QUERY HELP PLEASE!!! New Revised Copy at End of Post!

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Post by rainbowsheeps » May 4th, 2010, 10:38 pm

kathleen wrote:REVISED QUERY! What do you think?

Dear ____,

Twenty-seven year old (This needs dashes: "Twenty-seven-year-old") Julie Conrad is an assistant at a reputable literary agency in Los Angeles, California. (Yay, I'm glad to see it's a literary agency now instead of publishing house) She loves her job, but hates her boss, (Missing comma) who abuses her with his rude comments about her abilities as an assistant. (This is an improvement over the previous version. I think this sentence is a perfect chance for you to use specifics though. I would like to see at least one reason why she loves her job so that we might relate to her more. If we were told she's passionate about stories, for instance, that little phrase might go a long way for scoring affection from the reader. Conversely, an example of her boss's rude comments might not hurt either, depending on how it's done. This is definitely an improvement though.) If Julie isn’t reading queries, then she is waiting on him hand and foot. When she needs to vent her frustrations, she turns to the only outlet for which to do it: blogging. (I'd also change "the only outlet for which to do it." It's probably not her only possible outlet. Instead, perhaps say she relishes in venting her frustration on her blog?) Julie runs the snarky site, An Alleged Assistant, (Missing comma) with her gay best friend, Joshua. They post about everything, (Missing comma) from queries to what their boss screams at them as he sips his morning coffee. (If he was yelling something funny through his coffee, it would make this sentence that much stronger. If you have a few good specific examples you use in your story, you might want to use those instead to make it sound a little more fun, or funny. Something to consider?)

Life in the literary world is pretty mundane (Quill raises a point, but my issue with this is a little different. She's essentially gossiping about the industry on her blog, which is meant to be entertaining, right? Sooo wouldn't those details (which she is presumably be paying attention to to write about later) not be mundane to her? I don't think you need the clause at all) until a vindictive co-worker threatens to expose Julie as the writer of An Alleged Assistant ("Writer of Alleged Assistant" is a little redundant, since we already know she's the author. I think this conflict lost some punch compared to the last revision, though. I think you should show what's at stake: her boss could fire her if he finds out she's writing bad things about him, right? Or if she's posting anything about other colleagues, might she lose respect in the workplace at the very least, if not lose some friends and make new enemies? I'd mention at least one of these possibilities, because right now the stakes are lost in this paragraph.). Some people will stop at nothing to climb the ladder to success in the industry, even if it means stabbing another assistant in the back with a ballpoint pen. (This is good.) Mix together a lascivious agent who can’t make up his mind as to whether he wants to use her or date her, and a blog follower who constantly writes her to the point of stalking, and the result may be the synopsis of a horror book even Julie may be unable to blog her way out of this time. (Firstly, this reads to me like a mixed metaphor. When I see "mix together," I automatically think: oh, alcohol! And I can think of at least another agent who might think the same. I'd say change it to something simpler to keep with the literary metaphor, like "add." Secondly, "and the result may be the synopsis of a horror book" is a little clunky. You might want to make the last sentence something like: "On top of that, add a lascivious agent who can't make up his mind if he wants to use her or date her, and a fanatical blog follower who's starting to get really creepy, and suddenly Julie feels like she's trapped in a bad horror novel that she can't reject." Or something. You might be able to think of a better line, but I think it's important to go out with a bang here.)

My chick lit novel, BAD ASSISTANT, is complete at 80,000 words. The humor and candor with which Julie tells the story of her life and her career will appeal to fans of Helen Fielding and Sophie Kinsella.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

The stakes of the novel don't put the end of the world in jeopardy, which is perfectly fine, my novel doesn't do that either. In stories like ours, the personal lives are what's in danger, so it's really important that the reader cares about this character's life. If the reader doesn't really like the protagonist, they won't feel tension when the character might lose everything. The specifics in this query definitely improved this letter. I'm hoping the comments I gave now will hope to flesh out some of the clunkier plot details, but I think if you see any chance while revising to flaunt your voice a little more, try it out. I don't dislike the character at all, which I admit I usually do in chick lit, so that's a start. I think, if you could find a way to show how she doesn't deserve the mistreatment from her boss, for instance, or how she really likes this agent guy who's blowing her off and it's breaking her heart, or something along those lines, it can make this shine a little brighter.

It's definitely improved with this revision, so good job! I hope to see the revisions in the future. I think it's on its way.

edit: This is a critique of the older revision, not the one you posted after Quill's comments. I just read the newest one, and I think most of my suggestions still apply, and I actually think some of the old letter is tighter than the new one. Hopefully, these comments will help regardless of the changes you've made already though.

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Re: QUERY HELP PLEASE!!! New Revised Copy at End of Post!

Post by kathleen » May 4th, 2010, 10:47 pm

Thank you rainbowsheeps! Let me know what I can do for you! Though you need no help because you are awesome!

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