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#1 Brenda Sorrels

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 05:47 PM

Hello Everyone,

     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?

 

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. 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.

 

Emma is strangely drawn to Brooks for saving her life. His presence during the harvest is like a bolt of lightning – exciting at a distance, but dangerous close up. 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. Emma gets caught up in the joy that has disappeared from her life and forgets to make the deposit. 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. 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Sincerely,



#2 Daisy

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 06:53 PM

Hello Everyone,

     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... :blush:  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...

 

 

Emma is 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.   :blush:  Keep tweaking so I'm sucked in.  You can do it!   :biggrin: 

 

 

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.  gosh!:  ​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.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Good luck! You're off to a good start!  

Can't wait to see your revisions.   :smile:



#3 Brenda Sorrels

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 12:29 AM

Oh! Wow! This is an awesome response! Thank you so much!  XOXO  I will get back to work!



#4 Springfield

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 01:06 AM

Hello Everyone,

     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 I give, what the heck is 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? The hell would I know?

 

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. When is this set? I think Minneapolis is pretty well grown.Also, were you attacked by a comma as a small child and now fear them? But now, after losing her only child What? and her own brush with death, she wonders if her days of routine chores, canning pickles and milking cows can ever be enough. WHAT? Ok, I think you're saying the kid died -- that's not at all clear from the first paragraph, which reads like a standard romance setup. You say he pulled them both to shore. If her kid actually died, why in the world would she or the reader be thinking about whether the guy has the hots for her? I'm getting a load of ick from this atm. Also... her kid died and she's wondering if farm life is fulfilling? What is going on? 

 

Emma is strangely drawn to Brooks for saving her life. That's not at all strange. His presence during the harvest is like a bolt of lightning – exciting at a distance, but dangerous close up. 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. Everyone in this query seems inhuman? Deeply odd at any rate, and I ask again when the heck this is set. Emma gets caught up in the joy that has disappeared from her life and forgets to make the deposit. She's caught up in the joy of shopping? I... is she supposed to be an unlikable character? She's awful.When Brooks shows up in the hotel bar and when cocktails infuse her pent up emotions of guilt and grief, she overdrinks. With what? 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. 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. Good. Run, Nathaniel. This is also entirely vague and way too much step-by-step info. 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Sincerely,

 

I don't get a sense of what this is meant to be from this query, and it really doesn't read upmarket or cfic to me at all. It reads like kind of a weird genre romance. 

 

I guessed at your wordcount from the overwriting in the query and the wc was still over. That's very high for something like this, and it shows. 

 

The pressing issue though is to clarify what's going on here -- I don't get any stakes, I don't really get the plot, like I said it reads like a genre romance with a weird opener, and your MC is coming off, o me at least, as kind of really unlikable,to say the least. Also, if this is a period thing, I'd suggest making that clear.



#5 Brenda Sorrels

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 03:31 PM

Thank you so MUCH for this feedback - I truly appreciate it! 



#6 ARDavis

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 09:40 PM

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. (This sentence is muddy. Get to the point where the kid drowns, would make it pop and make someone want to keep reading.) 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? 

 

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. (But doesn't she live in Duluth?) 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. (So the kid didn't get saved? The earlier sentence made it seem like this Brooks guy saved them.)

 

Emma is strangely drawn to Brooks for saving her life. (Is that all that draws her to him?) His presence during the harvest is like a bolt of lightning – exciting at a distance, but dangerous close up. (I really like this sentence. Lovely.) 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. Emma gets caught up in the joy that has disappeared from her life and forgets to make the deposit. 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. 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. (This reads too much like a summary, too much telling me this happens then this. What does this have to do with her losing her child? Or the impending romance? Get to the main conflict, explain what's at stake for Emma.)

 

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. (that doesn't seem like a choice. it seems like what she would pick would be too obvious.)

 

Emma’s Folly (96,066) 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. (All right, so it looks like you're in the same boat as me. I've had books published on Amazon. One was part of a long and horrible story I won't get into because it doesn't matter. The point is, I've been told that you only want to mention your self published work if it's done something significant, like sold 50K copies or something. But you can take that advice from me with a grain of salt, considering you're not trying to send those to a publisher and I have no insight to how agents think. Just something to think about.) Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

This letter needs a lot of clean up. I need to know what's at stake for Emma, what the plot is, etc. Pare this letter down into that and go from there. Good luck and I hope I helped! Also, I apologize if I come off as brusque: I've got a terrible cold and sometimes that can translate to me being b!tchy as hell lol. I promise your letter didn't make me angry or anything. Again, hope I gave some helpful advice. 







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