I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on my query for Emma's Folly - I'd be happy to help anyone else out in return! XOXO
In the lush farmland just south of Duluth, Minnesota, on a wistful day in the garden 24-year-old wife and mother, Emma, lets her gaze wander and in that instant her toddler, Jonah, slips into a muddy pond. Emma throws herself in after him and the next thing she knows they are being pulled to shore by a charismatic grifter just up from Texas and looking for field work. But is Brooks Davis looking for more?
You've used too many unnecessary words and it's not drawing me in. Try and make this feel more urgent. I mean...the protag's kid fell into a pond and was rescued by a stranger. Add more oomph here because - as it is now - it reads more like a to-do list. This is where you have to grab hold of me and pull me in. Tug at my emotions. I don't need to know it was a wistful day. For your query, every word counts so choose them carefully. Stick to more active verbs rather than adverbs and adjectives. Your writing will come across much stronger.
Off the top of my head:
When Emma Smith jumps into a pond in a frantic attempt to rescue her x-year old son, she is the one pulled to safety. Brooks Davis, a charismatic grifter...
That's just off the top of my head, but it feels more urgent. Tugs at the heart strings more, which is what you want.
Emma has always played her life safe choosing marriage to Nathaniel and a baby over a job off the farm in the fast-growing city of Minneapolis. You really need to pay closer attention to your punctuation. But now, after losing her only child and her own brush with death, she wonders if her days of routine chores, canning pickles and milking cows can ever be enough. These are two long, boring sentences. LOL Sorry... You want to hook me with your opening and then continue to reel me in. I'm not hooked. Make your sentences short and snappy. Make your reader dance over your words.
Emma's always played it safe.
Tell me something about Nathaniel. Is he her childhood sweetheart or something? Right now, you're just telling me he was a safe choice, but I don't know why.
Emma's always played it safe. She married her high school sweetheart, had a baby, and...
strangely drawn to Brooks for saving her life. Kill your adverbs. If you use an adverb, nine times out of ten it's because you need a stronger verb. Your sentences are stronger without them. We know Emma plays it safe. We know it's strange for her to be drawn to Brooks. Your sentence is stronger without the adverb. She IS drawn to Brooks for saving her life. Period.
His presence during the harvest is like a bolt of lightning – exciting at a distance, but dangerous close up. This sentence is cliché. I'd lose it as it adds nothing to your query.
In the hopes of renewing Emma’s spirits, Nathaniel convinces her to take a shopping weekend with her spirited only sister, Jo, and deposit their harvest bonus in their bank near The Hotel Duluth where the sisters will stay. Play around with this sentence some more. It's not doing anything for me. Make it sound more urgent. Remember, your opening sentence is to hook me and you should be building tension with each sentence until I can't take it anymore and HAVE to read more.
If I was an agent, I'd stop reading here. I'm just not hooked. Keep tweaking so I'm sucked in. You can do it!
Emma gets caught up in the joy that has disappeared from her life and forgets to make the deposit. Did she ever have joy? I thought she just played it safe all her life? I'd think she's more likely to be caught up in a brand new excitement.
When Brooks shows up in the hotel bar and when cocktails infuse her pent up emotions of guilt and grief, she overdrinks. Brooks helps a woozy Emma to her room igniting a spark between them, but before they can make love, Emma passes out. The following morning, she awakens to discover that Brooks has taken off with their hard-earned cash. THIS!!!!! This is good. I was NOT expecting this! Tweak this some more and again...pay attention to your punctuation.
When Nathaniel goes after Brooks it kicks off a string of events that push the changing foundation of Emma’s marriage to the breaking point And....if falls flat here. "Kicks of a string of events that...." Boring. Cliché. Reword that part.
Emma is faced with a risky choice: rediscover the vibrant girl she used to be and chance blowing the lid off her safe but somewhat stagnant marriage, or stay in the hum-drum of her life and watch her spirit slowly fade away. Tighten up the wording here.
Emma’s Folly is a story of survival after tragedy opens the flood gates on a marriage drifting toward the mundane and of the ability of love to renew and heal beyond what has been lost. Upmarket commercial, women’s fiction complete at 96,066 words. I have previously published two other novels that can be found on Amazon. Thank you for your consideration.