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  1. #1
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    2nd Atempt. A revision of Query letter for "Sharon World"

    After getting a lot of good constructive criticism about my first attempt at a query for my book, this is a completely new version. I really appreciate all who take the time to help me.

    My mother was the dragon lady, spinning-beautiful and shining in sunlight until the world closed in and the Ogrekitten opened its jaws to swallow her whole.

    Sharon was born to be a dancer. She made it all the way to New York City, founding her own company but all the while something inside of her was clawing, aching to be set free. It was the Ogrekitten. The beast that forced her into uncontrollable fits of rage and deep inconsolable sorrows. It made her disappear for days at a time and stole pieces of her heart in quarter-sized chunks.

    That was my mom. And this is my story.

    SHARON WORLD (92,000 words) is the brutally honest and shamelessly funny autobiography of a life filled with chaos, self-discovery and accidental sex with vegetables. When my manic depressive mom disappeared into Sharon World, I was forced to learn how to get attention without banging my head against walls and to protect my little brother at all costs. Along the way, I met the love of my life and found that acceptance was the most difficult and important challenge of all.



  2. #2
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    Way better, but I would drop the first paragraph and rely on the second to provide the hook. Then I'd take a hard look at some modifiers.

    Clawing is sufficient without the aching, in fact in my mind the two images are dissimilar.

    in quarter-sized chunks doesn't work; what does it mean? I think that sentence would work fine if you just drop that phrase.

    with vegetables is jarring and unnecessary.

    That last sentence is a good closer. This might get you a read.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by jayce; 09-12-2011 at 12:08 PM.

  3. #3
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    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    is the brutally honest and shamelessly funny

    You don't tell agents stuff like this. It's self-serving and meaningless.

    spinning-beautiful and shining in sunlight

    Take that out. Way too sweet. You're gonna make the agent's teeth hurt. In fact, take out the entire opening paragraph and start with the second.

    Sharon was born to be a dancer.

    That is a much stronger opener.

    It was the Ogrekitten

    What is that? A cute name you've created to describe your mom's mental illness? Or did your mom call it that? It may work in your book, but in the query letter it makes no sense at all.

    You need to pick a direction. Are you trying to be funny, or do you want to tell the agent that this is the story of your mother's mental illness. What is your book about? I understand that your book is "shamelessly funny," but the way you're constructing your Q letter is very confusing.
    Last edited by leslee; 09-12-2011 at 12:36 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayce View Post
    Way better, but I would drop the first paragraph and rely on the second to provide the hook. Then I'd take a hard look at some modifiers.

    Clawing is sufficient without the aching, in fact in my mind the two images are dissimilar.

    in quarter-sized chunks doesn't work; what does it mean? I think that sentence would work fine if you just drop that phrase.

    with vegetables is jarring and unnecessary.

    That last sentence is a good closer. This might get you a read.

    Good luck.
    Thanks!

    "Clawing is sufficient without the aching, in fact in my mind the two images are dissimilar."- I'm changing it to: "clawing at its cage."

    "in quarter-sized chunks doesn't work; what does it mean? I think that sentence would work fine if you just drop that phrase."- I was referign to a gambling problem but your right, its not clear enough. I do like it though. What do think you of me adding "It made her disappear for days at a time and stole pieces of her heart in quarter-sized casino chip chunks." ?

    "with vegetables is jarring and unnecessary." not sure. I think it needs something humorous/jarring which is a lot of the tone of the book. I could be wrong though

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by leslee View Post
    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    is the brutally honest and shamelessly funny

    You don't tell agents stuff like this. It's self-serving and meaningless.

    spinning-beautiful and shining in sunlight

    Take that out. Way too sweet. You're gonna make the agent's teeth hurt. In fact, take out the entire opening paragraph and start with the second.

    Sharon was born to be a dancer.

    That is a much stronger opener.

    It was the Ogrekitten

    What is that? Is it a cute name you've created to describe mental illness? It may work in your book, but in the query letter it makes no sense at all. You need to pick a direction. Are you trying to be funny, or do you want to tell the agent that this is the story of your mother's mental illness. What is your book about?

    This letter is very confusing to me.
    I don't know about starting with the second paragraph, it doesn't feel like a hook to me. Yes, Ogrekitten is a word I use to describe the illness. The book is not directly about my mother. Its about me growing up dealing with my mother and learning to accept her for who she is while separating myself enough to become a more whole person

  6. #6
    Senior Member C Bets's Avatar
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    I'm just dying to know how you accidentally have vegetable sex.
    Cindy

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

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Bets View Post
    I'm just dying to know how you accidentally have vegetable sex.
    Lol, I don't know if its a story appropriate for this forum. But if you really want to know, I'd be happy to send you the excerpt from my book.

  8. #8
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    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    The book is not directly about my mother. Its about me growing up dealing with my mother and learning to accept her for who she is while separating myself enough to become a more whole person

    Then write a query that accurately pitches the storyline. The one you have posted is mostly about your mom. The first two paragraphs are strictly about her. You don't appear until the third paragraph, you've barely given any of your own storyline, and what you have presented is written in generalities.

    Along the way, I met the love of my life and found that acceptance was the most difficult and important challenge of all.

    Does this make you want to read the book? It's a bland summary. What is the book about? That's the information you want to give an agent. If the book really isn't mostly about your mother, write a query that isn't about your mother.
    Last edited by leslee; 09-12-2011 at 01:24 PM.

  9. #9
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    An improvement?

    Dear Agent,

    Sharon was born to be a dancer until one rip-snorting beast of a bipolar disorder forced her into uncontrollable fits of rage and deep inconsolable sorrows, stealing pieces of her heart in quarter-sized casino chip chunks. That was my mom and this is how I lived with it.

    SHARON WORLD (92,000 words) is the memoir of a life filled with chaos, self-discovery and accidental vegetable copulation. When my mother disappeared into her own head, I was forced to learn how to get attention without banging my head against walls and to protect my little brother at all costs. Along the way, I met the love of my life and found that acceptance was the most difficult and important challenge of all.

  10. #10
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    Opinion only.

    If you stick with Sharon as the hook, you should stop the sentence after [I]Sharon was born to be a dancer.[/I

    ]Sharon was born to be a dancer and you were born into her world of rage, sorrows, and gambling addiction - the manifestations of her bipolar disorder. No fault of yours but how diificult to live with this mother. Your story.

    It was chaotic, a time to discover who you are, a head-banging time, and a time to protect your little brother from your mother's mental illness.

    Accidental vegetable copulation? I don't know what that means. I don't think I want to know. Sex with a vegetable, okay, whatever, with a - what? - cucumber or tomato? God, I can't go there anymore. Accidental? I am not even trying to guess. I don't need to hear about accidental vegetable copulation, as you put it in your query. Curve ball!

    Sharon World instead of Sharon's World. It's easier to understand the lack of an apostrophe on some level, anyway.

    I hope you have a great memoir. A winner! Best of luck to you.
    Last edited by Claire Young; 09-12-2011 at 05:48 PM.

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