Sunday, April 25, 2021

Further on questions

 Craig F commented on the post about questions in a query

I think that starting a query with a question would work better with an elementary or mid-grade book. I am stealing from one of my favorite vommenters, but here goes. What is that sound from the fields? It's Clara, the singing cow. Her song can pull the moon down from the sky.


I want to underscore the point that the question shouldn't be yes/no.

What is that sound from the fields isn't a yes/no question.

Who killed Roger Ackroyd isn't a yes/no question.

Both Craig's example and Dame Agatha Christie's seminal book are examples of a question that DOES work; it engages your reader's interest.

Any questions?

(yes? no?)


John Davis Frain said...

Hats off to Craig for winding up in the same sentence as Dame Agatha Christie. We should all be stuck in such a position.

BTW, now I keep thinking of Jeopardy! to jumpstart all query letters. Or...

He got his unlikely start via a Janet Reid blog post comparing his work to that of Agatha Christie.
<> Who is Craig?
Correct, continue.
Debut authors for $400, please...

AJ Blythe said...

*snort* I needed that laugh, John. And yes, Janet, very clear (congrats to Craig for making it to Jeopardy ;) )

Kregger said...

The second thought progressing through my brain from Craig's question was farting and lowing.

Fortunately, my first inclination was the question works because it wasn't rhetorical.

My filter must have been engaged this morning.

Thanks coffee.

Erin Parisien said...

This was something that I learned with my very first job in retail all those years ago. If at all possible, always ask open-ended questions. You want the customer/reader to engage, not tell you 'no' and shut down.

Craig F said...

Though it is possible to start a query with an engaging question, it is still a hard thing to pull off.

A question can act like an anchor, pulling the reader back to it. That makes it hard when your object is to create a smooth reading query; one that engages a story arc with nuance to emotions.

Thanks John, at least I didn't get called out for being a total putz, this time.