10 days in & I've already fallen off the NaNoQuerMo mark. Not because I forgot, got scared or even lazy. But because -- despite my dozens upon dozens of attempts -- as of yesterday I still hadn't created a query that felt right.
Then I accidentally stumbled upon a simple piece of advice which had never been expressly pointed out to me before. And sometimes I really need things spelled out for me in huge, neon letters!!
If your story is character-driven than your query should be character based. If your story is plot-driven than your query should be plot based.
YES! That makes so much sense. . . but um, I've always been sketchy on what the distinction is between the two. I mean all stories have characters right? But they also have plot . . . very sketchy indeed.
Sadly enough, in order for it to make sense I needed to relate the terms to movies. So for those of you who've also been kind of not exactly sure how your story fits into things...
Character driven stories are ones where it's the characters, more than anything else, that moves the story forward. The actual events that happen aren't as important as how the characters feel, act and relate to those events. Case in point:
The story is about Noah & Ally and their star-crossed love. You could swap out virtually all but one of the reasons that continually drive them apart (the whole alzheimer's thing is pretty damn important) because in the end, the only thing that matters is Noah & Ally finding their way back to each other no matter the obstacles.
Their story is character driven.
Plot driven stories can have wonderful, quirky, well-developed characters, but ultimately they don't matter as much as the plot. It's the events that happen that drive the story along. Case in point:
(okay, I know technically Ben Affleck wasn't the main star of the movie, but I was so in love with him back then!)
Their story is plot driven.
Anyway, it took me all this time to realize, the reason my query never felt right to me was because I was trying to write a plot-based one for a character-based story. Two days ago, I began redrafting my query (for only the bazillion and tenth time), but I focused more on my character and less on the intricacies of the plot. . . and low & behold I found the "voice" that's been missing from every other version I've created thus far.
Now, I'm not claiming the query is perfect, but for the first time I feel much more comfortable the agents who read it are getting a better idea of the type of story they'd be requesting. Now, I just have to spend the rest of this week getting caught up on those few days of querying I missed while I was completely revamping.