actually know how the novel will end, but you’re not supposed to give away the ending in a query anyway, so this wasn’t exactly a stumbling block.
It’s also very motivating to see my story laid out in the space of a handful of paragraphs. And it really clarified for me the main choice that my main character faces, the choice that will really drive the novel.
So I may have put the cart before the horse, but in its own way, writing out the query feels more like a carrot. Not to mention, once I finish the manuscript, I won’t be able to procrastinate on the query, since I’ve already got the first draft down and ready to be revised!