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#1 sillygirl2

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 01:22 PM

A fifty-year-old husband must engage in a year-long duel of words, or he risks losing his wife to the siren song of her mental illness.

-or-

When faced with the prospect of losing his wife, a husband spent nearly a year composing powerful love poems and letters to drown out the siren song of her mental illness.



#2 Niambi

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:23 PM

I think it's spot on, but I would mention the name of the mental illness and leave out the prose.

When faced with the prospect of losing his wife to Alzheimer's ...

#3 sillygirl2

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:29 PM

Thank you so much, Niambi!

 

When faced with the prospect of losing his wife to bipolar disorder, a husband spent nearly a year composing powerful love poems and letters to drown out the siren song of her mental illness.

 

Should I say "mental illness" or just "illness"?



#4 JoQwerty

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 02:00 AM

Sorry, sillygirl2, but I don't understand the analogy to the "siren song". The depression phase of bipolar disorder is not pleasant and those who suffer from it don't like it because it lasts longer than the mania phases. So what is the attraction?

 

Don't get me wrong, the premise of your hook is interesting. I can see the idea of writing love poems as an adjunct to psychotherapy and medication in treating depression (though I would be wary of a book that posited love poems alone could heal a major mental illness).

 

 

A few nitpicks, I have been told a hook should be written in the present tense, so you need "spends" instead of "spent" and I would drop "nearly" as it does not add anything to the sentence.



#5 sillygirl2

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 02:20 AM

Hi JoQwerty,

Thanks so much for your honest feedback. I actually was hypomanic during that phase, not depressed. I felt I needed to make a drastic change in my life (just like my past frequent job changes, etc.) despite the fact that it was irrational. The first thing I talked about in the book was that bipolar treatment is lifelong and typically involves medication and psychotherapy. I also pointed out that my husband lays out my pills every morning and sets his phone alarm twice a day to make sure I take them on schedule. He sees my illness as "our" illness, most likely because he can't bear to watch me want to leave again. I just don't know how to combine all that in one sentence. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

#6 JoQwerty

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 09:49 AM

Is this a memoir? If so, you should look into the differences between querying memoirs and novels. Memoirs are non-fiction and require a book proposal in place of a query letter.

 

The examples of loglines for memoirs that I have seen usually state "this is a memoir" or "this is a true story". AQ has examples of loglines for nonfiction on their main site. Looking at those examples, I would think you need something like:

 

The true story of a woman with bipolar disorder who  [...], but when her husband writes her a love poem a day, she finds the courage to stay and go on with her treatments.

 

In the brackets you need to put the worst demons you overcame.



#7 sillygirl2

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 12:49 PM

Yes, this is a memoir.  The local agency that I plan on submitting my book to specifies, "Please email your full non-fiction proposal including a query letter and a sample chapter."

 

What you wrote sounds terrific!  Thanks!  Another question though, a large portion of the book is about our life, not just my struggles.  Should I somehow mention that?  Each chapter starts out with a poem, followed by the memories it invokes, several relevant letters (which are semi-short email messages he sends me every morning since the day we met), and a few more related poems.  He wrote those poems for about a year right after my diagnosis.

 

So, should it be the following?

 

The true story of a woman's married life whose bipolar disorder seduces her into abandoning her marriage, but when her husband writes her a love poem (and a letter?) a day, she finds the courage to stay and go on with her treatments.

 

Does it seem too lengthy?



#8 JoQwerty

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 01:08 AM

 

Another question though, a large portion of the book is about our life, not just my struggles.

 

In a query you would only mention the main plot, not any subplots. I would guess the same thing goes for non-fiction.

 

I like your logline with on caveat. The word "seduces" sounds as if the illness succeeded in making you abandon your marriage. Do you want the word "tempt" instead? If you do mean that you did leave for a time and then returned, then maybe you should replace "to stay" with "to return".

 

As for the length, I have been told that a logline should be between 25 and 50 words. Shorter than 25 is even better, but don't go over 50.



#9 sillygirl2

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:54 PM

So, I totally change it.  You did say a logline can be as long as 50 words. :).  I'm supposed to use first person and present tense... both feel strange to me.

 

Of Storms and Stars is my memoir telling the story of how I am able to triumph over my mental illness. Through my husband’s daily love poems and letters, I find the courage to seek treatment instead of succumbing to my cunning mind and destroy our marriage.



#10 JoQwerty

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 01:08 AM

Actually, I liked the previous version better. :sad:

 

Also, you don't need the title in the logline as that is somewhere else in the query letter.

 

For more information on loglines for nonfiction look at AQ's How to Write a Query Letter. There are a few examples there and links to more in-depth articles.



#11 sillygirl2

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 05:47 PM

Another kind soul is helping me with the query letter (also on this forum), and I like a lot:

 

The true story of my personal triumph over the destructive nature of my bipolar disorder, and how my marriage was saved with the aid of my husband's daily poems and love letters.

 

Plus, I had trouble turning the 1st half of this sentence into first person: "The true story of a woman's married life whose bipolar disorder seduces her into abandoning her marriage, but when her husband writes her a love poem (and a letter?) a day, she finds the courage to stay and go on with her treatments."



#12 sillygirl2

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:28 PM

JoQwerty - on second thought, I will include yours in the proposal since it's told in 3rd person.






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