query: flight - REVISED and READY TO SEND

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writermorris
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query: flight - REVISED and READY TO SEND

Post by writermorris » May 25th, 2010, 1:22 pm

This is my latest version of my query. The manuscript is finished and I am editing my synopsis (cringe). As soon as I feel like the synopsis is in shape, I am going to start querying. So... any last minute suggestions and criticism? Thanks so much to everyone who has already given their comments.



Dear Mr. AGENT,

I am seeking representation for FLIGHT, a 75,000 word work of magic realism. Thank you for your consideration.

When Maria Black experiences intense changes in her life, she grows sick and feverish until her body erupts in flames. From the fire that consumes her, a bird rises, takes flight, and returns to human form. Since she met her husband seven years ago, she has done everything to avoid change and suppress the burn. Maria has worked 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.

Maria’s quiet if dispassionate life is interrupted when she runs—quite literally—into the famous musician Sam Montgomery and learns that they have been dreaming about each other. As they develop a friendship, only Sam is willing to question the meaning behind their dreams. Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers. When Sam and Maria fall in love, she is forced to decide between her normal life and a seemingly predestined love that reawakens questions about meaning and why she burns.

Readers who enjoy Audrey Niffeneger’s literary fabulism featuring complex women and Jeanette Winterson’s dexterous wielding of language and complex female protagonists will enjoy FLIGHT.

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

Many thanks for taking the time to read my query.

Best,
ME
Last edited by writermorris on October 3rd, 2010, 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by karenbb » May 26th, 2010, 12:22 pm

writermorris wrote:
When Maria Black experiences intense 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. 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.
Looks great--I found one little thing related to the timeline--did she meet her husband before or after the 2,477 normal days? During?

Otherwise, I think you're ready to roll (IMO).

Best of luck!

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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by julieack » May 26th, 2010, 3:26 pm

I'm new to this and just drafting my first ever query (for the novel that is just about done), but here is my opinion, for what it's worth.

Dear Mr. AGENT,

When Maria Black experiences intense changes in her life, she grows sick and feverish until she bursts into flames. Might be good to give a specific example of an intense change?From the fire that consumes her body, a bird rises, takes flight, and returns to human form. very intriguing opening. I definitely want to know more (ie am hooked). For the last 2,477 days, I find the day count distracting, like I want to know how many years that is, but can't do the math in my head. she has done everything in her power to avoid change and suppress the burn. That’s when she met her husband, Joe Ellis. I might change to say, "Since she met her husband, 2,477 days ago, she has done everything in her power to suppress the burn. She has worked ever since to build a normal life and be the kind ofI'd remove "the kind of" woman he could love. She doesn’t want more pain. She doesn’t want to be a monster. Love this last sentence.

Her quiet if dispassionate life is interrupted when she runs—quite literally— what do you mean? is she actually jogging?into the famous musician Sam Montgomery on the street and learns that they have been dreaming about each other; identical dreams in which they have a deep friendship. juicy!Without any better idea of how to handle the strange situation, I might take out the first part of this sentence.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. I love this sentence! I want to read more!

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. I don't know who these writers are but presumably the agents you're pitching would.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, writermorris.blogspot.com.

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

Overall I think your query is great, your novel sounds awesome, and I wish you the best of luck! Hope this helped!

Best,

Julie Ackerman

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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by Tangynt » September 30th, 2010, 9:34 pm

I do agree that "intense changes" is a little too generic. Are we talking failing a history test, being dumped by a boyfriend, death in the family? Also, the exact day count is distracting. If it's something she's keep track of, a quirk of hers, I would say something along the lines of "for the last 15 years, six months, three weeks, two days, four hours and thirty two minutes". That lends to her voice.

My second thing is, they decide to get to know one another and see where it leads? Is this her willingly accepting a chance at cheating on her husband in an affair with this person? It reads like that, to me. Or is it her wanting to see what it all means. Either is fine, just the way it's stated could lead to either, so maybe alter the wording depending on which you're going for.

Other than that, sounds like an interesting read.

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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by Remmik » October 1st, 2010, 2:42 pm

How long have they been dreaming about each other? I would think discovering your dream friend is actually real would be quiet an intense life change.

Does her husband know she's a human phoenix? Has she always dealt with her "curse" by herself?

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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by glj » October 1st, 2010, 4:22 pm

In places this is quite intriguing. But there are also spots where it falls flat for me. In places it has a quirky feel, but then at times it seems like an ordinary romance novel. The quirky bits completely outshine the other bits. So if you can get it to be consistently quirky, well, then you may have something here.

I agree, "intense changes" is too vague to be intriguing. I would assume that a change would have to rise to some level of crisis before it would trigger a change? It would be a real drag for Maria if she bursts into flames every time she breaks a nail.

I agree that the day count adds nothing and is confusing, as if the reader is supposed to understand the import of 2,477 days.

Now, does she have any close calls? THOSE would be interesting to touch on here. I would guess her blind date experiences would be quite fun to hear about.

"That's when she met her husband" doesn't tell me that she met him because she's been successful at avoiding spontaneous combustion, or whether she meets Joe and now must keep everything the same?

"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." To me, this is generic and adds nothing. It is implied and doesn't need to be said that she would try to keep bad things from happening.

So then what would be interesting? Tell us about the forces converging on poor Maria the human torch that make her skin start to smoke.

Okay, unrestrained honesty here, the second paragraph totally destroyed the interest that you built up in paragraph one. Sounds like every other romance book. Sounds totally boring. Married woman meets famous musician and must decide who she wants. Snore. Nothing funny or quirky like paragraph one promises. I want something funny to happen (what happens when the crowd hold up lighters at his concert?).

You show me nothing in paragraph two that seems to be linked to paragraph one (except character names). Are these two for the same query?

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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by D.S. Deshaw » October 1st, 2010, 6:39 pm

writermorris wrote:When Maria Black experiences intense 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. 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. This all seems like back story to me. The next paragraph seems like the start of your story? So while this paragraph is interesting, it isn't what your story is about. It's about her meeting Sam, falling in love with him, and making a choice.

Her quiet if dispassionate life this is telling. What does she do/doesn't she do that makes it quiet and dispassionate? is interrupted when she runs—quite literally— I hate to say it but 'bumping' into the love interest is kind of cliche. Why not simplify it to 'meets' to avoid that in your query? You don't need to chance your story for it, though into the famous musician Sam Montgomery on the street and learns that they have been dreaming about each other; identical dreams in which they have a deep friendship. Without any better idea of how to handle the strange situation, they decide to get to know each other and see where that leads I think you're missing the word 'them' at the end of this sentence. But only Sam is willing to question the meaning behind their dreams. Maria is not interested in posing questions that don’t have answers. I think these two sentences could be combined to create more of a compare/contrast 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. Meaning of what?

Flight is a 72,000-word novel. I believe the standard is to write your title in all-caps. 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, writermorris.blogspot.com. Two things :) I think it's obvious that you're happy to send the MS, so I'd leave that out. I'm not sure the best thing to do, either, is to direct an agent to a website to read your material. It's fine to include your blog somewhere (some agents confess to actually checking out the writer's website if provided), but I would keep that at the end with your other contact information. I would just replace this with why you're querying, which you have below :)

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 think you did a great job with the summary. A few more specific details might be nice, just to add a personal touch and so we can get to know Maria a bit better as a person. It'd even be nice to know a bit more about Sam--the things he does for her or how he proposes getting to know her more. Is he an idealistic, a romantic? I do think the first paragraph is back story, but some of the information is definitely good to know. Why don't you put some of the relevant information in between the summary parts? So only the information we need to know is revealed when we need it :)

Good job and I look forward to reading your revision!
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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by writermorris » October 2nd, 2010, 6:00 pm

Thanks, everyone, for your input. I'm working on what is hopefully the final draft of FLIGHT and will then post a revised query. I'm having a difficult time balancing between providing enough detail to give a taste of my style and the story with keeping the summary short. I know I am not alone here.

Again, thank you. Keep the comments coming. They are so helpful and make me feel less at sea.
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Re: query: flight - REVISED

Post by androidblues » October 2nd, 2010, 7:49 pm

When this is revised it sounds like it will be pretty awesome. My only worry is that I hope in your novel you have me rooting for Sam and thinking Joe is a jerk or at least not perfect for her, otherwise I'll think badly of Maria.
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