I love when it's time to do 10 Queries tweets for RevPit. I always get to read some amazing pages for stories that I want to read. Whyyyyy does publishing take so long?? The best part is that these little teasers can help any querying author learn what industry professionals see when the read submission materials. That can be huge when you're trying to figure out how to make your own query and first pages stand out in the slush pile.
Here, I've compiled all my 10 Queries tweets from this most recent mini-event into this one post.
For those new to 10 Queries these are anonymous tweets that don't give away whose query it is. This way, we can give advice that will help lots of querying writers. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! Q1 Digging the dark premise and antihero, but it's hard to find the plot. What actually happens? You're trying too hard to sell the reader. My best advice: Write more simply. Focus more on plot & stakes. Don't try so hard to make it sound like a movie trailer P1 ☑️ Starts in scene with MC. 1st sentence has great hook, gets reader asking Qs. But it feels like you're trying to get too much in. 1st 2 pgs needs more orientation. After that, voice shifts--feels like a different character. Simplify & limit * transitions Q2 1st thing I notice: no age category. A lot of different elements, and it's not clear how they work together. It's a little confusing. But there's So. Much. Promise. If you can bring this together better, I think you might have something here! P2 Yep, pgs confirm this story is 🔥! Jumps right into scene w/MC, setting, worldbuilding. I'm oriented AND intrigued. Voice feels YA. Is that the age category? Writing is good; just needs some tightening. I'm itching to make line notes (that's a good thing!) Q3 Strong query! I'm hooked. Great premise, strong plot + stakes. Level of *right kind* of detail pulls me in ASAP. Great, simple bio for unpubbed author. But no age category (presume adult) and low-ish word count for genre (if A). Makes me want to read more! P3 Not sure this is the best place to start. Need to get to know MC a little, to connect emotionally, before we jump into big conflict. Start 2 steps back from here--what was MC doing right before this? Also, deepen the POV so we really get into their head Q4 If you personalize, make it personal. Nice focus on MCs and stakes, but we don't get much plot. There's still room to address it. I'm not sure that this is the right age category. If it is, the word count is too low. Either way, you may need to adjust ages. P4 Opening scene sets the tone, but we don't meet MCs in the pages so we don't get a chance to connect with them. Get into a scene faster and focus less on set up and backstory. Where can you start *with* MC? Q5 Squee!! I've seen this one around Twitter, excited to get to read a bit of it. This is a tight, strong query + showcases how to use narrative voice (ie give some personality!) to hook your reader. Awesome as is, but if want to add, there's room. 😍😍😍 P5 Voicey quirks are like salt--they add flavor, but you can still use too much. It's OK (good even) to dial it back so it's consistent with the later voice. Balance w/orienting. By the end, orientation & voice have evened out & THAT makes me want to read more. Q6 Lovely premise, but what's the plot? You still have about 100 words to show what happens in the story that causes the tone you promise. And/or explain the premise in fewer words so you can give more of idea of the plot. Make sure you include contact info! P6 This voice is 💪! Character, inner conflict, touches on subplot, hints at external conflict--I can see how MC is on the way to inciting. I flew through these pages. The only problem: ground narrative in a scene faster (quick add to 2nd para would work) Q7 Good QL structure + includes all ms info. But the 2nd para feels like backstory that doesn't need to be in QL. Instead, tell us why the MC has to be the one to Do The Thing™️ and give a hint at what the MC has to change about themselves to resolve the plot. P7 Starts in scene w/good structure. This is worldbuilding done right--as MC moves through the scene, using meaningful details. But focus is on another character, which relegates the MC to narrator. Is there another place to start to get to know MC better? Q8 There are some real gems in this QL. Shows promise but overall structure is lacking. I'm not sure what plot is or how story relates to comps.
P8 Hm. Pgs don't read like this genre. Having both the prologue and Chapter 1 in first person when they are not the same character (is the prologue the author speaking?) is confusing. I'm not sure this structure is working for this story. Q9 So much promise here! The summary of the plot feels a little muddled. It's about 90% of the way there but needs to be explained a little more clearly. But THOSE COMPS OMG
P9 Voice and character right off the bat 💥 You manage to have a sorta false start that doesn't FEEL like a false start. Shows skill! and has me needing to read MOAR. Great transition to scene & conflict. I love everything about this. *grabby hands* Q10 Love this concept, and the world intrigues me. But wording is sometimes too vague and leaves me asking the wrong kinds of ?s (like "what's happening again?" instead of "how do they get out of this?") There's a lot of promise here--just needs some clarity P10 POV, voice, worldbuilding, character, hints of plot, all grounded in a scene? Yes please. Loving pages and want to read more.
❗Note: sub guidelines are life! Learn standard format. 5 pp is ≤ 1500 words. Doesn't bother me but could DQ you in some cases. Some general notes about this batch of RevPit 10 Queries. In the QL: - know your genre & age category - include those + word count in every QL - too "salesy" can be confusing - focus on explaining the plot, connecting MC & showing stakes - voice = write with personality In the pages: - orientation is 1st job. Don't let the reader be confused. - knowing just where to start is HARD. My best advice: figure out where MC puts a foot on the path that leads to the inciting incident. Then take one big step back. - we can't connect with MC if we don't meet them in the pages - voice is the 1st thing a reader notices - know the standards for your genre & age category. Read it. A lot. - readers don't need all the details on pg 1. Spread it out! Standard formatting = One-inch margins Font: 12 point, Times New Roman (TNR is safest) Indent paragraphs ½ inch No extra spaces between paragraphs Left align text Begin chapters on a new page Header in top right corner: Last name/Title/Page
Since I forgot to add genre & age category, here's a list of those: 1 YA Hist 2 YA? F 3 A? Hist R 4 YA Spec fic 5 A F 6 A Cont R 7 A F 8 A Hist 9 MG F 10 A? SF
Want more 10 Queries goodness? Click here to read the other RevPit editors' tweets.