For the first time in pretty much forever I’m going to introduce a new feature on the blog, and hopefully this one will be a little more successful than my previous “new” blog feature Publishing Myths 101, which I continue to forget about entirely.
Anyway, Can I Get a Ruling? will be kind of like You Tell Me, only with a yes or no answer and a poll attached. Instead of asking an open-ended You Tell Me style question, I’ll ask a more basic question and we can argue it out, vote, and deliver a verdict. It will be like democracy, only without endless presidential elections.
So first up: the use of the word “our” in query letters.
You have probably seen this before, and particularly the phrase “our hero.” As in, “Our hero is a twenty four year old genius monkey who is ready to turn the tables on evolution, and this time, brain size is personal.” Notice. Not “the” hero. “Our” hero.
Now, I’m not blaming anyone because this is a common trope, and I would never reject someone’s query for using the words “our hero.” But my mind always trips up on the use of the word “our,” and I start asking questions like: Are we reading this book together? Is this hero acting on behalf of all of us, including those of us in the non-fictional world? Who else is included in this hero’s constituency? Did I help write this book and suffer from massive amnesia?
As you can see, when my mind trips up on something it quickly heads in dangerous territory.
But maybe this is just my own neuroses at play and I should leave the word “our” well enough alone.
So Can I Get a Ruling? How do we feel about the phrase “our hero”?