"View From The Edge of the World" Query

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Seadhlinn
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"View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Seadhlinn » February 2nd, 2010, 10:53 pm

I've gotten a few form rejection letters so far, and I'm trying to figure out if it's the story, my writing.... or the query letter.
Feel free to rip into the letter-- I see this as a very "technical" bit of writing, and will not take anything personally! Also, since English isn't my first language, please point out my grammar failures.
Thanks in advance for the help =)
***
Dear Awesome Agent,

I am seeking representation for my first novel, A VIEW FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a 80,000 work of fiction, where multiple generations of a Nova Scotian family struggle to balance tradition, responsibility, and their own happiness.

Hemmed in by the scant opportunities and restrictive expectations of Miller's Bay, Nova Scotia Rose, ROSE MACRAE flees to the United States to start over. Cushioned by distance and protective of her pride, she deliberately cuts all ties to her former home, even if it means leaving her young nephew BLÀIR MACISAAC to cope with his father’s death, or leaving ALASDAIR MACKINNON, without his childhood mentor.

Over twenty years, Alasdair builds himself a career as a musician and plans to use his spotless reputation to market himself and the economically dying town of Miller’s Bay, even if that means hiding his lover HAMISH and risking his own safety to cover up everyone else’s problems as well. The delicate façade falls to pieces when Rose’s son NICK JONES, flees to Miller’s Bay after his bipolar best friend commits suicide. But the fallout from Alasdair’s meddling and Blàir’s emotional instability will force the characters to depend on each other, even if that means revealing their darkest secrets or giving up their most cherished loves, goals, and illusions of themselves.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by lexcade » February 2nd, 2010, 11:46 pm

Seadhlinn wrote:I've gotten a few form rejection letters so far, and I'm trying to figure out if it's the story, my writing.... or the query letter.
Feel free to rip into the letter-- I see this as a very "technical" bit of writing, and will not take anything personally! Also, since English isn't my first language, please point out my grammar failures.
Thanks in advance for the help =)
***
Dear Awesome Agent,

I am seeking representation for my first novel, A VIEW FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a 80,000 work of fiction, where multiple generations of a Nova Scotian family struggle to balance tradition, responsibility, and their own happiness.

Hemmed in by the scant opportunities and restrictive expectations of Miller's Bay, Nova Scotia Rose, ROSE MACRAE flees to the United States to start over. Cushioned by distance and protective of her pride, she deliberately cuts all ties to her former home, even if it means leaving her young nephew BLÀIR MACISAAC to cope with his father’s death, or leaving ALASDAIR MACKINNON, without his childhood mentor.

Over twenty years, Alasdair builds himself a career as a musician and plans to use his spotless reputation to market himself and the economically dying town of Miller’s Bay, even if that means hiding his lover HAMISH and risking his own safety to cover up everyone else’s problems as well. The delicate façade falls to pieces when Rose’s son NICK JONES, flees to Miller’s Bay after his bipolar best friend commits suicide. But the fallout from Alasdair’s meddling and Blàir’s emotional instability will force the characters to depend on each other, even if that means revealing their darkest secrets or giving up their most cherished loves, goals, and illusions of themselves.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
First off, your grammar is quite good for English not being your primary language. Like Kaye said, your query is polished.

Second off, I agree that there are too many names. The story seems to be primarily focused around Alasdair (love that name!) and Blair. You could incorporate Rose's abandonment without even mentioning her by name. I'd also like to know more about Alasdair's story, and about the town dynamic. Why does he need to hide Hamish?

Honestly, that second paragraph is a little confusing. I don't know what Nick has to do with anything. I just know that Blair's on his own having to deal with his dad's death and Alasdair is without his mentor. There's nothing to tie Nick in apart from his being Rose's son. That's it. Again, since Alasdair seems to be the central focus, you should focus on how these events affect HIM, rather than giving us all these names and seemingly unrelated (though we know they're connected) events. I think the major flaw in your query is that there's just sooooooooo much included in that second paragraph that we lose a grip on what your story is actually about.

Hope this helps!
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

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Seadhlinn
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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Seadhlinn » February 3rd, 2010, 1:11 am

Thanks for the feedback!

Part of my issue with this query is that there are several major viewpoint characters. However, I will make an effort to explain their importance, and make that second paragraph less confusing.

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by TheShadow » February 3rd, 2010, 7:10 am

Hi Seadhlinn! Glad to return the favor =)
Seadhlinn wrote:I've gotten a few form rejection letters so far, and I'm trying to figure out if it's the story, my writing.... or the query letter.
Feel free to rip into the letter-- I see this as a very "technical" bit of writing, and will not take anything personally! Also, since English isn't my first language, please point out my grammar failures.
Thanks in advance for the help =)
***
Dear Awesome Agent,

I am seeking representation for my first novel, A VIEW FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a 80,000 work of fiction, where multiple generations of a Nova Scotian family struggle to balance tradition, responsibility, and their own happiness.

Hemmed in by the scant opportunities and restrictive expectations of Miller's Bay, Nova Scotia Roseis this her nickname? a nickname for the place? or is rose not supposed to be in there?, ROSE MACRAEnames don't need to be in all caps flees to the United States to start over. Cushioned by distance and protective of her pride, she deliberately cuts all ties to her former home, even if it means leaving her young nephew BLÀIR MACISAAC to cope with his father’s death, or leaving ALASDAIR MACKINNON, without his childhood mentor.This is a lot of name dropping... I'm not even sure who Alasdair is. Rose is/was Alasdair's mentor?

Over twenty years, Alasdair builds himself a career as a musician and plans to use his spotless reputation to market himself and the economically dying town of Miller’s Bay, even if that means hiding his lover HAMISHwhy is he hiding her? and risking his own safety to cover up everyone else’s problems as well. The delicate façadewhat facade?? What is going on? falls to pieces when Rose’s son NICK JONES, flees to Miller’s Bay after his bipolar best friend commits suicideMaybe just say when Nick returns to Miller's Bay, this seems like unneeded info. But the fallout from Alasdair’s meddling and Blàir’s emotional instability will force the characters to depend on each other, even if that means revealing their darkest secrets or giving up their most cherished loves, goals, and illusions of themselves.The end gets way too confusing. I can't say I know what going on as I reread it, and having to reread is a bad thing. Nick shows up, I assume these three characters together are the focus at the end here, but its so ambiguous. There's some meddling into something that I'm confused over. I'm Guessing that Alasdair is cleaning up for these two characters(Nick and Blair). What are they doing? What are these dark secrets?

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
I need more clarity at the end, and looking at it with my Agent-Goggles(TM) on, I am dying for more conflict. Whats at stake, their friendship? Alasdair's success? I think I get what you are going for, but it took way to much thinking.

Hope this helps.
What dark dreams lay in dormant minds?

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Tycoon » February 3rd, 2010, 8:26 am

I am quoteing shadows quote to further highlight somethings... shadows quotes will remain in red...mine with be in blue!


TheShadow wrote:Hi Seadhlinn! Glad to return the favor =)
Seadhlinn wrote:I've gotten a few form rejection letters so far, and I'm trying to figure out if it's the story, my writing.... or the query letter.
Feel free to rip into the letter-- I see this as a very "technical" bit of writing, and will not take anything personally! Also, since English isn't my first language, please point out my grammar failures.
Thanks in advance for the help =)
***
Dear Awesome Agent,

Hemmed in by the scant opportunities and restrictive expectations of Miller's Bay, Nova Scotia Roseis this her nickname? a nickname for the place? or is rose not supposed to be in there?, ROSE MACRAEnames don't need to be in all caps flees to the United States to start over. Cushioned by distance and protective of her pride, she deliberately cuts all ties to her former home, even if it means leaving her young nephew BLÀIR MACISAAC to cope with his father’s death, or leaving ALASDAIR MACKINNON, without his childhood mentor.This is a lot of name dropping... I'm not even sure who Alasdair is. Rose is/was Alasdair's mentor?

Over twenty years, Alasdair builds himself a career as a musician and plans to use his spotless reputation to market himself and the economically dying town of Miller’s Bay, even if that means hiding his lover HAMISHwhy is he hiding her? and risking his own safety to cover up everyone else’s problems as well. The delicate façadewhat facade?? What is going on? falls to pieces when Rose’s son NICK JONES, flees to Miller’s Bay after his bipolar best friend commits suicideMaybe just say when Nick returns to Miller's Bay, this seems like unneeded info. But the fallout from Alasdair’s meddling and Blàir’s emotional instability will force the characters to depend on each other, even if that means revealing their darkest secrets or giving up their most cherished loves, goals, and illusions of themselves.The end gets way too confusing. I can't say I know what going on as I reread it, and having to reread is a bad thing. Nick shows up, I assume these three characters together are the focus at the end here, but its so ambiguous. There's some meddling into something that I'm confused over. I'm Guessing that Alasdair is cleaning up for these two characters(Nick and Blair). What are they doing? What are these dark secrets?

I am seeking representationfor My first novel, A VIEW FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, is a 80,000 work of (you need to list the genre here) fiction, where multiple generations of a set within Nova Scotia. family struggle to balance tradition, responsibility, and their own happiness.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
I need more clarity at the end, and looking at it with my Agent-Goggles(TM) on, I am dying for more conflict. Whats at stake, their friendship? Alasdair's success? I think I get what you are going for, but it took way to much thinking.

Hope this helps.

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 3rd, 2010, 12:37 pm

Hi Seadhlinn,

Thanks for your comments on my query. Let me return the favor!

Dear Awesome Agent,

I am seeking representation for my first novel, A VIEW FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a 80,000 work of fiction, where multiple generations of a Nova Scotian family struggle to balance tradition, responsibility, and their own happiness.

Comment: While some agents like a specific request for representation, others say, “Waste of words! Query says it all!” Check the agents website if they have a preference.

When I read this second half of this sentence, the only thing that sticks is “Nova Scotian family”. The rest is too general to make any impact. Pick one or two specific things to say about this family. Something to grab the agent.

Hemmed in by the scant opportunities and restrictive expectations of Miller's Bay, Nova Scotia Rose, ROSE MACRAE flees to the United States to start over. Cushioned by distance and protective of her pride, she deliberately cuts all ties to her former home, even if it means leaving her young nephew BLÀIR MACISAAC to cope with his father’s death, or leaving ALASDAIR MACKINNON, without his childhood mentor.

Comment: For someone for whom English is not their first language, you’re doing great. But phrases like “scant opportunities” and “restrictive expectations” are too general to be interesting.

How about: Unable to work as a lounge singer and beaten by her father for her low-cut stage dresses, Rose Macrae flees to the United States.

Now that’s not your story, but I hope it illustrates my point.

“Cushioned by distance” and “protective of her pride” – same problem, too general. Spice it up!

“cuts all ties” – Does she burn her letters, refuse to pick up the phone? – give us details, because details are your tools for showing how your story is not like anyone else’s.

Now we get to the two people she left behind. One is her nephew and one is someone she mentored. Illustrate her pain of being separated from them. How long did she mentor Alasdair? Did her nephew live close to her? Was her nephew’s father Rose’s brother?


Over twenty years, Alasdair builds himself a career as a musician and plans to use his spotless reputation to market himself and the economically dying town of Miller’s Bay, even if that means hiding his lover HAMISH and risking his own safety to cover up everyone else’s problems as well. The delicate façade falls to pieces when Rose’s son NICK JONES, flees to Miller’s Bay after his bipolar best friend commits suicide. But the fallout from Alasdair’s meddling and Blàir’s emotional instability will force the characters to depend on each other, even if that means revealing their darkest secrets or giving up their most cherished loves, goals, and illusions of themselves.

Whoa! Funny how the first part is too general and this second part flings out so many details, I can’t catch them all! Let’s slow things down a bit.

Question: How much time has passed since Rose leaves and Alasdair is set to launch his musical career? For some reason, my first impression was that Rose is young. Then I see she has a teenage, or older, son. I’m asking because the transition between the second and third paragraphs needs work.

Suggestion: Since Rose left twenty years ago, Alasdair has become a respected musician in economically distraught Miller’s Bay. Determined to advance his career and keep his reputation spotless, Alasdair hides his love for Hammish, (insert something about Hammish, perhaps his job or relationship to another character or strong personality trait).

Note: The “risking his own safety to cover up everyone else’s problems” sounds intriguing, but again, it’s too general which weakens the query.

Suggestion: Alasdair’s façade falls to pieces when Rose’s son Nick arrives. Mentally unstable and distraught over his best friend’s suicide, Nick (insert what terrible thing Nick does to Alasdair – does he ‘out’ him?)

Note: No need to mention Nick’s best friend was bipolar, since this character is minor. This is one detail you don’t need – ironic huh?

Note: The final sentence is, you’ll never guess, too general. We need a specific conflict like “Will Alasdair find a way to balance his forbidden love and public musical career without losing either?” Okay, that’s no winner, so I’ll leave this for you to fix.

Note: The practice of capitalizing character names the first time they are mentioned is something done in a synopsis, not a query. Save the capitalization for the book title.


Thank you for your consideration. (I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience – cut).

Happy revisions!

Ghost in the Machine

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Seadhlinn » February 4th, 2010, 1:12 am

Thanks for the feedback, all! It was incredibly helpful.
Here is the new and (hopefully) improved version of my letter.
***
Dear Awesomely Cool Agent,

When Rose MacRae’s family tries to derail her career plans by marrying her off to a boorish family friend, she storms out of Miller’s Bay, Nova Scotia to start over in the United States. She cuts off contact with everyone, even Alasdair MacKinnon, the young boy she mentored. Even a desperate call from her suddenly bereaved sister and her nephew Blàir MacIsaac do nothing to shake her resolve—for twenty years.

In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career—and a secret life with his lover Hamish, whom he hides from his remote, conservative hometown. When the Grand Banks fishery fails and the provincial government threatens to force the citizens of Miller’s Bay to relocate, Alasdair seizes the opportunity to hatch a plan to save the town and promote his music at the same time. Unfortunately, the plan puts him on a direct collision course with the increasingly unstable Blàir.

Meanwhile, Rose’s son Nick Jones is also on the brink of his “big break” as a musician when his best friend commits suicide. Unable to cope, he flees to the only refuge he can think of – Miller’s Bay. His attempts to make friends and recover his emotional stability inadvertently shatter the fragile truce between Alasdair and Blàir.

When their conflict results in tragedy, Nick, Hamish, and Rose must overcome their personal troubles to pick up the pieces. They can attempt to heal themselves and help the town of Miller’s Bay get back on track—or allow their lives and the community to self-destruct.

A View From The Edge of the World, my first novel, is compete at 80,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Person Who Wants To Be One of the Cool Kids

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by JustineDell » February 4th, 2010, 8:25 am

I'm sorry, I didn't look at your first query so I thought I would take a look at this one.
Seadhlinn wrote: Dear Awesomely Cool Agent,

When Rose MacRae’s family tries to derail her career plans by marrying her off to a boorish family friend, she storms out of Miller’s Bay, Nova Scotia to start over in the United States. She cuts off contact with everyone, even Alasdair MacKinnon, the young boy she mentored. How important is it to know she mentored Alasdair here? Even a desperate call from her suddenly bereaved sister and her nephew Blàir MacIsaac do nothing to shake her resolve—for twenty years.

In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career—and a secret life with his lover Hamish, whom he hides from his remote, conservative hometown. Oh ,wait...I think I get it now. Did Rose teach Alasdair how to play music? I had to read it twice to figure that out. When the Grand Banks fishery fails and the provincial government threatens to force the citizens of Miller’s Bay to relocate, Alasdair seizes the opportunity to hatch a plan to save the town and promote his music at the same time. Whats the significance of the fishery? Do all these people work there and will be out of jobs and money if it fails? Unfortunately, the plan puts him on a direct collision course with the increasingly unstable Blàir. Why? And why is Blair unstable?

Meanwhile, Rose’s son Nick Jones is also on the brink of his “big break” as a musician when his best friend commits suicide. Unable to cope, he flees to the only refuge he can think of – Miller’s Bay. His attempts to make friends and recover his emotional stability inadvertently shatter the fragile truce between Alasdair and Blàir. How? A little blurp about why wouldn't hurt here. I'm scratching my head wondering how Nick, Alasdair and Blair are all interconnected. A little hint would be nice (for me).

When their conflict results in tragedy, Nick, Hamish, and Rose must overcome their personal troubles to pick up the pieces. There are a lot of names in this sentence, I had to go back to the beginning of the query to figure out who Hamish was. Is is possible to leave them out? I like the hint about a tragedy (makes me think someone may die...oooooh) and how they are left to put there lives back together. Some may call it too vague, but I think it leaves a question in my mind that I hooks me a little. They can attempt to heal themselves and help the town of Miller’s Bay get back on track—or allow their lives and the community to self-destruct.

A View From The Edge of the World, my first novel (take out the first novel part. Also, what genre is this? Sorry for not being able to pick it out, but some agents like the genre listed...Nathan is one of those agents) , is compete at 80,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Person Who Wants To Be One of the Cool Kids DITTO!!!

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

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 4th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Hi Seadhlinn,

This is miles, kilometers—choose your favorite standard of measure—better than the first. High-five! Now on to comments and suggestions:

Dear Awesomely Cool Agent,

When Rose MacRae’s family tries to derail her career plans by marrying her off to a boorish family friend, she storms out of Miller’s Bay, Nova Scotia to start over in the United States. She cuts off contact with everyone, even ('including' is better than 'even' because you use the word ‘even’ to start next sentence) Alasdair MacKinnon, the young boy she mentored. Even a desperate call from her suddenly bereaved sister and her nephew Blàir MacIsaac do(grammar alert - use 'does' here) nothing to shake her resolve(. Not for )twenty years.

Question: Can you tell us what Rose wanted to be career-wise?

In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career—and a secret life with his lover Hamish, whom he hides from his remote, conservative hometown.

Comment: Switch the long hyphen and comma in this last sentence:

Suggestion: In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career and a secret life with Hamish—a love he hides from his remote, conservative hometown.


When the Grand Banks fishery fails and the provincial government threatens to force the citizens of Miller’s Bay to relocate, Alasdair (seizes the opportunity to –cut )hatch(es) a plan to save the town and promote his music (at the same time – cut). Unfortunately, the (this) plan puts him on a direct collision course with the increasingly unstable Blàir. (Insert one to two sentence explanation of collision course and why or how Blair is unstable.)

Meanwhile, Rose’s son Nick Jones is also on the brink of his “big break” as a musician when his best friend commits suicide. Unable to cope, he flees to the only refuge he can think of (how about - an unlikely refuge) – Miller’s Bay. His attempts to make friends and recover his emotional stability inadvertently shatter the fragile truce between Alasdair and Blàir( when he does . . .?)

When their conflict results in tragedy, Nick, Hamish, and Rose must overcome their personal troubles to pick up the pieces. They can attempt to heal themselves and help the town of Miller’s Bay get back on track—or allow their lives and the community to self-destruct.

Comment: EEEK! Those icky generalizations are back! I think might know what’s going on here. You are writing as if this is the teaser on the back of the book. But you don’t need to tease the agent. Go ahead, spill the beans. Tell us what terrible thing happened and what horrible conflict arose from it. Make the agent wonder how in the world the characters can fix the mess they’re in.

A View From The Edge of the World, my first novel, is compete (typo alert – complete) at 80,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Person Who Wants To Be One of the Cool Kids

Cool? Hey now, don’t Geeks Rule? But if anyone thinks I’m cool, please let me know right away so I can tell my mom.

Ghost in the Machine

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Seadhlinn » February 4th, 2010, 3:32 pm

Cool? Hey now, don’t Geeks Rule? But if anyone thinks I’m cool, please let me know right away so I can tell my mom.
DUH. (you can count that as material for a phone call to mom). And frankly, I'm assuming that the agent on the receiving end of the query is going to be as big a geek as I am... just in a very different way.

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Seadhlinn » February 4th, 2010, 5:24 pm

Help has been very, very much appreciated!
Here is yet another attempt.
***
Dear Awesome Agent,

When Rose MacRae’s family tries to derail her teaching career by marrying her off to a boorish family friend, she storms out of Miller’s Bay, Nova Scotia to start over in the United States. She cuts off contact with everyone, including Alasdair MacKinnon, the young boy she mentored. Even a desperate call from her suddenly bereaved sister and her nephew Blàir MacIsaac doesn’t shake her resolve. Not for twenty years.

In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career and life with his lover Hamish, a love he hides from his remote, conservative hometown. When the Grand Banks fishery fails and the provincial government threatens to force the citizens of Miller’s Bay to relocate, Alasdair hatches a plan to save the town and promote his music. Unfortunately, the plan puts him on a direct collision course with the increasingly unhinged Blàir, who thinks that Alasdair is the cause of his failed relationship and wants to keep Alasdair from success, no matter the cost to anyone else.

Meanwhile, Rose’s son Nick Jones is also on the brink of his “big break” as a musician when his best friend commits suicide. Unable to cope, he flees to an unlikely refuge– Miller’s Bay. His attempts to make friends and recover his emotional stability inadvertently shatter the fragile truce between Alasdair and Blàir when he accidentally reveals Blàir’s determination to ruin the town’s revival scheme. Alasdair’s attempt to smooth things over ends with his murder and leaves the town without leadership.

It is left to Nick, Hamish and Rose to continue on with Alasdair’s plan to save Miller’s Bay, a task made even more difficult by the uproar surrounding Alasdair’s posthumous “outing” and each characters’ internal struggles. Will they succeed, or will they self-destruct along with the town?

A View from the Edge of the World, a work of literary fiction, is complete at 80,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Absurdly Optimistic Aspiring Author

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Yoshima » February 4th, 2010, 6:34 pm

Hey Seadhlinn! More feedback. :)
Seadhlinn wrote:Help has been very, very much appreciated!
Here is yet another attempt.
***
Dear Awesome Agent,

When Rose MacRae’s family tries to derail her teaching career by marrying her off to a boorish family friend, she storms out of Miller’s Bay, Nova Scotia to start over in the United States. She cuts off contact with everyone, including Alasdair MacKinnon, the young boy she mentored. Even a desperate call from her suddenly bereaved sister and her nephew Blàir MacIsaac doesn’t shake her resolve. Not for twenty years. (Very good! I'm so reading on.)

In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career and life with his lover Hamish, a lovewhom he hides from his remote, conservative hometown (Maybe mention Miller's Bay again. I forgot the name of it by the time I got here.). When the Grand Banks fishery fails and the provincial government threatens to force the citizens of Miller’s Bay to relocate, Alasdair hatches a plan to save the town and promote his music (how would a plan to promote his music save a town? bring in tourism? Just wondering if I'm on the right mental track here.). Unfortunately, the plan puts him on a direct collision course with the increasingly unhinged Blàir, who thinks that Alasdair is the cause of his failed relationship (wait, he had a failed relationship? when? If you don't have room to explain, I would omit it.) and wants to keep Alasdair from success, no matter the cost to anyone else.

Meanwhile, Rose’s son Nick Jones is also on the brink of his “big break” as a musician when his best friend commits suicide. Unable to cope, he flees to an unlikely refuge– Miller’s Bay. His attempts to make friends and recover his emotional stability inadvertently shatter the fragile truce between Alasdair and Blàir when he accidentally reveals Blàir’s determination to ruin the town’s revival scheme (Lots of descriptive words in here. It made it too clunky for me. Cut a few?). Alasdair’s attempt to smooth things over ends with his murder and leaves the town without leadership. (Leadership? Was Alasdair the mayor or something? I thought he was a musician. Maybe use a different word here.)

It is left to Nick, Hamish and Rose to continue on with Alasdair’s plan to save Miller’s Bay, a task made even more difficult by the uproar surrounding Alasdair’s posthumous “outing” and each characters’ internal struggles (Hmm...not sure what a posthumous outing is, and internal struggles is too generic. I know you can do better than that. :) ). Will they succeed, or will they self-destruct along with the town? (Gotta say, I'm not crazy about this rhetorical Q. It's one of those ones that can be too easily answered with something snarky and it sounds too much like a movie tagline or something.)

A View from the Edge of the World, a work of literary fiction, is complete at 80,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Absurdly Optimistic Aspiring Author
Overall I thought this was a good, strong query, and I could tell immediately that this was a query for a literary novel; your style came through beautifully. Good luck on your revisions!

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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Dankrubis » February 4th, 2010, 7:43 pm

Seadhlinn wrote:Help has been very, very much appreciated!
Here is yet another attempt.
***
Dear Awesome Agent,

When Rose MacRae’s family tries to derail her teaching career by marrying her off to a boorish family friend, she storms out of Miller’s Bay, Nova Scotia to start over in the United States. She cuts off contact with everyone, including Alasdair MacKinnon, the young boy she mentored. Even a desperate call from her suddenly bereaved sister and her nephew Blàir MacIsaac doesn’t shake her resolve. Not for twenty years. Good opening.

In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career and life with his lover Hamish, a love he hides from his remote, I agree with Yoshi on omitting remote. It's understandable that he hides his homosexual relationship from a conservative hometown, but not a remote one. conservative hometown. When the Grand Banks fishery fails and the provincial government threatens to force the citizens of Miller’s Bay to relocate, Alasdair hatches a plan to save the town and promote his music. Unfortunately, the plan puts him on a direct collision course with the increasingly unhinged Blàir, who thinks that Alasdair is the cause of his failed relationship and wants to keep Alasdair from success, no matter the cost to anyone else. I'm torn. As far as length and info, your query is about to burst, but I still want to know a little more about Blair's character. It seems that he's the antagonist, but we don't know anything about this failed relationship of his, or why he wants to keep Alasdair from success so badly. Don't add a paragraph or anything, but try to make Blair's character and intentions more clear.

Meanwhile, Rose’s son Nick Jones is also on the brink of his “big break” as a musician when his best friend commits suicide. Unable to cope, he flees to an unlikely refuge– Miller’s Bay. His attempts to make friends and recover his emotional stability inadvertently shatter the fragile truce between Alasdair and Blàir when he accidentally reveals Blàir’s determination to ruin the town’s revival scheme. Alasdair’s attempt to smooth things over ends with his murder and leaves the town without leadership. Agreed. They lost a musician, right? Maybe 'direction?'

It is left to Nick, Hamish and Rose to continue on with Alasdair’s plan to save Miller’s Bay, a task made even more difficult by the uproar surrounding Alasdair’s posthumous “outing” I had to wrap my head around 'posthumous 'outing'' for a minute and a half before I figured out what you meant by it. Find a better way to describe coming out of the closet after dying. and each characters’ internal struggles. Will they succeed, or will they self-destruct along with the town? I do kinda enjoy rhetorical questions at the end of queries, and I'm a little ashamed by it. Do with that what you will.

A View from the Edge of the World, a work of literary fiction, is complete at 80,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Absurdly Optimistic Aspiring Author
This is sounding pretty good. Glad to see someone on here writing literary fiction. Good voice, style. My only advice is advice I'm not sure you should take, but I'll give it anyway- There are a lot of names floating around in this query. People, locations. A lot of sons and mentors and nephews and lovers. It'd be nice to see a shorter, less complicated version. I just know I had to stop and go back every time a name came up to trace who came from where and who they were related to, etc, and it'd be interesting to read a version that cut back on that. But! This is literary fiction. Doesn't hurt to do some thinkin'.

Good job!

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Holly
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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Holly » February 4th, 2010, 8:23 pm

Just a quick note to say I love your title!

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Seadhlinn
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Re: "View From The Edge of the World" Query

Post by Seadhlinn » February 4th, 2010, 9:29 pm

Holly wrote:Just a quick note to say I love your title!
Thanks! (it's actually a reference to the Celtic conception of the afterlife...)
Dankrubis wrote:here are a lot of names floating around in this query. People, locations. A lot of sons and mentors and nephews and lovers. It'd be nice to see a shorter, less complicated version.
This is a reasonable gripe. However, it's a story with a group cast, and the interconnectedness of the characters and the "group dynamic" is a major theme, so I think I'm going to keep the lot =)

So... once again...

***

Dear Fantastic Agent,

When Rose MacRae’s family tries to derail her teaching career by marrying her off to a boorish family friend, she storms out of Miller’s Bay, Nova Scotia to start over in the United States. She cuts off contact with everyone, including Alasdair MacKinnon, the young boy she mentored. Even a desperate call from her suddenly bereaved sister and her nephew Blàir MacIsaac doesn’t shake her resolve. Not for twenty years.

In those twenty years, Alasdair builds a modest musical career and life with his lover Hamish, a love he hides from his conservative hometown. When the Grand Banks fishery fails and the provincial government threatens to force the citizens of Miller’s Bay to relocate, Alasdair hatches a plan to save the town and promote his music. Unfortunately, the plan puts him on a direct collision course with the increasingly unhinged Blàir, who believes that Alasdair’s advice is responsible for causing him to be spurned by the woman with whom he is obsessed. Blair wants to keep Alasdair from success, no matter the cost to everyone else.

Meanwhile, Rose’s son Nick Jones is also on the brink of his “big break” as a musician when his best friend commits suicide. Unable to cope, he flees to an unlikely refuge– Miller’s Bay. His attempts to make friends and recover his emotional stability inadvertently shatter the fragile truce between Alasdair and Blàir when he accidentally reveals Blàir’s determination to ruin the town’s revival scheme. Alasdair’s attempt to smooth things over ends with his murder and leaves the town without his leadership.

It is left to Nick, Hamish and Rose to continue with Alasdair’s plan to save Miller’s Bay, a task made even more difficult by the uproar surrounding the town’s posthumous discovery of Alasdair’s secret life, and by each character’s internal struggles: Rose’s pride, Nick’s overwhelming guilt, and Hamish’s attempt to avoid anything resembling an emotional connection.

A View from the Edge of the World, a work of literary fiction, is complete at 80,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Wide-Eyed Optimist

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