Query: Thicker Than Water

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casnow
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Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by casnow » February 20th, 2010, 12:40 pm

Dear ---,

When a manipulative caregiver burrows her way into Don Williams’ life and sets her sights on stealing his fortunes, his sons will stop at nothing to get her out of his life and protect the family business.

The only solace that Don Williams finds in recovery after he suddenly falls ill is the companionship offered by nursing assistant Marsha Dent. She listens to his stories, takes care of all his needs, and gives him the strength to carry on. When Don decides to return home, he hires her to be his live-in caregiver against his sons’ wishes. She poisons his failing mind against his sons and is willing to do anything to get his money.

Robert Williams wanted to grow up to be exactly like his father, which makes it unbearable when he discovers that Marsha is robbing his father blind and trying to convince him to marry her. When his father denies the problems and turns on his son, Robert knows he has to get Marsha out of his father’s life, and will stop at nothing to do it.

During the middle of his campaign for the US Senate, David Williams finds the world around him spiraling out of control. With his father falling farther into Marsha’s trap, and his brother consumed by rage and set on killing Marsha, David struggles to keep his family and their business from collapsing. Unfortunately, he’s too late.

Complete at 60,000 words, Thicker Than Water is a [what the hell is my genre???] that focuses on the vulnerability that comes with advanced age. I have authored several academic articles for scholarly journals, field guides, and academic publications, but this would be my first fictional publication. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,

me

Any thoughts on if I should keep the opening sentence? Also, I can't figure out what Genre to label this as. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!

Lunetta22
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by Lunetta22 » February 20th, 2010, 12:50 pm

I think that you need to focus on the main character. Who is driving the story? Is it Don, David, or William? It sounds to me like it is probably mainstream or literary fiction. I don't think it is necessary to mention that this is your first novel.

Good luck with this!

casnow
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by casnow » February 20th, 2010, 12:56 pm

Thanks Lunetta - the story alternates between 4 points of view, the two brothers (one consumed with rage, the other trying to be the voice of reason), the father (to show his loneliness and feeling of helplessness), and the caregiver (to show the terrible things she's doing, but to show that she feels guilty and disgusted by what she's doing). So I figured I'd give them all a little face time in the query (hard task for 250 words).

I was thinking mainstream fiction... I personally don't think I'm cerebral enough for lit fic.

GeeGee55
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by GeeGee55 » February 20th, 2010, 1:30 pm

When a manipulative caregiver burrows her way into Don Williams’ life and sets her sights on stealing his fortunes, his sons will stop at nothing to get her out of his life and protect the family business. (This is not a bad sentence, but from reading it I think the book will be about the son's efforts to get rid of their dad's caregiver, then in the next paragraph you jump into Don's Pov. So it doesn't flow really well and I think that's the problem with the multiple POV in such a short piece)

After he suddenly falls ill and is hospitalized, the only solace that former CEO? Don Williams finds in recovery ( he is not going to recover fully is he, that's why he needs a nurse. And that's hard to accept yes?) is the companionship offered by nursing assistant Marsha Dent. She listens to his stories, takes care of all his needs, and gives him the strength to carry on. When Don decides against the doctors' advice? to return home, he hires her to be his live-in caregiver.

His youngest son, Robert,argues that Marsha is taking advantage of him, that she only cares about his money. But, Don is sure Marsha has come to love him as he loves her.

His eldest son, David,in the middle of his campaign for the US Senate, attempts to maintain peace between Don and Robert, after all there is the family business at stake. What is the family business?

Complete at 60,000 words, Thicker Than Water is a [what the hell is my genre???] that focuses on the vulnerability that comes with advanced age. I have authored several academic articles for scholarly journals, field guides, and academic publications, but this is my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,

me

I just played with the words/sentences a bit, which is something I enjoy doing. Mostly, I was just trying to keep the story line while improving the flow. I think if you want the multiple POV (and I struggle with the same thing in my query) then you have to have a similar structure for all the paragraphs. I like the title. No clue about the genre, sorry.

bcomet
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by bcomet » February 20th, 2010, 2:49 pm

casnow wrote:Dear ---,

When a manipulative caregiver burrows her way into Don Williams’ life and sets her sights on stealing his fortunes, his sons will stop at nothing to get her out of his life and protect the family business.

The only solace that Don Williams finds in recovery after he suddenly falls ill is the companionship offered by nursing assistant Marsha Dent. She listens to his stories, takes care of all his needs, and gives him the strength to carry on. When Don decides to return home, he hires her to be his live-in caregiver against his sons’ wishes. She poisons his failing mind against his sons and is willing to do anything to get his money.

Robert Williams wanted to grow up to be exactly like his father, which makes it unbearable when he discovers that Marsha is robbing his father blind and trying to convince him to marry her. When his father denies the problems and turns on his son, Robert knows he has to get Marsha out of his father’s life, and will stop at nothing to do it.

During the middle of his campaign for the US Senate, David Williams finds the world around him spiraling out of control. With his father falling farther into Marsha’s trap, and his brother consumed by rage and set on killing Marsha, David struggles to keep his family and their business from collapsing. Unfortunately, he’s too late.

Sounds like a good story. Lots of tension. I wonder if the query letter could be better organized.
You might try it on differently to see if it works by beginning by introducing the characters and their connections in the first paragraph:


First Paragraph: David Williams, a (insert adjective profession, i.e. successful lawyer, ambitious politician, etc.) is in the middle of his campaign for the US Senate; His brother, Robert Williams, (insert adjective and profession or activity) (connect his relationship to David). Their father, name, is a retired (adjective + thing he is known for, i.e. wealthy cotton baron, etc.) (and connection of the sons to the father's fortune...is it supporting the political campaign, does the second son run the retired father's business,etc?).

Second paragraph: what happens (Dad has accident/sons too busy to give him solace, whatever), i.e. the set up for his becoming vulnerable to the money grubbing aid ( introduction of the antagonist).

Third paragraph: Now the sons take notice and get into the drama paragraph and what the stakes are.


THICKER THAN WATER (all caps title) is a Psychological Thriller ?? complete at 60,000 words. that focuses on the vulnerability that comes with advanced age.

I have authored]My publishing credits include several: name them specifically unless self-published. academic articles for scholarly journals, field guides, and academic publications, but this would be my first fictional publication.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,

me

Any thoughts on if I should keep the opening sentence? Also, I can't figure out what Genre to label this as. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!
I think you may want to try several variations on the organization of the query letter and mix it up until you find one that best represents your novel. My suggestions, above, are just suggestions and I hope helpful. It can be very challenging when you have a number of connected and equally weighted protagonists.

jessicatudor
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by jessicatudor » February 21st, 2010, 2:58 pm

This might not be the place to talk about it, but giving a character a point-of-view suggests that each has an arc. (Or in the case of the antagonist, we see how s'he fails to arc, usually.) If you've put them in just to round it out, your query might be diluted because your book is. We need someone to root for, and what s/he is up against, and why it matters.
'The world is but canvas to our imaginations.' - Thoreau

casnow
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by casnow » February 21st, 2010, 3:34 pm

Jessica, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "arc"? However, those 4 characters each have about 1/4th of the novel that is told through their perspective, and none of the key things that those characters do could be perceived through anyone else's point of view without crazy amounts of head hopping. I personally don't think it (the novel) is diluted, but then again, I was the one that wrote it.

KaylingR
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by KaylingR » February 21st, 2010, 5:27 pm

Casnow- Congratulations on writing your first novel! :)

If you can pull off 4 POV that is a literary feat and I think its important you realize you are doing something difficult and radical. Barbara Kingsolver did this succesfully in "The Poisonwood Bible," but that's the only book like that I can think of. I didn't know that's what you were trying to do from your query and the danger is that it reads like like the story lacks focus and dramatic structure.

An arc is a beginning, middle, and end. It's how a character changes through the events of the novel. Your protagonist's arc should essentially be the story of your book. Other characters can have an arc, but they shouldn't obscure the underlying structure of the novel- it's spine.

Which character's story is most critical to the story? Who has to make the biggest choices? Who has the most on the line? Who will most never be the same again? That's your protagonist and the query needs to be their story.

Hope something here helps. :)

-K.

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Holly
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by Holly » February 21st, 2010, 8:50 pm

casnow wrote:Thanks Lunetta - the story alternates between 4 points of view, the two brothers (one consumed with rage, the other trying to be the voice of reason), the father (to show his loneliness and feeling of helplessness), and the caregiver (to show the terrible things she's doing, but to show that she feels guilty and disgusted by what she's doing). So I figured I'd give them all a little face time in the query (hard task for 250 words).

I was thinking mainstream fiction... I personally don't think I'm cerebral enough for lit fic.
Just a quick note to say your novel looks really interesting.

My novel has several POVs, but I am only covering one in the query. I have three storylines, one main and two subplots, and switch the POV. It's beyond my skill level to cover it all in the letter. It will all show up in the synopsis anyway.

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Ryan
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Re: Query: Thicker Than Water

Post by Ryan » February 22nd, 2010, 12:35 pm

casnow wrote:Dear ---,

When a manipulative caregiver burrows her way into Don Williams’ life and sets her sights on stealing his fortunes, his sons will stop at nothing to get her out of his life and protect the family business. I feel like this first paragraph can be combined somehow with the second. Not really sure how though. Maybe something like....Marsha Dent, a caregiver, burrows (love the use of this word here!) her way into Don Williams life and sets her sights on stealing his fortunes. She listens to his stories, takes cares of his needs, gives him the strength to carry on, and poisons his mind against his sons.

The only solace that Don Williams finds in recovery after he suddenly falls ill is the companionship offered by nursing assistant Marsha Dent. She listens to his stories, takes care of all his needs, and gives him the strength to carry on. When Don decides to return home, he hires her to be his live-in caregiver against his sons’ wishes. She poisons his failing mind against his sons and is willing to do anything to get his money.

Robert Williams wanted to grow up to be exactly like his father, which makes it unbearable when he discovers that Marsha is robbing his father blind and trying to convince him to marry her. When his father denies the problems and turns on his son, Robert knows he has to get Marsha out of his father’s life, and will stop at nothing to do it. This paragraph about Robert feels sudden. I think some type of transition is needed from a preceding paragraph like "One person stands in her way.....and that person is ....Robert Williams..." I'd give him a bit of real action to show how he's trying to stop her.

During the middle of his campaign for the US Senate, David Williams finds the world around him spiraling out of control. With his father falling farther into Marsha’s trap, and his brother consumed by rage and set on killing Marsha, David struggles to keep his family and their business from collapsing. Unfortunately, he’s too late. Another brother to contend with....Hmmmm. Again I think a transition is needed here. Maybe the two brother paragraphs have to be combined into some kind of synopsis of what 'they' are doing to stop Marsha and the different ways they are going about it.

Complete at 60,000 words, Thicker Than Water is a [what the hell is my genre???] that focuses on the vulnerability that comes with advanced age. I have authored several academic articles for scholarly journals, field guides, and academic publications, but this would be my first fictional publication. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I'd detail a couple of your accomplishments here (name of journal, name of article, etc)


Sincerely,

me

Any thoughts on if I should keep the opening sentence? Also, I can't figure out what Genre to label this as. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!

Just some quick thoughts. Sounds like sort of a thriller to me. Congrats on finishing this by the way. You know Thicker Than Water is a surf flic. One of my favorites. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQCFt3mkrZ0 Good luck. Bang your head (on a pillow of course) and revise.....

Cheers

Ryan
My love of fly fishing and surfing connects me to rivers and the ocean. Time with water reminds me to pursue those silly little streams of thought that run rampant in my head.
http://www.withoutrain.com/

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