Back to the Query Basics: Spelling, Punctuation, and Syntax

lishacauthenThis post is brought to you by
the one and only, Lisha Cauthen.

Been a long while since we talked about the nuts and bolts of query-letter writing. Today, let’s discuss a very simple step that if skipped, will sink your chances of getting an agent:

CHECKING YOUR SPELLING, PUNCTUATION, AND SYNTAX

  1. First, use Spellcheck. But sweet holy Moses, don’t depend on it. Spellcheck is well-known for missing grammar mistakes, capitalizing words that do not need it, and confusing homonyms.
  2. Run your letter through an alternate program. There are many free ones online, and software that is free to download. (Google: “free online grammar and spell checkers”)
  3. Then, take your letter to a critique group. Or ask a friend to proofread. Or join Sub It Club, go to the private Facebook page and ask for feedback.
  4. Put the letter away for as long as possible, then look with fresh eyes.

I don’t know about you, but when I slave over a couple of paragraphs for days and days, I start to lose perspective. Also, I have a set of spelling mistakes that I’ve made since the age of, oh, seven. And no matter how many times I try to drill the correct spelling in my brain, I make the same stoopid mistakes.

facepalmTake the time to perfect every word of your query, it’ll pay off in the long run. I swear. Because unless you are very, very lucky, you’ll be using the same query more than once.

bill

2 thoughts on “Back to the Query Basics: Spelling, Punctuation, and Syntax

Add yours

  1. I think writing queries is one of the worst nightmare for a writer. Not only it’s hell to write in itself, but it’s also very very difficult to find solid feedback on it.

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