Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction) Revised

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Sasha V
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Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction) Revised

Post by Sasha V » July 15th, 2010, 11:58 am

Hi all.

I'm new here. I just started the process of querying. I'd appreciate any feedback on my query letter. Thanks a lot.

Okay, I have two revised versions. Which one works better?

** New Version 1**

Dear Agent :

Megan Whits breaks away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, chauvinist, and (as it turned out) FBI-wanted man after he raises his hand against her. Her ex-husband disappears. Two years later, he is still at large, and Megan fears he will come back and snatch her five-year-old son away from her.

Megan yearns to live a normal life. Yielding to her friend’s pestering, she goes to a corporate Christmas party where she bumps into charismatic and determined software pro Eric Reynolds. The guilt for hitting the man’s jaw prompts her to agree to dance with him, but the second music fades, she scoots away.

Intrigued, Eric vows to solve the puzzle. His gentle and friendly attitude attracts Megan, but her inner fears and insecurities don’t let her open up to him. A business trip to Chicago changes all. Drawn to Eric and mesmerized by his proximity, Megan succumbs to her desires and spends a night with the man.

On their way home, Megan receives a call from a man who informs he kidnapped her child. Devastated, she is ready to do anything to save her son, even if it means she has to give up her emerging love. But will Eric accept it?

IS THERE ANYTHING FOR ME? is a women’s fiction of 81,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


**New version 2**

Dear Agent :

Megan Whits, an accountant in a New York based software company, yearns to live a normal life.

Two years ago she broke away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, chauvinist, and (as it turned out) FBI-wanted man after he raised his hand against her. Her ex-husband disappeared but left her with fear that he would be back to snatch her (five-year-old now) son away from her.

Yielding to her friend’s pestering, Megan goes to a corporate Christmas party where she bumps into charismatic and determined software pro Eric Reynolds. The guilt for hitting the man’s jaw prompts her to agree to dance with him, but the second music fades, she scoots away.

Intrigued, Eric vows to solve the puzzle. His gentle and friendly attitude attracts Megan, but her inner fears and insecurities don’t let her open up to him. A business trip to Chicago office changes all. Drawn to Eric and mesmerized by his proximity, Megan succumbs to her desires and spends a night with the man.

Confused but happy, Megan decides to give it a try before she receives a call from a man who informs he kidnapped her child. Devastated, she is ready to do anything to save her son, even if it means she has to give up her emerging love. But will Eric accept it?

IS THERE ANYTHING FOR ME? is a women’s fiction of 81,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,





Dear Agent:

After she broke away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, intolerant,
and (as it turned out) criminal businessman two years ago, Megan Whits
struggles to forget the nightmare and build a new life. Several times
her ex-husband attempted to take her five-year-old son away from
her.

The last thing she wants is a chance encounter with charismatic and
determined software pro Eric Reynolds. In fact, she panics when the
man tries to get closer to her.

A business trip to Chicago changes the way things work between Eric
and Megan. But emerging feelings move to the background when Megan
finds out her son is kidnapped.

Is There Anything For Me?, a women’s fiction of 81,300 words, is a
story of overcoming insecurities, discovering love, and regaining
trust in people.

It is a multiple submission. If you are interested, I'd love to send
you the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,
Last edited by Sasha V on July 16th, 2010, 12:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Meredith
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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction)

Post by Meredith » July 15th, 2010, 12:18 pm

Sasha V wrote:Hi all.

I'm new here. I just started the process of querying. I'd appreciate any feedback on my query letter. Thanks a lot.

Dear Agent:

After she broke away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, intolerant,
and (as it turned out) criminal businessman two years ago, Megan Whits
struggles to forget the nightmare and build a new life. Several times
her ex-husband attempted to take her five-year-old son away from
her. You've got several tense changes in this paragraph, past to present and back to past tense. Try to reframe it all in present tense.

The last thing she wants is a chance encounter with charismatic and
determined software pro Eric Reynolds. In fact, she panics when the
man tries to get closer to her.

A business trip to Chicago changes the way things work between Eric
and Megan. But emerging feelings move to the background when Megan
finds out her son is kidnapped.

Is There Anything For Me?, The title should be in all caps. a women’s fiction of 81,300 Round to the nearest thousand for a novel. words, is a
story of overcoming insecurities, discovering love, and regaining
trust in people. I wouldn't include the themes in the query.

It is a multiple submission. Don't need to say this. They know. If you are interested, I'd love to send
you the completed manuscript. They know this, too. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,
Overall, I think you need to add some well-chosen detail to really bring out the story. Show what makes it different.
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wilderness
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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction)

Post by wilderness » July 15th, 2010, 1:52 pm

Sasha V wrote:
Dear Agent:

After she broke away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, intolerant,
and (as it turned out) criminal businessman two years ago, Megan Whits
struggles to forget the nightmare and build a new life. How does she try to build a new life? Several times
her ex-husband attempted to take her five-year-old son away from
her. This next line doesn't flow from the last.

The last thing she wants is a chance encounter with charismatic and
determined software pro Eric Reynolds. In fact, she panics when the
man tries to get closer to her. Too vague. How does he try to get closer to her? What does she do that indicates panicking?

A business trip to Chicago changes the way things work between Eric
and Megan. How does it change the way things work? What actually happens on the trip? But emerging feelings move to the background when Megan
finds out her son is kidnapped. And then what? She finds out her son is kidnapped -- what's she going to do about it?

Is There Anything For Me?, a women’s fiction of 81,300 words, is a
story of overcoming insecurities, discovering love, and regaining
trust in people.

It is a multiple submission. If you are interested, I'd love to send
you the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,
First off, the line breaks need to be removed. Are you writing your query in Notepad? Use Word instead. The line breaks will make your query look strange (like it does here), getting cut off too early.

As Meredith suggested, you need to add more details, more flavor. Right now the query is pretty dry. Think of it as a back-of-the-book blurb -- these don't just tell the facts, but try to intrigue you with the details.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction)

Post by OneChoice1 » July 15th, 2010, 1:58 pm

Sasha V wrote:Hi all.

I'm new here. Hi! I just started the process of querying. I'd appreciate any feedback on my query letter. Thanks a lot. I hope I can help :)


Dear Agent:

I'm saying this just in case, make sure to replace "Agent" with the Agent's name. Mr. ???, Mrs. ???, Ms. ???. Whatever they say on their websites, guidelines, and such.


After she broke away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, intolerant,
and (as it turned out) criminal businessman two years ago, Megan Whits
struggles to forget the nightmare and build a new life. Several times
her ex-husband attempted to take her five-year-old son away from
her.

Megan Whits' fed up with her husband. She pulls up her knickers and breaks off her marriage to that money-obsessed, intolerant, and (as it turns out) criminal businessman. Two years down the road, she still struggles to forget the nightmare and structure a new life. It doesn't help that her ex-husband's relentless in having full custody of her five-year-old son.


The last thing she wants is a chance encounter with charismatic and
determined software pro Eric Reynolds. In fact, she panics when the
man tries to get closer to her.

Edited: She has no time for her daily run-ins with charismatic software pro, Eric Reynolds. The co-worker's determined to get involved in her life. If he only knew how much baggage Megan's juggling.


A business trip to Chicago changes the way things work between Eric
and Megan. But emerging feelings move to the background when Megan
finds out her son is kidnapped.

Wait, I didn't know Megan worked with Eric? You didn't imply that before. *Going back to change my suggestion for the previous paragraph*

A business trip [insert purpose of the trip here] changes the way things work between the two. [Add a little something about what brings about this change.] But Megan's emerging feelings for Eric take the back burner when her son's kidnapped. [Add one or two more lines for more drama. Does she suspect her ex-husband? Does her ex-husband suspect her because she's trying to stop him from having custody? Or does it turn out there's someone else who wants something from her ex-husband (he is a criminal businessman)? Something..]


Is There Anything For Me?, a women’s fiction of 81,300 words, is a
story of overcoming insecurities, discovering love, and regaining
trust in people.

IS THERE ANYTHING FOR ME? is a women's fiction of 81,300 words, which journeys through overcoming insecurities, discovering love, and regaining trust in others during tragic times.

You might not even need to add a theme.


It is a multiple submission. If you are interested, I'd love to send
you the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time.

I know some agents ask that you put "multiple submission" if it is, but just make sure the agent you are pitching to actually wants this.


Sincerely yours,

Good query, but not great yet. I made suggestions as examples on how you can liven it up a bit more. Please don't mind some of the cliches. :)
Last edited by OneChoice1 on July 15th, 2010, 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction)

Post by thewhipslip » July 15th, 2010, 2:25 pm

I agree with the comments before this one.

I think you need to tack a little more action onto the end. What does she do once she finds out her son is kidnapped? What are the stakes? I don't know much about her and even less about her son, so it's hard to feel panicked that he's been kidnapped.

I also don't get a feel for what genre this is necessarily. Women's Fiction implies that we're not dealing with a mystery here - a covert and daring rescue mission by helicopter or anything like that. But that makes me wonder where the kidnapping is placed in the novel: beginning? middle? end? And what's the beginning of the book about if the kidnapping is later on? Her getting to know Eric?

I agree that this really needs something unique to set it apart.

Sasha V
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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction)

Post by Sasha V » July 15th, 2010, 4:36 pm

Thanks for all suggestions.

Now I see I need to add more details here. I read a lot about queries, and I must admit I was a bit confused. Some queries are long; some are sweet and short. I tried to be concise, but I guess I lost the feeling of the story.

Back to work. Revision, revision.

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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction)

Post by Meredith » July 16th, 2010, 12:12 am

Reading through the query again, thought occurred to me.

I think that by mentioning that the ex-husband has tried to kidnap their son before you are actually lessening the stakes when the boy is kidnapped. The natural assumption is that it's Dad and the kid's okay. Without that, the kidnapping might show more conflict and tension in the query.

Just a passing thought.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

Sasha V
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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction)

Post by Sasha V » July 16th, 2010, 12:44 am

Meredith wrote:Reading through the query again, thought occurred to me.

I think that by mentioning that the ex-husband has tried to kidnap their son before you are actually lessening the stakes when the boy is kidnapped. The natural assumption is that it's Dad and the kid's okay. Without that, the kidnapping might show more conflict and tension in the query.

Just a passing thought.
I see what you mean, Meredith. The thing is that it's not her ex kidnaps the child. In the story I give some hints that it can be someone else. But Dad is not less dangerous. He loves the kid, of course, but he's on the FBI wanted list, and he hates his ex-wife.

Almost done with the first revision. Will go through it in the morning with a fresh eye, then post.

Thanks

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wilderness
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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction) Revised

Post by wilderness » July 16th, 2010, 2:54 pm

Hi Sasha,
The two versions are nearly identical. I'll reference the first.
Sasha V wrote:
Dear Agent :

Megan Whits breaks away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, chauvinist, and (as it turned out) FBI-wanted man after he raises his hand against her. Her ex-husband disappears. Two years later, he is still at large, and Megan fears he will come back and snatch her five-year-old son away from her. No parentheses for son's age is better.

Megan yearns to live a normal life. Yielding to her friend’s pestering, she goes to a corporate Christmas party where she bumps into charismatic and determined software pro Eric Reynolds. The guilt for hitting the man’s jaw prompts her to agree to dance with him, but the second music fades, she scoots away. How did she hit his jaw?

Intrigued, Eric vows to solve the puzzle. What puzzle? That she scooted away? I don't think walking away after a dance is generally considered intriguing. His gentle and friendly attitude attracts Megan, but her inner fears and insecurities don’t let her open up to him. A business trip to Chicago changes all. Drawn to Eric and mesmerized by his proximity, Megan succumbs to her desires and spends a night with the man.

On their way home, Megan receives a call from a man who informs he kidnapped her child. Devastated, she is ready to do anything to save her son, even if it means she has to give up her emerging love. But will Eric accept it? I don't see why she has to give up her emerging love to save her son. And will Eric accept what?

This is better, but there's still not enough here to make the story stand out. What is special about Eric and Megan's relationship? What is your "hook"?


IS THERE ANYTHING FOR ME? is a women’s fiction of 81,000 words. So far this seems more like a romance than a women's fic.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction) Revised

Post by One of the Mad Ones » July 16th, 2010, 9:30 pm

Sasha V wrote: Dear Agent:

After she broke away from a marriage to a money-obsessed, intolerant,
and (as it turned out) criminal businessman two years ago, Megan Whits
struggles to forget the nightmare and build a new life. How long has it been since they split? Is she struggling right now? This leaves some room that might lessen the impact -- if it could have happened, say, a year ago. Several times
her ex-husband attempted to take her five-year-old son away from
her. I think that this might be a red herring or something in the book, but for the query, it's a little distracting unless it's clearly the ex who is the kidnapper. At least for me.

The last thing she wants is a chance encounter with charismatic and
determined software pro Eric Reynolds. Why is this the last thing she wants? Maybe it's more that she can't handle any more surprises or isn't ready to move on? In fact, she panics when the
man tries to get closer to her. This line says more to me about her character than the previous. I'm interested in the fact that she's closed off and afraid.

A business trip to Chicago changes the way things work between Eric
and Megan. This is vague. What changes? They fall in love? She realizes he's not such a bad guy like her loser ex? But emerging feelings move to the background when Megan
finds out her son is kidnapped. This is probably more of a story question/suggestion, but is she potentially guilty of not being there since she's on a business trip in Chicago with Eric? If this is part of the complication, I'd like to know about it in the query. It's not just that she's distracted from Eric because her kid is missing, but also that she might see him and her relationship with him as contributing factors.

Is There Anything For Me?, a women’s fiction of 81,300 words, is a
story of overcoming insecurities, discovering love, and regaining
trust in people.

It is a multiple submission. If you are interested, I'd love to send
you the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,
One more thing: I feel like the stakes of this story are fighting against each other the way you've pitched it here. Is it more thriller/adventure or more romance because it seems odd to me that she's even concerned the least bit about Eric if her kid has been kidnapped. If he's going to help her find the kid and their relationship grows in the process, that's different - like, maybe she's closed off and afraid to let him see her vulnerable and help her after so many months of getting over her ex and becoming self-sufficient, etc, so the conflict is that she's wary of his help, but she needs his help... Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that, right now, it feels like both the personal romance and the kid are equally important, so I don't quite know what to think. It may work wonderfully all together in the story, so I'm not critiquing that, just the way it comes together here.

Sasha V
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Re: Is There Anything For Me? query (women's fiction) Revised

Post by Sasha V » July 17th, 2010, 1:58 pm

One of the Mad Ones wrote:This is probably more of a story question/suggestion, but is she potentially guilty of not being there since she's on a business trip in Chicago with Eric? If this is part of the complication, I'd like to know about it in the query. It's not just that she's distracted from Eric because her kid is missing, but also that she might see him and her relationship with him as contributing factors.
Thanks for pointing this out.
One of the Mad Ones wrote:One more thing: I feel like the stakes of this story are fighting against each other the way you've pitched it here. Is it more thriller/adventure or more romance because it seems odd to me that she's even concerned the least bit about Eric if her kid has been kidnapped. If he's going to help her find the kid and their relationship grows in the process, that's different - like, maybe she's closed off and afraid to let him see her vulnerable and help her after so many months of getting over her ex and becoming self-sufficient, etc, so the conflict is that she's wary of his help, but she needs his help... Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that, right now, it feels like both the personal romance and the kid are equally important, so I don't quite know what to think. It may work wonderfully all together in the story, so I'm not critiquing that, just the way it comes together here.

I didn't look at it this way, but I guess you're right. The purpose of the story is to show how Megan goes from insecure and low esteem ex-wife to a woman who knows what she wants and gets it, how she regains her trust in men.

I think I should try different approach in this query and show more her personality and inner conflicts than plot.

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