Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Cheater's Guide to Requested Materials

Need a quick fix? Or, rather, staring at a blank page and WANT a quick fix to get started? Here you go!


Copy and paste your query into a new document. Add two more paragraphs to finish it and explain the ending.


(name) lives in (state) with her (husband/cat/parrot). An avid writer, she spends her days (job), and contributes to (blog/magazine/newspaper). (Title) was a (second/first/third) place winner in the (contest). (name) is currently hard at work on her next project, (wip).

Query letter:

Here's a template.

(hey, even I get to cheat)

Elevator pitch/one-line hook:

Don’t get too complicated; you don’t need to explain the entire plot. Just get me intrigued. Pick the juicy, unique detail of your plot and blurt it out.

Still stuck? Use the first line of your query letter.

No? Ok, don’t try and make it a sentence. Go with two.

(yeah, these can be hard; maybe just go talk to your closet door about your book until you figure out what parts make you the most excited to say. Enthusiasm goes a long way.)

ETA: a whole post on this here!


On your own, pal. No way to cheat out of finishing that one.


  1. Officially bookmarked! LOL! I love the cheat for the synopsis! And so many people freak out over having to write one....

  2. I've been struggling with my elevator pitches this past week. I like the suggestion to just blurt out the juiciest detail! Thanks!!

  3. This is fantastic, thanks so much for posting it. There are hosts of websites out there with advice about the query, but not as many about the synopsis or bio, which has had me scratching my head lately. This is a big help!

  4. Great hints! Thank you!

  5. My god, if someone had told me that about the synopsis before I had to write one...Still, I'm maintaining my fear of synopses. They're dreadful, lawl.

    This is great, though. I love the bio cheat :)

  6. *bookmarks*
    Now to finish planning so I can start the writing so I can finish the writing, do the editing and maybe get to the point of needing this in say... two years at the rate I'm going.

  7. I wish I'd had that synopsis cheat before I had to send you MY synopsis! Your blog is awesome, Natalie. Can't wait for the next installment. :)

  8. ...great idea!

    Did you feel that? You've just been bookmarked!
    Glad I stopped by:)


  9. I bookmarked this too! This is a really good post! :D

  10. Love it! Simple & to the point. Phew, I am doing something right! Great post... I have a query coming your way :-)

  11. Love the cheat sheet! Thanks so much for simplifying something that has been challenging!

    Also enjoyed the live chat today on WriteOnCon. You have such a sweet personality about you, takes the scary out of the whole process. I appreciate that! :)

  12. Hahah thanks Natalie! I'll admit I've done the copy paste query and add to turn it into a synopsis totally helpful :)

  13. This is a great little list to remind us of the relationship between the pieces. Thanks!