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Thread: Another query

  1. #1
    Kevin G.
    Guest

    Another query

    Iíve taken another shot at my query based on your recommendations.

    In the last posting it was suggested to omit the literary and commercial comment and just leave it up to the agents to decide based on the authors mentioned. Any more opinions on the last paragraph, which Iíve left the same?

    What do you think of the use of the present perfect tense (has dragged) throughout as opposed to simple present (drags) until the Ďepiphanyí moment comes?

    Dear Name:

    Forget practice; letís go to the bar.

    The monotony of suburban life has dragged Kevinís band down and his hopes along with it. The routine of pubbing and pursuing women has nearly quashed practices all together. He loathes the lifestyle that has trapped him. To resist this sort of life, he has looked for anything to bring release, but love has eluded him, and his rejected screenplays have demoralized him further. His search has even extended to studying his dreams; a powerful one convinces him to overcome his addictions. He wants to quit, but the repeated trips to bars, parties, and concerts make it difficult. Surfeited, he abandons the drunken lifestyle of his friends, and they turn on him. The band breaks up. Kevin accepts that nothing external will free him; he must do it himself. He perseveres and kicks his dependencies. Believing firmly in himself, his hopes centre on the choices heíll come to make.

    At 100,000 words, TITLE is a first-person literary novel with a commercial angle which should appeal to the readers of the self-confessional novels of Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller.



  2. #2
    Kevin G.
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    And a 'thank you', of course.

  3. #3
    Arden Wolfe
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    Present tense is preferred. The other is passive.

    1. Forget practice; letís go to the bar. - Does not work - trite. (What's with the sudden semicolons? It alerts me to wordiness in prose) Also, opening with a 'bar' analogy is not well received by many agents.

    2. "The monotony of suburban life has dragged Kevinís band down and his hopes along with it." Talk about going the long way to get to a point in your second paragraph. The first sentence alerts me to this.

    This is what the sentence is trying to disguise under all that verbiage: Life sucks.

    Not exactly as deep as you attempt to make it sound.

    3. Here's your real hook: The band breaks up.

    4. Surfeited - Yes, I had to look it up.

    5. A short sentence can still be wordier than it need be.

    Example: He loathes the lifestyle that has trapped him.

    That is the invisible modifier that gives entry to the passive 'has'.

    He is trapped in the lifestyle.

    His lifestyle traps him.

    He loathes the lifestyle.

    Remember length does not note wordiness. A longer sentence can read faster or easier:

    His lifestyle traps him, and he loathes it.

    6. Ask opposites when you use adverbs. Is the adverb needed? Is the sentence stronger with or without them? Is it redundant? Obvious? Does it lead to confusion? Does it make the sentence elusive?

    Believing firmly in himself - If he believes in himself, is it not already firm?

    pursuing women has nearly quashed practices all together - Is it quashed or isn't it?

    7. Second paragraph rambles. It needs to get to the point. Try limited it to three sentences max.

    8. Still not seeing a driving conflict.

    9. I would not say first-person. Just leave it with literary novel.

    10. which should appeal? Are you certain it will or will not? Be certain. Evasiveness has no place in a query. Heck, it has no place in any novel.

    11. Nothing about you still.


    Overall: I actually liked the other query better. To me, this query was a step backwards.

    Just my humble opinion.

    Wolfe

  4. #4
    L Bea
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    You lost the grit and soul the other one had. This one seems sterile and medicinal somehow.

    I do like the hook better though. It's better. I don't agree that referring to a bar would turn an agent off. If that's the setting of the book, that's the setting of the book. What, you gonna say "that place" (in a spooky, whispery voice) everytime you mean bar?

    Another thing I noticed you did that I thought was an improvement is that you just went straight to rejected screenplays, rather than laying out the sentence that he does that on the side and then tediously going into how it's not working out, etc.

    Your last attempt was so much better as far as your voice and language choices. You've backslidden into that snooty, merlot swirling thing again.

    You'll more than likely get comments aganst the alliteration of the pubbing and pursuing phrase, but I like it. A lot, actually.

    And of course this is all just my humble opinion.

    sniff, swig, swish, spit,
    Bea

  5. #5
    Arden Wolfe
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    "I do like the hook better though. It's better. I don't agree that referring to a bar would turn an agent off. If that's the setting of the book, that's the setting of the book. What, you gonna say "that place" (in a spooky, whispery voice) everytime you mean bar?"

    Well, when I attempted to do this with one of my queries long ago, three agents told me this.

    They all basically told me it was rote - been there, done that.

    That was my experience.

    So, take that for what it's worth.

    Wolfe

  6. #6
    L Bea
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    Oh, you're saying they didn't like it because it's has-been. Gotcha. That's valid. I guess that's the chance you take with your story. Pretty much everything HAS been done. Kevin, I'd not be swayed by that though. You need to find a way to make your story stand out. Make the bar thing intriguing to an agent, even if he's seen it before. Make him think, hmmmm... interesting. A bar.... You could get lucky with a great agent who's dying for a drink on a particular day and when he reads about this guy and his band and the bar, he'll think. Bar. Yea, I like it!

    You're the storyteller. The power you have when you do that effectively is what will get the agent to actually have a little eye flutter when he reads your query. You can do it. You got the skills, dude.

    Bea

  7. #7
    Wonky
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    Keith all these query attempts has got me wondering about the writing in the MS...have you posted any snippets in the Writing Craft forum?

  8. #8
    Kevin G.
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    Best De Niro impression possible: "You talkin to me?"

  9. #9
    Kevin G.
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    I've taken some time to digest and regurgitate what has been said. Again, I appreciate your time. Though, in some ways, I was taken aback.

    The book is a Man vs Society as well as a Man vs Self, and I'm obviously having trouble hitting the right chord (pun intended, I guess). Fortunately, my wits are seemingly endless.

    I don't see how the hook can be "The band broke up," because that happens on page 261 of 281. I've tried to have the hook reflect the reason behind the conflict, which is the band no longer focuses on music but on pubbing and pursuing women. Instead of mentioning the bar, because, despite what I may have sold through my previous attempts, this book totally isn't 'Cheers'. To epitomize the confict, I'm now thinking: "Forget the band, let's get drunk." I hear you about the conflict; however, I can't change the book (or my life then) now - it's done, but I've looked over the conflict, and I've tried to make it more evident in the next foray. Three sentences is hard if there is to be any mention made of a resolution to the conflict. Wait, is there?

    Regarding a bio paragraph of sorts, in previous attempts I mentioned that I kicked my addictions, studied Jungian psychology on my own time, and played in a band that fell apart. But aside from those life experiences, I haven't a thing to push this book with. I'm educated, yes, but in an unassociated field; never been published; never won anything; etc...

    I realize that it's hard to please everybody, and conflicting advice is given by people who've had different things work both for and against them. I'm trying to learn how to sell a book by fighting with this MS I've completed. Please don't let my following statement turn you off from helping me, but I don't think this book will be published at all. Nor will my second book which I haven't even started because the incunabulum is quite literaly insane - that's what makes me excited about it. No, I know full well that I won't be published until at least my third book comes around. That is, after I get over my own obstrusive writing and reach another level in life and, correspondingly, in my writing. With that in mind, I do read the comments given for others' queries, and I greatly appreciate those given me as I try to learn the valuable skill of query writing. If I can get a request for a partial, then I will be happy with our collective efforts.

    Bea - I'm studying the grit and soul vs medicinal and sterile angles. It's hard because I feel like I'm reigning myself in with these things, and I lose all sense of right, wrong, and taste.

    And on a personal note, I'm more of a pinot grigio man myself.

    Best wishes all; yes, including lurkers - I see you cowering timorously in the bushes.

  10. #10
    Arden Wolfe
    Guest

    Re: Another query

    "I don't see how the hook can be "The band broke up," because that happens on page 261 of 281."

    This tells me a lot more than you probably intended.

    That and the word choice of incunabulum...

    Best of luck to you then.

    Wolfe

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