Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

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julieack
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Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by julieack » October 1st, 2010, 2:01 pm

Hello fellow writers,

I would greatly appreciate any feedback you may have on my query. I'm particularly curious if anything is confusing/unclear. Since I know the story so well, it's hard to know if I'm leaving out major important pieces of information. Grammatical advice is also welcome.

This is for an email submission, and there will be links to both my blog and the mentioned article.

Thank you so much!

Julie


Dear Agent,

I submit this query to you because...(personalized info here).

Laura Gallagher tried to be a normal college student. But she cannot fill the chasm left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight As, or obsessive running. She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroad, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-olds, and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush. Most challenging are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive Miguel Hernandez, neighborhood soccer star.

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis, prevents her from addressing the obstacles caused by their different backgrounds. Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother, and the openly hostile Tía Luz, Laura must choose between opening up to love or continuing to run from her past.

Amor for Love is a 99,222 word work of fiction. This is my first novel. Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well. I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin. I am also an attorney.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by Remmik » October 1st, 2010, 2:25 pm

Dear Agent,

I submit this query to you because...(personalized info here). You can probably move this bit to the end.

Laura Gallagher tried to be a normal college student. But she cannot fill the chasm left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight As, or obsessive running. Why is she so completely devastated? Was her coach like a father to her? A lover? She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroad, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-olds, and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush.I like this list. Most challenging are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive Miguel Hernandez, neighborhood soccer star.

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis Why does she resume playing tennis?, prevents her from addressing the obstacles caused by their different backgrounds. Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother, and the openly hostile Tía Luz Who?, Laura must choose between opening up to love You already stated they fall in love or continuing to run from her past If she goes back to tennis, is she really running from her past?.

Amor for Love is a 99,222 word work of fiction. This is my first novel. Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well. I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin. <--- These things I find relevant to the query. I am also an attorney. <--- This not so much.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by cheekychook » October 1st, 2010, 8:42 pm

Welcome back to the forums, Julie---haven't seen you in a while!

I'm certainly no query expert, but I can pass along what I've learned so far. Overall this is a good query attempt, it's the right length, offers some specific details and gives a flavor for the story. I've made comments within the text as to things you might consider clarifying or changing.

Best of luck with the query process!


Dear Agent,

I submit this query to you because...(personalized info here).[Many agents prefer to see this segment at the end, others prefer it at the beginning---try to see if the agent specifies either on their website or blog.]

Laura Gallagher tried to be a normal college student.[Try to keep the query in the present tense---Laura Gallagher tries----and try to avoid the use of the word "normal" as it's viewed as "cliche" (I don't make these rules, I just read about them)] But she cannot fill the chasm left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight As, or obsessive running.[Good examples] She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroad, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-olds, and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush. [Again, nice specific examples] Most challenging are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive Miguel Hernandez, neighborhood soccer star.

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis [I thought she discarded her career, when does this change? What brings on the change?], prevents her from addressing the obstacles caused by their different backgrounds. Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother [just making sure I'm reading this correctly, Lupita is both a relative of Miguel's AND she's Laura's host mother?], and the openly hostile Tía Luz [who is Tia? Either tell us or leave her out], Laura must choose between opening up to love or continuing to run from her past.[With the description of both women this sentence becomes very lengthy--consider splitting it into two sentences and make sure your final sentence clearly illustrates the dilemma Laura faces. Somewhat confusing that you say she's fallen in love with Miguel but then say she has to decide about opening up to love---has she opened up to love or not yet?]

Amor for Love [the title should be ALL CAPS] is a 99,222 [99,000---always round the number] word work of [ fill in the blank----is it commercial fiction? literary fiction? women's fiction?] fiction. This is my first novel. [Most agents don't want to hear that and consider it best left unsaid] Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well. I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, [It's great that you have a blog, and definitely put the link under your name and contact info, but don't mention it in the body of the query---the agent will click and check IF they are into that] and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin. [I'm assuming you mean published articles, in which case I believe you should name the publication] I am also an attorney. [Debatable as to whether or not to include this---if the agent specifies wanting to know about you, your education/profession etc, then leave it in, for most agents probably leave it out...]

Thank you for your time. [Good] I look forward to hearing from you soon. [Again, though it seems a normal thing to say at the close of a letter, most agents prefer not to hear that you're hoping to hear from them as it's implied]

Some minor tweaks and I think you'll have a really good query letter on your hands.
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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by androidblues » October 2nd, 2010, 1:05 pm

Amor for love means to love for love right? Is this commercial women's fiction of literary women's fiction?
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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by trirae » October 3rd, 2010, 8:53 am

I am no expert, but I think you have a solid start here and an interesting plot.

Laura Gallagher tried to be a normal college student. But she cannot fill the chasm left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight As, or obsessive running. I like this. I read it the other day, and it hit me as a little bit long to bring me in, but reading it today, I think it says a lot quickly.She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroad, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-olds,Is this going to be funny? If so, might change up the tone a little and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush. this did give me a giggleMost challenging not in love with the start of this sentence are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive Miguel Hernandez, neighborhood soccer star.

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis, prevents her from addressing the obstacles caused by their different backgrounds.I think the end of this might be a little tighter "addressing their cultural differences?" and then maybe give an example? Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother, and the openly hostile Tía Luz, Laura must choose between opening up to love or continuing to run from her past.

Amor for Love is a 99,222 word work of fiction. This is my first novel. Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well. I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin. I am also an attorney. I also wonder how much of this you need. It's interesting, but perhaps not necessary. it might free you up to add a few more details to your plot if you reduce this.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by julieack » October 4th, 2010, 8:31 am

Thank you thank you thank you for making these thoughtful comments. I appreciate it so much. Hooray for writers helping writers!

I will think over all the comments and see what I can change. And thank you for the thoughts on the final paragraph. Originally, it was much shorter, but after another writer saw that, she wanted more info, so I'll have to think that one over, and maybe tailor it to what each agent asks for.

Thank you again!

Julie

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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by priya g. » October 6th, 2010, 8:39 am

Dear Agent,

I submit this query to you because...(personalized info here).

Laura Gallagher tried to be a normal college student. But she cannot fill the chasm left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight As, or obsessive running GOOD BEGINNING- I CAN SEE WHERE THE CHARACTER IS COMING FROM AND NOW I AM CURIOUS WHAT SHE WILL DO ABOUT THE SITUATION. She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroad, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-olds, and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush THE LAST BIT IS A HANDFUL- YOU CAN CUT IT DOWN OR REMOVE IT, AS NAVIGATING ACCIDENTAL DATES AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY 10YR OLDS GIVES A GOOD ENOUGH PICTURE. Most challenging HOW ABOUT: BUT THATS NOTHING COMPARED TO HER JUMBLED UP FEELINGS FOR...are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive Miguel Hernandez, neighborhood soccer star.

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis, prevents her from addressing the obstacles caused by their different backgrounds IS THE DIFFERENCE JUST BECAUSE OF THE SPORTS THEY PLAY? BECAUSE OF WHERE THEY ARE FROM?. Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother, and the openly hostile Tía Luz, Laura must choose between opening up to love or continuing to run from her past. GOOD SENTENCE- SUMS IT ALL UP. WORK AROUND IT A BIT, THOUGH: HOW IS MIGUEL'S FAMILY INVOLVED? DO LUPITA AND TIA LUZ HAVE AN IMPORTANT ROLE?

Amor for Love is a 99,222 word work of fiction. This is my first novel. Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well THIS CAN BE SKIPPED. I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin PERFECT INCLUSION. I am also an attorney.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

this query letter brings out a strong character of Laura- keep it. just a few improvements and i find no reason for it to be rejected!
all the best!

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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by khanes » October 9th, 2010, 2:17 pm

Hi Julie! I just wanted to say hello because my book sounds a bit like yours, haha. Mine is about a broadcast journalist who runs away to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where a horse trainer/Juilliard trained singer helps her come to terms with her past and learn to love. I also lived in Central Mexico as a study abroad program!

Good start to your query - obviously it appeals to me since I love Mexico and think you have some interesting characters. I'll give you my feedback, but I'm no query expert. I've done mine over 10 times.


------------------------------------

Laura Gallagher tried to be a normal college student. But she cannot fill the chasm left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight As, or obsessive running. She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroad, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-olds, and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush.This sentence seems a bit long to me. Maybe rework into a couple of sentences. And what are accidental dates? I found that a little confusing. Most challenging are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive Miguel Hernandez, the neighborhood soccer star.

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis, prevents her from addressing the obstacles maybe give an example of the obstacles. Culture? Money? Career? Education? caused by their different backgrounds. Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother, and the openly hostile Tía Luz, Laura must choose between opening up to love or continuing to run from her past.So it sounds like her painful past is the death of her tennis coach and career, right? So is missing out on tennis preventing her from falling in love, or are these not related?

Amor for Love is a 99,222 word work of fiction. This is my first novel. Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well. I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin. I am also an attorney. I think if i I were you I'd get rid of those last two lines.

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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by pollymilton » October 10th, 2010, 5:35 pm

Laura Gallagher tried to be a normal college student. What is a normal college student? this is pretty general. But she cannot fill the chasm left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight As, or obsessive running. She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroad, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-olds, is this serious or humorous? It's way too left fieldish and seems creepy. and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush. Most challenging are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive I just feel like that's overkill. Miguel Hernandez, neighborhood soccer star.

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis, prevents her from addressing the obstacles caused by their different backgrounds. Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother, and the openly hostile Tía Luz, I wonder if we could see why she returns to tennis? Is it a bad thing? Are you setting up Miguel vs. tennis? Laura must choose between opening up to love or continuing to run from her past.

Amor for Love is a 99,222 word work of fiction. This is my first novel. Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well.I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin. I am also an attorney.

So, I'm wondering if this is women's fic. or young adult. Are women over age 25 going to want to read this? Not being snotty, just honestly asking.
You've got a nice start.
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Re: Query - Amor for Love - Women's Fiction

Post by Severus Lawliet » October 10th, 2010, 7:09 pm

Dear Agent,

I submit this query to you because...(personalized info here).No, no, no. I hate to be bold, but on QueryShark(blog run by an actual agent) she says to NEVER put that there, but to start out with the character.

Laura Gallagherhow old is Laura? I think it would look better like "Twenty year-old Laura Gallagher" tried to be a normal college student. But sheI think it should be just the "she" there. I don't think you should start a sentence with a 'But' cannot fill the chasmUm, may be just me but "cannot fill the chasm" sounds kinda awkward. Maybe a synonym would work better? left by her coach’s death and her discarded tennis career—not with a poet boyfriend, or straight AsI'm pretty sure its A's. It looks like 'straight as' if it's otherwise., or obsessive running. She flees to Mexico for her junior year abroadFlees? Who is she running away from? Isn't she an adult in college?, navigating accidental dates, sexual harassment by ten-year-oldsExcuse me? I don't think it's called sexual harassment when they're only ten. When I think sexual harassment I think old grungy dude on the bus sticking his hand up a poor girl's skirt, and her screaming. Or I think rape. I don't think being teased by ten year olds. Just me. , and whether accepting a glass of mezcal at brunch makes her culturally savvy or just a lush. Most challenging are her feelings for the alarmingly handsome and perceptive Miguel Hernandez, neighborhood soccer star.Um, how big of a soccer star is he? Cause if he's like a soccer star, then shouldn't he be living in a nice fancy neighborhood? One that a girl who decided to run to Mexico wouldn't be able to afford?

Laura and Miguel fall in love, but her unresolved grief, fueled by a return to tennis, prevents her from addressing the obstacles caused by their different backgroundsThis is a really awkward sentence to me...Maybe try and separate it some?. Under the watchful eyes of Miguel’s family, including Lupita, Laura’s nurturing host mother, and the openly hostile Tía Luz, Laura must choose between opening up to love or continuing to run from her past.A very long sentence. On QueryShark she hates long sentences like this. Maybe you should try to break it up a bit? Awkward looking to me...

Amor for Love is a 99,222(here goes the book genre. Oh and capitalize the title. Like " AMOR FOR LOVE is a 99,222 word romance-drama novel" or whatever genre your novel is.) word work of fiction. This is my first novel. Like Laura Gallagher, I studied abroad in Mexico, and know the ravines and people of Cuernavaca very well. I write personal essays for my blog, Anything for Material, and have written articles about Haitian art, including a profile of Frantz Zephirin. I am also an attorney.You don't need all the text that's in the blue. You don't need to be qualified to write a novel, and if you think it's a good idea to mention that you studied in Mexico you should compose the sentence down some.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon. you don't need what's in the blue. I think you should put 'Thank you for your time and consideration'. It's the standard and what agents usually want to see. But 'Thank you for your time' is pretty good one too. Whichever you prefer, really. But you don't need the 'I look forward to hearing from you soon' cause agents expect that. If you don't look forward to hearing from them then why are you contacting them?

These things are just my humble suggestions. I'm no agent of course, but I hope my advice helps you in some way.
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