Query: flight

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writermorris
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Query: flight

Post by writermorris » May 20th, 2010, 4:27 pm

Thanks in advance for your feedback!


Dear Mr. AGENT,

Maria Black’s 2,477-day normal streak is destroyed by a song. She hears the latest single from rock star Sam Montgomery on the radio and begins to daydream about him. When Sam and Maria meet and learn that they have each been dreaming of the other, they choose to accept their extraordinary friendship. But only Sam is willing to question its meaning. If Maria lets herself believe there is a larger purpose in their seemingly fated friendship and affair, she would also have to question whether there is a reason why she has the phoenix-like ability to burst into flame and fly. And Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers.

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism—grounded in the real world but seasoned with fantastical elements—will enjoy this book. As will those that like Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
writermorris
writermorris.blogspot.com

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karenbb
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Re: Query: flight

Post by karenbb » May 20th, 2010, 5:42 pm

writermorris wrote:Thanks in advance for your feedback!


Dear Mr. AGENT,

Maria Black’s 2,477-day normal streak is destroyed by a song. I find the number distracting--sorry! She hears the latest single from rock star Sam Montgomery on the radio and begins to daydream about him. Perhaps something more interesting than "hears the latest single"? Is captivated by? Can't stop humming? Can't get it out of her head? Hears it everywhere she goes? When Sam and Maria meet and learn that they have each been dreaming of the other, they choose to accept their extraordinary friendship. This seems like an enormous leap from hearing a song on the radio. Since your synopsis is short, can you give us another sentence to bridge the two ideas? But only Sam is willing to question its meaning. Why does someone have to question a friendship? Can you give us more detail? If Maria lets herself believe there is a larger purpose in their seemingly fated friendship and affair, she would also have to question whether there is a reason why she has the phoenix-like ability to burst into flame and fly. Again, feels like a big leap--moving from friendship to being a phoenix. Is there something else you can tell us? And Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers. I like this. It tells us something about both Maria and their situation.

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism—grounded in the real world but seasoned with fantastical elements—will enjoy this book. As will those that like Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
I focused on your synopsis--you've got plenty of room for more detail and still keep it concise (I wish I had that problem!). Would love to know more, make me care about Maria and her lovelorn Phoenix-ness.

Good luck!

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Re: Query: flight

Post by Emily J » May 20th, 2010, 6:50 pm

writermorris wrote:Thanks in advance for your feedback!


Dear Mr. AGENT,

Maria Black’s 2,477-day normal streak is destroyed by a song. this piqued my interest, solid opening She hears the latest single from rock star Sam Montgomery on the radio and begins to daydream about him. When Sam and Maria meet and learn that they have each been dreaming of the other, they choose to accept their extraordinary friendship. But only Sam is willing to question its meaning. If Maria lets herself believe there is a larger purpose in their seemingly fated friendship and affair, she would also have to question whether there is a reason why she has the phoenix-like ability to burst into flame and fly. whoa whoa whoa back that thing up. You throw in superpowers almost like an aside. Not to mention you said she had a 2,477 day normal streak?? Why she not bursting into flames during that time?? I found this befuddling And Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers.

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. wait...what? We'rd done? I don't really have the conflict, the opposing person or force, what's the plot? what literally happens? Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism—grounded maybe it's just me but what the heck is fabulism?? in the real world but seasoned with fantastical elements—will enjoy this book. As will those that like Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
I mean the business portion of the query was alright, although there was quite a bit of comparisons to other authors which not all agents like. BUT, the plot paragraph is confusing and doesn't tell me nearly enough. What is the conflict? the antagonist? What literally happens? I don't think I have enough concept of what the novel is.

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Quill
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Re: Query: flight

Post by Quill » May 20th, 2010, 8:26 pm

writermorris wrote: Maria Black’s 2,477-day normal streak is destroyed by a song. She hears the latest single from rock star Sam Montgomery on the radio and begins to daydream about him.
How is this un-normal? What do we mean by normal?
When Sam and Maria meet
That's it? They just meet? How does Maria meet this rock star?
and learn that they have each been dreaming of the other,
Daydream or night dream? If she begins to daydream about him, how could she have been dreaming about him? Has time elapsed that we don't know about?
they choose to accept their extraordinary friendship.
Extraordinary in what way. The fact that he has been dreaming of a particular fan-girl whom he doesn't know? Wouldn't it be normal and not extraordinary for her to dream of her fave rock star?
But only Sam is willing to question its meaning. If Maria lets herself believe there is a larger purpose in their seemingly fated friendship and affair, she would also have to question whether there is a reason why she has the phoenix-like ability to burst into flame and fly.
Agree with previous commenter that this is NOT normal. How does it square with her 2,000+ days of normality? Also, doesn't the phoenix burst into flame and DIE? and then the young phoenix "rises" (hatches) from the ashes and flies?
And Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers.
Agree with previous poster that we need more detail if this is the main conflict of the book.
Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism—grounded in the real world but seasoned with fantastical elements—will enjoy this book. As will those that like Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists.
How is Maria a "strong female protagonist"? She sounds like a bit of teenybopper who goes along for a paranormal ride. What does she actually do?
This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].
None of this is appropriate or needed.
I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
Omit the email and phone part, but include these in your contact info.

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Re: Query: flight

Post by Jessica Peter » May 21st, 2010, 1:41 am

writermorris wrote:Thanks in advance for your feedback!


Dear Mr. AGENT,

Maria Black’s 2,477-day normal streak is destroyed by a song.Get that phoenix info in here right away! She hears the latest single from rock star Sam Montgomery on the radio and begins to daydream about him. When Sam and Maria meet and learn that they have each been dreaming of the other Same as from the synopsis, Sam's dreaming of someone he's never met? It makes sense that Maria has been dreaming about a rock star, but not so much that he's dreaming of a random fan. , they choose to accept their extraordinary friendship.It doesn't really sound extraodinary, and I still don't get what meaning it has. But only Sam is willing to question its meaning. If Maria lets herself believe there is a larger purpose in their seemingly fated friendship and affair, she would also have to question whether there is a reason why she has the phoenix-like ability to burst into flame and fly. Don't say phoenix-like, be definite. She IS a phoenix. Also, this makes it sound like a positive, where in the synopsis it sounded like something she dreads. And Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers. This I like.

A bit more on the mini-synopsis would be good: Maria's character (elusive and reserved, hoping change won't turn her into a phoenix), more tension/conflict - mentioning that she's married would be important, that she ends up going up in flames over the change Sam brings to her life...

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism Interesting, I hadn't heard of this name for the genre before. It makes sense, because that's what I was wondering over on the synopsis page.—grounded in the real world but seasoned with fantastical elements—will enjoy this book. As will those that like Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
I just read your synopsis, so I figure I might be able to give a heartier critique on your query. I think that phoenix needs to be front and centre, as it's what really grabbed my attention. Also, I think you need more character and conflict in your mini-synopsis here, and I've added a few suggestions. Again missing is the tension that her having an affair must really cause (or even the mention that she's married! Is that purposeful?). And just a note that I didn't read any of the other critiques, so I'm not sure if I'm just being repetitive.
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writermorris
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Re: Query: flight

Post by writermorris » May 21st, 2010, 9:13 am

Wow, Jessica Peter, I just have to say thank you. Well, thank you to everyone who has been critiquing and helping me strengthen my query and synopsis. But I'm really quite moved that you took the time to read both my query and synopsis, Jessica. It means a lot to me. I've been in the same boat, trying to help people hone their materials as a way to also strengthen mine. Good luck with that!

Again, thank you everyone.
writermorris
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Re: Query: flight

Post by Sleeping Beauty » May 21st, 2010, 11:09 am

I remember reading your synopsis a little while ago, writermorris!
I suggest you introduce the marriage - it upps the tension for the Maria/Sam relationship - and put the description of Maria's phoenix qualities right up front! It's a much stronger hook than that of the pre-destinied relationship.

Good job, keep working on it!

writermorris
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Re: Query: flight - UPDATED

Post by writermorris » May 21st, 2010, 12:05 pm

Thank you guys for all of your incredibly helpful feedback. Here's take two. Let me know what you think...


Dear Mr. AGENT,

When Maria Black experiences major changes in her life, she grows sick and feverish until she bursts into flames. From the fire that consumes her body, a bird rises, takes flight, and returns to human form. For the last 2,477 days, she has done everything in her power to avoid change and suppress the burn. Eight years ago she met her husband, Joe Ellis, and has worked ever since to build a normal life and be the kind of woman he could love. She doesn’t want more pain. She doesn’t want to be a monster.

Her quiet if dispassionate is interrupted when she runs—quite literally—into the famous musician Sam Montgomery on the street and learns that they have been dreaming about each other. In fact, they have been having the same dreams, in which they are good friends. Without any better idea of how to handle the strange situation, they decide to get to know each other. But only Sam is willing to question the meaning behind why they dreamed of each other. Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers.

Maria decides to show Sam her secret. Having suppressed the fires for so long, the change that welled up inside of her comes out easily. She burns, she becomes a giant red bird, takes flight, and returns to answer the dumbfounded Sam’s questions. After overcoming his initial panic, Sam realizes that he is in love with her. Though their affair ruins Maria’s marriage, it is short lived. Maria does not want to hurt Joe and cannot handle the idea that their dreams make her love with Sam predestined. She would rather return to her normal, numb life than believe they are fated to be together and reawaken questions about meaning and why she burns.

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism and Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists will enjoy Flight. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
writermorris
writermorris.blogspot.com

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Quill
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Re: Query: flight

Post by Quill » May 21st, 2010, 3:35 pm

Ho! Altogether different query and much better!

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Re: Query: flight - UPDATED

Post by ceiser » May 21st, 2010, 7:54 pm

Writermorris, this looks great! The only thing I can say is that in the end, I don't feel any tension - I feel fairly satisfied since you've told us quite a bit, but no real tension. It sounds like she's already made her decision and just needs to do whatever it she needs to do. I'm not sure I can offer any suggestions about how to address that, but maybe in the last paragraph something that doesn't lead us to conclusion? I don't know...

Anyway, good job and good luck!
writermorris wrote:Thank you guys for all of your incredibly helpful feedback. Here's take two. Let me know what you think...


Dear Mr. AGENT,

When Maria Black experiences major changes in her life, she grows sick and feverish until she bursts into flames. From the fire that consumes her body, a bird rises, takes flight, and returns to human form. For the last 2,477 days, she has done everything in her power to avoid change and suppress the burn. Eight years ago she met her husband, Joe Ellis, and has worked ever since to build a normal life and be the kind of woman he could love. She doesn’t want more pain. She doesn’t want to be a monster.

Her quiet if dispassionate life is interrupted when she runs—quite literally—into the famous musician Sam Montgomery on the street and learns that they have been dreaming about each other. In fact, they have been having the same dreams, in which they are good friends. Without any better idea of how to handle the strange situation, they decide to get to know each other. But only Sam is willing to question the meaning behind why they dreamed of each other. Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers.

Maria decides to show Sam her secret. Having suppressed the fires for so long, the change that welled up inside of her comes out easily. She burns, she becomes a giant red bird, takes flight, and returns to answer the dumbfounded Sam’s questions. After overcoming his initial panic, Sam realizes that he is in love with her. Though their affair ruins Maria’s marriage, it is short lived. Maria does not want to hurt Joe and cannot handle the idea that their dreams make her love with Sam predestined. She would rather return to her normal, numb life than believe they are fated to be together and reawaken questions about meaning and why she burns.

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism and Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists will enjoy Flight. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME

Emily J
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Re: Query: flight - UPDATED

Post by Emily J » May 21st, 2010, 10:24 pm

writermorris wrote:Thank you guys for all of your incredibly helpful feedback. Here's take two. Let me know what you think...


Dear Mr. AGENT,

When Maria Black experiences major changes in her life, she grows sick and feverish until she bursts into flames. From the fire that consumes her body, a bird rises, takes flight, and returns to human form. this is SOO much better! specific & interesting, you could be even more specific when you say "major changes in her life" like emotional instability? or menopause lol For the last 2,477 days, she has done everything in her power to avoid change and suppress the burn. Eight years ago she met her husband, feels a bit like a flashback in the query, leave out the eight years maybe? Joe Ellis, and has worked ever since to build a normal life and be the kind of woman he could love. She doesn’t want more pain. She doesn’t want to be a monster.

Her quiet if dispassionate missing a noun here is interrupted when she runs—quite literally—into the famous musician Sam Montgomery on the street and learns that they have been dreaming about each other. In fact, they have been having the same dreams, in which they are good friends. Without any better idea of how to handle the strange situation, they decide to get to know each other. But only Sam is willing to question the meaning behind why they dreamed of each other. simplify to "the dream"? maybe? Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers.

Maria decides to show Sam her secret. Having suppressed the fires for so long, the change that welled up inside of her comes out easily. She burns, she becomes a giant red bird, takes flight, and returns to answer the dumbfounded Sam’s questions. this fell a bit flat to me after the more vivid description in the first paragraph After overcoming his initial panic, Sam realizes that he is in love with her. Though their affair ruins Maria’s marriage, it is short lived. Maria does not want to hurt Joe and cannot handle the idea that their dreams make her love with Sam predestined. a bit awkwardly worded She would rather return to her normal, numb life than believe they are fated to be together and reawaken questions about meaning and why she burns.

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism and Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists will enjoy Flight. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
This is a much better query than your first. You put the emphasis in the right place this time, her unique abilities. I must admit, now I found the phoenix idea fascinating and intriguing rather than a side plot. It felt a bit long to me though, and I agree with the previous post that the end lacked tension. But this certainly made me want to find out more.

writermorris
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Re: Query: flight

Post by writermorris » May 22nd, 2010, 9:12 am

Slight tweaks based on your comments. Hopefully this addresses the lack of tension.
Again, thank you.


Dear Mr. AGENT,

When Maria Black experiences major changes in her life she grows sick and feverish until she bursts into flames. From the fire that consumes her body, a bird rises, takes flight, and returns to human form. For the last 2,477 days, she has done everything in her power to avoid change and suppress the burn. That’s when she met her husband, Joe Ellis, and she has worked ever since to build a normal life and be the kind of woman he could love. She doesn’t want more pain. She doesn’t want to be a monster.

Her quiet if dispassionate life is interrupted when she runs—quite literally—into the famous musician Sam Montgomery on the street and learns that they have been dreaming about each other. In fact, they have been having the same dreams, in which they are good friends. Without any better idea of how to handle the strange situation, they decide to get to know each other and see where that leads. But only Sam is willing to question the meaning behind their dreams. Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers. As Sam and Maria fall in love, she is forced to decide between her normal life with Joe and a seemingly predestined love that reawakens questions about meaning and why she burns.

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism and Jeanette Winterson’s playful wielding of language and strong female protagonists will enjoy Flight. This is my first novel. I am happy to send the complete manuscript upon your request. You can also find the first chapter on my blog, [INSERT URL HERE].

I am querying you because [INSERT AGENT-SPECIFIC INFO HERE].

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query. I can be reached at this email address or by phone at [###-###-####]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
ME
writermorris
writermorris.blogspot.com

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