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Guest Post: Kathleen Peacock Takes You On A Query Adventure

Today we have a guest post from author Kathleen Peacock. Her book HEMLOCK, the first in YA urban fantasy trilogy, will be published by Katherine Tegen Books in 2011. She is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Judith Erhlich Literary Management.

Photobucket Ah, The Princess Bride. It has everything. Daring swordfights! Dastardly villains! True love! MIRACLES!

Could there be a better guide for the dreaded query process? I think not! After all, successfully navigating the realm of query letters can make the Fire Swamp look like a nice spot for a summer home.

Ready to embark on a query adventure? Here are six timeless Princess Bride moments you can use to guide you on the road to happily ever after.

Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
Grandson: Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.

Like the grandson, an agent will try to stay awake but ONLY if your query gives them a reason to do so. Grandpa’s only mistake? He included a laundry list of features and showed rather than told. Still, “A” for effort.

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Do your homework. Know what genre you’re writing in and what the typical word counts are. Don’t call your literary masterpiece a YA just because there are three chapters where the MC flashes back to when he was seventeen and enamoured with Holden Caulfield.

Inigo Montoya: I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills. There's not a lot of money in revenge.

Unless you are very, very lucky, your query letter will not be your golden ticket out of your day job. Sorry.

Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

The publishing process is long and gruelling. Anyone promising to make things easy is someone you should probably back away from. Slowly. Right now.

Inigo Montoya: Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Keep your query short and spectacular. You don’t have to include every detail. Just like Inigo, include only what’s relevant.

Miracle Max: You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

You spent how long writing that book? Slow down and invest some time in your query letter. And don’t be afraid to have other people critique it. They may spot things you miss.

Quotes from The Princess Bride, 1987, released by 20th Century Fox, written by William Goldman (based on his novel of the same name)

~ Kathleen Peacock
Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

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  1. I love this! The Princess Bride is such a great movie.

  2. Hilarious--my hubby and I quote this movie more than any other. He doesn't even mind when I call him "farm boy." Thanks for this!

  3. Haha! I LOVE this movie. Great post!

  4. I'm all about tying a movie into anything and everything, so this post was particularly interesting, funny and helpful to me. Thank you so much Kathleen!

  5. SO funny (and true)~ love the quotes!

  6. Dear Kathleen,

    I think I love you. Please marry me.

    Love, Kristin

  7. yup. Its official.


  8. This totally rocked my world. Hardcore.

  9. A+
    That's all.
    Obviously I need to watch The Princess Bride today, too. It's been too long. (I bet I can still recite all the lines, though.)

  10. Amazing post! The only thing missing was a quote from Fezzik. RIP Andre the Giant!

  11. Ahhh! This post is awesome. And it makes me want to go watch The Princess Bride again.

  12. I must add -- "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." Because that's like... Okay that has no connections to queries at all but it's my favorite quote!

    I <3 this post!

  13. Great post! I adore The Princess Bride.

  14. Thank you for this, it's perfect and you quoted the greatest movie of all time.

  15. Okay, it's definitely time to dig out Princess Bride again--what a great flick! Thanks for the post, too funny! :D

  16. So awesome! What a great way to talk about querying. :)

  17. Great post, very skillful intertwining of the the movie and the horrors of querying!

    I recently had my nieces over (the ones whose mom only lets them watch G-rated movies--they're 10 and 12) and sat them down to watch the Princess Bride. They loved it, but their mom was totally freaked out about the Rodents of Unusual Size. I always hated the torture of Wesley, myself.

  18. Great advice. The Princess Bride is my favoritest movie EVER. And I never realized how helpful it is.

  19. Best. Blog post. Ever. Period.

    Princess Bride has to be my favorite movie ever. Seriously. Mandy Patinkin is freaking awesome. My favorite actor ever. Oh... fan girl moment...

    Anyway, I love the way it's related to querying. Seriously. If I had a choice between getting a contract through querying or successfully navigating the Fire Swamp...

    Well, I'd take the giant rodents any day.

  20. This was pure genius.

    *offers peanuts*

  21. Thanks so much, YA Highway, for letting me do a guest post It was a blast to write!

    And thank you everyone for leaving such sweet and awesome comments!

  22. I'm not sure how it ties in, but "I am not left-handed."

  23. Love love love!

    Mandy P Is just awesome - lol -thought I was the only one who liked his over the top deadpan.

    Only one thing to add.....

    When you do get an agent/editor---and they demand that you do another rewrite....your correct answer is?

    "As you wish." slight sparkly far away smile, little bow, then jump. Let Buttercup save her farmboy.


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Item Reviewed: Guest Post: Kathleen Peacock Takes You On A Query Adventure Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart