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The Pull (Literary Fiction)


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#1 Nicholz

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 01:05 PM

THE PULL (101,000 words) is named for that force that attracts us to all things tasty and tempting.  Three friends—Ellison, Bergen, and Trent—navigate hypersexuality, marital collapse, and opiate addiction to uncover common threads in the most disparate of situations.

 

Smart, career-minded Ellison is riveted by Thales and Archimedes but repulsed by monogamy and long-term relationships.  A rocky childhood and a fierce will to survive have provided her with some very non-traditional views on love and commitment.  When she enters a downward spiral that threatens to turn Ellison the Libertine into Ellison the Sex Addict, she becomes a danger to herself, with her actions having far-reaching consequences beyond any she could have imagined.

 

Bergen and her delightful, alcoholic husband, Nick, embark on a life together filled with frolic and laughter, parties and expeditions, late nights and disco friends.  Bergen is amused for a while, then realizes that she needs something bigger to live for.  Nick happily—and blindly—accompanies her into parenthood.  They have two beautiful children and a house full of love.  But while Bergen is focusing on raising the little ones, Nick is escalating in his erosive habits.  Bergen wakes up to find that the boy she loved so dearly as a playmate is not capable of being the partner she needs as a father and husband.  Her attempt to hang on to the status quo even after this realization pushes her to violate her own moral code and undermines her good intentions.

 

Trent, a twenty-five-year-old recovering drug addict, has traveled a dark, raw path.  He carelessly allowed a frivolous, pill-based opiate fetish to turn into a torrid affair with heroin, and he has paid a big price to get his life back.  This charismatic young man’s surprising friendship challenges Ellison and Bergen to reexamine their lives, lifting them to transcend their own destructive addictions.

 

 

THE PULL employs subtle humor, ancient philosophy, and provocative character interactions that make the reader reconsider the way they judge and realize the importance of truth.



#2 Emilysmith

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 01:55 PM

The first thing. If you start your query with the introduction, include the genre and word count from the beginning. 

 

THE PULL (101,000 words) is named for that force that attracts us to all things tasty and tempting. (Is name of the force.) (What does this have to do with anything? Does it affect rest of the story? So far, it has nothing to do with anything.)  Three friends—Ellison, Bergen, and Trent—navigate hypersexuality, marital collapse, and opiate addiction to uncover common threads in the most disparate of situations. (Does your story follow Three protagonists? If so, say it.) (https://www.scribend...writing.en.html read the paragraph about purposeful sentence fragments)

 

Smart, career-minded Ellison is riveted by Thales and Archimedes (I have no idea who Thales is. Are you sure the agent will know?) but repulsed by monogamy and long-term relationships. (I have no idea what you are trying to say. Really. This part is very confusing. Use simple and shorter sentences.)  A rocky childhood and a fierce will to survive have provided her with some very non-traditional views on love and commitment. (Such as?)  When she enters a downward spiral that threatens to turn Ellison the Libertine into Ellison the Sex Addict, she becomes a danger to herself, with her actions having far-reaching consequences beyond any she could have imagined.  (Another such as? If you don't say exactly what, I'm not interested)

 

Bergen and her delightful, alcoholic husband, Nick, embark on a life together filled with frolic and laughter, parties and expeditions, late nights and disco friends. (Too much details. Simply late night sand disco friend would be enough.)  Bergen is amused for a while, then  (Before she realizes) realizes that she needs something bigger to live for. (So she just wakes up an realizes? I think you have to say, she is fed up with empty life. Or something that leads to such conclusion) Nick happily—and blindly—accompanies her into parenthood. (What do you mean blindly?)  They have two beautiful children and a house full of love.  But while Bergen is focusing on raising the little ones, Nick is escalating in his erosive habits. (Don't start sentence with but)  Bergen wakes up to find that the boy she loved so dearly as a playmate (who) is not capable of being the partner she needs as a father and husband.  Her attempt to hang on to the status quo even after this realization pushes her to violate her own moral code and undermines her good intentions. (okay, the conflict is very good in here, but this paragraph is too long with unnecessary details. You can skip this cherish life and center around the drama. Don't waste the words. I shouldn't ask, what does this have to do with anything?)

 

Trent, a twenty-five-year-old recovering drug addict, has traveled a dark, raw path.  He carelessly allowed a frivolous, pill-based opiate fetish to turn into a torrid affair with heroin, and he has paid a big price to get his life back.  This charismatic young man’s surprising friendship challenges Ellison and Bergen to reexamine their lives, lifting them to transcend their own destructive addictions. (this is closest to the query letter style. Stakes of your main character is clear)

 

THE PULL employs subtle humor, ancient philosophy, (Write it in the very beginning, or write word count and genre here. Don't chop it)  and provocative character interactions that make the reader reconsider the way they judge and realize the importance of truth.

 

What is the genre of your novel? If you are writing women's fiction, 101K is too long. Your query must include the genre and word count. One tip, don't write word count in brackets.

Also how are your main characters stories connected with each other?

You don't have to explain the title, if it has nothing to do with the story. If it does, explain it better. Don't waste words. 



#3 smithgirl

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:56 PM

Three friends—Ellison, Bergen, and Trent—navigate hypersexuality, marital collapse, and opiate addiction to uncover common threads in the most disparate of situations. This is very vague more like a logline than a hook. You need to write a short, catchy hook. Look at hook examples in other queries, the query forum.

 

 

Smart, career-minded Ellison is riveted by Thales and Archimedes but repulsed by monogamy and long-term relationships. Nice description   A rocky childhood and a fierce will to survive have provided her with some very non-traditional views on love and commitment.  What about her childhood was rocky? When she enters a downward spiral that threatens to turn Ellison the Libertine into Ellison the Sex Addict, she becomes a danger to herself, with her actions having far-reaching consequences beyond any she could have imagined. This sentence is too vague.

 

Bergen and her delightful, alcoholic husband, Nick, embark on a life together filled with frolic and laughter, parties and expeditions, late nights and disco friends.  Bergen is amused for a while, then realizes that she needs something bigger to live for.  Nick happily—and blindly—accompanies her into parenthood.  They have two beautiful children and a house full of love.  But while Bergen is focusing on raising the little ones, Nick is escalating in his erosive habits.  Bergen wakes up to find that the boy she loved so dearly as a playmate is not capable of being the partner she needs as a father and husband.  Her attempt to hang on to the status quo even after this realization pushes her to violate her own moral code and undermines her good intentions. This is also well-written, but it becomes too vague. Also, you changed MCs. Who is your MC?

 

Trent, a twenty-five-year-old recovering drug addict, has traveled a dark, raw path. Be specific.  He carelessly allowed a frivolous, pill-based opiate fetish to turn into a torrid affair with heroin, and he has paid a big price to get his life back. What price? How did he get it back?  This charismatic young man’s surprising friendship challenges Ellison and Bergen to reexamine their lives, lifting them to transcend their own destructive addictions. What? Trent, Ellison and Bergen know each other?

 

 

Usually this would go at the end. Include genre, rounded word count (never include exact round count) and comp titles. THE PULL is a 100,000-word literary novel. It will appeal to readers who like [title] and [title]. (101,000 words) is named for that force that attracts us to all things tasty and tempting.

 

THE PULL employs subtle humor, ancient philosophy, and provocative character interactions that make the reader reconsider the way they judge and realize the importance of truth. Don't editorialize your book. You have to show it in your query.

 

Thank you for your time and appreciation.

 

The writing in your query is good, but it has some problems:

 

1. Who is your main character (MC)? Even if your book is written from multiple POVs, your query can only have one POV (from the MC). You can only have one MC in your query. You have to choose one character to be the MC and write your query relative to that person.

2. How are all these people related to each other? You suggest at the end that they all know each other, but the query is written as though their stories are independent.

3. Your query is too vague and I have no idea of the actual plot. These issues result from you having too many MCs. A query is short, we can only have one MC, because you only have enough time to introduce us to one character. You can only have story arc -- no subplots or multiple storylines.

 

 

You need to rewrite your query as follows:

 

Choose one person as your MC then write the query to address the questions:

 - Who is your MC -- you do a good job of telling us who your characters are.

 - What does your MC want/need?

- What obstacles prevent the MC from getting what they want/need?

- What will happen if your MC fails? These are stakes. They must be very clear and specific.

 

Your query needs to be very specific -- no vagueness allowed.

 

Your writing is good, but you need to rewrite to show the main story arc of your main character. Good luck!



#4 Dasein

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:20 AM

Okay, just some quick observations. This phrase doesn't work: "her delightful, alcoholic husband," Use one or the other, not both.

The closing doesn't work either. "THE PULL employs subtle humor, ancient philosophy, and provocative character interactions that make the reader reconsider the way they judge and realize the importance of truth." It is too off-the-wall and unconnected to what is above.

My query: http://agentquerycon...-fantasy-novel/

#5 RosieSkye

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 06:42 PM

 

THE PULL (101,000 words) is named for that force that attracts us to all things tasty and tempting.  Three friends—Ellison, Bergen, and Trent—navigate hypersexuality, marital collapse, and opiate addiction to uncover common threads in the most disparate of situations. (This is telling rather than showing.  Get straight into your plot, and move your stats to the bottom.)

 

Smart, career-minded Ellison is riveted by Thales and Archimedes but repulsed by monogamy and long-term relationships.  A rocky childhood and a fierce will to survive have provided her with some very non-traditional views on love and commitment.  When she enters a downward spiral that threatens to turn Ellison the Libertine into Ellison the Sex Addict, she becomes a danger to herself, with her actions having far-reaching consequences beyond any she could have imagined. (This reads as a bit vague and detached.  Throw in some colorful specifics to help your query stand out from the hundreds of others the agent will be looking at.)

 

Bergen and her delightful but alcoholic husband, Nick, embark on a life together filled with frolic and laughter, parties and expeditions, late nights and disco friends.  Bergen is amused for a while, then realizes that she needs something bigger to live for.  Nick happily—and blindly—accompanies her into parenthood (this wording feels odd, as though he's escorting her somewhere)They have two beautiful children and a house full of love.  But while Bergen is focusing on raising the little ones, Nick is escalating in his erosive habits.  Bergen wakes up to find that the boy man (I wouldn't say "boy" and "playmate" in the same sentence - it feels too much like you're talking about a child) she loved so dearly as a playmate is not capable of being the partner she needs as a father and husband.  Her attempt to hang on to the status quo even after this realization pushes her to violate her own moral code and undermines her good intentions. (Again, vague and detached.  What specifically is Nick doing, and how specifically does Bergen react to it?)

 

Trent, a twenty-five-year-old recovering drug heroin addict, has traveled a dark, raw path.  He carelessly allowed a frivolous, pill-based opiate fetish to turn into a torrid affair with heroin, and he has paid a big price to get his life back.  (What is this big price?)  This charismatic young man’s surprising friendship challenges Ellison and Bergen to reexamine their lives, lifting them to transcend their own destructive addictions. (Sounds like you've given away your ending here.  You need a cliffhanger and stakes.  BTW, what is Bergen addicted to now?  You haven't told us.)

 

 

THE PULL employs subtle humor, ancient philosophy, and provocative character interactions that make the reader reconsider the way they judge and realize the importance of truth. (Don't predict what the reader is going to feel.  Just present a strong query and trust that it'll do its job.)

 

TITLE/genre/word count

 

 

 

It sounds like you have a strong story here, but your query suffers from blandness.  Remember that it'll be sitting in a massive slush pile, and you need big, colorful details that'll make a weary agent sit up and take notice.  If Ellison's sex addition leads to her being discovered naked outside by a Boy Scout troop, mention that.  If Nick overdoses on drugs in front of his kids, mention that.  Give people a reason to want to keep reading.

 

Good luck!



#6 Nicholz

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 12:14 PM

Such great feedback!  Thank you for taking the time to read my query and make helpful suggestions.  Rewriting it now!! :)



#7 PureZhar3

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 04:50 PM

 

THE PULL (101,000 words) is named for that force that attracts us to all things tasty and tempting.  Three friends—Ellison, Bergen, and Trent—navigate hypersexuality, marital collapse, and opiate addiction to uncover common threads in the most disparate of situations.

 

Smart, career-minded Ellison is riveted by Thales and Archimedes but repulsed by monogamy and long-term relationships.  A rocky childhood and a fierce will to survive have provided her with some very non-traditional views on love and commitment.  When she enters a downward spiral that threatens to turn Ellison the Libertine into Ellison the Sex Addict, she becomes a danger to herself, with her actions having far-reaching consequences beyond any she could have imagined. ​What are the consequences? 

 

Bergen and her delightful, alcoholic husband, Nick, embark on a life together filled with frolic and laughter, parties and expeditions, late nights and disco friends.  Bergen is amused for a while, then realizes that she needs something bigger to live for.  Nick happily—and blindly—accompanies her into parenthood.  They have two beautiful children and a house full of love.  But while Bergen is focusing on raising the little ones, Nick is escalating in his erosive habits.  Bergen wakes up to find that the boy she loved so dearly as a playmate is not capable of being the partner ​it would be a cool juxtaposition to say he's not capable "of being the man" she needs as a father and husband.  Her attempt to hang on to the status quo even after this realization pushes her to violate her own moral code and undermines her good intentions. ​Again, specifics

 

Trent, a twenty-five-year-old recovering drug addict, has traveled a dark, raw path.  He carelessly allowed a frivolous, pill-based opiate fetish to turn into a torrid affair with heroin, and he has paid a big price to get his life back.  This charismatic young man’s surprising friendship challenges Ellison and Bergen to reexamine their lives, lifting them to transcend their own destructive addictions. ​Again, specifics

 

THE PULL employs subtle humor, ancient philosophy, and provocative character interactions that make the reader reconsider the way they judge and realize the importance of truth.

 

Others have hit the nail on the head: you need specifics. 


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/





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