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! :)