Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/23

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated

Post by Quill » June 10th, 2010, 4:14 pm

I think that line says it and isn't bad at all. It's a great idea to include it.

User avatar
khanes
Posts: 44
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 6:27 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated

Post by khanes » June 11th, 2010, 6:34 pm

Hi Karen! I just read through your queries, and I have to say the second one grabbed me MUCH more. I agree with some other posters that you may want to omit a few more of the details and make it a big more concise. Overall, the story sounds like a lot of fun and something I would like to read. Just one thing that bothered me a little bit was the "journalistic intergrity" part. I think possibly a better term could be "damage her reputation as a writer". I was a journalist for 7 years, and I don't think my sleeping with an interview subject would have anything to do with my journalistic talent, it just may be considered crass or unprofessional. I know the local news biz is different than the entertainment industry though, I just think journalistic integrity and unprofessional conduct are two different things. Just my two cents! Good luck with the book!

User avatar
karenbb
Posts: 66
Joined: May 1st, 2010, 4:21 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated AGAIN

Post by karenbb » September 13th, 2010, 4:18 pm

Here's the early fall version of my query...


Dear Agent,

Claire Abby is a single mom and music journalist who gets her big break when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story. She nearly passes out when she learns her assignment entails interviewing 80s British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend.

Christopher is well known for zipping his lip with writers, but Claire manages to contain her adolescent fantasies long enough to nail the interview. She’s focused on the story when she returns home, a difficult task when Christopher starts calling and flirting. She knows she should main a professional distance, but it’s impossible to deny how good he makes her feel.

Once Claire enters Christopher’s world, she’s surprised by how lonely he is. For him, “having it all” means he’s given up a normal life, including his dream of becoming a father. When Claire unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Christopher is thrilled. She’s leery of starting over at thirty-nine, with a career that’s been derailed by their romance and her daughter a year away from college.

When the pregnancy is lost, Claire’s father convinces Christopher that she’d be better off without him. Claire races to fix things once she discovers her father’s meddling, but Christopher’s in a downward spiral and refuses to talk about the past. Claire loves him too much to walk away, but bringing Christopher back from the brink means she must risk rejection and ultimately face her fear of what he wants most—a baby.

BRING ME BACK is a work of women’s fiction and is complete at 103,000 words. I drew upon my work experience in the music industry to ensure that every music-related detail in the book is accurate.

ABFTomioka
Posts: 32
Joined: August 30th, 2010, 8:36 pm
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated AGAIN

Post by ABFTomioka » September 14th, 2010, 3:48 am

Hello! This looks like a fun story with appeal for almost everyone - I don't know anybody who DIDN'T fantasize about rock stars when they were young! Or not-so-young, as the case may be. :) The query looks really good to me, but here are a couple suggestions...

Dear Agent,

Claire Abby is a single mom and music journalist who gets her big break with a Rolling Stone cover story. I think it's best to keep first sentances short and eye-catching...these just my idea how to cut out some words! She nearly passes out when she learns the interview is with 80s British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend. A dream come true! How does she feel?!

Christopher is well known for zipping his lip with writers, but Claire manages to contain her adolescent fantasies and nail the interview. Focusing on the story becomes more difficult when Christopher starts calling and flirting. She knows she should maintain :)a professional distance, but it’s impossible to deny how good he makes her feel.

Once Claire enters Christopher’s world, she dsicovers how lonely he is. “Having it all” means he’s given up a normal life, including his dream of being a father. When Claire unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Christopher is thrilled. She’s leery of starting over at thirty-nine, with a career that’s been derailed by their romance and her daughter a year away from college. So what does she decide? To go ahead with it, or to pull away? This kind of leaves a cliffhanger. And maybe reword: with her career derailed by romance, and a daughter heading to college. Or something like that, to cut out some of those extra words.

When the pregnancy is lost, Hm....rather passive...When Claire (tragically? happily? how does this affect her?) miscarries, her father convinces Christopher that she’d be better off without him. Claire races to fix things, but Christopher’s in a downward spiral and refuses to talk about the past. How long ago is this past? That word implies long ago, and their relationship seems rather short. Maybe just say he refuses to talk to anyone. Claire loves him too much to walk away, but bringing Christopher back from the brink means risking rejection and facing her fear of what he wants most—a baby.

BRING ME BACK is a work of women’s fiction and is complete at 103,000 words. I drew upon my work experience in the music industry to ensure that every music-related detail in the book is accurate. I think it's great that you know the music business! It probably brings a lot of detail to the novel, but I wonder whether this is the best way to mention it. Or if you need it in your query...

Mostly I think cutting out some of those extra words will strengthen your sentances, and give them more impact. It's a fun story and this query looks well on its way! Good luck!

User avatar
wilderness
Posts: 541
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 6:25 pm
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated AGAIN

Post by wilderness » September 14th, 2010, 2:10 pm

karenbb wrote:Here's the early fall version of my query...


Dear Agent,

Claire Abby is a single mom and music journalist who gets her big break when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story. She nearly passes out when she learns her assignment entails interviewing 80s British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend.

Christopher is well known for zipping his lip with writers, but Claire manages to contain her adolescent fantasies long enough to nail the interview. She’s focused on the story when she returns home, a difficult task when Christopher starts calling and flirting. She knows she should main a professional distance, but it’s impossible to deny how good he makes her feel.

Once Claire enters Christopher’s world, she’s surprised by how lonely he is. For him, “having it all” means he’s given up a normal life, including his dream of becoming a father. When Claire unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Christopher is thrilled. She’s leery of starting over at thirty-nine, with a career that’s been derailed by their romance and her daughter a year away from college.

When the pregnancy is lost, Claire’s father convinces Christopher that she’d be better off without him. Claire races to fix things once she discovers her father’s meddling, but Christopher’s in a downward spiral and refuses to talk about the past. Claire loves him too much to walk away, but bringing Christopher back from the brink means she must risk rejection and ultimately face her fear of what he wants most—a baby. I think this is too much info for a query. I would cut this paragraph and rework the last line in the previous paragraph. Why exactly is she afraid of having another baby?

BRING ME BACK is a work of women’s fiction and is complete at 103,000 words. I drew upon my work experience in the music industry to ensure that every music-related detail in the book is accurate.
Overall, it's looking good, but the last paragraph rambles, IMO.

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated AGAIN

Post by Quill » September 20th, 2010, 9:12 pm

karenbb wrote:Claire Abby is a single mom and music journalist who gets her big break when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story.
Not bad. Maybe we can eliminate the "is" and make it stronger?

Music journalist and single mom Claire Abby gets her big break when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story.

She nearly passes out when she learns her assignment entails interviewing 80s British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend.
Not bad. I wonder if either "80s" or "legend" can be dropped, as they sort of fight each other. I'd say either "80s British rock star" or "British rock legend". I think I prefer the latter.
Christopher is well known for zipping his lip with writers,
Let's spice up the language and trade "well known" for something else. How about "notorious"?
but Claire manages to contain her adolescent fantasies long enough to nail the interview.
Good, but not sure you should repeat "fantasy" so soon. How about "adolescent angst" or some such?
She’s focused on the story when she returns home, a difficult task when Christopher starts calling and flirting.
A confusing description. Sounds like she's focused as she walks in the door, and then we find out you mean she's focused in the days after she gets back.

Also, "she's focused" cannot logically be "a difficult task", which makes the sentence structure wonky.

How about,"Back home she's nailing the article, too, but then Christopher starts calling"? Or some such.
She knows she should main a professional distance, but it’s impossible to deny how good he makes her feel.
I'm starting to feel like this query needs a bit more fire. As the affair/plot heat up, so should the language, no?

How about she wants, she can't, she feels, something on that level. Rather than "she knows, it's impossible, professional, distance, maintain." I think you can find a way to put this important plot point on a more visceral level.
Once Claire enters Christopher’s world, she’s surprised by how lonely he is.
This sentence also needs CPR. Unfortunately it begins awkwardly with "Once she enters, she's surprised" and ends weakly with "how lonely he is". "Is" especially fails to pack a punch as the final word.

However, the content is good. How about "Entering Christopher's world, Claire is surprised by his loneliness" or some such.
For him, “having it all” means he’s given up a normal life, including his dream of becoming a father.
"Having it all has meant giving up a normal life and, for him, the dream of being a father" or some such?

Though I have to smile. Many rock stars have no trouble fathering kids all over the place, so you might have to qualify this to make it personal to him. How has fame and fortune prevented this dream of his?

Also, I'm not sure it is ever strong writing to say "normal" in a query. First, there really is no such thing, we're all different and normalcy is subjective (and we're really not getting it as being his subjective voice). And second, a huge percentage of the queries I've read contain the word, thus it borders on cliche.
When Claire unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Christopher is thrilled. She’s leery of starting over at thirty-nine, with a career that’s been derailed by their romance and her daughter a year away from college.
"So, he's thrilled when Claire unexpectedly becomes pregnant, while she struggles with fears of starting over at thirty-nine, with her career already derailed by their romance, and her daughter just a year from college" or some such? Tweaking the emphases of the various parts of an otherwise good section.
When the pregnancy is lost,
Again, the weak verb "is". And not sure "pregnancy is lost" is clear. Is this a common way of describing a miscarriage? Perhaps "miscarriage" is a better word, a stronger more visceral word for here. "When she miscarries..."
Claire’s father convinces Christopher that she’d be better off without him. Claire races to fix things once she discovers her father’s meddling,

Good. What about changing one of the "fathers" to "dad" or something.

Actually, it's odd to say "when she miscarries, her dad convinces..." More accurate would be "after she miscarries, her dad convinces." But that would be clipping the news of the miscarriage short, stating it in too much of an offhand manner, wouldn't it? I think you can sort this out and say it better.
but Christopher’s in a downward spiral
Another "is" which kind of stops the action. How about "but Christopher tailspins into depression" (not right but you get the gist; look for strong verbs to insert).
and refuses to talk about the past.
This seems out of left field. What past? His time as a rock star? His childhood? A past life? What does this have to do with anything? If you have said, forgive me. Can it be made clearer?
Claire loves him too much to walk away, but bringing Christopher back from the brink means she must risk rejection
I've got to say that I don't have much sympathy for Christopher, not knowing any really positive traits, or that he even loves her. Consequently, I don't care much about her, either, that she would get so wrapped up in this unlikable unknowable person. Any way to up the sympathy quotient for this story in the query?
and ultimately face her fear of what he wants most—a baby.
Is this the crux of your story, the main conflict, an internal one in which she questions whether or not to bring another child into her world, and also whether she will be with Christopher (in Britain?). Not sure the full weight of the situation comes through. We seem to have spent most of the query racing through the plot, synopsis-style, which isn't always a bad thing, but here it seems to have come at the expense of salient details to let us care about the characters. Any way to get to know Christopher a bit better, or her perception of him, and thus his/her/their motivations? So we're not left feeling like we're on the outside of the situation? Pepping up the language will help.
BRING ME BACK is a work of women’s fiction and is complete at 103,000 words. I drew upon my work experience in the music industry to ensure that every music-related detail in the book is accurate.
I'd omit "in the book" as not needed.

User avatar
karenbb
Posts: 66
Joined: May 1st, 2010, 4:21 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated AGAIN

Post by karenbb » September 21st, 2010, 4:33 pm

Here's the latest try. I'm no longer counting...thanks so much to everyone who's put the time into responding and thanks in advance for feedback on this one.

This is just the plot part of my query...


Single mom and music journalist Claire Abby gets the biggest break of her career when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story. She nearly passes out when she learns her assignment is interviewing British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend.

Christopher is notorious for zipping his lip with writers, so Claire is shocked when he opens up about his drug-addicted ex-wife, their tumultuous marriage, and the detail the tabloids never discovered—that they lost a baby in the process. After the interview, Christopher surprises Claire again when he starts calling and flirting. She wants to maintain a professional distance, but it’s impossible to deny how good he makes her feel.

Claire enters Christopher’s world and finds a surprising mix of luxury and loneliness. For him, “having it all” has meant losing a lot, including his dream of becoming a father. He’s thrilled when Claire unexpectedly becomes pregnant—he spends every spare minute reading up on pregnancy and rubbing her belly. She struggles with the idea of starting over at thirty-nine, with her career already derailed by their romance and her daughter just a year away from college.

After Claire miscarries, her dad convinces a devastated Christopher that she’d be better off without him. Claire races to fix things once she discovers her father’s meddling, but Christopher’s in a deep depression and refuses to discuss what happened. Claire loves him too much to walk away, but bringing Christopher back from the brink means risking rejection and facing her fear of what he wants most—a baby.

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated AGAIN

Post by Quill » September 21st, 2010, 5:14 pm

karenbb wrote:

Single mom and music journalist Claire Abby gets the biggest break of her career when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story.
How about shorten to "...gets her biggest break when..." to get us to the meat quicker.
She nearly passes out when she learns her assignment is interviewing British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend.

Christopher is notorious for zipping his lip with writers, so Claire is shocked when he opens up about his drug-addicted ex-wife, their tumultuous marriage, and the detail the tabloids never discovered—that they lost a baby in the process.
Good. How about "never found out" instead of "never discovered"?

After the interview, Christopher surprises Claire again when he starts calling and flirting. She wants to maintain a professional distance, but it’s impossible to deny how good he makes her feel.
Good, though ever so slightly staid. How about "destroying her hope of keeping a professional distance; she can't deny..." or some such. Get rid of "it is" if possible.
Claire enters Christopher’s world and finds a surprising mix of luxury and loneliness.
I would rather not see "surprise" again so soon after the previous sentence.
For him, “having it all” has meant losing a lot, including his dream of becoming a father. He’s thrilled when Claire unexpectedly becomes pregnant—he spends every spare minute reading up on pregnancy and rubbing her belly.
Now he seems unrealistically tame. Every spare minute seems over the top. Rubbing her belly seems like too small a detail. Would it be stronger to just explain his attentiveness and joy?

Also, I'm liking the word "unexpectantly" less all the time. Especially when you go on to explain her trepidation, it becomes more or less obvious and may not need to be stated. And as written it seems awkward: "He's thrilled when she unexpectedly becomes".

She struggles with the idea of starting over at thirty-nine, with her career already derailed by their romance and her daughter just a year away from college.
I wonder if this could be more strongly juxtaposed with his feelings of elation by bridging to him with "but" or "while". Just a thought.
After Claire miscarries, her dad convinces a devastated Christopher that she’d be better off without him. Claire races to fix things once she discovers her father’s meddling, but Christopher’s in a deep depression
Good, but I'd eliminate the"is" by saying "but Chris falls into a deep depression" or some such.

How about "chris shuts down"?
and refuses to discuss what happened.
Claire loves him too much to walk away, but bringing Christopher back from the brink means risking rejection and facing her fear of what he wants most—a baby.
So her moment of truth is her fear of rejection and of becoming a mom again?

As written I'm not sure we are ending on the biggest possible bang. We had her struggling before (during the pregnancy). What is different now, what makes her struggle now greater than that? Can you carry the progression to a new height of indecision and difficulty here? Maybe by showing an escalation in her tension, fear, anxiety, and quandary over the worsening mess she's in? What are the stakes? Her sanity? Her career? Let the situation come through a bit stronger and clearer to let us really feel her dilemma. How come she doesn't just walk away? This is the money line of the query.

Just some thoughts. You new version here is already much improved!

User avatar
karenbb
Posts: 66
Joined: May 1st, 2010, 4:21 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/21

Post by karenbb » September 21st, 2010, 7:15 pm

Quill,

Thanks for your always valuable feedback.

To answer your final question(s) (and I'm hoping that answering will help me figure out a way to do what you think I need to do or maybe help you see what I need to do more clearly and possibly offer some direction),

Claire is leery of the pregnancy the first time for the reasons I stated--she's almost 40, her daughter's almost grown, she feels like she should be focusing on her career. As a mom, I can tell you that the older the kids get, the less appealing the idea of another baby gets. What you don't get in the query (and it's way too much info to squeeze into the query, I think) is that the first time around was very difficult for Claire--she's a single mom, her mom passed away weeks before her daughter was born, she felt clueless and lost--she wanted to have all of those warm and fuzzy mommy feelings, but the reality of the day-to-day is still there in her mind. She loves her daughter more than anything, but she doesn't have particularly fond memories of that time in her life.

So, she's torn, because she's not only fallen in love, she's fallen in love with the one-in-a-million guy that you never think you would end up with. Yes, he's amazing, and she loves him, but he's not a great communicator and they have a hard time deciding things like where they're going to live and how they're going to make any of this work (they're both extremely stubborn)--not to mention they're both tip-toeing around the issue of a commitment. So...you can see how Claire isn't sure what to make out of any of this.

When she loses the pregnancy, she is much more upset about it than she ever imagined, but she also loses Chris days later, and that is utter devastation. She loses her boyfriend/best friend at the same time, while she's trying to cope with the loss of the baby and these feelings that have surprised her. When she finds out that her dad convinced Christopher to leave, she thinks everything was a big misunderstanding, and she expects to rush back into Chris's arms. Instead, he's a completely different person, he won't even talk about what happened, and she realizes how much he doesn't care to be himself if he's never going to have a family (he lost his dad when he was little, this is one of the things he and Claire bond over early in their relationship because they have both lost a parent). She feels like she can't walk away because he doesn't have a lot of people in his life that are close to him/that he trusts and she knows that she has to try to get him back to his normal self. So, she's spending every day with the man she loves, who doesn't appear to love her back, but she can't determine any of it because he won't discuss it. She slowly chips away at him, she gradually gets him to talk about everything, but then she realizes that maybe she does want a baby, if it can be with him. She goes back and forth for a long time--it's a big decision and she's still in mourning, but she knows what he's missing out on by not being a parent and she also knows that it's a big part of the reason his marriage was so painful.

In short (too late), my book is very complex on an emotional level--there are lots and lots of layers, many tiny details that add up over time. Obviously, I'm failing to build up to this big emotional climax in my query, which has to be so focused on events rather than everyone's reaction to those events. I know this is much more than you probably ever cared to know about my book, but if you have any thoughts on this whatsoever, send me a PM or post it here.

Otherwise, I plan to incorporate every last one of your other comments and see where I'm at--thanks again.

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/21

Post by Quill » September 21st, 2010, 10:45 pm


Claire is leery of the pregnancy. She's almost 40, her daughter's almost grown. She feels she should be focusing on her career. The first time around was difficult. Claire was a single mom, her mom passed away just before her daughter was born, she felt clueless and lost.

This time she wanted to have all of the warm and fuzzy mommy feelings, but the reality of the day-to-day is still in her mind. She loves her daughter more than anything, but she doesn't have particularly fond memories of that time in her life. She's torn, because she's fallen in love with the one-in-a-million guy that you never think you will end up with (and he wants a child).

He's amazing, and she loves him, but he's not a great communicator and they have a hard time deciding things like where they're going to live and how they're going to make any of this work. They're both extremely stubborn--not to mention they're both tip-toeing around the issue of a commitment.

She is much more upset when she miscarries than she ever imagined. Then she also loses Chris. Utter devastation. She loses her boyfriend/best friend at the same time she's trying to cope with the loss of the baby.

When she finds out that her dad convinced Christopher to leave, she's sure it was based upon a big misunderstanding. She expects Chris to pull her back into his arms. Instead, he's a completely different person. He won't even talk about what happened. She realizes how much he doesn't want to be who he is, if it means he's never going to have a family. He lost his dad when he was little; this is one of the things he and Claire bond over early in their relationship; they have both lost a parent.

Claire feels she can't walk away because Chris doesn't have a many people in his life who are close, and who he trusts. She wants to try to get him back to his normal self. She spends every day with the man she loves, who doesn't appear to love her back. She can't determine any of this because he won't discuss it. She chips away at him. She gradually gets him to talk about all of it. In doing so she realizes maybe she does want a baby, if it can be with him.

She goes back and forth for months. It's a big decision. She's still in mourning. She feels what he's missing not being a parent. She also knows that this issue a big part of the reason his marriage was so painful.
I boiled down your last post because I like it. I like the language and can imagine some of this tone and even some of these words transferred to your query. Let's meditate upon them. They may hold the key.

Write more like this, freely like this, if you wish. I think you will find the emotional angle that will boost your query to the next level.

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/21

Post by Quill » September 21st, 2010, 10:55 pm

Try describing your book like you are telling your best friend about it.

Off the cuff. To get those few lines that need to get across that special something about the book.

User avatar
karenbb
Posts: 66
Joined: May 1st, 2010, 4:21 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/21

Post by karenbb » September 22nd, 2010, 1:23 pm

thanks quill--seriously.

I appreciate all of your time and insight.

I am percolating and revising and have been since early this morning. I'll post when I come up with something worth reading, hopefully by the end of the day.

fishfood
Posts: 63
Joined: September 22nd, 2010, 10:31 pm
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/21

Post by fishfood » September 22nd, 2010, 11:46 pm

Hi there!

I'm a sucker for rock-star-falling-for-average-girl stories so I had to jump in! I've also been obsessed with queries lately. Based on what you've given us, I obnoxiously took the liberty of throwing one together. I read some great advice once that your query doesn't have to really explain your book--at all, it's entire purpose is to get the agent to want to read on. Hopefully, I still kept in line though with the spirit of your novel. It's not perfect, but I thought maybe you could see that something shorter and sweet still gets your idea across.

Dear Agent,

Claire Abby just landed the biggest break of her career: A Rolling Stone exclusive with British Rock Legend, Christopher Penam. It gets even better—Mrs. Claire Penman happens to be the name she endlessly doodled on her math book cover twenty-some years ago.

It’s too bad Christopher is a notorious lip-zipper.

But Claire is a first for him. A woman with a brain and a cute butt—who wants nothing to do with him. She heaves around enough baggage without tossing in a scandalous affair sure to ruin her reputation.

Apparently rock stars are relentless, especially British ones. And Claire falls hard, bringing her career along with her. Now she has an unexpected pregnancy to boot.

Christopher is thrilled when he hears the news. Fatherhood is the deepest true wish come true for a man with a broken past. Claire however already has a college-bound daughter. Replacing the empty nest with a new baby was not how she envisioned dealing with the loneliness.

Loneliness ensues regardless when Claire tragically loses the baby. If that wasn't devastating enough, she also loses Christopher. Unable to bear the loss, he retreats back into the welcome darkness that is all too familiar for him, but not for Claire.

Can her love bring him back?

User avatar
karenbb
Posts: 66
Joined: May 1st, 2010, 4:21 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/21

Post by karenbb » September 23rd, 2010, 9:03 am

after an entire day or revising these four paragraphs (thank you to quill for comments and to my amazing critique partner for a day of back and forth), here's the latest:

Single mom and music journalist Claire Abby gets her big break when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story. She nearly passes out when she learns she’ll be interviewing British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend.

Christopher is notorious for zipping his lip with writers, so Claire is shocked when he opens up about his ex-wife, their tumultuous marriage, and the tragic detail the tabloids never discovered—that they lost a baby. After the interview, Christopher surprises Claire by calling, flirting, and asking to see her again. She wants to maintain a professional distance, but it becomes impossible to deny how good he makes her feel, and she succumbs.

Christopher’s success has earned him pricey cars and palatial houses, but he’s lonely without the family he’s always wanted. He’s thrilled when Claire becomes pregnant, but she struggles. Every wave of morning sickness reminds her of the first time this happened, fresh out of college and her mother dying of cancer. Even when she can see beyond the bad times, she’s leery of starting over at thirty-nine, with her daughter a year away from college.

Claire suffers a miscarriage and her dad convinces a grieving Christopher that she’s better off without him. She races to fix things once she learns what happened, but Christopher has shut down. She loves him too much to walk away, but bringing him back from the brink means facing everything in her past that’s made her scared of what he wants most—a baby.

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Query: Bring Me Back, women's fiction--Updated 9/21

Post by Quill » September 23rd, 2010, 10:29 am

Really good. Much stronger writing there. A few nitpicks:
karenbb wrote:
Single mom and music journalist Claire Abby gets her big break when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story. She nearly passes out when she learns she’ll be interviewing British rock legend Christopher Penman—she spent her teenage years fantasizing that he was her boyfriend.

Christopher is notorious for zipping his lip with writers, so Claire is shocked when he opens up about his ex-wife, their tumultuous marriage, and the tragic detail the tabloids never discovered—that they lost a baby. After the interview, Christopher surprises Claire by calling, flirting, and asking to see her again. She wants to maintain a professional distance, but it becomes impossible to deny how good he makes her feel, and she succumbs.
Omit "and she succumbs" as unneeded and anticlimactic to the sentence.
Christopher’s success has earned him pricey cars and palatial houses,
I'd say "high-end" (high end?) cars" instead of "pricey".
but he’s lonely without the family he’s always wanted. He’s thrilled when Claire becomes pregnant, but she struggles. Every wave of morning sickness
I'd say "each wave" to improve the rhythm.
reminds her of the first time this happened, fresh out of college and her mother dying of cancer. Even when she can see beyond the bad times, she’s leery of starting over at thirty-nine, with her daughter a year away from college.

Claire suffers a miscarriage and her dad convinces a grieving Christopher that she’s better off without him. She races to fix things once she learns what happened, but Christopher has shut down. She loves him too much to walk away, but bringing him back from the brink means facing everything in her past that’s made her scared of what he wants most—a baby.
Any way to say "and bringing him back" instead of "but bringing him back" to avoid having two "buts" in adjoining sentences? If not, it's okay.

Reads smooth and the elements are properly weighted throughout, don't you think? We really get a feel for what this story is about, now. Good work.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest