I’m thrilled to have Aubrie Dionne back on Musings today. She’s an agency sister of mine and absolutely delightful. Her writing career is off and running. I’m honored to be a part of her new blog tour for Haven 6. I love YA and SF is fast becoming an obsession, so this is an exciting fit for me. Aubrie has a fantastic giveaway planned. Use the rafflecopter to participate. And enjoy getting to know this lovely lady. Here she is talking about her experience reading the slushpile!
What I’ve Learned from Reading the Slushpile
Hi Julie! Thank you so much for having me today on your blog!
Julie and I have the same awesome agent, and today I’m going to talk about what I’ve learned from reading the queries in her slushpile. I took on the job to see what’s out there, and also to be a better writer myself. Boy, has it taught me a lot.
1. Don’t start your story with telling.
“Once there was a little boy who caught a frog in a pond.” This is passive and boring. Start with. “Jacob reached into the murky water and wiggled his fingers around hoping for a prize…” It already gets my attention better because I’m wondering what he’s looking for, so I keep reading.
I label every story that starts with telling as “Telling” then reject. I don’t even get through the first chapter. Especially if there’s a lot of telling and no dialog or action.
2. Stay away from generalities. Make your query specific.
Too many queries are so alike, they all blend together. There’s the YA story about a girl with superpowers that goes to a special school. Or a girl that falls in love with a boy, but he’s a vampire. If you’re going to write a cliché, show me in the query how it’s different than all the other. Show me that you’re playing off the cliché.
3. Long winded queries, or very big paragraphs in your first chapter make my eyes glaze over.
Punctuate your writing with varying paragraph lengths, and when in doubt, keep it short. Or else, when I have to read through 50 of them, I lose interest very quickly. Don’t beat around the bush in your query. Come out and state what’s going on as clearly as you can.
Thanks for letting me ramble about queries, Julie!
Haven 6 by Aubrie Dionne
A product of an illegal pairing, Eridani is the only woman without a lifemate aboard the colonization ship, the Heritage, and she is determined her less than perfect DNA will not get in the way of finding love. As the ship nears it’s final destination of Haven 6 after five hundred years of travel, images of the surface show evidence of intelligent life on a planet that’s supposed to be uninhabited. Commander Grier assigns Eri to the exploratory team to spy on the alien society and return with information on how to defeat them.
When Eri’s team lands, tribes of humans attack and Eri is saved by Striver, the descendant of a colonist and a pirate from Old Earth’s colonization efforts in other parts of the galaxy. Striver helps Eri rescue her team and they are drawn to each other despite their different allegiances. While Striver battles with trusting Eri, Eri must decide whether to warn him and his people about the commander’s intentions, or follow orders and complete her mission.
Aubrie grew up watching the original Star Wars movies over and over again until she could recite and reenact every single scene in her backyard. She also loved The Goonies, Star Trek the Next Generation-favorite character was Data by far-, and Indiana Jones. But, her all time favorite movie was The Last Unicorn. She still wonders why the unicorn decided to change back to a unicorn in the end.
Aubrie wrote in her junior high yearbook that she wanted to be “A concert flutist” when she grew up. When she made that happen, she decided one career was not enough and embarked as a fantasy, sci fi author. Two careers seems to keep her busy. For now.
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