How is this story different from other stories told

In Animals, Current reading, Querying on March 11, 2015 at 8:41 am

Reading-wise, I went way, way back last night. To the year 1170 in France. Overall, not a bad year. The Vikings rampaging through Paris? Ancient history. The Great Plague, still to come. Most villages managed to get by without a famine that winter. Large building projects were underway – the cathedral in Paris, in its first stages, and others under construction too.

I read some of the tales gathered under the title Roman de Renart. The entire cycle consists of over thirty short fables (plus variations), written by multiple authors, most of them anonymous. The main figure, Renart, is the same figure known as the Trickster in other traditions – wily, amoral, without the trace of a redeeming feature. Renart is born to get the best of everyone and, if ever he gets his just desserts, not to worry: he gets more than even in his next outing.

Why Renart, last night? Because I’m still on the topic of querying. Still tinkering with the one-pager that leads someone to read on to the synopsis, plus five, ten or thirty pages, prior to rejecting or asking to see more.

Most (all?) agency websites request you land your query in some definite category, genre-wise. Most announce straight off they don’t want to see any poetry or plays. Some want chick-lit, others Christian values, still others anything but, or romance, or noir, or… etc.

Hello. How do you do. Flannery O’Connor once wrote that the good was under construction. This may or may not be the case. Perhaps the good doesn’t need architects, civil engineers or theologians. Perhaps the good exists with no need for construction. Perhaps the nasty doesn’t care one way or another. Perhaps the two are one and the same under different guises.  I don’t know. I know the world is a messy place. I know you can laugh and cry at the same time, and with good reason for both.

What I don’t know at this point is what the query letter will look like.


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