Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dear Agent,

I sent you a query this morning. It's labeled "Query 4" in my Scrivener file, so I must be getting better at writing queries. The previous novel I queried got up to "Query 6" before I dared send it out. I don't like this query process, but I appreciate that I'm one of many thousands of aspiring writers, and this is an efficient way for you to sort through our manuscripts. Writing novels and writing queries are very different things. I'm better at writing novels.

But the query I sent isn't bad. Now I'd like to say what's not in the query.

The Freezer is my fourth novel. It took me two years to write and revise, far longer than the previous two novels. This one was really difficult, and I'm not quite sure why. But I do know that I put my heart into it. I let my voice come through. I put every writing skill and piece of advice to use at one time or another, including killing my darlings.

The result is something multi-layered and meaningful beyond the plot. It's symbolic, just like my last book. It's the sort of novel you could read over and over again, looking for hidden meaning. All my novels have been that way, to one degree or another. I do that on purpose, because that's the sort of novel I like to read. If it's merely entertainment, that's fine. But what I love is stories that can be transposed and give meaning to my own life. So that's what I write.

If you request the full manuscript, I hope you'll see that. I hope you'll notice that Thane's extraordinary challenges parallel those of many parents. I hope you'll understand a little better what it's like to live with faith. And I hope you'll want more novels like that, because I'm already working on the next one.

I would never tell you any of this in the query letter, because meaning must be discovered by the reader just as it's discovered by the writer. It has to fall naturally out of the story, not be forced into it. I've done my best to let that happen. I think it worked, but you'll be the judge.

In the end, it comes down to what you like. I won't be offended if you don't like my novel.

But I hope you do.

Sincerely,

Ben