Query critique 9/24/20

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Nathan Bransford
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Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY

Query critique 9/24/20

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 21st, 2020, 11:11 am

Want to see how your editing approach compares to mine?

Below is the query up for critique on the blog on Thursday. Feel free to chime in with comments, create your own redline (please note the "font colour" button above the posting box, which looks like a drop of ink), and otherwise offer feedback. When offering your feedback, please please remember to be polite and constructive. In order to leave a comment you will need to register an account in the Forums, which should be self-explanatory.

I'll be back with my own post on the blog and we'll literally be able to compare notes.

If you'd like to enter a query for a future Query Critique, please do so here.

Dear [Agent],
I am currently seeking representation for my novel, A MILLION WAYS TO MEASURE NORMAL. Given your interest in memoir, I thought it might be a good fit for your list.
Before 1990, the term "mental retardation" was used to describe individuals diagnosed with low IQ, but it has since been replaced with the phrase, "intellectual disability." There are currently over seven million children in the United States diagnosed with this condition. Nothing can prepare a parent for the emotions that come with raising a special needs child.
At approximately 84,000 words, A MILLION WAYS TO MEASURE NORMAL is a story of denial and acceptance. The year was 1988 when a doctor told us our four-year-old daughter was profoundly retarded and would never grow up to live a normal, independent life. I grappled with this life sentence, went through stages of anger, denial, grief, and finally acceptance. Throughout our journey, my stubborn resistance and determination helped our daughter achieve much more than the doctor originally predicted. Along the way, I learned the lessons of unconditional love. In 2011, at the age of twenty-eight, our daughter moved into a group home.
This story would appeal to adult women, mothers, and parents of children with disabilities. One reader has compared the novel’s themes to that of Magdalena Newman's NORMAL: A MOTHER AND HER BEAUTIFUL SON. and I think it will find an audience in readers of that novel as well as novels by Tara Westover or Jeannette Wells—writers who use domestic settings to illuminate universal themes.
An excerpt of this memoir was published by Levitate Magazine, Issue No. 3 (2019). My short stories have appeared in Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, '45 Magazine Women’s Literary Journal, Flash Fiction Friday, A Story in 100 words, and Spillwords, Strength To Be Human (Podcast, Episode 96: An Interview with Catherine Shields): “My Phantom Ovaries”. This short story remains in the top ten reads of the international online journal Ariel Chart and was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize for Fiction by that same publication. I am a member of the Florida Writers Association and a retired educator with an M.S. Ed in Reading. I currently reside in Miami, Florida where I live with my husband.
Included below are the first twenty-five pages of the manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

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