In which I write out loud about my impressions of #QueryKombat round 2. If you haven’t already, check out my post on round 1 here.
Feedback out the wazoo!
The tremendous feedback the kombatants (not a typo) saw in round 1 continued unabated in round 2, ranging from ‘I love this, change nothing’ to ‘I don’t understand’. All of it was valuable and hell-a appreciated, and served to reinforce the idea that different people see different things. Because of this, it’s clear there is no way to craft a universally-loved query or first page. I think all we participants see that now, and are just putting our best feet forward.
Be careful what you wish for
Yes, everyone who participates in QueryKombat would love to win, but if you don’t you still walk away with the important feedback I wrote about above. That presents a unique problem, though: what to do with it all. Since 10 sets of eyes will see 10 different things, who should you listen to when opinions clash? I received some comments that my stakes were clear, and others that said they weren’t. Some said the query had voice, and others that I needed to get more voice in. It’s daunting to parse it all and apply only what you need to, but if you don’t, you run the risk of over-editing. There’s a lesson there we can apply to our writing as well.
The power of voice
If there’s been one universal in all the feedback, it’s been about voice. You can have the best plot, a killer query, work in the ‘hot’ genre/sub-genre, etc., but if there’s no voice you’re probably in trouble. A MG book that reads like an adult speaking is just off for many readers, for instance. Whether you’re doing 1st/2nd/3rd person, it doesn’t matter. It’s the voice that catches agents/editors attentions because they know voice is what pulls people through a story. Something at which we all need to keep working.
That’s all for now. On to round 3, after which I’ll do another one of these (whatever these are).
Thanks for reading,