Judy Kellem wrote this helpful article a while back on the art of writing a query letter that if concise, focused, and powerful:
Why are query letters so hard to write?
There you are, confident you have a great script – the story’s spot on, the plot’s firmly in place and you’re madly in love with the characters you’ve created. Now is the moment of pay off where you’ve graduated – a full script in hand – and stand before those terrifying, golden gates to the kingdom of MARKETING. First step is just one brief letter, the hook that you must bait with a perfect “pitch” to get those first bites. How hard can writing a paragraph description of your masterpiece be? Heck, you just cranked out 120 pages of plot and dialogue!
Now five drafts into the query you’re ready to be committed.
For those of you who’s buttons are popping, don’t fret – there is a solution. The keys to writing a great query are the same ones you used to write a great script: FOCUS, VISION and COMPRESSION.
In a query, you have a tiny space to convey an entire world. In those one or two paragraphs you must communicate to your reader a sense of what your main story is, what drives the plot, who your main characters are and what genre you are writing in. Underlying your summary of the story, you must also transmit the mood, tone and spirit of your script so that the reader instantaneously feels brought into your fiction and knows what they’re in for in reading your screenplay. Just like writing a great dramatic scene, EVERY WORD COUNTS. Making every sentence rich with exposition, drama and urgency is imperative.
How do you do this?