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#1 hgsylvan

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 07:36 PM

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#2 MICRONESIA

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:13 PM

NEVER write a query from your MC's point of view. Re-write in third person before proceeding any further.

#3 hgsylvan

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 05:39 AM

Thanks for the reply...BUT this is a memoir - and memoir queries are always told in first person. As Janet Reid (aka The Query Shark) said "Query your memoir in first person. This is YOUR Story. You can use "I" and be ok."

 

I know it seems odd, but that's the way the memoir query crumbles.



#4 MICRONESIA

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:37 AM

Whoops! Missed that part somehow!

 

Carry on. :)



#5 Springfield

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:11 PM

Hello all!!! Looking for some feedback with my query letter - Thank you so much and looking forward to reading yours! ***Edited to add this is a memoir query letter - it is suppose to be told in the first person. 

 

Dear Mr. XXXX:

 

I have a secret...I haven't had sex in ten years.

 

Despite being cute, disease free and only mildly neurotic (I live in Los Angeles, the bar for psychological wellness is notoriously low) here I am, staring down the barrel of forty, with the sex-less days ticking by faster than the national debt and the reality that I have become THE cat person in my group of married pregnant friends. 

 

You'd think when Tyler Covington, a reformed gangbanger with eyes that hit like a fast moving train, waltzed into my life, the seas would have parted, along with my legs and my life would be filled with love, orgasms and unicorn dust. Everything about him screams I Am The One. So when the fateful moment arrives and he asks me to spend the night - obviously it's a panty dropping no-brainer- instead I bolted from his bedroom in a full-blown panic, throwing out excuses like alternate side of the street parking and feeding Nero, my 26 pound cat.

 

Clearly I have baggage, the kind you can't hide from, the dark stuff that wears itself on my sleeve no matter how hard I try to scrub it clean. Everything I have ever wanted is right at my fingertips and it is all slipping down the drain. Before it is too late I need to deal with my past or resign myself to being the girl with a houseful of cats and an untouchable tumor for a heart.

 

TRACY LANE IS NOT A VIRGIN and other misconceptions surrounding a disastrous love life is a complete 75,000 word memoir. If Jenny Lawson and Lena Dunham had a child, this book would be on their nightstand.

 

I understand you are very busy and am grateful for your time and consideration. 

 

This is voicey, but unclear -- I don't quite get the period it covers, or the point. I mean I do in the 'deal with neurosis,' way, but I don't see the arc that justifies 75k. What's here reads like premise really, not plot. 

 

There are also a bunch of errors in grammar -- you've got tenses flipping back and forth through the whole thing, among some other issues.



#6 hgsylvan

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 05:09 PM

Springfield - Thank you. Spot on. Scraping and starting over. 

 

PS I've been reading through the query letters here and find your comments very constructive - I am learning a lot.



#7 hgsylvan

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 04:39 PM

Here I go again. Thanks for any and all comments!!!



#8 Ireth

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 04:54 PM

Here I go again. Thanks for any and all comments!!!

 

Dear X:

 

I finally found Mr. Right only to realize I was Ms. Wrong.

 

Staring down the barrel of forty while dating in Los Angeles during the age of the emoticon sucked. I should have been born in a different century, one that required corsets and the long lost art of letter writing.

 

I thought my relationship status was permanently stuck at single until Tyler Covington, book lover, reformed gangbanger (how appealing. /sarcasm) and all around piece of perfection, asked me to spend the night. There was just one problem(colon) I haven't (why are you switching tenses here?) had sex in ten years.  The anorexic (why are you comparing your sex life to an eating disorder? that seems insensitive to people who are actually anorexic) state of my sex life is a clue to a past I wish I could forget. It forced (tense) me to run from Tyler's bedroom in a panic throwing out excuses like feeding Nero(comma) my 26(hyphen)pound cat.

 

My carefully built survival system makes falling in love impossible. If I could just find a way to love myself then I could escape my past and stop running from relationships. Before it's too late I need to learn how to risk my heart and allow myself to be vulnerable, then maybe love will find me.

It's not going to be easy, but the path to true love never is.

 

Tracy Lane is Not a Virgin (capitalize your title) and other misconceptions surrounding a disastrous love life is a complete 75,000 memoir.


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#9 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 05:30 PM

Whoops! Missed that part somehow!

 

Carry on. :)

LOL! Funny. Thanks. I needed a chuckle.



#10 hgsylvan

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 05:33 PM

Hi Ireth - thank you for your insight.

R



#11 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 05:49 PM

I agree with Ireth. But I do think a comma comes after 'gangbanger.' Don't take my word for it. I'm lousy with commas! Other than that, it sounds good. Mostly because your life and mine have much in common.  :unsure:



#12 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 05:52 PM

Hi Ireth - thank you for your insight.

 

Reformed gangbanger - we both survived a lot of childhood trauma and sometimes a kid's choices are limited. He turned his life around and I admire that. I can see how some people might not see the same thing. 

 

I am struggling with tense - because my natural inclination is to write in present tense, but then I read memoir query is suppose to be told in past tense - so my mind is completely twisted around. Will re-evaluate.

 

My use of the word "anorexic" is taking directly from the memoir, but out of context I can see how it might be offensive - and that was not my intention - will re work.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to read it.  This is not easy to do and I appreciate your help.

I personally think the anorexic part is great. Of course, I'm nowhere close to anorexic and not the least bit politically correct. Tired of everyone being offended. I say get over it.



#13 Carney

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:11 AM

Hi - I'm a fellow memoirist who finally managed to land an agent. Hopefully, I can offer some help...

 

 

Hello all!!! Looking for some feedback with my query letter - Thank you so much and looking forward to reading yours! ***Edited to add this is a memoir query letter - it is suppose to be told in the first person. 

 

Dear Mr. XXXX:

 

I have a secret...I haven't had sex in ten years.

 

Despite being cute, disease free and only mildly neurotic (I live in Los Angeles, the bar for psychological wellness is notoriously low) here I am, staring down the barrel of forty, with the sex-less days ticking by faster than the national debt and the reality that I have become THE cat person in my group of married pregnant friends. I really like this paragraph! It captured my interest and made me want to know more. NO, the story isn't clear - yet, but the voice is wonderful and enough to make me read further

 

You'd think when Tyler Covington, a reformed gangbanger with eyes that hit like a fast moving train, waltzed into my life, the seas would have parted, along with my legs and my life would be filled with love, orgasms and unicorn dust. Everything about him screams I Am The One. So when the fateful moment arrives and he asks me to spend the night - obviously it's a panty dropping no-brainer- instead I bolted from his bedroom in a full-blown panic, throwing out excuses like alternate side of the street parking and feeding Nero, my 26 pound cat.

 

Clearly I have baggage, the kind you can't hide from, the dark stuff that wears itself on my sleeve no matter how hard I try to scrub it clean. Everything I have ever wanted is right at my fingertips and it is all slipping down the drain. Before it is too late I need to deal with my past or resign myself to being the girl with a houseful of cats and an untouchable tumor for a heart.  Here is where I think you go a bit wrong. You might consider adding  bit about what brought you to this point because the "backstory" you hint at is probably the main part of the memoir - right? You are choosing not to have sex because ??? You need to deal with your past because ??? You see the issue? You are only hinting at the story not providing context for that story - something the query needs to accomplish. 

 

Also, because this is so important in a memoir query: make sure you add a short bio paragraph. This is simply a short summary of what qualifies you to write the memoir. Your writing credits - if any; your background IF it includes anything related to writing or publishing and anything else you think the agent should know about you. 

 

TRACY LANE IS NOT A VIRGIN and other misconceptions surrounding a disastrous love life is a complete 75,000 word memoir. If Jenny Lawson and Lena Dunham had a child, this book would be on their nightstand.  I would use the book names: Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Girls.

I understand you are very busy and am grateful Thank you for your time and consideration. 

 

Here I go again. Thanks for any and all comments!!!

 

Dear X:

 

I finally found Mr. Right only to realize I was Ms. Wrong.

 

Staring down the barrel of forty while dating in Los Angeles during the age of the emoticon sucked. I should have been born in a different century, one that required corsets and the long lost art of letter writing.

 

I thought my relationship status was permanently stuck at single until Tyler Covington, book lover, reformed gangbanger and all around piece of perfection, asked me to spend the night. There was just one problem, I haven't had sex in ten years.  The anorexic state of my sex life is a clue to a past I wish I could forget. It forced me to run from Tyler's bedroom in a panic throwing out excuses like feeding Nero my 26 pound cat.

 

My carefully built survival system makes falling in love impossible. If I could just find a way to love myself then I could escape my past and stop running from relationships. Before it's too late I need to learn how to risk my heart and allow myself to be vulnerable, then maybe love will find me.

It's not going to be easy, but the path to true love never is.

 

Tracy Lane is Not a Virgin and other misconceptions surrounding a disastrous love life is a complete 75,000 memoir.

Okay...not to be difficult, but I vastly prefer the first version to the second. The first, while not perfect, has great voice and gives the reader a good sense of theme. The second is a bit dry and, I believe, lacks that sense of originality essential to successful memoir. Keep in mind that memoir is a very tough sell these days. In the second version, the story sounds...well, a bit "been there, done that, hasn't everyone." In the first, you sound interesting and the story captures my interest. Who is this woman and why has sex become difficult for her? I want to know more. The voice captures my imagination. This is what you want an agent to feel. What I've learned is the rules of writing an effective query are very flexible as long as you do one thing: capture the agent's interest.  

 

As you know, one thing that Query Shark stresses is how stepping outside the "norm" often brings greater success than staying within the same old tried and true. I think this is particularly true with memoir. You need that unique voice and approach in order to entice agents into at least reading your manuscript. 

 

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions or if you just want to talk about this challenging genre. 



#14 Katx

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:22 PM

Hi Ireth - thank you for your insight.

Reformed gangbanger - we both survived a lot of childhood trauma and sometimes a kid's choices are limited. He turned his life around and I admire that. I can see how some people might not see the same thing.

I am struggling with tense because my natural inclination is to write in present tense, but then I read memoir query is suppose to be told in past tense. Mymind is completely twisted around. Will re-evaluate.

My use of the word "anorexic" is taken directly from the memoir, but out of context I can see how it might be offensive - and that was not my intention - will re work.

Thank you again for taking the time to read it. This is not easy to do and I appreciate your help.

 

 

I personally think the anorexic part is great. Of course, I'm nowhere close to anorexic and not the least bit politically correct. Tired of everyone being offended. I say get over it.

 

 

Just stopped by to make a comment on the anorexic remark... from someone who has been suffering with anorexia for circa 5 years. In its current context, I find it verging on offensive because there is no explanation as to why you'd describe sex this way. Is it meant to mean starved? (as in non existent?). Because then I start to worry about its context in your book. Anorexia is not just about starving, or being thin. It is a mental illness that is very very complicated, but if I was to try simplify it, I'd say it enters around control more than anything else - which I doubt is how you've meant to describe your sex life?

 

I'm all for some interesting descriptors, but I'd recommend not using this one - certainly not like this. And I'm also sick of political correctness, but as someone who's heard my mental health degraded to a diet, or me being sad, countless times, I'm not comfortable with it. However, I'm all for education, so if it is explored in your book as more than a descriptor, good for you.

 

As for more general comments on the query, I agree that it needs more voice - particularly as it's a memoir. Good luck, and I'd be happy to pop back and critique a later draft :)


If I've given you a critique please have a look at my latest thread, it is both much needed and appreciated! Thank you :)

 

http://agentquerycon...ry/#entry344705


#15 hgsylvan

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:31 PM

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#16 hgsylvan

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:43 PM

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#17 Bananas

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:49 PM

+1 to Katx.

Queries have to be perfectly clear.  In mine, I had to change inflammable to flammable because too many people didn't know they were synonyms



#18 Katx

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 02:46 PM

Hi Katx - Thanks for your comment. In the manuscript the term is used to describe my sex life - which is all of those things. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse - control issues I have them in spades - that's why it's been ten years since I had sex and why i have only had sex with 2 people (two of which I was engaged to).  As you are probably familiar with the stats a great number of people who have been sexual abused also suffer from eating disorders.  I am not worried about the context in my book, the query letter might be too abrupt for it. 

 

Thanks for your input.

 

 

Ahh, now I have some wider context, I can see how it would become applicable. I know a lot of people with eating disorders and yes, unfortunately the correlation is unusually high. I'm really glad you have a wider understanding of the illness, although I would urge anyone who doesn't have personal experience with an ED to do your research again and again. We are unfortunately a rather "prickly" community when it come to books, TV etc. representing anything to do with our illness because it has been done wrong so many times! As said though, it seems you have done this research well.

 

I know you're wary of mentioning sexual assault in your query, but I think it might do you good to try a draft with it included and see whether or not it works? It could really add to it and if it doesn't work, no harm done either :)


If I've given you a critique please have a look at my latest thread, it is both much needed and appreciated! Thank you :)

 

http://agentquerycon...ry/#entry344705


#19 hgsylvan

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 03:05 PM

Thanks for the advice - I am gonna give it a try and see what happens! 



#20 Chloe Kleine

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:00 PM

Hello hgsylvan,

 

I’m critiquing your first query because it is way better.

Parts of your second query are good, but your overall voice in query 1 has much more impact, and a humorous pull. I suggest cherry picking the best parts of your second query and embedding them into your first query (not the other way around). Reflect on everyone’s feedback, add some salt and pepper and come up with a third draft!

 

I’ve also done a memoir query in the past, so I understand where you are coming from. Yes, using first person is correct, and actually it’s FINE (and probably advisable) to write in present tense. You need to check the syntax of your writing, because you do sometimes switch tense.

Meanwhile, I agree wholeheartedly with Carney’s comments.

 

Don’t use the word anorexic to describe sex-life. Even if it only has an ounce of a chance that it will offend, better not to use it. You’re not trolling on twitter; you’re trying to pick up book representation.  (In your MS it's fine, but not in your query).

 

Here’s my critique of your first query:-

 

 

I have a secret...I haven't had sex in ten years. This is kind of funny and attention grabbing, but to be honest it's not that big of a deal. I know people who haven't had sex for twenty years... Having said all that, I’m inclined to leave it in for now – see what other people say…

 

Despite being cute, disease free and only mildly neurotic (I live in Los Angeles, the bar for psychological wellness is notoriously low) here I am, staring down the barrel of forty, with the sex-less days ticking by faster than the national debt (this doesn't quite work because national debt doesn't tick by, it clocks up. Try to find another comparison or you could say 'ticking by faster than the national debt clocks up') and the reality that I have become THE cat person in my group of married pregnant friends. You may only need to say, the reality that I have become the only cat person in my peer group. On the other hand, not everyone will know what you mean by 'cat person' - you might want to spice it up and say, the reality that I am on a crash course towards becoming that spinster on the shelf with cat.

 

You'd think when Tyler Covington, a reformed gangbanger with eyes that hit (maybe find a stronger word than 'hit') like a fast moving train, waltzed into my life, the seas would have parted, along with my legs and my life would be filled with love, orgasms and unicorn dust (nice sentence).  Everything about him screams I Am The One (perhaps write this in italics with hyphens to make it easier to read: I-Am-The-One). So when the fateful (epic?) moment arrives and he asks me to spend the night - obviously it's a panty dropping no-brainer- (full stop) instead Instead, I bolted (choose a tense and stick with it) from his bedroom in a full-blown panic, throwing out excuses like alternate side of the street parking and feeding Nero, my 26 pound cat.

 

Clearly I have baggage, the kind you can't hide from, the dark stuff that wears itself on my sleeve no matter how hard I try to scrub it clean. Everything I have ever wanted is right at my fingertips and but it is all slipping down the drain. (or: Everything I have ever wanted is here in my hands, but rapidly slipping through my fingers). Before it is too late I need It’s time to deal with my past or resign myself to being becoming the girl with a houseful of cats lonely cat woman and with an untouchable tumor for a heart.

 

TRACY LANE IS NOT A VIRGIN and other misconceptions surrounding a disastrous love life (is this all meant to be part of the title?) is a complete 75,000 word memoir. If Jenny Lawson and Lena Dunham had a child, this book would be on their nightstand.

 

I understand you are very busy and am grateful Thank you for your time and consideration. 

 

As Carney mentioned, you need to add a short bio about why you are justified to write this memoir. Obviously, it’s from your experience. This would be the place to mention you’re a sufferer of sexual abuse, and you might like to highlight some of the therapy you’ve undergone and how that’s given you insights to yourself and how you learnt to love yourself. But keep it brief / succinct.

 

I've also done a memoir query (two years ago) that got representation.

I'm now querying a novel, so do please critique the current query when you've time!.

Memoir query link:

http://agentquerycon...ance/?hl=exobia

Current query (please critique!):

http://agentquerycon...n-bdsm-romance/

 

Good luck

Chloe


Please critique my query, and I will return the favour!

http://agentquerycon...n-bdsm-romance/

 






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