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THE CATCH (women's fiction) - revision


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#1 jellymouse

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 05:08 PM

REVISION IS IN POST #52, on page 3

 

I have never been published.  This is my first completed novel and my first attempt at a query letter, so I appreciate in advance any feedback you can offer.  Here goes:  

 

--------------------

 

Please consider my 102,000-word women’s fiction novel, The Catch, for representation.

 

Quirky Julia Dunphy keeps saltwater aquariums and sews her own thrift store replicas.  So what if she’s a dunce at cooking, as she learns when she comes to work at her father’s restaurant in San Francisco?  She’s going to be a marine biologist, and no one will stand in her way.

 

But when Julia finds herself falling for reserved William Quinn, with his talent for cooking, love of boats, and mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross, she imagines a new dream… a future with him.  Her uncle’s dying words persuade her to take a chance on William, but she can no longer ignore her fears after William antagonizes a friend of Julia’s whom he mistakes for a romantic rival.  They part ways, but he is never far from her thoughts.

 

Eleven years later, when Julia’s venture capitalist husband disappears, she reconnects with William at her father’s restaurant. William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist on board… and as his wife.   But trouble brews when Julia’s husband Kevin reappears, anxious to reconcile.  The pressure from Kevin and her family finally wear Julia down.  Julia fears it’s the end of the story for her and William, but six years later, one powerful secret could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

 

I received my bachelor’s degree in English composition from the University of North Texas. After I pursued a career as a registered dietitian, my third pregnancy and the burst of creative inspiration it triggered empowered me to return to my roots as a writer.

 

I thank you for your consideration and hope to send you the complete manuscript.


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#2 Melonieann

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 11:17 PM

Hello there fellow guppy!

 

Okay, its not great but it's better than my first one. Swear. And I still cant get it right, but I have learned a few things.

 

1. Spice up your hook.

 

How? If you figure it out, please let me know.    :)

 

2. How much of the book is dedicated to young Julia?

 

If not much, start your query with something like.

 

When twenty-eight year old Julia Dunphy's husband goes missing, the last person she expected to cross paths with is the man she almost married.

 

William Quinn reignites a passion she had for biology, and his tattoos. Despite her two children, wondering if her husband is actually missing, or if he finally ran off, she falls overboard in love with William. Again.

 

Now, don't use that. Because it really sucks. But you get the idea. :)

 

After I pursued a career as a registered dietitian, my third pregnancy and the burst of creative inspiration it triggered empowered me to return to my roots as a writer.      Leave this out

 

 

 

3. Don't ever give up! It's really hard to write a good query. But if you've written an entire book, you can do this too. Good Luck!

 

 

 

Famous quote for inspiration;

 

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

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#3 jellymouse

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:35 PM

Here is my attempt at a revision of my query letter.  Is this enough of an improvement? If not, I welcome your brutally honest feedback.  Thanks!

 

_________________

 

It was enough that Julia had catastrophically blown her second chance with the love of her life.  She didn’t dare ask for a third chance… did she? 

 

 

Raised by a gay uncle and an Irish grandmother, quirky seventeen year old Julia Dunphy is going to be a marine biologist, and no one will stand in her way.  At least not until she meets William Quinn, a renowned stick-in-the-mud who astonishes Julia with his talent for cooking, his love of boats, and his mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross.  After William rushes her on his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, her dying uncle’s final words persuade her that she can give her heart to William and still pursue her dreams.  But when William antagonizes a friend of Julia’s, mistaking him for a romantic rival, Julia can no longer ignore her fears, and she reluctantly ends their romance.

 

Eleven years later, when Julia’s venture capitalist husband disappears and she reconnects with William at her father’s restaurant, the last thing she expects is a second chance with her first love, the one that got away.  But then William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist on board… and as his wife.   But trouble brews when Julia’s husband Kevin reappears, anxious to reconcile.  The pressure from Kevin and her family finally wear Julia down, and her second chance with William collapses in a maelstrom of bitterness. 

 

Julia fears it’s the end of the story for her and William.  But six years later, a third chance and one powerful secret could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

 

The Catch, a women’s fiction novel of redemption and third chances, is complete at 102,000 words.  I thank you for your consideration and hope to send you the complete manuscript.


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#4 Melonieann

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 07:27 PM

It was enough that Julia had catastrophically blown her second chance with the love of her life.  She didn’t dare ask for a third chance… did she? 

 

Better hook, but not great yet.

 

 

Raised by a gay uncle and an Irish grandmother, quirky Start here. seventeen year old Julia Dunphy is going to be a marine biologist, and no one will stand in her way.  At least not until. Then she meets William Quinn, a renowned stick-in-the-mud who astonishes Julia with his talent for cooking, his love of  passion for boats, and his mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross.    bad boy tattoos? Less words. After William rushes her on his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, her dying uncle’s final words persuade her that she can give her heart to William and still pursue her dreams.  But when William antagonizes a friend of Julia’s, mistaking him for a romantic rival, Julia can no longer ignore her fears, and she reluctantly ends their romance.     All of that seems wordy. Too much info.

 

Eleven years later, when Julia’s venture capitalist husband disappears and she reconnects with William at her father’s restaurant, the last thing she expects is a second chance with her first love, the one that got away.  But then William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist on board… and as his wife.   But trouble brews when Julia’s husband Kevin reappears, anxious to reconcile.  The pressure from Kevin and her family finally wear Julia down, and her second chance with William collapses in a maelstrom of bitterness. 

 

Julia fears it’s the end of the story for her and William.  But six years later, a third chance and one powerful secret could either bring them together or tear them apart for good. 

 

A query explaining three different time frames in a persons life is quite confusing. Stick with one, maybe two, if you must.

 

I'm no expert, just trying to help!

 

Here is a link for a free e-book on query letters and formulas that might help also.

 

 

http://elanajohnson....om/p/books.html



#5 jellymouse

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 07:37 PM

Thank you, Melonieann, for all your feedback so far, and the link to the e-book! 


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#6 MJ O'Neill

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 07:38 PM

I think you might be losing yourself (and us in return) in the details. We don't need to know she was raised by a gay uncle and quirky gma. It takes a way the punch from the sentence. The two sentences at the end of the first paragraph should be changed. Something about - she considers changing her dream for him, but warning signs that William could be a nightmare send her back to plan A. We don't need to know about the uncle or any of the other stuff.

 

So then what happens - why doesn't she go back to being a marine biologist? How does she end up married to Kevin? If this is important to Julia's character, I think you need to explain it (in a simple straight forward sentence). The sentence about Kevin "disappearing" implies foul play. Why is Julia not worried. Why are police not involved? Why is she hooking back up with William, the potential bad boy? What happen to her concerns about him? It seems like she overcomes them and then Kevin shows back up - so incorporate that.

 

I think the 3 time frame thing can work, but it's a harder to pull off than other queries.

 

Maybe restructure to draw that in. Something like:

 

The first time they met it was love at first sight. But her dreams and his temper pulled them apart

The second time they met, William was ready. It all seemed perfect - his boat, her project. But Julia was burdened with a soon to be ex husband, family obligations and lingering doubts

Will the third time be the charm, or is it too late for them to catch the perfect love? (said less cheesy but tying in the title maybe)


On a long enough timeline, the survival rate of everyone drops to 0 – Chuck from Fight Club

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#7 jellymouse

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:32 PM

Thank you very much for your helpful feedback, MJ O'Neill.  :smile:


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#8 Jenny21again

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:56 AM

Please consider my 102,000-word women’s fiction novel, The Catch, for representation. I've been told this really should come at the end.

 

Quirky Julia Dunphy keeps saltwater aquariums and sews her own thrift store replicas.  So what if she’s a dunce at cooking, as she learns when she comes to work at her father’s restaurant in San Francisco?  She’s going to be a marine biologist, and no one will stand in her way.

 

l like quirky but I don't like the second sentence it's a bit clunky. She learns when she goes to work for her father at his swanky restaurant in San Fransico that she cannot cook to save her life. But when she meets hot-tempered and disturbingly handsome chef William Quinn it's not the cooking that getting her all hot and steamy!   Don't use that, but it needs to be spiced up a tad. What are her goals, motivation and conflict. The agent needs to know right up front who the MC  is and what the stakes are. It's hard to get the query just where you want it. I'm still trying to get it right!     

 

But when Julia finds herself falling for reserved William Quinn, with his talent for cooking, love of boats, and mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross, she imagines a new dream… a future with him.  Her uncle’s dying words persuade her to take a chance on William, but she can no longer ignore her fears after William antagonizes a friend of Julia’s whom he mistakes for a romantic rival.  They part ways, but he is never far from her thoughts.
 

what are her fears and why? 

 

Eleven years later, when Julia’s venture capitalist husband disappears, she reconnects with William at her father’s restaurant. William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist on board… and as his wife.   But trouble brews when Julia’s husband Kevin reappears, anxious to reconcile.  The pressure from Kevin and her family finally wear Julia down.  Julia fears it’s the end of the story for her and William, but six years later, one powerful secret could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

I agree with the previous comment about the lapse in time to have one gap okay but two that's 17 years apart. How old are they? I hope this helps? :)

 

I received my bachelor’s degree in English composition from the University of North Texas. After I pursued a career as a registered dietitian, my third pregnancy and the burst of creative inspiration it triggered empowered me to return to my roots as a writer.

 

I thank you for your consideration and hope to send you the complete manuscript



#9 mzbritney12

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 01:28 PM

Here is my attempt at a revision of my query letter.  Is this enough of an improvement? If not, I welcome your brutally honest feedback.  Thanks!

 

_________________

 

It was enough that Julia had catastrophically blown her second chance with the love of her life.  She didn’t dare ask for a third chance… did she?  Either remove this, or add a bigger risk. For ex: She didn't dare ask for a third, or she could lose her life...get eaten by a lion...fall off a cliff. Ha, You see?

 

 

Raised by a gay uncle and an Irish grandmother (Ohh, this sounds fun!), quirky seventeen year old Julia Dunphy is going to be a marine biologist, and no one will stand in her way(this last part is too cliche).  At least not until she meets William Quinn, a renowned stick-in-the-mud who astonishes Julia with his talent for cooking, his love of boats, and his mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross.(Aww, that's adorable!)  After William rushes her on his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, her dying uncle’s final words persuade her that she can give her heart to William and still pursue her dreams.(Did the motorcycle ride make her fall in love with him? Things kind of jump too soon.)   But when William antagonizes a friend of Julia’s, mistaking him for a romantic rival, Julia can no longer ignore her fears, and she reluctantly ends their romance. (Okay, so I really really applaud the way that this was written. It's short, enticing, and to the point--which is exactly how a query should sound. But on the flip side, this last sentence moves too fast, and  I kind of get lost in it all. So, I'm really confused.)

 

Eleven years later, when Julia’s venture capitalist husband disappears and she reconnects with William at her father’s restaurant, the last thing she expects is a second chance with her first love, the one that got away.  But then William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist on board… and as his wife.   But trouble brews when Julia’s husband Kevin reappears, anxious to reconcile.  The pressure from Kevin and her family finally wear Julia down, and her second chance with William collapses in a maelstrom of bitterness. 

 

Julia fears it’s the end of the story for her and William.  But six years later, a third chance and one powerful secret could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

 

The Catch, a women’s fiction novel of redemption and third chances, is complete at 102,000 words.  I thank you for your consideration and hope to send you the complete manuscript.

 

So my overall question is: Did Julia ever really love her husband in the first place? Because When William comes back, she's ready to throw herself at him although her husband is missing. Maybe you should clear up some of the dangling questions, or re-write it so I can empathize more with the MC


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#10 jellymouse

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 10:47 PM

Thanks everyone for your feedback so far.  What do you think about this revision?  Better, or worse?  Any feedback is welcome.

 

_______________

 

Quirky seventeen-year-old Julia Dunphy is going to be a marine biologist, and no one will stand in her way – until a handsome stick-in-the-mud threatens to do just that. 

 

More than just a strong silent type with a pretty face, William Quinn astonishes Julia with his talent for cooking, his love of boats, and his mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross.  After William rushes her on his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to her dying uncle’s bedside, Julia finally believes she can give her heart to William and still pursue her dreams.  But William must battle the insecurities rooted in his troubled past.  When his jealousy rears and he antagonizes Julia’s friend, mistaking him for a romantic rival, she reluctantly ends their relationship.

 

Eleven years later, Julia’s husband disappears, leaving her with two kids, no career in marine biology, and a job at her father’s restaurant – where she runs into William.  Their spark is mutual and immediate.  William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist… and as his wife.  Julia is on board, literally – until her husband comes home, anxious to reconcile.  She caves under pressure from her family, and her relationship with William collapses in a maelstrom of bitterness.

 

Six years pass, with Julia making her way in the world as a paralegal and becoming a divorcée.  No, she didn’t become a marine biologist.  No, she doesn’t have William.  But all that could change when she returns to San Francisco to open an aquarium service company.  Still hurt and angry, William is unreachable – until Julia learns of a crisis in William’s family.  She uses her legal smarts to help, and when word reaches William of what she’s done, he seeks her out.

 

But Julia has a secret, one that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.  She doesn’t dare to hope for a third chance with her first love, but she knows she’ll never have it all if she can’t have William.

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 102,000 words.  The complete manuscript of THE CATCH is available upon request.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#11 jellymouse

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 09:17 AM

This is my latest revision.  Would anyone be kind enough to let me know what they think?

 

FYI, the novel takes place in three more or less equal parts: one when they are 17-20 years old, one when they are 30-31, and one when they are 36.  

 

Is it necessary to include a bio section?  I have no publishing credits to my name and no other relevant experience.  I only have a bachelor's in English.

 

______________________

 

Seventeen-year-old Julia Dunphy has her heart set on being a marine biologist – until a handsome young fisherman sets it on a new course. A stick-in-the-mud at first glance, William intrigues Julia with his talent for cooking, his love of boats, and his mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross. After he rushes her on his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to her dying uncle’s bedside, Julia believes she can give her heart to William and still pursue her dreams. But William battles insecurities rooted in his troubled past, and when he antagonizes Julia’s friend, mistaking him for a romantic rival, she reluctantly ends their relationship.

 

Eleven years later, Julia’s husband disappears, leaving her with two kids and a job at her father’s restaurant – where she runs into William. Their spark is mutual and immediate. William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist… and as his wife. Julia is on board, literally – until her husband comes home, anxious to reconcile. She caves under family pressure, and her relationship with William collapses in a maelstrom of bitterness.

 

Six years and one divorce later, Julia makes her way in the world as a paralegal. No, she doesn’t have the career or the man of her dreams. But all that could change when she returns to San Francisco to open an aquarium service company. Still hurt and angry, William is unreachable – until Julia learns of a crisis in his family. She uses her legal smarts to help, and when word reaches William of what she’s done, he seeks her out.  But Julia has a secret, one that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 102,000 words. I thank you for your time and consideration, and hope to send you the complete manuscript of THE CATCH.


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#12 A.S Altabtabai

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 09:32 AM

Hello there.  This is how I see it: 

 

the whole first paragraph seems like a back story. I felt bored reading it. i think you should start from the second paragraph and summarize the  first paragraph into one sentence. ( when you mention william in the second paragraph, you give a hint that he's and old friend or something.) 

Also, the plot twist isn't strong enough. You're jumping from a timeline into another timeline without a good transition. 

 

finally; the final sentence is too vague. The agent won't be like " Oh! a secret! i gotta read the book to know about it! ". Dont be vague. 

 

That's all i can do. Experts in here can give you more than i can. Thanks! 



#13 Melonieann

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:36 PM

Hi Jelly mouse!

 

Query writing is an art I myself struggle with so take my opinions lightly.

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Julia Dunphy has her heart set on being a marine biologist – until a handsome young fisherman sets it on a new course. Makes me think he's younger than her. Not that that matters, just throwing it out there.

(Doesn't catch me)

 

A stick-in-the-mud   At first glance, William intrigues Julia with his talent for cooking, his love of boats, and his mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross. I keep seeing this. Does the tattoo one day transform? I.E. comes alive, the cage opens, and the bird is finally free? Does it absolutely have to be in the query? If it's to represent his own demons then great, but we cant see that. If it's just a hint that he's a bad boy, a bird tattoo doesn't do it for me. Even if the bird is in prison. Right now it's taking up valuable space. IMHO...

 

After he rushes her on his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to her dying uncle’s bedside,

 

 

Julia believes she can give her heart to William and still pursue her dreams. But William battles insecurities rooted in his troubled past, and when he antagonizes Julia’s friend, mistaking him for a romantic rival, uncomfortable with his jealousy? she Julia, reluctantly ends their relationship. Not bad here.

 

Eleven years later, Julia’s husband disappears, too quick, and also vague, what happened? Did he walk out on her? If he did, then say so. leaving her with two kids and a job at her father’s restaurant – where she runs into William. Their spark is mutual and immediate. William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist… and as his wife. This seems like Julia never had a care for her husband at all. If he walked out on her, I would understand. But if he disappeared and she loved him, she should be heartbroken not ready to move on.

 

Julia is on board, literally – until her husband comes home, anxious to reconcile. She caves under family pressure, and her relationship with William collapses in a maelstrom of bitterness. Oh wait, she did care. And btw, I really do like this sentence!

 

Six years and one divorce later, Nope guess she didn't care. And I'm sure she does, but I'm not feeling it. Julia makes her way in the world as a paralegal. No, she doesn’t have the career or the man of her dreams. But all that could change when she returns to San Francisco to open an aquarium service company. Still hurt and angry, William is unreachable – until Julia learns of a crisis in his family. She uses her legal smarts to help, and when word reaches William of what she’s done, he seeks her out.  But Julia has a secret, one that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 102,000 words. I thank you for your time and consideration, and hope to send you the complete manuscript of THE CATCH.

 

 

 

Go back and look at the structure/setup MJ O'Neill suggested.

I for one, like it.

It gets right to the point without all the.... dying uncle who only gets mentioned once and motorcycle rides across the Golden Gate Bridge. (Is it that important to name the bridge in the story arc? Dying uncle doesn't even have a name.) My suggestion is to use what MJ O'Neill gave you. There is so much in the above that could be left out. Remember, we've never read your novel so even if her dying uncle means the world to her, the query doesn't appear to need it.

 

MJ O'Neill said,

 

The first time they met it was love at first sight. But her dreams and his temper pulled them apart

 

The second time they met, William was ready. It all seemed perfect - his boat, her project. But Julia was burdened with a soon to be ex husband, family obligations and lingering doubts

 

Will the third time be the charm, or is it too late for them to catch the perfect love? (said less cheesy but tying in the title maybe)

 

This was excellent advice! It interests me. Copy and paste this into a blank word doc and build.

 

I'm sure you have an interesting story, but the job of a query is making an agent want to read it.

 

 

You can do this, you really can.

 

Good Luck!       :)

 



#14 jellymouse

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:25 AM

Thank you to everyone who has given feedback.  I am learning a lot.  I've about decided I need to scrap everything, start fresh, and do a lot of reading for a month or so to really learn how this is done.  Thanks again.


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#15 jellymouse

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 08:34 AM

After almost a year, I am back at it! I've taken the suggestions to heart, completely scrapped the original, and tried to follow the "The first time... the second time... the third time" advice I was given. All feedback welcome. Thank you in advance!

 

Dear Agent:

 

Every time Julia Dunphy gets a shot at William Quinn, it always comes with a catch.

 

The first time, as teenagers in San Francisco, quirky Julia has an offbeat style and a smile that lights up everything – especially William. He has a talent for cooking and photography, a love of boats, and a tattoo. She has a passion for marine life, and the ambition to make a career out of it.  He has a gift for the written word, a way with a guitar – and crippling self-doubt.  She drifts away from him, setting him adrift in the world.

 

The second time, William has led a life of adventure in Alaska and followed his dreams, just like Julia told him to. Meanwhile, both Julia’s ambitions and her husband have left her behind in a fog of regret and uncertainty.  Now that Julia and William are both back home in San Francisco, he wants her to join him as his partner in a whale-watching business – and in life. She wants to save her troubled daughter. When Julia’s wayward husband returns, offering hope of just that, her second chance with William vanishes in a maelstrom of hurt feelings.

 

Julia knows you rarely get a second shot at your first love, let alone a third. But when her husband leaves for good, and Julia learns of a crisis in William’s family that she can solve, she dares to hope that she and William can finally catch a break. But there’s still one more catch – Julia harbors a secret that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 99,000 words. I thank you for your time and consideration, and hope to send you the complete manuscript of THE CATCH.


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#16 SophiaMary

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 10:12 AM

Here is my attempt at a revision of my query letter.  Is this enough of an improvement? If not, I welcome your brutally honest feedback.  Thanks!

 

_________________

 

It was enough that Julia had just catastrophically blown her second chance with the love of her life. (why is this her second shot? How did she blow it? Why would she want to make it work again?) She didn’t dare ask for a third chance… did she? (This is confusing. I understand what you are trying to say but the way it is worded is odd. I would suggest starting the sentence off better. 

 

 

Raised by a gay uncle and an Irish grandmother (Is it absolutely necessary that we know her uncle is gay and that her grandmother is Irish? Does it play a role in the plot? If not, delete it.), quirky seventeen year old Julia Dunphy is going to be a marine biologist, and no one will stand in her way.  At least not until she meets William Quinn, a renowned stick-in-the-mud who astonishes Julia with his talent for cooking, his love of boats, and his mysterious tattoo of a caged albatross.  After William rushes her on his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, her dying uncle’s final words persuade her that she can give her heart to William and still pursue her dreams.  But when William antagonizes a friend of Julia’s, mistaking him for a romantic rival, Julia can no longer ignore her fears, and she reluctantly ends their romance. (None of this really makes sense. Thousands and thousands of people have a job and a boyfriend, so I don't understand why she thinks she can't. Also, would her uncles last wish for her really be about her boyfriend? I think you should cut that sentence out. Instead of saying "But when William antagonizes a friend of Julia's mistaking him for a romantic rival," I think you should simplify it to "When William becomes overbearing and jealous, Julia starts to fear that she will not be able to date William and pursue her career." Even though, I still don't understand how this is a problem.)

 

Eleven years later, when Julia’s venture capitalist husband disappears and she reconnects with William at her father’s restaurant, the last thing she expects is a second chance with her first love, the one that got away. (This makes me feel that you should do away with the paragraph above and focus on this. This is obviously the main plot. You don't need to give us so much background information.) But then William shares his dream of starting a whale watching business with Julia as the naturalist on board… and as his wife (this isn't a sentence.)   But trouble brews when Julia’s husband Kevin reappears, anxious to reconcile. (You should combine these sentences... "Just as William proposes to Julia and shares his dream of the two starting a business together, her husband reappears, anxious to reconcile." See same point, less details, more concise and to the point.)  The pressure from Kevin and her family finally wear Julia down, and her second chance with William collapses in a maelstrom of bitterness. (Leave this to the readers to find out. Other wise, I feel there is no reason to read your actual story.)

 

Julia fears it’s the end of the story for her and William.  But six years later, a third chance and one powerful secret could either bring them together or tear them apart for good. (I would leave this out too because I feel like your story is going to drag on and be way too repetitive. This turns me off and it would probably turn off an agent. Instead I might say, "Julia fears it may be the end for her and William but there is still one last gleam of hope for the two if only Julia can reach it." Something like that. Let the audience know there is more to come without making it seem like once again they will find each other and once again it will not work.)

 

The Catch, a women’s fiction novel of redemption and third (I would just say second chances. Third sounds like way too much.) chances, is complete at 102,000 words.  I thank you for your consideration and hope to send you the complete manuscript. (Sorry for being so rough but your query needs a lot of work. Mostly you just need to simplify your ideas to the very basics. Only tell what is extremely crucial to the stories plot. Leave all the other details for the agent to find out later.)



#17 Blitzing

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 02:12 PM

After almost a year, I am back at it! I've taken the suggestions to heart, completely scrapped the original, and tried to follow the "The first time... the second time... the third time" advice I was given. All feedback welcome. Thank you in advance!

 

Dear Agent:

 

Every time Julia Dunphy gets a shot at William Quinn, it always comes with a catch. Nice. I'm interested.

 

The first time, as teenagers in San Francisco, quirky Julia has an offbeat style and a smile that lights up everything – especially William. He has a talent for cooking and photography, a love of boats, and a tattoo. She has a passion for marine life, and the ambition to make a career out of it.  He has a gift for the written word, a way with a guitar – and crippling self-doubt.  She drifts away from him, setting him adrift in the world. There are too many extraneous details here. While some add to characterization...in the end, it's just confusing me. Also, the prose is kinda cheesy in the last line and I'm not sure what has really happened. I would make it tighter, like

The first time, they're teenagers in San Francisco. Quirky Julia hooks up with quiet writer William, but his self-doubt is too exhausting for her to deal with.

 

The second time, William has led a life of adventure in Alaska and followed his dreams, just like Julia told him to. Meanwhile, both Julia’s ambitions and her husband have left her behind in a fog of regret and uncertainty.  Now that Julia and William are both back home in San Francisco, Julia with a divorce and a troubled daughter, William after adventuring in Alaska. He wants her to join him as his partner in a whale-watching business – and in life. She wants to save her troubled daughter. When Julia’s wayward husband returns, offering hope of just that, her second chance with William vanishes in a maelstrom of hurt feelings.

 

Julia knows you rarely get a second shot at your first love, let alone a third. But when her husband leaves for good, and Julia learns of a crisis in William’s family that she can solve, she dares to hope that she and William can finally catch a break. But there’s still one more catch – Julia harbors a secret that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good. This is the best paragraph yet. I would work on making para 2 less confusing and cutting out every unnecessary detail.

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 99,000 words. I thank you for your time and consideration, and hope to send you the complete manuscript of THE CATCH.

 

Good luck and sounds like a heart-rending story :-)


~ Shaya Roy ~

www.shayaroy.com

 

Current query (contemporary romance)  

 


#18 jellymouse

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 11:15 PM

Thank you, Blitzing, for your helpful feedback! I've already made some revisions; is this any better at all? Any less confusing or cheesy in the first paragraph? Also, anyone who wishes for me to return a critique please send me a link to your query. I'm happy to do so.

 

Dear Agent:

 

Every time Julia Dunphy gets a shot at William Quinn, it always comes with a catch.

 

The first time, as teenagers in San Francisco, quirky Julia has a passion for marine life, and the ambition to make a career out of it. William has a talent for cooking and poetry, and a tattoo. But after Julia leaves for college, William’s crippling self-doubt blows a hole wide open in their once-unshakeable bond.

 

The second time, Julia has an impending divorce and a troubled daughter. William has led a life of adventure in Alaska. Now that they’re both back home in San Francisco, he wants her to join him as his partner in a whale-watching business – and in life. She wants to save her daughter. When Julia’s wayward husband returns, offering hope of just that, her second chance with William vanishes in a maelstrom of hurt feelings.

 

Julia knows you rarely get a second shot at your first love, let alone a third. But when her husband leaves for good, and Julia learns of a crisis in William’s family that she can solve, she dares to hope that she and William can finally catch a break. But there’s still one more catch – Julia harbors a secret that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 99,000 words. I thank you for your time and consideration, and hope to send you the complete manuscript of THE CATCH.


Lerv,

 

Jellymouse, author of THE CATCH; query here.

 

Check out my web site!


#19 SophiaMary

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:01 AM

Thank you, Blitzing, for your helpful feedback! I've already made some revisions; is this any better at all? Any less confusing or cheesy in the first paragraph? Also, anyone who wishes for me to return a critique please send me a link to your query. I'm happy to do so.

 

Dear Agent:

 

Every time Julia Dunphy gets a shot at William Quinn, it always comes with a catch. (When you say "shot" it makes it sound like you actually are trying to shoot him. Maybe, I've just read too many dystopian novels but that was my first thought. I would change the word to something more romantic.)

 

The first time, as teenagers in San Francisco, quirky Julia has a passion for marine life, and the ambition to make a career out of it. (This sentence doesn't quite make sense. There are too many topics crammed into one sentence. How about something like "As a teenager in San Franscicso Julia finds she has a passion for marine life." Try to simplify it a bit.)William has a talent for cooking and poetry, and a tattoo. (Should say, "William has a passion for cooking, poetry, and tattoos." But this is really random. I would cut it.) But after Julia leaves for college, William’s crippling self-doubt blows a hole wide open in their once-unshakeable bond. (You've said nothing about their bond, so I would start by explaining this bond. This whole paragraph jumps around a lot. Take your time. Explain one topic at a time. Stay focused on what is really important.)

 

The second time, Julia has an impending divorce and a troubled daughter. (the second time at what?)William has led a life of adventure in Alaska. Now that they’re both back home in San Francisco, he wants her to join him as his partner in a whale-watching business – and in life. She wants to save her daughter. (Is "save" the right word?)When Julia’s wayward husband returns, offering hope of just that, her second chance with William vanishes in a maelstrom of hurt feelings. (This is an improvement on your first query but it still needs some clarification.)

 

Julia knows you rarely get a second shot at your first love, let alone a third. (better. I like this line.) But when her husband leaves for good, and Julia learns of a crisis in William’s family that she can solve, she dares to hope that she and William can finally catch a break. But there’s still one more catch – Julia harbors a secret that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good. (Much better. When editing this focus mostly on your first paragraph. The rest of your query is better.)

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 99,000 words. I thank you for your time and consideration, and hope to send you the complete manuscript of THE CATCH. (Make sure you introduce this first. I know many "critiquers" say you should leave this till the end but it is NOT true. I have a friend who is an editor at a publishing company and she says make sure it is the first thing you say. Hope I helped. :) )



#20 RosieSkye

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 11:04 AM

Thank you, Blitzing, for your helpful feedback! I've already made some revisions; is this any better at all? Any less confusing or cheesy in the first paragraph? Also, anyone who wishes for me to return a critique please send me a link to your query. I'm happy to do so.

 

Dear Agent:

 

Every time Julia Dunphy gets a shot at William Quinn, it always comes with a catch.  ("Every time" and "always" are redundant.)

 

The first time, as teenagers in San Francisco, quirky Julia wants to be a marine biologist (or whatever it is, exactly) has a passion for marine life, and the ambition to make a career out of it. while tattooed William has a talent for cooking and poetry, and a tattoo. But after Julia leaves for college, William’s crippling self-doubt cripples blows a hole wide open in their once-unshakeable bond.  (What kind of bond?  Are they a couple?  Your hook makes it sound like they're not yet together. Are they just good friends?)

 

The second time, XXX years later(?) Julia has an impending divorce and a troubled (troubled how?) daughter, while William has led a life of adventure in Alaska. Now that they’re both back home in San Francisco, he wants her to join him as his partner in a whale-watching business – and in life. She wants to save her daughter. Julia's only concern, however, is saving her daughter. When Julia’s wayward husband returns, offering hope of just that (more specific here - how will her wayward husband help her troubled daughter?), her second chance with William vanishes in a maelstrom of hurt feelings (stronger language here - this sounds like kids on a playground or something.)

 

Julia knows you rarely get a second shot at your first love, let alone a third. But when her husband leaves for good, and Julia learns of a crisis in William’s family that she can solve, she dares to hope that she and William can finally catch a break. (reword "catch" since you use it immediately after this) But there’s still one more catch – Julia harbors a secret that could either bring them together or tear them apart for good.  (I think you need at least allude to what the secret is.  Right now this is too vague to generate much interest.)

 

THE CATCH, an adult contemporary romance about redemption and third chances, is complete at 99,000 words. I thank you for your time and consideration, and hope to send you the complete manuscript of THE CATCH.

 

Hope this helps!






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