Friday, August 5, 2011

If nothing happens...

First line in a query today:

"What happens when everyone expects the apocalypse--and nothing happens."

Well, this agent stops reading, for one. If you say the words "nothing happens" in your query you're just sinking yourself.

Your query should tell me what happens. Not what doesn't.


  1. I think that's a little harsh. It sounds like a kind of high-concept summary: Everyone believed the End of the World is nigh, then the appointed time comes and goes and the world is like "Well... now what?" That's not such a bad idea, I might read it.

    Lupines and Lunatics

  2. Yeah, what LupLun said -- I didn't read that line and think the writer meant that nothing literally happens.

    Although I do see what you mean about never using the phrase "nothing happens" in a query. In this case, it clearly wasn't the best word choice ever.

    I'm definitely tucking away that bit of advice about not describing what doesn't happen. :)

  3. At least I know what NOT to start off in a query now.

    I loved your interview today!! It was a whole lot of fun reading the questions and answers! You would definitely be a fabulous agent for anyone to snag!

    I hope you get another Nic Pizzolatto soon!

  4. Also, they should have put a question mark at the end, which makes it a rhetorical question—something else that I've heard makes agents cringe. I'll have to check out your interview.