The Cart Before the Horse (Sort Of)

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!

3 thoughts on “The Cart Before the Horse (Sort Of)

  1. Cathryn Grant

    That’s a brilliant thing to do! I can imagine that having that distilled view of your story will keep you focused.

    Thanks for a great suggestion, I’m off to do that for my next novel. I already have a first draft, but I think this will be a tremendous help to the next phase — shaping the plot.
    .-= Cathryn Grant´s last blog ..Manic Monday- Introverts in the Office =-.

  2. patti

    Belle, I am SO PROUD of you!
    I did something similar for my fourth book and find that it really helps structure your premise, like building a good foundation for a house. Still room for drama and decorative changes, but the base is there.


  3. Memory

    I know a few other writers who draft their query before they really settle down with the book, and it seems to be an effective strategy. I think I may give it a go with my next project.

    And isn’t Query Shark a great resource? It’s helped me a lot with my query for ARVORE.


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