Friday, February 22, 2013

When Bad Writing Is Good

I hopped over to Books & Such Literary Agency's blog, Between the Lines, on Wednesday, and I was delighted with agent Rachel Kent's post. She encouraged writers to leave a "bad query" in the comments for an opportunity to win a copy of Liz Johnson's, A Promise to Protect, and the winner will have his or her real query evaluated by Rachel!

It looked like so much fun, I couldn't help but join the party.

And a party it was! As of Thursday,  the post had prompted 276 comments. Can you believe it?? Many of them were responses to the bad queries. I read through almost all of them, and I laughed out loud numerous times.

I'm just going to list some of the highlights taken from the comments--the authors are listed at the end of this post!

Botched greetings:

Dear Rachelle Kent, Rach, Hark Woeful Wastrel, Dear Kent Rachel, 'Sup, Dear Lucky One...


Repreesent, fickshunal novel, hawt guys,  luv, genrha...


Hawt Amish Space Aliens Warz
The Nursemaid's Caretaker
Harry Breaks Wind


"I found in my mamas journal..."

"Lots of fighting, blood and gore, and naughty women."

"It starts out slow, but once you get past all the back story it really picks up."

"I submitted to every agent I can find and your agency is my last hope."

"Feel the colors of the rainbow, riding a unicorn across clouds spun with saccharine moonbeams."

"You have until noon to confirm you are representing my new speculative fiction-slash-medieval cookbook."

"Maybe it will be a love quadrilateral? (You help with that stuff right?)"

"Please visit this website to find out about book, bio, etc."

"It is full of plot twists like obsticals and problems."

"It’s got it all, man, I’m talkin’ a werewolf, some vampires, a nest of drug-dealin’ witches."


"This book would appeal to fans of Twilight, Harry Potter, Shades of Gray, Downton Abbey, and The Giving Tree."

"It’s going to be the next Harry Potter – you know, the one by JK Tolkein?"

"The movie is Jack Reacher meets Downton Abbey meets Twilight meets those elves from the Hobbit meets a bunch of chick lit writers in long dresses, with a Beethoven or Mozart (some old guys in wigs or something) soundtrack, along with a bunch of stuff about drugs and I think traffic violations, with aliens (from space and the South of the Border kind."

"It’s a cross between Leave it to Beaver and Big Bang Theory."

"This could be a classic like that one written by Harper Collins, “To Kill…er, some kind of bird. I don’t remember."

Writing Credits:

"My writing credits include a misdemeanor charge for bad checks that should be expunged before press time."

"I know that my vast experience on my high school newspaper will entice you to read my manuscript."

"Once I won the 3rd grade spelling be and a composition contest in 7th grade, that why I’m qualified tobe a writer and giveing you the honor to be my first queery letter."

"All six people I showed it to have loved the premise and say it will be a huge hit."

"I have just completed my first novel for NaNo."


"I know we will have more than just an agent writer relationship. We will be best friends. I look forward to talking to you on the fone everyday."

"I can hear my mom coming down the stairs again, and I’d like to tell her that I have an agent so I can actually sleep past 2:00p.m. tomorrow."

"If I see you representing any novels with Revolutionary, Civil War or WWII settings, I will seek litigation against you for violating my copyright. (Notice the small symbol at the bottom of this proposal.)"

"I know you guys are very busy, so I will call you next week. If I can’t get you, I will just keep calling."

"Remember me! We meet in the bathroom a few years ago at a conference. I was the one who slid my manuscript under the stall door."

"My uncle’s dead but I know he’d love it too and so will you if you actually read it. I’m attaching a picture of my uncle so you’ll can see what a great guy he was when he wasn’t dead."

"Please call me at my boyfriend’s number 555-1234 and let me know how much money you are sending."

"P.S. Do you represent any real authors?"

"I can mail it to you if you agree to pay the postage. The package weighs about fifty pounds."

"The manuscript’s up on ebay. LET THE BIDDING WAR BEGIN!!!"

"Please excuse the notebook paper and purple crayon."

Special thanks to the following bad query contest commenters: Richard Mabry, Meghan Carver, Cynthia Green, Jennifer Major, Jana Hutcheson, Lori, Heather Day Gilbert, Larry, Amanda Dykes, Lee, Ryan LaForge, Brandi Lynch, Morgan Tarpley, Heidi Timmons, Ashley Mays, Leigh Goff, Jennifer Hallmark, Josh, Mindy, Regina Jennings, Patrice, Stacy Voss, Tanya Eavenson, Elaine Faber, Sarah Sundin, Shawn Kuhn, Lynn Johnston, Michelle Gardner, David Todd, Scott. (If I used anything from someone not listed, I'm sincerely sorry!)

Please, go over and read the comments from "Bad Query Contest" if you're at all laughing at these tidbits!! I am so impressed with all of the entries! Love them!!


  1. Oh my goodness! This was the best - at being the worst:)!

    1. I have laughed so many times at all the bad queries! They were genius!!

  2. That was insanely fun, wasn't it?? Although, mine was the HAWTIST!
    "You edit right?" That line was SO funny, I burst out laughing! It not only showed pure ignorance, but ridiculous levels of assumption.
    And kudos to using Area 51 in the query, well done.

    1. It was, Jennifer!! The "dead uncle" picture was one of my faves! The commenters were brilliant. Your inspired spelling made my day!!

  3. Jill, so right! I'm still laughing as I think about some of those!

    What a fun post!

    1. They were too funny! I'm so glad she hosted the contest!!

  4. I love that even these tidbits have a voice. And that they make me feel like such a good writer today! :D

    1. You're right! They were inventive, that's for sure! :)

  5. Sup.

    Ha. Thanks for the laugh. I loved these.


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  7. I read some of those queries on the B&S blog. So. Hilarious. :)

    1. I know!! The level of creativity was out of this world!

  8. Hilarious blog it was, but it's no joke the level of talent that was on display by everyone.

    It seriously reminded me of all those tales of Paris in the 1920s, and what it'd be like listening to a conversation between Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, T.S. Elliot, and all the others in some art deco fabulous coffee shop.

    So it's interesting, from a historical perspective, to see the group of writers over at Books and Such start to make their way into the industry: that "Married....With Fiction" blog that is coming, for example, sounds pretty exciting, in regards to this group of new writers (we all sooo have to come up with some sort of name for the community: that is something that we do NOT want to leave to the professors! I dunno if Faulkner ever liked the title "Post Modernist" for example!) establishing themselves and their writing as the current standard and / or style of writing.

    1. I agree, Larry! I was blown away by the talent everyone displayed.

      Last year I was on a 20's Paris writers kick. I finally got around to reading Hemingway's A MOVEABLE FEAST, and it spurred me to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's TENDER IS THE NIGHT (One of my fave books is THE GREAT GATSBY) and non-fiction about the authors. Wouldn't it be fun to hang out in an art deco coffee shop?? Great points--and interesting!

  9. Hahaha! Thanks for gathering this sampler--very fun!

    1. You're welcome--I couldn't stop laughing as I pulled these from the comments!

  10. Jill:
    I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while. I't hard for me to pick out my favorite because they are all so good at being bad.

    I believe this is my absolute favorite one. "It’s going to be the next Harry Potter – you know, the one by JK Tolkein?"

  11. I laughed all morning that day! It was just TOO FUN!!!

    1. I did too, Heather! Even my kids laughed at some of the queries!

  12. Jill, thanks for culling this material from what should one day be a book. I suspect it would be a big seller among writers, although some of the wannabes might take it seriously. Perhaps it should be sold with a warning label (and shipped in a plain brown wrapper).

    1. What a great idea!! But I agree--it should come with a warning label! Ha!!

  13. Talk about creative writing! Thanks for the laughs.


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