Query Letter Cliche Alert: ". . . Or Did She?"

About halfway through a tall stack of SQUIDs today, my intern Jemma threw down her letter opener and said, "This is the tenth letter or novel excerpt I've read that uses the phrase '. . . Or did he?' I'm sick of it! Auggh!"

. . . Or did she?

I will verify her exclamation later this week, when I need a break from the -- good grief, is it five manuscripts I'm in the middle of editing, all at different stages? Yes it is. Goodness -- and go through the SQUIDs myself, since she's done the first triage. (I also owe some back responses from October/November, I know.)

Just to be clear about this: The thing that is unfortunate about the repeated appearances of this phrase is not that they all occurred in the same batch of SQUIDs, but that, like all cliches, they're evidence of easy, lazy thinking and writing rather than the freshness and originality that will truly make your work stand out. Find a new way of creating suspense within the letter and the chapters, and go forth and sin no more.