Query: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

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gganate
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Query: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Post by gganate » February 29th, 2012, 10:14 am

If you are looking for quirky, edgy fiction with a touch of magical realism, then I’m the writer for you.

Dwight Howard is an unhappy pet store dog trainer grappling with the ennui of a post-college existence and the meager rewards of a life in retail. Marooned in perpetual adolescence and still living in his childhood home with his two deadbeat brothers, he is beset by a tribe of sentient gophers presumably bent on the utter annihilation of his dwelling. As he struggles to prepare for the rodent onslaught, he must also deal with mounting pressure at work, as well as the disappearance of his drug-addled, ghoulish brother Gary, the divisive machinations of a sexy succubus, and macabre meddling of a murderous singer-songwriter.


EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE is an 85,000 word work of comedic literature, and it is my first novel. It stands alone but I am currently working on a sequel entitled HUERTO. During the day I am an employee of Backyard Orchards, a family business, but by night I am the lead singer and songwriter for the indie Cincinnati rock ‘n’ roll band Theme Park Mistress. I have an English degree from Ball State University.

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


Best wishes,
Nathan Sauerhage

...

Any suggestions? I've submitted about 60 query letters without one request for a manuscript. I usually include a five page sample with my query though, so it's probably just the oddness of my project.

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Quill
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Re: Query: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Post by Quill » February 29th, 2012, 10:57 am

gganate wrote:If you are looking for quirky, edgy fiction with a touch of magical realism, then I’m the writer for you.
Cut this unprofessional opening. It smacks of auditioning your tap dance for a traveling minstrel show. Let your writing show your moves instead.
Dwight Howard is an unhappy pet store dog trainer grappling with the ennui of a post-college existence and the meager rewards of a life in retail.
I like this opening, but I'd switch out "ennui" for a word that provides less of a stumbling block for the reader.
Marooned in perpetual adolescence and still living in his childhood home with his two deadbeat brothers, he is beset by a tribe of sentient gophers presumably bent on the utter annihilation of his dwelling.
Interesting info, although a very long sentence. Also, slight negative tension when it has me wondering if their parents are also sharing this childhood home. Sentient gophers clued me in that this an offbeat piece. How offbeat was my next question.
As he struggles to prepare for the rodent onslaught,
Okay, good, you reinforce gopher with "rodent," so now I know gopher wasn't a typo. This really is an offbeat book.

Not sure "to prepare" works, since you already said he's beset. How about "struggles to face," or some such?

Also, why does Dwight have to do this? Isn't this his parents house? Where is the rest of the family regarding this menace.

Also, aren't gophers ground dwellers? What sort of menace is this, really? If you had said rats...
he must also deal with mounting pressure at work,
No dramatic capital gained here. The clause is vague, and non-allusional-- what sort of pressure does one get at Pet Store? A bad batch of dog food causes a poop epidemic?
as well as the disappearance of his drug-addled, ghoulish brother Gary,
This is promising, but so brief as to again leave us wondering what sort of plot dilemmas this presents. We're not exactly getting a feel for your book, even though we're hearing highlights of its setting.
the divisive machinations of a sexy succubus,
Again, well-written, but barely informative, and suffers from the stumbling block "succubus."
and macabre meddling of a murderous singer-songwriter.
Also good, but hanging out in mid-air, since we have no idea how this ties into the story or relates to the character.

Overall the description points to more of a downer story than to comedy, and is a bit too clever -- and sketchy -- for its own good. A few more sentences of exposition will help, especially if including the crux of the hero's dilemma and the choices facing him.

EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE is an 85,000 word work of comedic literature,
85,000-word (include hyphen).

"work of comedic literature" is a bit clunky but I guess it gets the job done. Perhaps "comedic fiction"?
and it is my first novel. It stands alone but I am currently working on a sequel entitled HUERTO.
I'd omit this. It won't help sell this book. Focus on getting in the door, by enticing an agent to request more pages.
During the day I am an employee of Backyard Orchards, a family business, but by night I am the lead singer and songwriter for the indie Cincinnati rock ‘n’ roll band Theme Park Mistress. I have an English degree from Ball State University.
Good. This is some interesting bio info, and seems relevant.

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

Best wishes,
Replace with "Thank you for your time and consideration."

And

"Sincerely,"

Nathan Sauerhage

gganate
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Re: Query: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Post by gganate » February 29th, 2012, 11:55 am

Hey, thanks a lot for the criticism. How's this for a revision?


Dwight Howard is an unhappy pet store dog trainer grappling with the malaise of a post-college existence and the meager rewards of a life in retail. Marooned in perpetual adolescence, parentless, and still living in his childhood home with his two deadbeat brothers, he is beset by a tribe of sentient gophers presumably bent on destabilizing the foundation of his dwelling. As he struggles to face the rodent onslaught, he also must fight to keep his job, as well as deal with the disappearance of his drug-addled, ghoulish brother Gary, who has fled town and met up with a murderous singer-songwriter, abandoning a pregnant teenage girlfriend. In addition, Dwight has to fend off the advances of a sexy succubus who has ensnared his paranoid, gun-toting brother Art. Through it all he tries to transcend his circumstances, and make sense of his bizarre, complicated life.

EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE is an 85,000-word work of comedic literature, and it is my first novel. During the day I am an employee of Backyard Orchards, a family business, but by night I am the lead singer and songwriter for the indie Cincinnati rock ‘n’ roll band Theme Park Mistress. I have an English degree from Ball State University.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Nathan Sauerhage

Lil Tailor
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Re: Query: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Post by Lil Tailor » February 29th, 2012, 1:51 pm

I'm going to start off by saying what an agent told me once "there is so much clever per square sentence, it's kinda wigging me out"

I think the premise is interesting and I definitely like this second one better than the first. I think you're sorta getting lost though.
Dwight Howard is an unhappy pet store dog trainer grappling with the malaise of a post-college existence and the meager rewards of a life in retail. Marooned in perpetual adolescence, parentless, and still living in his childhood home with his two deadbeat brothers, he so not he really. The home really and his brothers as well. he's apparently the only one who cares?is beset by a tribe of sentient gophers presumablybent on destabilizing the foundation of his dwelling. As he struggleswhy is this a struggle? to face the rodent onslaught, he also must fight to keep his jobwhy is he going to lose it?, as well as deal with the disappearance of his drug-addled, ghoulish brother Gary, who has fled town and met up with a murderous singer-songwriter, abandoning a pregnant teenage girlfriendI feel like this could be worded better... it feels off to me.. on a side note. this sentence is really, really long. this definitely needs to be split because when you say gary it feels like the end... but then it keeps going In addition, Dwight has to fend off the advances of a sexy succubus who has ensnared his paranoid, gun-toting brother Artwhy does he have to? why can't art do it? why does he care if art doesnt do it? . Through it all he tries to transcend his circumstances, and make sense of his bizarre, complicated life.

EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE is an 85,000-word work of comedic literature, and it is my first novel. During the day I am an employee of Backyard Orchards, a family business, but by night I am the lead singer and songwriter for the indie Cincinnati rock ‘n’ roll band Theme Park Mistress. I have an English degree from Ball State University.

gganate
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Joined: February 11th, 2012, 5:17 pm
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Re: Query: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Post by gganate » February 29th, 2012, 2:32 pm

Lil Tailor wrote:I'm going to start off by saying what an agent told me once "there is so much clever per square sentence, it's kinda wigging me out"

I think the premise is interesting and I definitely like this second one better than the first. I think you're sorta getting lost though.
Dwight Howard is an unhappy pet store dog trainer grappling with the malaise of a post-college existence and the meager rewards of a life in retail. Marooned in perpetual adolescence, parentless, and still living in his childhood home with his two deadbeat brothers, he so not he really. The home really and his brothers as well. he's apparently the only one who cares?is beset by a tribe of sentient gophers presumablybent on destabilizing the foundation of his dwelling. As he struggleswhy is this a struggle? to face the rodent onslaught, he also must fight to keep his jobwhy is he going to lose it?, as well as deal with the disappearance of his drug-addled, ghoulish brother Gary, who has fled town and met up with a murderous singer-songwriter, abandoning a pregnant teenage girlfriendI feel like this could be worded better... it feels off to me.. on a side note. this sentence is really, really long. this definitely needs to be split because when you say gary it feels like the end... but then it keeps going In addition, Dwight has to fend off the advances of a sexy succubus who has ensnared his paranoid, gun-toting brother Artwhy does he have to? why can't art do it? why does he care if art doesnt do it? . Through it all he tries to transcend his circumstances, and make sense of his bizarre, complicated life.

EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE is an 85,000-word work of comedic literature, and it is my first novel. During the day I am an employee of Backyard Orchards, a family business, but by night I am the lead singer and songwriter for the indie Cincinnati rock ‘n’ roll band Theme Park Mistress. I have an English degree from Ball State University.
Thanks for the comments, that particular sentence is a bit cumbersome. However, do I need to explain everything in a query? I thought that was the focus of the synopsis.

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