NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Joined: July 9th, 2020, 9:54 pm

Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by CVCort » July 9th, 2020, 11:57 pm

Query: When Happily Ever After Fails

Dear Agent:
Abigail Gardner was the kind of person who could feel alone in a crowded room. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it – because said tree’s parents were dead and twentysomething friends can only provide so much support – does it still make a sound?
Tired of feeling sorry for herself and trying her hand once more at teaching, a skill that came easy for her father, Abigail sets out to rewrite the rules on endings. Tragic endings, to be exact. Motivated by an assigned reading list full of death and destruction and strong-armed by her prep school’s headmistress into helping the drama club, Abigail begins to realize that tragedies don’t have to stay that way.
But can revising a few sad endings really prevent her fifth and sixth graders from experiencing such negative themes so early on? More importantly, can her exercise in revisionist history help her write her own happy ending, or was her fate doomed from the start?
When Happily Ever After Fails is a 94,000-word women’s fiction novel with series potential. It is available, in part or in full, upon request.
I am a full-time freelance writer who contributes to print magazines, online publications and broadcast segments. I hold Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and sociology from UC Irvine, and a Master of Arts in journalism from USC. I also spent a semester studying British literature at Cambridge University (Pembroke). Like Abigail, I know what it’s like to go through life as an only child with two deceased parents, a theme I have previously explored in Chicken Soup for the Soul.
I thank you for your time and consideration.

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Joined: July 11th, 2020, 5:40 pm

Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by BrendaHaas » July 11th, 2020, 5:49 pm

Dear Agent,

After reading your #MSWL listing and noting your interest in unique settings, I am submitting sample pages of SUTTON’S CHOICE, a contemporary women’s fiction. Complete at approximately 80,000 words, the story explores the ties binding us to our roots.

When Charlotte Sutton’s estranged father, a retired baseball player and prize-winning author, is thought to have early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the 28-year-old writer returns to her hometown of Lakeside, Ohio, to face her past and the Lake Erie life from which she fled 10 years prior.

Since her hasty departure from the vintage, waterfront community of ivy-covered cottages with unlocked doors, Charlotte has snagged a city job and mostly—barely—stepped out from behind Chuck Sutton’s shadow. Still, she struggles to bury memories of her parents’ pre-divorce brawls, the chatter of small-town gossips, and the “Three strikes, you’re out!” with every bat, ball, and glove the charismatic patriarch of the family thrust into her hands when she was a child. Upon her homecoming for the first time since her high school graduation—one of many life events Chuck did not attend—Charlotte is greeted by a teenage half-sibling she didn’t know she had and a father who has lost all but a glimmer of his former swagger. The family newspaper is failing as quickly as its editor’s health. Charlotte must decide to embrace the Sutton legacy or leave for good, as she comes to understand Chuck’s life choices and her own misconceptions about what it means to plant family roots in small-town Ohio.

I am a past reporter and columnist for Penn Franklin News Publishing Company (a Pittsburgh press). My writing has also appeared in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Beacon newspapers, in addition to Leisure Living Magazine and My Outer Banks Home magazine. Now living in Lakeside (a real Chautauqua community attracting hundreds of thousands of annual vacationers), I run a writing program at the library, am a member of a critique group, and maintain a writing advocacy website with blog at

Thank you very much for considering my manuscript, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Brenda Haas

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Joined: July 15th, 2020, 12:44 pm

Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by LeaSloan » July 15th, 2020, 12:57 pm

Dear (Name of Agent),

I am seeking representation for my middle-grade fantasy-adventure with a climate theme: THE POLAR BEAR KING. It’s a story with heart and humor that will appeal to kids who love science, magic, adventure and animals, and I hope to you too.

Siblings Pan and Tari are swept into a mission: to save the Polar Bear King. Called upon by their friend and adventure partner, Jasper the invisible purple dog, they magically rocket to the Arctic. The King has set out to find new lands for his animal subjects as the changing climate threatens their way of life. They must find him and persuade him to return, before he drowns or the native hunters find him, and the kingdom loses its beloved leader.

Pan’s a skeptic. How could he help save the King? He can’t even make his parents proud of him. But his sister Tari leaps at every hurdle, sometimes rashly. She’s passionate about saving the animals. Pan thinks the Inuit need to help determine the outcome. Jasper wants to be a worthy mentor and earn his Wizard robe.

They confront escalating challenges. They find a magical muskox horn and call together a quirky animal team. They have to negotiate with the local fishermen but earn the friendship and help of the Inuit Captain’s son, a boy their age. Woven through the story are legends told by the Inuits and the animals that shed light on solving problems they face and using the mystical tools that come their way.

The book is planned as the first of a fantasy-adventure series for kids in the context of a changing climate. My expertise in those areas was enhanced by a decade as head of communications at (--), promoting kids programming that included addressing difficult issues in an entertaining way, and since then with a national environmental nonprofit (---) . I also serve as a volunteer with (---) on their national Forests and Climate Team.

The completed manuscript, 57,800 words, is available upon request. Thank you for considering it.

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