WRITING HERO: Matthew MacNish

For a long time now, Becca and I have wanted a way to acknowledge the people who have helped us develop into stronger writers and who add to the writing community as a whole. As a new feature here at The Bookshelf Muse, Becca and I will take turns giving well-deserved recognition to some of the people who really make an impact…people who truly are Writing Heroes.

Today I am honored to profile the awesome Matthew MacNish! My boy Matt is beyond incredible…not only is he super-friendly and amazingly supportive, he has also practically broken the choke-hold of fear that query writing has over writers.

Yes, you read that right…Matt makes the Query-writing shakes VANISH. 

It seems impossible, doesn’t it? I mean, writing queries has driven more than a few writers to drink. I bet if you were to go back in time, it would be revealed that Poe rode the sauce train largely because of querying. In my mind, these one page torture devices are like the smoke monster from LOST…when you sit down, determined to find that perfect hook, you hear that creepy rattle instead. It speeds up and grows louder and suddenly you’re sweating and trembling and want to be anywhere but there in front of the blank computer screen.

Yet here we have a man who can eviscerate that swollen, greasy beast. He makes query-writing…bearable. In fact, when Matt works his crazy query voodoo, writers suddenly find themselves staring at a road map leading to one place: AWESOME.

I have 5 words for you: The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment.If you are new to his blog, please check him out. What. A Great. Guy.

For years, Matt has tirelessly work-shopped queries of all genres live on his blog, helping writers analyze their story lines and learn to juice up their hooks for maximum impact. He has helped many through this process–not only those who lay their query on the sacrificial slab, but also the people who tune in to see how he and his query katana will chop and slice until only the best elements remain, leaving the query stronger and closer to finding an agent to love it.

I can only imagine the time that goes into each one of these deconstructions, and of course there is much more to the QQQE than queries. Matt is just an all-round great blogger with strong insight on all things writing and industry related. He’s a must-stop on the blog run and a huge bright spot in the writing community. You can find him BBQing on Facebook and yukking it up on Twitter, too. Check him out as he co-hosts the popular A to Z Challenge for the month of April. It’s not too late to get involved, either!

So thank you Matt, for being one of my WRITING HEROES. You rock!

To pay it forward, I will give a 1000-word critique to Matthew MacNish. He can then choose to keep it for himself or offer it as a giveaway on his blog! As a resident writing hero, he will also have a permanent link in our header.

So tell me Musers…do you know Matthew MacNish? Has he helped you or your writing in some way? Please tell us in the comments and help celebrate this amazing WRITING HERO! 


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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51 Responses to WRITING HERO: Matthew MacNish

  1. Matt is seriously awesome! He just critiqued my query on his blog and I am so thankful for that!

  2. Sorry I’m commenting late! But Matt is awesome! Whenever I “see” him on Twitter or the blogosphere I smile. His humor is great. Good choice, Angela!

  3. Wow! Going to check out his site right now!!! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. Love this post. I’ve learned lots from Matthew’s blog, but I love the way you write about his work here. Excellent writing hero pick. And, by the way, excellent series. Thumbs up!

  5. Matt has a great blog and I love his Query series. I will need to spend extra time studying his deconstructions since I’ll be querying myself soon. 🙂

  6. Leslie Rose says:

    Anyone who has slain the query beast deserves warrior status. Finally added Matthew’s blog to my travels – long overdue.

  7. Matt is awesome! Great choice, ladies!

  8. How did I not know about this guy? (DUH moment.) His blog is amazing. THIS is why I love this series, and you and Becca. You do so much for the writing community, I swear you two need medals! Daily.

    Love you!


  9. How did I not know about this guy? (DUH moment.) His blog is amazing. THIS is why I love this series, and you and Becca. You do so much for the writing community, I swear you two need medals! Daily.

    Love you!


  10. I totally agree with this. Matt simply rocks. Period.

  11. Great choice! Matthew is one of my favorite bloggers. 🙂

  12. Slamdunk says:

    I’ve enjoyed Matthew’s blog for some time now. The insights offered by Matt and his readers regarding query letters are invaluable.

  13. I’m so pleased to see Matt being honoured over here. I learn so much from his blog.

  14. I’ll be sure to stop by Matt’s blog and check it out.


  15. He is the pinnacle of awesome…ha. I’m just trying to out do the other comments. Love that guy. He does so much for everyone else, a total writing hero.

  16. J.C. Martin says:

    Great choice of a writing hero! Matthew is definitely awesome!

  17. Larissa says:

    Agreed. Matt is DA BOMB. 🙂

  18. What a great tribute to Matt. I’ve been a long time follower of his blog. He truly is awesome.

  19. Matt is very deserving of the honor. Good choice!

  20. Matt is very deserving of the honor. Good choice!

  21. Matt is awesome. I’m so happy to see him getting some recognition here. : )

  22. I LOVE THIS: “Yet here we have a man who can eviscerate that swollen, greasy beast. He makes query-writing…bearable. In fact, when Matt works his crazy query voodoo, writers suddenly find themselves staring at a road map leading to one place: AWESOME.”

    GREAT choice, Angela–Matt rocks my socks off!! 🙂

  23. LTM says:

    I know he’s my writing hero. 😀

  24. Thanks everyone! I really believe that we’re all in this together, and that we all improve by working together, but I’m still flattered by your appreciation.

  25. Love Matt! What an encourager. Whatever the situation, he always has good words to share. And I love the way he reaches out when someone is in need.

    Thanks, Matt!

  26. .jessica. says:

    Just joining in on the Matt love. He is so fantastic and his blog is unbelievably helpful. Hugs and high fives his way!

  27. Lori M. Lee says:

    Like everyone said, Matt is AWESOME 🙂 I love his critiques and his sense of humor. His blog is such a great place.

  28. Matt is AWESOME. He can calm the query scaries and make those one pagers into gems. Well deserved!! Matt–keep it up!
    Thank you for all your help!!

  29. Shannon Cyr says:

    Well deserved! Matt is one of my most favorite people. Ever. <3

  30. Julie Musil says:

    Matt is AWESOME! I seriously don’t know how he does it. He takes a big blob of words and whittles it down to something amazing. Matt, thanks for all you do!

  31. Matt definitely rocks the world! How wonderful to see him getting the praise he deserves here! Bravo. 🙂

  32. Matt is a great person. Writing can be a tough, lonely road, and he’s one of those people that make it a lot easier. His support is appreciated by so many, me included. 🙂

  33. YAY! Matt. This is fantastic. : )

  34. karen klink says:

    You guys are awesome! I keep picking up more and more wonderful blogs to follow from your awesome awesomes!

    Will I ever have time to write?

  35. Great shout out. He’s certainly carved out a niche for himself.

  36. PJ Hoover says:

    Whoo hoo! Yay, Matt. It’s so great to see you featured here!

  37. Jackie says:

    I never heard of Matt before, so thanks for introducing me to him.
    I’m headed to his blog now.

  38. YAY matt!!!
    one of the truest, kindest gents ever!

  39. I have not heard of this fellow before but I am now one of his followers. Sounds like it will be worth it, so thank you for sharing this blog with us! 🙂

  40. Laura Howard says:

    I’ve seen the name on many, many blog comments (which is amazing in itself), but I don’t think I’ve actually visited his site.. This sounds like I’ve been missing out. 😉

  41. Kelly Polark says:

    Matt IS a GREAT GUY! What a wonderful post about him!

  42. I’ll check his blog out. Thanks for the recommendation!!

  43. Bish Denham says:

    I totally agree. He’s a great guy! I don’t know how he does everything he does.

  44. Here here! Great choice. I’m not sure how he does it either but reading critiqued queries can be so helpful for writers writing their first query!

  45. SA Larsenッ says:

    You ladies are superb! And yes, I fully agree. Matt is amazing and wonderful for what he does in the querying world. Great choice of a spotlight.

  46. I love Matt’s blog. And he’s a super supportive blogger friend. Great choice. And congrats Matt!

  47. Another awesome choice!!!!! Matt seriously rocks in the query critique department. I don’t know how he does it.

  48. AWWW, YAY, MATT!!!!! *throws pom-poms in the air* In his rock star picture up there, I imagine him taking a nap, snoozing on us, after deconstructing so many damned queries *snert*!

  49. I’m flattered, honored, and humbled. Now if I can only somehow get good at synopses, too. I’ll probably hold on to that critique, and give it away as soon as the challenge is over.

    Not that I wouldn’t love some feedback from the two of you, but I don’t have anything ready right now, and paying it forward is just the right thing to do.

  50. Andrea Mack says:

    Yay! Matthew’s query blog is so helpful. It’s so great the way he highlights what makes a good query.

  51. JeffO says:

    Matthew’s blog is excellent. He sets a great tone of supportive criticism over at QQQE. Kudos!

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