HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 44
  1. #1
    Senior Member SapphireBlue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    124

    ROXANE query letter

    Roxane, a Persian princess, risked everything to wed Alexander the Great. Their passion was the stuff of legend: she marched into battle at her husband's side through snow, relentless heat, and a near-fatal wound. When, at age nineteen, she was widowed and pregnant with an heir whom powerful enemies wanted dead, Roxane's true battle had just begun.

    ROXANE is an 85,000-word historical fiction in the tradition of Valerio Massimo Manfredi. Chapter one follows below as a sample.

    A Tudor descendant through the illegitimate Richard Edwardes, I have long held an interest in history. I hold cum laude masterís degrees from DePaul University and Norwich University, and a BA from the University of Iowa where I was given the honor of being allowed to join the graduate-level Writerís Workshop while still an undergraduate.

    My poetry and short works have been published in over a dozen national and international journals, and I have won a number of poetry awards. Born and raised in the Chicago area, after Hurricane Isabel hit my home in Virginia, I lived all over the United States.

    Thank you very much for your time!


    Sincerely



  2. #2
    Senior Member SapphireBlue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    124
    Either this letter is a total dud, or the closing of Borders and the economy mean no one is even reading.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    6,016
    Hi, Savannah. Welcome back.

    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    Roxane, a Persian princess, risked everything to wed Alexander the Great. Their passion was the stuff of legend: she marched into battle at her husband's side through snow, relentless heat, and a near-fatal wound. When, at age nineteen, she was widowed and pregnant with an heir whom powerful enemies wanted dead, Roxane's true battle had just begun.

    This is a summary. It does not reflect writing style or the storyline of your book. What happens? She just drags herself around through snow and heat to be with her husband? That's the example of passion that is the "stuff of legend?" Sounds pretty ordinary. And her "true battle" had just begun? What does that mean? How about providing some details?

    ROXANE is an 85,000-word historical fiction in the tradition of Valerio Massimo Manfredi. Chapter one follows below as a sample.

    To every agent? Many of them do not want chapters.

    A Tudor descendant through the illegitimate Richard Edwardes, I have long held an interest in history. I hold cum laude master’s degrees from DePaul University and Norwich University, and a BA from the University of Iowa where I was given the honor of being allowed to join the graduate-level Writer’s Workshop while still an undergraduate.

    My poetry and short works have been published in over a dozen national and international journals, and I have won a number of poetry awards. Born and raised in the Chicago area, after Hurricane Isabel hit my home in Virginia, I lived all over the United States.

    Change the hold/held.

    Two entire paragraphs about yourself in a 4 paragraph Q letter? You need to edit that down to one. Reciting your education doesn't mean much in a Q letter. I don't know why you're taking up space with all that when you could be describing your book. The fact that you are a tudor descendant is interesting, but you don't elaborate on it. If you have some information other folks don't have, because you are a descendant, you should say so.

    The balance is off. You don't need two paragraphs about yourself and one about your book. You aren't pitching yourself, are you? This isn't a celebrity memoir, it's a novel, right?

    Savannah, you're presenting a skimpy storyline here. It reads very dry. To be honest, I would scrap this and start over. It does not represent your writing style, or your book, adequately. Your letter is one of hundreds an agent will read. It has to stand out. I have no doubt you can write a Q letter that will do the trick.
    Last edited by leslee; 08-08-2011 at 08:50 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    461
    Savvy,

    I think you're relying too much on the history and not enough on the personal story. Make this about Roxanne and her trials and struggle. Think about opening it with something like:

    Despite the objections of XXX (or some other opposing force), XX-year-old Roxanne (last name? Title?) knows she is destined to marry XXX (hold back the reveal of Alexander the Great here). She risks (be specific about what she risks) to marry him (if you can offer specifics about the wedding, this would be good). Their love and passion and carry them through XXX (again, use specifics), as XXX rises in power to become Alexander the Great. Roxanne revels in her own power (yes? no?) (show us what she does) until (set up conflict) happens. (How is she widowed? This is the source of your conflict? Are there hints of conspiracy?)

    Now, a widow at nineteen, she faces (identify the antagonists) who seek (What do they want to do? Kill her and the unborn child?). Facing (what), she realizes that she must (do what?) or (what) could happen.

    That's a rough template, but you can use it to flesh out the conflict and give us a stronger picture of why we should be invested in Roxanne's fate.

    As for credentials, they're tough. I would leave out the degrees (irrelevant unless they are writing-related, such as an MFA) and include the poetry awards and publications. But keep them brief. Again, you might want to mention specifics: My poetry has won XXX awards and has been published in XXX, XXX, and XXX, among others. Put your heritage in as the last sentence of your bio.

    Hope that helps.

    Jeanne

  5. #5
    Senior Member SapphireBlue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    124
    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice Jeanne and leslee! Exactly what I am talking about. Thank you. This is the kind of input I need, and I agree with you both about it. Was wondering why it was such a lead zeppelin. lol. Re-writing.......

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    6,016
    You're welcome.

    It's a pleasure to take the time for someone with your great attitude.

    I'm glad you came back, Savvy.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    461
    You're welcome, Savvy. Good luck!

    Jeanne

  8. #8
    Senior Member SapphireBlue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    124
    Someone also recommended looking at movie loglines, and in case anyone's interested I found a good site for summing up movies in a single line or two: http://thescreenplaywriters.com/screenwriting-tips

    It's very nice of you guys to take a look and go out of your way to try and help me, and heck, I *know* the query is a dud because no one's really responding to it. Marketing is tough, but I have a direction to go in, now...

  9. #9
    Senior Member SapphireBlue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    124
    Would you guys mind me posting a revision? Thanks so much!

    Something like this...?

    ..

    Alexander and Roxane: rulers of kingdoms at war, ancient sworn blood-enemies. But, at first sight, the two share an uncontrollable passion and a conviction in their shared destiny. While forces seek to undermine their forbidden love, they risk everything to conquer and rule the earth together. But when, at age nineteen, Roxane is widowed and pregnant, her powerful enemies want her dead.

    ROXANE is an 86,000-word historical fiction in the tradition of Valerio Massimo Manfredi.

    I hold two cum laude master’s degrees and a BA from the University of Iowa where I was given the honor of being allowed to join the graduate-level Writer’s Workshop while still an undergraduate. My poetry and short works have been published in over a dozen national and international journals, and I have won a number of poetry awards.
    Thank you very much for your time!

  10. #10
    Senior Member C Bets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    1,265
    I like it much better than the first, definitely. I'm still a little in the dark about the plot specifics, though. Is there anything you can add to spice things up and add to the intrigue?
    Cindy

    And be at peace... the universe is unfolding as it should

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts