The Curious Case of the Replicating Query Letter

Is there something in the water that makes people write the same thing? We all want to be original, but if you aren’t reading slush piles yourself, how on earth do you know what everyone else is sending in? I guess the answer is we can’t. There isn’t much at all anyone can do about it, but out of interest or worry, I’ve compiled a list for myself, a sort of avoid this subject if you can type of thing.

The items on this list come from various sources: tweets, blogs, conferences I’ve attended, etc. It’s very unofficial, and it was gathered  in the most haphazard way. In other words, if you’ve got one of these things in your manuscript, don’t stress too much. On the other hand, if you’re trying to decide, say, between making your middle grade character go off to live with a kooky aunt, or  going to live in trashcan, you may want to choose the trashcan.

1. A child going to live with a kooky aunt.

2. Fallen angels.

3.Grim reapers.

4. Ghosts.

5. Girls with special powers.

6. Hot demon boys.

7. Talking animals.

8. Car crashes, particularly in prologues.

9. Two people who knew each other in another life and fall in love.

A few of these surprised me.  For instance, I’ve never written about the Grim Reaper, but also, I haven’t read many actual books about the guy either. Oh well, I’ve always believed a good book trumps topic anyway. What do you guys think? Also, what do you suspect is overused? Let me know in the comments.

9 thoughts on “The Curious Case of the Replicating Query Letter

  1. Oh wow! I had no idea these ideas were emerging often. I’m pretty behind and was going to say vampires and wizards are overdone, LOL. I also recently read that a person dying in the first chapter is a common query finding. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. I’m guilty of a few of these. Most especially with the girl discovering a new power, since that’s the focus of Fire and Ice. Oops!

  3. I was getting sick of zombies a little while back, until I got into The Walking Dead.
    I’ve written about most of these. “Hot demon boys” made me laugh. Been there, done that.

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