As you celebrate Independence Day, why not free yourself from the agony of the query letter with the third installment of the Kite Tales Writing Prompt: #KTWriteOn? Each writing challenge is crafted by a kid-lit publishing professional to help spark ideas and creative energy. This prompt was created by Bridget Smith, an agent at Dunham Literary, Inc., where she represents middle grade, YA, and adult novels, including contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and science fiction & fantasy. She is also the co-host of the podcast Shipping & Handling, and you can follow her on Twitter @bredalot.
By Bridget Smith
As an agent, I very often hear complaints from writers about how hard it is to write a good query. And I sympathize! I have written many pitches myself, after all. But unfortunately, it’s a necessary skill – and it doesn’t stop once you get an agent, either.
Luckily, with all the pitches I’ve written, I’ve figured out a formula that can give me a workable draft quickly. This isn’t necessarily the form your final pitch needs to take: I’m always delighted to see a pitch that breaks out in interesting ways, whether it’s hauntingly minimal or a clever inversion. And, of course, there is LOTS of room here for adding flavor: voice! Jokes your characters would make! Emotion! Tension!
But if you have absolutely no idea where to start, here’s a handy map: