Ask Daphne! About Two Points of View

August 31st, 2012 • Kate

A question today from Tamara, on the topic of queries:

I recently finished my manuscript and, after numerous revisions, finally came up with a query letter I’m happy with. In the meantime, I had a few beta readers looking at my book. On the advice of some of them, I’m considering switching the first two chapters. The book is written in dual points of view, of the boy and girl. It currently starts with the boy and, because of that, I focused on him for the query. If I switch the chapters so it starts in the girl’s POV, is it necessary to re-write the query–that way my query matches my sample pages? I thought it might be a bad idea to query in the boy’s POV, and then send sample pages written in the girl’s POV. Would that be confusing or throw an agent off? Or is it fine as long as I mention at the end of the query that the book is told in dual points of view?

Ok, you have lots of questions in there — let me see if I can get to the main point. First of all, your query should represent your entire book, not just the first chapter. While you don’t want to give away the entire plot in the query letter (save that for the synopsis), you do want to tell the reader enough of the story to set up the driving issue of the plot and the main characters. So, yes, I would advise that the query mentions the book is told in two POVs, that of a boy and a girl, and that you introduce both characters.

That being said, however, I’m leery of your comment about querying “in the boy’s POV”. This sounds to me a little too much like querying in your character’s voice, which is a big no-no for me. Your query should match the tone of your manuscript, but the voice used should be that of your own, the author. Always try to think of a query letter akin to the back cover copy of a book, or flap copy. And bear in mind that it is a business letter, and write accordingly.

Good luck!

Photo by Rude Cactus, used under a Creative Commons license.
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3 Responses to “Ask Daphne! About Two Points of View”

  1. tamara Says:

    I think I must have explained my situation incorrectly. I apologize. The query is not told in the characters point of view, and it does cover what a query should cover (not just the first chapter). I've heard that, when querying a dual POV book, you should focus on one MC–not try to tell both their stories–so that's what I did. I focused on the boy. However, the sample pages I'd attach with the query start with the girl's POV. I didn't want to confuse anyone by focusing on his part of the story for the query, but then attaching sample pages that begin with her story. I'm sorry for not explaining that more succinctly the first time. It sounded succinct in my head, but I've been in bed with the flu for four days, so you'll have to excuse me. 🙂

  2. tamara Says:

    Oops. Still not completely in my right head, obviously. I really wish these things had an edit button. I feel like an idiot, but I'm on copious amounts of medication, so that's my excuse. haha. So, in a nutshell, my question was: Is it okay to for the query to focus on his story, when the sample pages begin with her story? Thanks so much! Really sorry for the confusion. Next time I'll save my question asking for when my head is more together. Promise!!

  3. DaphneUn Says:

    No worries! I do stand by my answer though — your query should focus on both main characters, in order to best represent the entire book. Hope that helps!