Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 5

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danielsmi
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Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 5

Post by danielsmi » February 16th, 2010, 2:57 pm

*Please go to the end of the thread to see Revision 5*

I have withheld comment from the other critiques because I have yet to get a request for even a partial. Out of 25 queries I have received 12 rejections. I have been following the Blog and comments for almost a year and think it is time I look for some insight.

Dear Ms. Agent,

- Personalized intro paragraph -

Abby Bellen’s relationship with her father has deteriorated since the death of her mother and the later loss of her brother. Honoring a promise to her mother, Abby has reluctantly returned home to Lake Forrest to her father Will, to find he does not want her help and resents Abby’s notion that she needs to put his life in order. He continues to lug heavy urns around his studio, drinking wine, and denying the years have crept up on him. Abby’s only respite from her father is with her cousin Caroline’s family and new romance Mitch Carlson.

Inevitably, the long buried rift between father and daughter surfaces and together they must face the failures of their misspent relationship. Concerned about her father and the family business, confused about the relationship with Mitch that has become more than a fling, Abby must choose between Lake Forrest and the life she thought full until her return home brought doubts. Choosing to leave would jeopardize reconciliation with her father and sever ties with Mitch. If Abby stays, the life and career that define her are put on hold indefinitely.

The Potter’s Daughter, an 84,000 word mainstream novel, is a touching tale of a father and daughter, ordinary people distanced by loss, and the man she is falling in love with. Like many great stories it is about people you know, and will speak to anyone who has left home with issues unresolved. What makes this novel special is that it is one of few stories written about a father and his adult daughter and it reveals a candid portrait of family tradition, loyalty, love, and remembrance.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I have a completed manuscript prepared to send you and look forward to your request.

Kind Regards,
Last edited by danielsmi on March 11th, 2010, 4:36 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter

Post by CC13 » February 16th, 2010, 4:03 pm

Take what I say with a grain of salt, I'm no expert!
danielsmi wrote:I have withheld comment from the other critiques because I have yet to get a request for even a partial. Out of 25 queries I have received 12 rejections. I have been following the Blog and comments for almost a year and think it is time I look for some insight.

Dear Ms. Agent,

- Personalized intro paragraph -

Abby Bellen’s relationship with her father has deteriorated since the death of her mother and the later loss of her brother. Honoring a promise to her mother, Abby has reluctantly returned home to Lake Forrest to her father Will, to find he does not want her help and resents Abby’s notion that she needs to put his life in order. I'm waiting for what makes this story hookish? Where's the conflict? He continues to lug heavy urns around his studio, drinking wine, and denying the years have crept up on him. Abby’s only respite from her father is with her cousin Caroline’s family and new romance Mitch Carlson. Hm, I'm already getting confused. There are too many characters introduced in the query. I'd focus on the MC, the antagonist, and perhaps one supportive character if necessary. And I'm still not sure what the story is about? Is it all revolving around her and her father's relationship?

Inevitably, the long buried rift between father and daughter surfaces and together they must face the failures of their misspent relationship. Concerned about her father and the family business, confused about the relationship with Mitch that has become more than a fling, Abby must choose between Lake Forrest and the life she thought full until her return home brought doubtsWait, I might have missed something, but why does she have to choose between Lake Forrest and her life?. Choosing to leave would jeopardize why does she want to leave? Her father? I'm not clear on this. reconciliation with her father and sever ties with Mitch. If Abby stays, the life and career that define her are put on hold indefinitely. I feel like you're over explaining the consequences of which decision she makes...

The Potter’s Daughter, an 84,000 word mainstream novel, is a touching tale of a father and daughter, ordinary people distanced by loss, and the man she is falling in love with. But what makes this story different than any other father/daughter strained-relationship story? Find that, and focus on it here. Like many great stories it is about people you know, and will speak to anyone who has left home with issues unresolved. What makes this novel special is that it is one of few stories written about a father and his adult daughter and it reveals a candid portrait of family tradition, loyalty, love, and remembrance.I'm not sure any of this is needed here, if you can work it into the plot synopsis (show instead of tell) I'd cut it here.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I have a completed manuscript prepared to send you and look forward to your request.

Kind Regards,
Hope I've helped in some way. Queries are tough suckers!

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter

Post by jessicatudor » February 17th, 2010, 12:26 pm

Hi, Dan. It's really hard to write a query for a book that isn't, as the above commenter put it, hookish. Ah, the joys of writing mainstream fiction, right? (I do it, too.) That said, you still need to make it stand out from all the other I-don't-have-explosions stories. Let's break down your query.
danielsmi wrote: Dear Ms. Agent,

- Personalized intro paragraph -

Abby Bellen’s relationship with her father has deteriorated since the death of her mother and the later loss of her brother. Honoring a promise to her mother, Abby has reluctantly returned home to Lake Forrest to her father Will, to find he does not want her help and resents Abby’s notion that she needs to put his life in order. He continues to lug heavy urns around his studio, drinking wine, and denying the years have crept up on him. Abby’s only respite from her father is with her cousin Caroline’s family and new romance Mitch Carlson.

The first sentence doesn't add anything. You could start with the second and not lose anything. 'Honoring a promise to her deceased mother, I want to know what sort of promise would cart a girl out of the life she's built herself. The problem with the last two sentences is it puts the kebosh on any forward motion or rising stakes - Abby goes home. He dad doesn't want her there. AND THEN? only you don't go there, it sort of brakes.'

Inevitably, the long buried rift between father and daughter surfaces and together they must face the failures of their misspent relationship. Concerned about her father and the family business, confused about the relationship with Mitch that has become more than a fling, Abby must choose between Lake Forrest and the life she thought full until her return home brought doubts. Choosing to leave would jeopardize reconciliation with her father and sever ties with Mitch. If Abby stays, the life and career that define her are put on hold indefinitely.

I know 'inevitably' is meant as a transition, but it gives me the impression that stuff sort of happens and the word itself diffuses the energy and potential stakes you might have built in the first paragraph (but didn't). We just arrive at the rift surfacing. Again, you can cut it and get right to your next sentence. The family business is in danger. Here we get to the actual conflict: she came only because she promised her mother, and doesn't know if she should stay, and the family business is in danger (why does this matter?). I'd cut Mitch from the query only because it's a subplot that's taking up words in an already small space. He's part of the stakes, but we need to see more of Abby for this to work. If her relationship with her father sucks and she has a life she likes elsewhere, I don't understand why she doesn't just walk away from Lake Forrest after fulfilling a tenuous promise to a dead woman. I think you need to give us more of Abby's characterization for us to be invested in her choice.

The Potter’s Daughter, an 84,000 word mainstream novel, is a touching tale of a father and daughter, ordinary people distanced by loss, and the man she is falling in love with. Like many great stories it is about people you know, and will speak to anyone who has left home with issues unresolved. What makes this novel special is that it is one of few stories written about a father and his adult daughter and it reveals a candid portrait of family tradition, loyalty, love, and remembrance.

You can cut everything after the first sentence. It's telling. I don't want to be told about your book.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I have a completed manuscript prepared to send you and look forward to your request.

Kind Regards,
I hope this helps a bit. I know I'm kind of ruthless, but you have a lot of words that don't tell us much. We don't know what the life is that Abby walked away from to go home, and there's no reason for us to care if she stays or not. Find that and you might find your hook. Good luck! Mainstream is hard.
'The world is but canvas to our imaginations.' - Thoreau

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter

Post by danielsmi » February 19th, 2010, 9:43 pm

Thank you CC and Jessica for the feedback, your perspective pulled me out of my cave. Playing with revisions the last couple days, I now am trying a new angle. This query (as you can imagine) evolved from many. Mainstream hooks are tough. I was taking the advice (query shark #131) that a query must show choices and possible consequences of those choices. Abby does ditch her father to go back to her life in the city after trying to ease their relationship. Putting the possible consequences out just fluffs it up.

Also, the advice to drop the romance subplot from the query is insightful. I initially thought it necessary to show the secondary plot, I see now that too many characters in a query confuses the reader and waters it down.

I agree that the bit at the end telling about the story should be cut. That was a lift from some 'successful' query letters that I never felt comfortable with. Defining what makes this story special is challenging in that there simply are not a lot of father-daughter strained relationship stories as opposed to mother-duaghter stories (which there are a plethora). That it is a story of a father and his adult daughter is significance in itself (I know, I know, mainstream=yawn).

I will be posting a revision soon, so please stay tuned. Thank you so much for the feedback.

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 1

Post by danielsmi » February 23rd, 2010, 1:59 pm

Revision 1

OK - Thank you so much for the feedback. This is actually several revisions of a new take on the query. I have ditched the subplot of the romance with Mitch to alleviate confusion (though it is a rather big subplot) and focused on the main plot. Not sure how 'hookish' it is, but I think it is a rather direct synopsis of a mainstream novel. After two more rejections in the mail I want to be sure I get this right before I send out the next batch. Please have at it.

Dear Ms. Agent,

- Personalized intro paragraph -

Abby Bellen has reluctantly returned to Lake Forrest to tend to her estranged father, arrange for a caregiver, and plans to quickly return to the city. While home, Abby’s father, the family ceramic business, and Lake Forrest itself affect her in ways unintended. Bellen pottery has been coming out of Lake Forrest for generations and her late brother was the last potter in a long line. Abby had long ago resigned herself to a cordial, if strained, relationship with her father and leading the separate life she thought full before returning home. She contemplates holding off going back to the city and convincing her father to let her help with the family business. If Abby stays, her life and career are put on hold indefinitely, to leave as planned could mean an end to their relationship and to a family legacy.

The Potter’s Daughter is an 84,000 word mainstream novel, set in the small lakeside community of Abby’s past and in the city where anonymity allowed her to redefine herself. This touching tale of a father and his adult daughter, ordinary people distanced by loss, and their chance at reconciliation will appeal to fans of a strong female protagonist, romance, and will speak to anyone who has left home with issues unresolved.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I have a completed manuscript prepared to send you and look forward to your request.

Kind Regards,

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 1

Post by shadow » February 23rd, 2010, 3:47 pm

Here I go! Keep in mind that I didn't read your first version.

- Personalized intro paragraph -

Abby Bellen has reluctantly returned to Lake Forrest to tend to her estranged father, arrange for a caregiver, The last part seems sort of out of placeand plans to quickly return to the city. While home, Abby’s father, the family ceramic business, and Lake Forrest itself affect her in ways unintended. what ways?Bellen pottery has been coming out of Lake Forrest for generations and her late brother was the last potter in a long line. Abby had long ago resigned herself to a cordial, if strained, relationship with her father and leading the separate life she thought full before returning home. She contemplates holding off going back to the city and convincing her father to let her help with the family business. If Abby stays, her life and career are put on hold indefinitely, to leave as planned could mean an end to their relationship and to a family legacy.

The Potter’s Daughter is an 84,000 word mainstream novel, set in the small lakeside community of Abby’s past and in the city where anonymity allowed her to redefine herself. This touching tale of a father and his adult daughter, ordinary people distanced by loss, and their chance at reconciliation will appeal to fans of a strong female protagonist, romance, and will speak to anyone who has left home with issues unresolved.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I have a completed manuscript prepared to send you and look forward to your request.

Kind Regards,

I really like it! Good Luck!
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 1

Post by JustineDell » February 24th, 2010, 9:56 am

danielsmi wrote:Revision 1

Dear Ms. Agent,

- Personalized intro paragraph Check agent preference, some like this at the end or not at all. -

Abby Bellen has reluctantly returned to Lake Forrest to tend to her estranged father, why estranged? arrange for a caregiver, and plans to quickly return to the city. While home, Abby’s father, the family ceramic business, and Lake Forrest itself affect her in ways unintended How does it affect her? Show, don't tell. Bellen pottery has been coming out of Lake Forrest for generations and her late brother was the last potter in a long line. Abby had long ago resigned herself to a cordial, if strained, relationship with her father and leading the separate life she thought full before returning home. She contemplates holding off going back to the city and convincing her father to let her help with the family business. <--These two sentences are confusing. If Abby stays, her life and career are put on hold indefinitely, to leave as planned could mean an end to their relationship and to a family legacy. At this point, I know nothing about their relationship or family legacy, so I'm left without really caring. (Sorry!!)

This is one very long paragraph, you may want to break it up. There's no real hook here. Nothing that makes it different/special. What's the sub-genre? What's it about? It's very general, I don't see strong internal/external conflicts. I see Abby as the main character, but that's about it. She goes home to her father (whom she is estranged from and we don't know why - she's reluctant but goes anyways, and we don't know why). The trip homes 'affects' her, but we don't know why. Why does she stay at home once there? What keeps keeps her there? What challenges does she face while there? What's she have to overcome? What's the Hook?


The Potter’s Daughter is an 84,000 word mainstream (mainstream what? I think mainstream is too broad for your query. What is you sub-genre? Romance, thriller, mystery? novel (complete? say if it is) , set in the small lakeside community of Abby’s past and in the city where anonymity allowed her to redefine herself. This touching tale of a father and his adult daughter, ordinary people distanced by loss, and their chance at reconciliation will appeal to fans of a strong female protagonist, romance, and will speak to anyone who has left home with issues unresolved. <--Delete everything after word count and genre. The agent doesn't need to be told the theme or your book. They should be able to figure that out from the query.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I have a completed manuscript prepared to send you and look forward to your request. <--Delete All. They know it's complete (from the word count paragraph) so they know they can request a partail or full. Simply say: Thank you for taking the time to look over my query.

Kind Regards,
Your query is off to a decent start, but you really need to work on plugging in info that makes your story different/special and what the hook is. Right now, everything about your query is too generalized.

I hope I wasn't too harsh. Please feel free to throw a book at me.

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 1

Post by danielsmi » February 24th, 2010, 3:43 pm

Revision 2

Feedback is fun, but I have to say it is also conflicting. Still I am yet to get a positive note from an agent so if someone thinks there is a problem I must concur, after all I am not writing for myself anymore. So here is yet another approach with some info back in that was suggested to be removed prior then missed. I think the hook is getting better too, for mainstream fiction. On that note I would like to comment that this novel is mainstream fiction and not sub-genre. The novel is not a mystery, thriller, or romance (though there is a romance subplot) if anything it is literary-light. Believe it or not I like to read about ordinary people and the human condition and find authors like Milan Kundera and Niko Kazantzakis intriguing. So with that said, if you are looking for explosions, murders, who dun its, or terrorists you will not find them in this query, so please consider that when giving feedback. (one more thing, I am not a purist, my new project is a thriller that I think will probably sell long before this, but query we must with what we have)

Dear Ms. Agent,

A call from her cousin reluctantly returns art curator Abby Bellen to Lake Forrest and her artisan father Will, emotionally distanced from her since the death of her mother. Abby considers it her obligatory duty to put her Will’s life in order. Will resents her notion that he needs help and she resents him for favoring her brother while disregarding her and then declining into alcohol and self neglect after her brother’s death. Abby’s brother was Will’s protégé, the last potter in a long line producing Bellen pottery in Lake Forrest for generations. Even the unplanned whirlwind romance with a local is not enough to subdue her urge to leave.

Outside the bay window of their lake front home Abby cannot help but notice the shadowy silhouette of the weeping willow her mother planted on the shore before she died, haunting the horizon in the dim lit sky, and of her father speaking to the tree from the log bench below. Curious what Will is saying, she goes out to the snowy shore, to discover he is conversing about the colors of the sunrise. Having thought Will emotionally bankrupt, their interaction renews Abby’s compassion for him and leads her to believe their relationship can be redeemed. Abby contemplates convincing her father to let her work by his side in the studio. If Abby stays, her life and career are put on hold indefinitely, to leave could mean an end to their relationship and to the Bellen Studio where she worked and played as a child.

The Potter’s Daughter is an 84,000 word mainstream novel.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

Kind Regards,

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 1

Post by JustineDell » February 24th, 2010, 7:51 pm

danielsmi wrote:
Feedback is fun, but I have to say it is also conflicting.

I think the hook is getting better too, for mainstream fiction. On that note I would like to comment that this novel is mainstream fiction and not sub-genre. The novel is not a mystery, thriller, or romance (though there is a romance subplot) if anything it is literary-light. Believe it or not I like to read about ordinary people and the human condition and find authors like Milan Kundera and Niko Kazantzakis intriguing. So with that said, if you are looking for explosions, murders, who dun its, or terrorists you will not find them in this query, so please consider that when giving feedback.
*Ducks Head* Because I assume you are talking to me here. So sorry :-(

Of course there is conflicting feedback here. We all write different genres, and different things interest us. We want to know different things, we have learned different things, different things peak our inner reader. The point is to take what we tell you and use it to your advantage, if you deem it right for you.

With that being said, had I known this was literary fiction - I would have kept my greedy little fingers off of it. ;-)
It's waaaay out of my realm so I apologize for confusing you further.

Best of luck to you!
~JD

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 2

Post by danielsmi » February 24th, 2010, 8:45 pm

No need to duck JD, your feedback is more than welcome and I incorporated your input in the latest revision so please take a look. Regardless of genre, the query should be understandable and enticing enough for an agent to want to read more. I just mentioned the genre thing alleviate confusion though the query should have been clearer. Queries are hard and working in a cave is tough, it is refreshing to get feedback from all perspectives. (By the way - checked out your blog- good stuff.)

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 1

Post by Serzen » February 24th, 2010, 11:04 pm

Caveat as per usual: I'm only editing for sake of the English language, not for sake of marketability. By no means can I tell you that using my ideas will sell your book. Green for inline comments, red for edits and blue for totally re-written lines.
danielsmi wrote: A call from her cousin reluctantly returns art curator Abby Bellen to Lake Forrest and to her artisan father Will, from whom she has been emotionally distanced from her since the death of her mother. note 1 Abby considers it her obligatory 2 duty to put her Will’s father's life in order. Will resents her the notion that he needs help and she Abby resents him Will for favoring her brother while disregarding her and then declining as well as his decline into alcohol and self-neglect after her brother’s death. note 3 Abby’s brother {Son's Name} was Will’s his protégé, the last potter in a long line producing Bellen pottery in Lake Forrest for generations. Even the an unplanned whirlwind romance with a local is not enough to subdue her urge to leave. Note 4

Outside the bay window of their ?? 5 lake front home Abby cannot help but notice the shadowy silhouette of the weeping willow her mother planted on the shore before she died, haunting the horizon in the dim lit sky, and of her father speaking to the tree from the log bench below. Curious what Will is saying, she goes out to the snowy shore/,/ to and discovers he is conversing about the colors of the sunrise. Having thought Will her father emotionally bankrupt, their this interaction renews Abby’s compassion for him and leads her to believe their relationship can be redeemed. Abby contemplates convincing her father to let her work by his side in the his studio. If Abby stays, her life and career are will be put on hold indefinitely, but to leave could mean an end to their relationship and to the Bellen Studio where she worked and played as a child.
1 This sentence opens strangely to me. I can't quite put my finger on what I would do to fix it right this moment, though.
2 Duty implies obligation. It should either be "...her duty to..." or "...her obligation..." but I prefer 'duty'.
3 An awkward sentence, but I'm kind of tired to try and tease it out into straightness.
4 I don't quite get what connects these last two lines to the rest of the paragraph. More exposition on the son's role as the last potter? And/or drop the line about the romance; it's got nothing tying it to what else is happening atm.
5 Which their? Abby and her father are sharing a house? It's not clear. This whole sentence is long and becomes easily lost.

In general I think you have an interesting idea about redemption and reclamation, but dangling modifiers will be the death of you. Or me. BOB knows Mrs Serzen seems to thrive on them. You must always make it clear about whom you are speaking/writing or you won't get your point across. I've pointed out only some of the bits above that need clarification, there are others.

My best advice at this juncture is to work on bringing more clarity to your sentences; make sure we know what you're on about. If a casual reader like myself on the forums can't follow who's whom, a critical reader like an agent will be even harder pressed.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 2

Post by GeeGee55 » February 25th, 2010, 12:12 am

I wonder if you have tried this? It's what Nathan suggests on his blog page: And I mean actually take the information from your novel and plug it into this formula. I think the story sounds interesting, but the query needs to be tightened. I think doing this as an exercise might help clarify the story for you. Good luck with it.

Dear [Agent name],

I chose to submit to you because of your wonderful taste in [genre], and because you [personalized tidbit about agent].

[protagonist name]Abbey Bellen is a some interesting profession not related to pottery [description of protagonist] living happily in some interesting city[setting]. But when her estranged father falls ill[complicating incident], [protagonist name] Abbey must [protagonist's quest](?) and [verb] [villain] in order to [protagonist's goal].

[title] is a [word count] work of [genre]. I am the author of [author's credits (optional)], and this is my first novel.

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

Best wishes,
[your name]

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 2

Post by danielsmi » February 25th, 2010, 12:08 pm

GeeGee55 - Great suggestion, and yes I have played with that exercise. Ironically the query started short and sweet with;

Abby Bellen is an art curator at one of the world’s premier museums and has a happy full life in the city. But when her cousin calls tell her that her father Will needs help Abby must reluctantly return to Lake Forrest to fulfill the promise to her mother to look after the man whom emotionally distanced himself from her after the her mother’s death.

and was critiqued into the evolution of the query revisions posted. I would like to think premise itself is enough of a hook, apparently no one has been lured by it. I have added the romance part of the novel, the contention of being forced to go home and wanting to leave only to find that there was something at home worth staying for, among other plot points. No joy yet though :(

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 3

Post by danielsmi » February 25th, 2010, 12:13 pm

Revision 3

Dear Ms. Agent,

Abby Bellen is an art curator at one of the world’s premier museums and has a happy full life in the city. But when her cousin calls tell her that her father Will needs help Abby must reluctantly return to Lake Forrest to fulfill the promise to her mother to look after the man whom emotionally distanced himself from her after the her mother’s death. Will resents the notion that he needs help and Abby resents Will for favoring her brother while disregarding her and is disgusted at his decline into alcohol and self-neglect since her brother’s death. Michael was his protégé, the last potter in a long line producing Bellen pottery in Lake Forrest, a point her father made all to clear at Michael’s funeral. Drinking wine and denying the years have crept up on him, Will laments in his studio oblivious to the emotional strain he has cast on Abby over the years.

Looking out the window of her family home Abby cannot help but notice the shadowy silhouette of the weeping willow her mother planted before she died, haunting the horizon in the dim lit sky, and of her father speaking to the tree from the log bench below. Curious what Will is saying, she goes out to the snowy shore, and discovers he is conversing with the tree about the colors of the approaching sunrise. Having thought her father emotionally bankrupt, this interaction renews Abby’s compassion for him and leads her to believe their relationship can be redeemed. Abby contemplates convincing her father to let her work by his side in the family studio. If Abby stays, her life and career will be put on hold indefinitely, to leave could mean an end to their relationship and to the Bellen Studio where she worked and played as a child.

The Potter’s Daughter is an 84,000 word mainstream novel.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

Kind Regards,

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Re: Query Critique - The Potter's Daughter - Revision 3

Post by CoachMT » February 25th, 2010, 1:00 pm

danielsmi wrote:Revision 3

Dear Ms. Agent,

Abby Bellen is an art curator at one of the world’s premier museums and has a happy full life in the city. But when her cousin calls tell her that her father Will needs help Abby must reluctantly return to Lake Forrest to fulfill the promise to her mother to look after the man whom emotionally distanced himself from her after the her mother’s death. Very long sentence that's hard to follow. Maybe: But when she receives a call that her father Will, needs help, Abby must reluctantly return to Lake Forrest. Her promise to her dying mother to look after the man, who's become increasingly distant, has come back to haunt her. Will resents the notion that he needs help and Abby resents Will for favoring her brother while disregarding her, and is disgusted at his decline into alcohol and self-neglect since her brother’s death. Michael was his protégé, the last potter in a long line producing Bellen pottery in Lake Forrest, a point her father made all too clear at Michael’s funeral. Drinking wine and denying the years have crept up on him, Will laments in his studio, oblivious to the emotional strain he has cast on Abby over the years.

Looking out the window of her family home Abby cannot help but notice the shadowy silhouette of the weeping willow her mother planted before she died, haunting the horizon in the dim lit sky, and of her father speaking to the tree from the log bench below. Curious what Will is saying, she goes out to the snowy shore, and discovers he is conversing with the tree about the colors of the approaching sunrise. Having thought her father emotionally bankrupt, this interaction renews Abby’s compassion for him and leads her to believe their relationship can be redeemed. Abby contemplates convincing her father to let her work by his side in the family studio. If Abby stays, her life and career will be put on hold indefinitely, but leaving could mean an end to their relationship and to the Bellen Studio where she worked and played as a child.

The Potter’s Daughter is an 84,000 word mainstream novel.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

Kind Regards,
Looking much better from the earlier versions! Keep it up!

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