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Misrepresenting "Queries" for Critiques


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#1 Mezzanine

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 12:15 PM

With the exception of non-fiction, queries as those seen in the "AQ Connect - Query Critique" section are meant to reflect completed manuscripts. Some people, however, are using their "queries" not to represent completed works, but to help them develop and complete their works (though a query can develop en tandem along the way).
 
The problem is that some people are not telling others that they are doing this, and the query critique section becomes then not a place to critique actual queries, as it seems to be designed, but rather for people to turn the query critique section into an online writer's group to help with their manuscripts without telling others what they're doing. I'm new here, but this feels like a misuse of the forum and a misrepresentation of what I'm reading and trying to help with.
 
Knowing this makes me a lot less inclined to try to help people because I don't know what I'm critiquing or helping with. Without knowing that the "query" is actually and primarily being used to iron out larger issues in the manuscript itself, I feel like I've been misled.
 
I think if people want to get help ironing out manuscript issues, that's fine, but they should be upfront about this and say so in a note accompanying their "queries." I also think that a different forum for people to talk about their manuscripts would be more accurate and more appropriate. This way everyone knows what's going on and there's no deception, even if unintended.
 
It may just be me, but I think queries should only be written and offered for critique once the work is completed. Otherwise we don’t know really what we're commenting on, or what we should focus on or ignore as we read it, which can waste time for everyone involved.


#2 Thrash

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 03:16 PM

I guess I understand the issue you have here, but I must say I do not agree that this is a problem.  

 

Even if the manuscript is "finished", if the feedback on the query reveals an issue with the plot or structure or what have you of the book, is the author supposed to ignore that because the feedback was supposed to apply to the query only?  That doesn't make much sense to me. To progress, we should take whatever feedback seems useful in whatever way we can to become better writers. To compartmentalize feedback too much seems counter productive and frankly kind of silly. 

 

I checked briefly and it doesn't appear explicitly in the forum descriptions that the manuscript has to be pristine to before you compose a query, though it's mostly assumed that the manuscript is at least complete to the extent of having the full story written in a first or second draft because it seems to be putting the cart before the horse to do otherwise. (You certainly shouldn't send a query to an agent before you have a manuscript that's been through several drafts, but that's a horse of a different color. Most posters in the board are doing so before they send their queries so they can have a strong letter before any agents lay eyes on it.) I haven't seen anyone posting a document that could be something else other than a query--and if they did they would almost certainly be called out as being in the wrong board. If they ask follow up questions that could apply to the query form or the revisions to the manuscript itself--I don't see that as misleading and you can of course choose not to answer if you prefer to focus only on the material of the query itself.

 

There may be something you're referring to that I'm not quite getting--but you can't dictate how people use your feedback. If, for a hypothetical, you advise that the query refers to too many characters and it's hard to attach to any particular one, then the author may realize that an overly large cast might be an issue with the manuscript itself too and want to go back to the drawing board. They may want to ask you follow up to see what you're ideas on that are, but you don't have to answer or commit to feedback you're not comfortable giving.

 

The aim of this is to develop a writer's community, so sometimes in the conversations other matters are pulled in as a matter of course, but this is not deception, just writers talking craft.



#3 C.Harmon

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 03:11 PM

I'm having trouble understanding your issue. People are critiquing the presentation of information in a query, not the story itself. They're working with preexisting information provided by the author. All they're doing is taking a puzzle made of information provided by the author, then rearranging the pieces so that the story sounds clearer and more interesting.

 

For example, I've never seen someone say, "The stakes at the end of your query could be improved. Maybe you should change the story so that it ends this way instead of this way." No. They say, "Maybe you should present the stakes you've already provided this way instead of this way."



#4 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 05:11 PM

Troll alert? 


Preston Copeland

Website: prestoncopeland.biz

Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#5 Ireth

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 05:12 PM

Troll alert? 

 

Who are you referring to as a troll? I'm one of those who writes her queries while the stories are still in development, and thus far it's worked very well for me. I apologize if I've misled anyone by it, but I don't feel I should have to take down the queries for unfinished stories.


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#6 C.Harmon

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 07:58 PM

I don't think he's referring to you. He might be talking about Mezzanine, since people don't quite understand why the original poster has a problem, but "trolling" isn't the word I'd use. I think Mezzanine just misunderstands the purpose of the Query Critique thread.



#7 Thrash

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 09:43 PM

Who are you referring to as a troll? I'm one of those who writes her queries while the stories are still in development, and thus far it's worked very well for me. I apologize if I've misled anyone by it, but I don't feel I should have to take down the queries for unfinished stories.

 

I'm interested to hear you've had some success with writing the query first or along side the drafting stage. I'm trying to push myself to finish the third and submittable draft of a book by the end of year and already the next idea is pulling at my attention. So the other day just for my own giggles I wrote the query for my idea, just to see how it sounded and get something on paper of it so I could focus on the final stages of the other book. It was rather fun--but I wonder if when I start writing it will feel constrictive, having that query there. Of the whole project I have the query and about 2K words of manuscript, and a bunch of hand written brainstorming notes. When you've done preliminary queries, what stage did you do it in? 



#8 Ireth

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 09:53 PM

I'm interested to hear you've had some success with writing the query first or along side the drafting stage. I'm trying to push myself to finish the third and submittable draft of a book by the end of year and already the next idea is pulling at my attention. So the other day just for my own giggles I wrote the query for my idea, just to see how it sounded and get something on paper of it so I could focus on the final stages of the other book. It was rather fun--but I wonder if when I start writing it will feel constrictive, having that query there. Of the whole project I have the query and about 2K words of manuscript, and a bunch of hand written brainstorming notes. When you've done preliminary queries, what stage did you do it in? 

 

For some, I'm only a few chapters or scenes in; others, I have a first draft finished and am working on the second.


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/





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