Forums Writing Chapter 5 Chapter 5 3 Queries and Bio Redo #2

Chapter 5 3 Queries and Bio Redo #2

Solid improvements Carole – you took what I said about specific exmaples to heart and I now feel you 2nd pitch is the strongest. I still feel that the bio and pitches 1, 2 run too long and that I get distracted in pitch 1 before you come to the point… here are my additional notes.

Bio runs a bit long – cut it in half. What can you say about yourself and your passions in two sentences? Also I would avoid cliches like magical and mystical at all costs – instead describe the aspects of the culture and place that made you feel ‘magical’ but do not label the place or culture itself as mystical – that is the way things were described (with an exotic sense of ‘otherness’ 100 years ago in travel writing).

1. Too many words between the beginning of the pitch and the story that you would like to write. Move the information in the 3rd paragraph closer to the begining of the query so the editor know what you are suggesting as a story – and then give them more information on the subject.

2. much much better – I can now imagine the nightlife (or lack thereof) in Wasilla whereas before I could not. You give solid examples of what you would cover – giving the editor a much better sense of the article. I would suggest writing this piece and posting it to your blog.

3. this is still what i call a wish pitch – you wish, want and plan on creating an expereince that will result in the piece but you have not, yet. This makes it difficult (or impossible if the editor or magazine has not worked with you) to determine whether the future article will work for the publication. Why not instead pitch an article about Martial Arts in Japan, if you already have knowledge and experience on that subject?

View Profile 2012-10-26 18:48:22 PDT

Hi Joshy,

I am a bit confused about writing a tip query… I gather from what you say, one cannot say what one wants to write about. I lived in China for more than 6 years. I would like to write about my experiences as an older traveler and some of the things I found there. China all but lost its martial arts during Mao and the Cultural Revolution. Even today, Beijing tries to control what is taught. Even so, people still practice and still use the traditions. I am not sure how I would put that into a query without it being a wish. I have reread Chapter 5 many times. I want to understand the process before I move on.

I tried again… I hope these are better. Thanks carole


Traveling through the US and Canada woke up the explorer in Carole. Next stop was China. Now, she can hardly wait to add more places to her list.



Dear Matador Change Editor:

Teaching in China made me very aware of how important books are to Chinese students. Imagine how surprising it was to find not all primary students in the countryside had books. I wanted to do something to help the less advantaged children. It wasn’t until I returned to the USA, that I found a way to do so. It is called The Library Project. This organization was begun in 2006 by Tom Stader and five friends in Dalian, China. They started with the simple idea of helping kids in orphanages. The Library Project has now broadened its scope to include Viet Nam and Cambodia. At this point more than 200,000 kids have been impacted. The Library Project is always looking to expand and get more people and companies involved.

I would like to help The Library Project be able to get books and other supplies for more libraries. I will be returning to China in the spring of 2013. I would like to interview Mr. Stader and others about the project. I plan on (if possible) working alongside volunteers in China and telling their stories. I would like to do a series of reports from the inside. Thus, because of the global reach of your magazine, many more people would hear about The Library Project.

I am currently a student at MatadorU. You can read some of my entries at

Thanking you in advance for your consideration, I am,


Carole Milstead



Dear Matador Nights Editor;

After reading several articles in Matador Nights I came to the conclusion that most places have one thing in common, a nightlife.

I live in Wasilla, Alaska. Nightlife in Wasilla is all but nonexistent. Alaska did get in Matador Nights about where to drink beer and to find Alaskan micro breweries. Wasilla wasn’t mentioned in either article. Wasilla does have a micro brewery called the Last Frontier Brewing Company. And Mighty Matanuska Brewfest is held every year at the Alaska State Fair.

As for Wasilla nightlife, there are quite a few taverns around for your drinking and dancing pleasure. Wasilla has a community orchestra that performs a few times a year. And it has a Performing Arts Group which allows Wasilla to have live theatre. Granted, they are not full of famous stars or guest performances. However, both groups have a loyal following, none the less. Wasilla has a new cinema showing the latest of Hollywood’s offerings. We have night life, just not the caliber in of Rio or New Orleans.

One thing Wasilla has is incredible scenery. In any direction you chose to look, you will find a picture taking opportunity. Plus, Wasilla has a plethora of hiking and other outdoor sports right at its doorstep.

It would be easy to write about this subject from a light-hearted point of view as well as serious. I would appreciate the chance.

I am currently a student a You would be able to read some of my writing at

Thank you for your consideration.


Carole Milstead

View Profile 2012-10-28 04:58:37 PDT

Hi Carole – the first pitch reads much better – it isn’t that you cannot say what you want to write about, of course you need to give the editor as clear a picture as you can. But I believe that it would be to your advantage at this point to pitch articles that you can sit down and write tonight or work that you have previously started. Get pieces that you have the material for now out there and then as you travel back to China and visit Morocco you then pitch the stories that you are gathering information for.

If you are a writer starting out, then I think it will be harder to get publications excited about future stories that you have yet to pen.

If you have experience as an older, solo traveler I think you should write about it now and start getting that content published online.

View Profile 2012-10-31 00:28:47 PDT

Thanks so much for your insights.

View Profile 2012-10-31 03:45:54 PDT