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How to Get Other AQC Members to Critique Your Query


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#1 Jean Oram

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:08 AM

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Some tips to get help on your query from other AQC Members:

Remember that critiquing someone's query takes time--time away from one's own writing.

You are asking a favor from a complete stranger. Make it feel worth their time by not posting a rough draft of your query.

People want to see your best work so they can help you make it better. Why spend their time helping you bring your query up to something you could have done by creating another draft?

Also, pay it forward by critiquing other people's queries.

Even if you aren't an "expert" mention some things that work for you as a reader or don't work for you as a reader--even if you can't explain why or give suggestions on what could improve it. People help people who help them.

P.S. Copying and pasting your query into the topic has, historically, been much more successful that attaching a file of your query.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

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#2 AQCrew

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:01 PM

If no one has critiqued your query, please ask yourself one question: how much I have contributed to the community?

If other AQC members see your member profile and read your contributions, they will be more likely to help you through the donation of their valuable time and feedback.

No one is entitled to a query critique. Pay it forward.

#3 micki

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:56 PM

I am a guilty party as regards to critiquing. I battle with my own query and have enjoyed valuable advice from others, but to be perfectly honest, I am nervous to critique others in case I send out the wrong message. I apologise for this.

#4 RSMellette

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:23 PM

I am a guilty party as regards to critiquing. I battle with my own query and have enjoyed valuable advice from others, but to be perfectly honest, I am nervous to critique others in case I send out the wrong message. I apologise for this.


You can't send out the wrong message, as long as you are honest with your opinion.

From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

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by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#5 mwsinclair

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:32 PM

That's ok, Micki.

I remember when I was a newbie I critiqued someone's memoir not realizing it it was a memoir; I thought it was a novel. In fact, I think it was Litgal who politely and appropriately took me to task when I made the same mistake twice on the same manuscript.

You don't need to be nervous about critques. If you find you were mistaken, say so. We all misread things from time to time. If we're wrong, we offer our mea culpas, bandage any wounds, and move on. Remember that all writers are (or should be) readers also. If you read something that knocks your socks off, great. But if you read something that irritates the heck out of you, let your fellow writer know it. The vast majority of us are here to become better, more publishable writers. Peer-to-peer feedback is priceless.

#6 julie waters

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:43 PM

Yep! I remember the first critique I wrote on our old site. I thought, "Who am I to give advise when my own query stinks?" lol But we all take away good idea's and even some great ones! So don't let your lack of experience hold you back. We're all in this together! Julie :wink:
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#7 RC Lewis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 06:25 PM

Some of the best feedback is as simple as, "I don't get it." We're all qualified to decide whether something confuses us. Potenial confusion is also easy for the writer to overlook since all the details of the story are in their head.

 


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#8 thrownbones

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 07:44 PM

Micki,

Learning to crit other people's work is like everything else in writing: it's a learned process, one that takes time and practice. If you speak your opinion in an open, professional, and honest manner, then you have nothing to apologize for. The only way to learn it, is to do it.

Hell, you think I was always this Golden God of Critique?!??! Hell no! Took me a really, really, long time to get to be the expert I am today. :wink:

(A couple hours, at least!) :wink:

The first Mark Mallen novel, Untold Damage, is now available via Midnight Ink! Look for the second Mark Mallen novel, Critical Damage in April of 2014 (Should we all be here, natch).

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#9 micki

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 04:06 AM

Thanks for the encouragement everyone. I will try and critique, but I do read other peoples query and synopsis, of which I enjoy. There are some excellent novels on this site. And as I mentioned before, everyone has been absolutely great in helping me, which is appreciated. You are all stars.

#10 RSweeting

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 04:25 PM

With the exception of our self-appointed Golden God, of course--don't want to lump him in with us plebs and tick him off. I hear he has lightning bolts in his back pocket. gosh!:

I am glad that this bit of info was posted. I only had 3 for my query letter. For some reason, I wanted everyone to read my story and help since I am obviously doing something wrong. I felt funny critiquing others. Now I feel better about giving my opinion...with caution of course. Robert

#11 Jean Oram

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 06:37 PM

The more you get known around here, the more likely people will stop by to critique your work--if only due to mild curiosity.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

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#12 Brendacarre

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 02:53 AM

You can't send out the wrong message, as long as you are honest with your opinion.

This is true, and all of us are readers after all. It isn't hard to read a book and say what we like or are confused about. Little difference in a query.

#13 3MagicWords

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:47 PM

Wow - what alot of inspiring and positive thoughts. I think I'm in the WRITE place. Also being new here, you have all graciously given us newbies the OK to freely express our opinion. For that, I am grateful. Thank you.

At the urging of Matt, our moderator, on a private conversation, I feel more comfortable now in posting my query letter in the coming days. Not that I was afraid of criticism, but that I was wondering if anyone would take the time. I personally love the movie Pay It Forward and live by that motto.

#14 TJ Robinson

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 09:14 PM

It's great to hear the encouragement from those of you who have been on the site for longer than us newbies. Keep up the encouragement, we need it!

#15 bkeats

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 12:50 PM

Just another reminder to heed the great Jean's words, and "pay it forward." :smile:

Happy Querying.

#16 Ian Isaro

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:56 AM

I need to start participating here more. I'm here because query letters are something I feel I can't do, but I can probably offer an opinion as a fan of fantasy. There are more fantasy queries than I expected, but they seem pretty thoroughly commented.

#17 CJ Brassington

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:01 AM

I might also add: Saying thank you in the topic discussion to those that took the time to comment on your query is a nice touch. Many folks continue to follow the topic after they have commented and will appreciate the note. Also, future folks may be more inclined to comment when they see that you can take criticism and appreciate the time folks have taken.

Speaking of criticism... you may not agree with everything everyone says. That is the beauty of it--we all see and comment on something different. And sometimes we will make you want to tear your hair out with our conflicting and sometimes heated opinions! But take care--usually the comments that really tweak your nose are those that are... right on the nose. So, take a deep breath, say thank you and back away if need be. Today you might be SO peeved, but two days down the road you might be kissing that critiquer's virtual toes because what they said actually works.

In summary: Say thank you and learn to step away when all you want to do is lash out at a critique. (And if someone is unduly harsh--don't worry, the veterans will probably take them to task on your behalf.)


I'm so excited about being a part of this social network. I am already feeling buoyed by the solid examples and helpful feedback on others' work.
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#18 SMedford

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 11:19 AM

I am really not that great at critiquing :sad: in fact I can't get my own query to sound worthy of anyone's time. I've looked at several people's queries since being here but either the suggestions I would make have already been made a million times, or my brain just fizzles on what to do or say. I'll see one and think "that isn't right..." but my mind won't tell me what on earth is wrong with it! Guess I gotta keep on keeping on and see if my brain actually tells me something useful that hasn't already been said :tongue:
Love&Kisses,
~S~

#19 C.E.Zor

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 02:41 PM

I think all that is very fair!
I'm new to the community and can't wait to read other's queries... Maybe, even though I am a novice, I will be able to give and take some helpful advise.

Cheers everyone!

C. E. Zor.

#20 Andrew Joyce

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 09:57 AM

Ditto what everyone else said.

Eventually, you'll find that you and the people who joined AQC at about the same time form a kind of class. Old-timers don't always jump in to critique a query right away. It gets tiring saying the same thing over and over. So, if you're smart, you'll critic new letters - usually by someone who joined about when you did. Then they'll critique yours, and so on. Eventually, your "class" will start to get much better at writing and critiquing. That's when us old farts might pop in - usually to say "nice job" as much as offer a quick criticism.

Before you know it, you'll be one of the old farts.


I was an old fart before I joined ...




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