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Lothario (Literary fiction)


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#1 isaacblack

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 06:14 PM

Hi folks, please read my query. Let me know what you think of it.

When his wife dies unexpectedly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances doesn't miss her as much as he expected. As a result, he embarks on a quixotic quest to find love by dating as many girls as possible. In doing so, he runs aground on his innocent self-centeredness, his awkwardness, and the overlapping romances of his four roommates. Lothario (working title) is an existential soap opera, a rapid tour of a darkly comical world where 26 love interests are introduced alphabetically, where implausible (if not impossible) events occur regularly, and where desire and meaning are both hard to come by. Relationships form and crumble in ways that are humorous, tragic, or both. Ultimately, fed up with dealing with such things as triplets who impersonate each other, girls with supernatural baggage, and the ennui of his day job at a pet store, Martin begins to let go of his "Zelda" and rethink his self-absorbed worldview. By himself.

I have an English degree from Brigham Young University and I currently write album and concert reviews for SLUG magazine in Salt Lake City. Lothario is my first novel.

#2 Dayspring

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:09 PM

Just the facts, sir. You're getting a bit carried away with the concepts of your novel and leaving your plot vague. Is your hook that Marten dates 26 girls alphabetically, or is it his emotional journey? If the latter, you've got to make that much clearer and also show how his journey is different from the usual insensitive-man-finds-himself thing.

I have a wee bit of difficulty with a protag who jumps into rapid fire relationships without pausing to mourn his wife. Is it simple taking him a long time to realise its impact?

#3 S.K. Keogh

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 12:06 AM

I agree with Dayspring. Too vague.

Make sure you give me a reason why I should care about a dude who sleeps with a gazallion women.

Leave out the personal info about your degree and writing credits that have nothing to do with your novel. It's all irrelevant. Also, leave out "working title"...makes it sound like your manuscript isn't finished. And any title is really a working title until a publisher says otherwise.

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#4 artistinasia

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:53 AM

I was advised by this group for my literary fiction to be evocative rather than matter of fact and I think that advice may apply to you too. Perhaps you can evoke the abecedary nature of the MC's love life, reflecting the novel's humor, rather than stating "where 26 love interests are introduced alphabetically." Your title implies that the MC is a great seducer, so maybe focus your query on what's his conflict, what he has to lose and why we should care about this self-absorbed man.

#5 mwsinclair

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:05 AM

Wow, great word: "abecedary." And more to the point, accurate!

But even more accurate is the need for us to know what the character's chief conflict is. And if the story is "darkly comical," I'm not getting that from the voice of the query. Personally, I'm ok with main characters who are largely unlikeable, but if he's not changing at all by the end of the manuscript, I'd be disappointed as a reader -- if I reached the end.

#6 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:42 PM

Hi folks, please read my query. Let me know what you think of it.

When his wife dies unexpectedly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances doesn't miss her as much as he expected. As a result, he embarks on a quixotic quest to find love by dating as many girls as possible. In doing so, he runs aground on his innocent self-centeredness, his awkwardness, and the overlapping romances of his four roommates. Lothario (working title) is an existential soap opera, a rapid tour of a darkly comical world where 26 love interests are introduced alphabetically, where implausible (if not impossible) events occur regularly, and where desire and meaning are both hard to come by. Relationships form and crumble in ways that are humorous, tragic, or both. Ultimately, fed up with dealing with such things as triplets who impersonate each other, girls with supernatural baggage, and the ennui of his day job at a pet store, Martin begins to let go of his "Zelda" and rethink his self-absorbed worldview. By himself.

I have an English degree from Brigham Young University and I currently write album and concert reviews for SLUG magazine in Salt Lake City. Lothario is my first novel.


I kind of like the hook. It got my attention. I wouldn't state that Lothario is a working title. Titles often change after the ms is accepted for publication. Just pick a name for now and use it.

Include the word count and the genre. Agents wanna know.

As others suggested, don't tell us the ms is

"an existential soap opera, a rapid tour of a darkly comical world where 26 love interests are introduced alphabetically, where implausible (if not impossible) events occur regularly, and where desire and meaning are both hard to come by. Relationships form and crumble in ways that are humorous, tragic, or both. Ultimately, fed up with dealing with such things as triplets who impersonate each other, girls with supernatural baggage, and the ennui of his day job at a pet store, Martin begins to let go of his "Zelda" and rethink his self-absorbed worldview. By himself."

Instead, tell us the conflict(s) and tell us what happens (but you don't have to tell us how it ends)

If you haven't read AQs instructions on query writing, you should. You'll find a lot of good advice there.

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#7 isaacblack

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 01:01 PM

So I have a question. For one, the responses to my original query inferred some things about the main character--he doesn't sleep with a lot of women, and he's not insensitive. Maybe that's something I should address, that he's not the typical womanizer, and the title is meant to be ironic? Also, the novel is rather plot-driven, but the plot is much too intricate to run down in the query and doesn't follow much of a general arc. The novel is somewhat about his coming to terms with his own personality and stopping trying to find himself in another person, but there's very little navel gazing and I don't want to misrepresent it. Any suggestions how I should approach my query?

#8 AMK

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 01:39 PM

Issacblack, I'm going to disagree with the others and say I like your query. I can feel the irony and the quirky slice of lifeness of it. I'm not a writer of literary fiction and I'm a total newbie, but your query works for this reader.

BUT I have heard that agents don't like people to be too out of the box in their queries since it is just a query and they have to read billions of them. Do be sure to include genre and word count.
!
Have you looked at example queries for books similar to your own? It might be tough to find some though. I wish you best of luck.

#9 Rick Pieters

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:03 PM

I got that your book is darkly comical (because you told me so), and so I didn't dislike the character. I understand more after your last comment. What I didn't get (Matt Sinclair said it) was the character arc (I'm guessing his conflict is internal, and the resolution is his epiphany) or the voice of the novel. You say it's comedic, and you did give a couple examples, but I get no feel for this being a dark, funny read. Don't tell us what kind of book it is or what it's about. Show us. Look forward to reading what you do with it.

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#10 Moonshade

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:57 PM

Hi folks, please read my query. Let me know what you think of it.

When his wife dies unexpectedly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances doesn't miss her as much as he expected. As a result, he embarks on a quixotic quest to find love by dating as many girls as possible. If this is your hook, here's the point where you break it off and start a new paragraph.

In doing so, he runs aground on his innocent self-centeredness, his awkwardness, and the overlapping romances of his four roommates. Now... EXPAND! How is he awkward? What hijinks ensue with his roommates? Also, this would be where you include the "triplets who impersonate each other, girls with supernatural baggage, and the ennui of his day job at a pet store", because that's got a lot of plot in it. And once again, cut for the third paragraph where you define it as what categories it falls into.

LOTHARIO (working title) is an existential soap opera, a rapid tour of a darkly comical world where 26 love interests are introduced alphabetically, where implausible (if not impossible) events occur regularly, and where desire and meaning are both hard to come by. Relationships form and crumble in ways that are humorous, tragic, or both. Ultimately, fed up with dealing with such things as triplets who impersonate each other, girls with supernatural baggage, and the ennui of his day job at a pet store, Martin begins to let go of his "Zelda" and rethink his self-absorbed worldview. By himself.

I have an English degree from Brigham Young University and I currently write album and concert reviews for SLUG magazine in Salt Lake City. LOTHARIO is my first novel.


And I understand where you're coming from, but the first assumption is that dating in rapid succession implies sexing up a lot of women, which isn't particularly sympathetic. Maybe mention that some of his dates take issue with the lack thereof? I'm not sure if you use it at all for comedic effect, but it's got potential.

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#11 isaacblack

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:35 AM

Ok, here's another stab at it. I feel like it's a little better... but I also feel like I wrote the same thing a different way. Hm.

When his wife dies suddenly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances finds he doesn't miss her as much as he expected. Fearing that he did not love her and may not even be capable of love, he bucks his innate aversion to social situations and decides to methodically ask out every girl that he's the least bit attracted to. Not the typical womanizer (he sometimes skips parties to stay home and read), Martin is conscientious, sensitive, and mild-mannered… except when he's not. Lothario, an 85,000 word work of literary fiction, is an episodic chronicle of Martin's experiment on his own emotions, a venture that sometimes brings to light his own unpleasant, intractable qualities. But with so many twists and turns--a set of triplets impersonate each other, a gypsy curse robs him of his mojo, someone who sets him up with a friend reveals herself as a secret admirer--Martin's escapades don't leave him too much time for navel-gazing. His attempts at finding meaning as perpetually frustrated as his search for true love, Martin at the end has neither a moral lesson nor the girl of his dreams. All that's left is the decision whether to continue.

#12 RileyRedgate

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:47 AM

You know, this is a really interesting letter. I feel like a lot of it is 'telling', but I also feel like it works. You can probably tighten it up, but honestly, for the most part, I like it.

You do need some white space somewhere in here, though. The block of text makes me mentally brace myself. I'd split it into 2 paragraphs right before the title. And don't forget to add 'Thank you for your time etc.' before you sign out with your 'sincerely'. (Give that its own paragraph too, for spacing purposes.)

When his wife dies suddenly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances finds he doesn't miss her as much as he expected. Fearing that he did not love her and may not even be capable of love, he bucks his innate aversion to social situations and decides to methodically ask out every girl that he's the least bit attracted to. Not the typical womanizer (he sometimes skips parties to stay home and read), Martin is conscientious, sensitive, and mild-mannered… except when he's not This doesn't work for me. I feel like 'or so he thought' or something to that effect, if he's experimenting with himself, would be a more appropriate sentence ending.. Lothario LOTHARIO, an 85,000 word work of literary fiction, is an episodic chronicle of Martin's experiment on his own emotions, a venture that sometimes brings to light his own unpleasant, intractable qualities Here's some telling you could change.. But with so many twists and turns--a set of triplets impersonate each other, a gypsy curse robs him of his mojo, someone who sets him up with a friend reveals herself as a secret admirer the items on this list should be separated with semicolons, probably--Martin's escapades don't leave him too much time for navel-gazing. His attempts at finding meaning as perpetually frustrated as his search for true love, Martin at the end has neither a moral lesson nor the girl of his dreams. All that's left is the decision whether to continue. The main thing I'm unsure about is this ending. I'd advise not revealing the end of the story in the query. You want the agent to be left with an 'I must read on!' feeling, and telling them the ending - an open ending, at that - isn't going to elicit that feeling of MUST-REQUEST-NOW.


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#13 anne

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:36 AM

Ok, here's another stab at it. I feel like it's a little better... but I also feel like I wrote the same thing a different way. Hm.



When his wife dies suddenly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances finds (WONDERS WHY) he doesn't miss her. (END HERE) Fearing that he did not love her and may not even be capable of love, he bucks his innateaversion to social situations and decides to methodically ask out (GO ON A DATING BINGE....maybe?? WITH
every girl that he's the least bit attracted to. Not the typical womanizer (he sometimes skips parties to stay home andread), THIS IS IMPORTANT DETAIL ABOUT MARTIN TAKE IT OUT OF PARANTHRSES AND PUT IT UPFRONT Martin is conscientious, sensitive, and mildmannered… except when he's not. (SO HE ISN'T THOSE THINGS? Confusing) , an 85,000 word work of literary fiction, is an episodic chronicle (TRIPPED HERE) of Martin's experiment on his own emotions, a venture that
sometimes brings to light his own unpleasant, intractable qualities. But with so many twists and turns--(BETTER WIRD CHOICE THAN TWISTS AND TURNS) a set oftriplets impersonate each other, a gypsy curse robs him of hismojo, someone who sets him up with a friend reveals
herself as a secret admirer-(SPICE UP THAT LAST LINE--TOO WORDY AND DIFFERENT FROM PREVIOUS TWO)-- escapades don't leave him too much time for navel-gazing. (RECONSIDER NAVEL-GAZING--DOESNT SOUND LIKE MARYIN I AM ENVISIONING)His attempts at
finding meaning (SOMETHING IS AMISS HERE) as
perpetually frustrated as his search for true love, Martin at the end has neither a moral lesson nor the girl of his
dreams. All that's left is the decision whether to continue.

. (CLEAN UP LAST STATEMENT...AWKWARD WORDING AND UNCLEAR..CONTINUE WHAT?). Martin must learn something about himself as you implied in first paragraph. How does he change? Martin is naive and easily tricked. So were his intentions purely immoral ones? It doesn't sound that way to me. I hope this was helpful!!! I don't know how to edit the right way yet.
Anne

#14 Eric

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 01:14 PM

Here's what I did rearranging what you already had into roughly query format. It starts with synopsis and still needs a hook. I hope this sparks some ideas.

When his wife dies suddenly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances finds he doesn't miss her as much as he expected. Fearing that he did not love her and may not even be capable of love, he bucks his innate aversion to social situations and decides to methodically ask out every girl that he's the least bit attracted to.

With so many twists and turns – a set of triplets impersonate each other, a gypsy curse robs him of his mojo, someone who sets him up with a friend reveals herself as a secret admirer – Martin's escapades don't leave him too much time for navel-gazing.

His attempts at finding meaning as perpetually frustrated as his search for true love, at the end, Martin has neither a moral lesson nor the girl of his dreams. All that's left is the decision whether to continue.

Lothario, an 85,000 word work of literary fiction, is an episodic chronicle of Martin's experiment on his own emotions.

I couldn't find a place for this: Not the typical womanizer (he sometimes skips parties to stay home and read), Martin is conscientious, sensitive, and mild-mannered… except when he's not. Here you are telling us about Martin and I'm not sure whether he comes across as a womanizer at all. See if you can show these traits.

I hope this helps.

#15 wendywtw

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 02:59 PM

There's hook potential with your query, but at first glance, the main character doesn't sound very enduring or interesting and its premise is confusing. I got lost with the supernatural baggage and the A through Z dating. I like what Eric did, though. It cleared up a lot of the confusion.

#16 Olivia Jewel

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 09:53 PM

Its human nature to attempt to replace a wife or husband after sudden death. If this is the heart of MC's promiscious behavior adding this detail will warm us up to him and curtail the impression of a womanizer.

#17 bkeats

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:05 AM

Off your latest

Martin Frances is conscientious, sensitive, and mild-mannered… except when he's not. (Here's your hook, or at least a working draft of it)

When his wife dies suddenly in their first year of marriage, Martin Frances finds he doesn't miss her as much as he expected. Fearing that he did not love her and may not even be capable of love, he bucks his innate aversion to social situations and decides to methodically ask out every girl that he's the least bit attracted to. (So far, so good. I'm intrigued!) Not the typical womanizer (he sometimes skips parties to stay home and read), is an episodic chronicle of Martin's experiment on his own emotions, a venture that sometimes brings to light his own unpleasant, intractable qualities. But with so many twists and turns--a set of triplets impersonate each other, a gypsy curse robs him of his mojo, someone who sets him up with a friend reveals herself as a secret admirer--Martin's escapades don't leave him too much time for navel-gazing. His attempts at finding meaning as perpetually frustrated as his search for true love, Martin at the end has neither a moral lesson nor the girl of his dreams. All that's left is the decision whether to continue. (Unfortunately, everything highlighted in green is crash and burn. It's all telling and now showing. I know this is literary fiction, but that's no substitute for terminal vagueness).

A possible rewrite follows (Rough draft only): Martin's experiment winds up driving home some of his own unpleasant qualities (You'll need to give at least one example). Martin's experiment turns into an obsession as the women he encounters become more and more bizarre-
a set of triplets impersonate each other, a gypsy curse robs him of his mojo, and someone who sets him up with a friend reveals herself as a secret admirer. Soon, Martin may have to admit to himself that his Quest For Love has become more important than Love itself.

LOTHARIO is an 85,000-word work of literary fiction. Thank you for your consideration.


A few preliminary thoughts. Happy Writing :smile:




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