I don't want to be a smartass or anything. I'm genuinely curious about something. You insist that those who want to submit to the query shark read the archives first. That's what I've been doing, and I'm a little confused about the contradictory opinions I've found there. For instance:
In that post, you say you like rhetorical questions. But in this one (and loads of others): http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2011/06/206.html you say queriers shouldn't open with any sort of question.
I used to be ok with rhetorical questions but then they just seemed to get lame and then more lame. It's entirely possible my tastes have changed. Agents are getting a LOT more queries now then they used to (or at least that's my sense of things--and my mail reflects that too) When you see a lot of rhetorical questions done poorly it just gets to the point that you never want to see one again.
That query is written in first person. But in this one (and others): http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2011/06/203.html you say not to write a query in first person.
Don't confuse I-the-writer with I-the-character. You always write queries in I-the-writer first person. You're almost never ever going to write in I-the-character.
However, you've also said many times that people can break the rules if they do it well, and if they query accomplishes it's goal, which is to convince people to read more.
So. My questions. First, did your opinion change after seeing a few too many rhetorical questions, or is it all in the question? For instance, if someone asked, "Don't you just hate rhetorical questions?" would that work better than "Have you ever mistaken your wife for a hat?". And second, is there a way to write a query in first person that won't instantly be seen as a gimmick? I have no interest in writing a query that way, but I'm curious. If, as in that example, it's full of a voice that hooks you, does that transcend the gimmick?
There is no one template. There is no magic set of rules. There are lots of contradictions. All you have to do is find your voice and write really well. It's very simple and very hard.
And I don't think you're a smart ass.