I remember seeing at a writers hints 'n' tips site once that a great way to catch a literary agent's or a publisher's eye when writing a query letter, is to quote a part of your book, especially dialogue, as an intro.
Then you go on with 'I would like to submit my... blah blah'
Just thought I would get your opinions on my chosen quote:
'Put a man on any planet, at any moment in time and give him any weapon and he will have the capacity to perpetrate unspeakable evil. Fortunately, there will also be men who have the capacity to commit selfless acts of heroism. Some men will achieve both in their lifetime and who is to say for which deed they will be judged and by whom? This is the riddle of man'. Randow Saron, The Spirit Sword of Lee-Taga by ***** ****** (juzzza)
What do you think?
August 2nd, 2002, 07:30 PM
I find your qoute managed to grab might attention surprisingly well for a thing of it's size. So I say go for it.
Please note: I am not well versed in these matters so take my comment as you will.
August 3rd, 2002, 12:05 AM
They could be feeding you with lies, but the quote sounds good.
If anything, it's a sneak peek for an editor who's not sure whether or not to crack open the manuscript. Could tip them the right way.
August 3rd, 2002, 12:20 AM
Nice quote, though if I were you, or any other person out there. Reomve all references that hint at your book being a sci-fi/fantasy novel. To get an editor to open a manuscript, you have to fool them inot it and telling them your book is sci fi/fantasy generally turns them off.
August 4th, 2002, 11:08 PM
Great quote, juzzza. To the point, and revealing of truth. My only suggestion would be to find an alternate word to 'commit' (second sentence). Others may disagree, but in general parlance, when 'commit' is used to mean 'to do' (as opposed to one person 'committing' to another, etc.), it usually has a negative connotation (such as to commit murder). While it's good to alter common use of words at times, I would argue that the opening paragraph in a letter to a prospective publisher would not be the place to do it (unless this was a distinctive and important feature of your work).
Also, while commit is technically correct in the context in which it was used, if you are trying to make that good-evil dichotomy stand out it may be appropriate to choose a word that more strongly reflects a "good" action (the same way that you have chosen a strong, negative word, "perpetrate", for the act of evil).
But you may disagree, in which case, ultimately I respect your right as author to choose the words you want!
In the end, the quote catches interest, and already I'd like to know how you explore that idea within your writing. So all in all, I think it's great!
August 5th, 2002, 12:40 AM
Perform fits in.
August 5th, 2002, 04:13 AM
Hmmm. I like the idea of selecting a word that clearly differentiates the good from evil, thanks for that Valada. You are right, commit murder, adultery and so on, a far cry from acts of heroism!!!
Thanks for the suggestion MR, I will change it unless I find something better in due course. Time to get the old Thesaurus out.
August 5th, 2002, 01:02 PM
Putting a quote in is a creative way of showing an editor how you write without requiring them to read an entire chapter. It could be a good method of attracting attention to your query letter as opposed to all the others that simply state what they are doing. If you happen to stumble upon a editor who appreciates the effort, it might just work for you. The quote itself is fine.
As far as letting them know that it is sci fi/fantasy, you must do that! In fact, if you bother to send manuscripts to traditional houses that do not specialize in your genre, you are wasting your time anyway. You need to submit manuscripts to those publishers who publish what you write. Of course it will turn off an editor who knows that it is the wrong genre for him or her. But, by not telling them, what are you accomplishing? Nothing!
Sadly though, I have grown a bit jaded with regard to the entire submission process when it comes to the big houses (TOR, BAEN, DEL RAY etc) and I don't know if it matters at all what you send unless some well known agent has recommended you! But we all have to keep trying anyway. Try some of the small presses. They are deluged with manuscripts too but they seem to have more of an understanding of what we authors go through in order to get to this point. Many of the owners and editors worked for the larger presses previously and often they are authors themselves.
August 5th, 2002, 02:00 PM
Thanks Gem-Q, I guess it doesn't hurt to do a bit of research before sending a query letter to make sure the agent/publisher is interested in your chosen genre. BTW, I would never send an MS or query letter straight to a publisher. Publications maybe but not a publisher. I think these days you have to come via an agent to get a look-in. I know some have had success going direct but not me.
August 9th, 2002, 06:32 AM
What about my new allies? Lif, Bel, Miri, Shan, Sammie, KFC, e-dude and e-gal? Any comments? C'mon you know you want to...