Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GUIDELINES ARE FOR THE UNCREATIVE

If you're like me and you read lots of writer and agent blogs, you've probably already seen this because it was linked to on Swivet. It was originally posted for public consumption (and mockery) by Jodi Meadows, an intern for agent Jenny Rappaport, on her livejournal. It is a query letter from some delu--I mean, aspiring writer--seeking representation (I guess. It never exactly asks for this). The dude writes:

I HAVE NOVELS BETTER THAN HARRY POTTER, I LOST EVERYTHING I OWNED BECAUSE OF A LIE. MY WRITING IS GREAT IF YOU HAVE IMAGINATION. GUIDELINES ARE FOR THE UNCREATIVE. MY NOVELS ARE SCI-FI-FANTASY-COPING. IF YOU ARE A REAL AGENT YOU CAN GET ME THE BOOK DEAL I WANT.

Now the reason I am sharing this gem with you is to first, ridicule it, and second, share its genius with you, my loyal readers (now numbering two, I think).

Eh, on second thought, let's skip the ridicule part. It would be fun, but a little too easy. Instead, let me tell you why I love the above and why Ms. Rappaport probably did miss out on the next JK Rowling (or better, right?)

First, you have a writer here who knows how to write an arresting first line. Not only that, he knows what this business is all about. This is clearly someone an agent should be interested in. Unless the agent doesn't want to make money, I guess.

Then there's the second sentence, "I lost everything I own because of a lie." If that doesn't make the reader ask questions, I don't know what will. I must read on. "My writing is great if you have imagination." Has a truer statement ever been made? Isn't this true of all great writing?

The next sentence is my favorite and demonstrates how profound this writer can be. "Guidelines are for the uncreative." I'm making that my new mantra. I may even rename the blog GUIDELINES ARE FOR THE UNCREATIVE. I'm going to make it my mission in life (okay, the next couple of days) to post this on as many blogs and message boards as I can.

"My novels are sci-fi-fantasy-coping." Here we have a writer who is willing to forge new ground. A pioneer who will not be trapped in the status quo of the publishing industry's established genres. After all, GUIDELINES (and genres) ARE FOR THE UNCREATIVE.

And lastly, "If you are a real agent, you can get me the book deal I want." That's right, brother. You tell 'em. After all, if Jodi Reamer can make a millionaire out of Stephenie Meyer, then shouldn't any agent worth her salt be able to take whatever genius the author of this email must have surely written and get him the book deal he wants? I mean, I don't know about you, but for me Sci-Fi-Fantasy-Coping anything beats glittery, controlling vampires every time.

Overall, it's a stellar query. Short and to the point. There is not a wasted word to be found. It's attention grabbing with its unconventional use of all caps and it gives us a glimpse into this writer's style (and severly scarred heart and soul). Finally, the query ends with a challenge and what serious agent can resist that?

4 comments:

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I'm now going to do something awesome. I'm going to be the first to comment on my own blog post. Why? Because GUIDELINES ARE FOR THE UNCREATIVE.

I'm now going to do something else that's awesome: Provide a link (well, more of a cut and pastable web address) to my own comment on a message board.

Pretty soon, it's going viral.

http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=32828.msg406546#msg406546

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Figured out how to do a link in comments:


GUIDELINES ARE FOR THE UNCREATIVE

Ben Esch said...

Paul

Wait, you aren't supposed to use ALL CAPS for a query letter? Damn...that explains a lot.

Ben Esch
www.dixienguyen.com

Bryan B. said...

Yeah, so that was great...

I wouldn't have the...ahem...guts to do something like that.

I think I agree with him (?) most on his "guidelines are for the uncreative". I have to laugh whenever I see vampire books. Yeah, Stephanie Meyers - unholy or not - hit gold with that premise. But, you have to ask the question - do you want to be a derivative?

Not me.

Why follow a canned approach to writing a book? Harry Potter, etc. were all special because they were new and fresh.

Anyway, I'll stop ranting now.

Good post - I'm gonna add you to my RSS feed...