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Love, Literary Fiction: Closed for Now


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#1 smithgirl

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 10:44 AM

Dear AQCers. I'm working on this query once again. Thank you in advance for your feedback. I am happy to critique your queries, too.

 

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

It happens when Henry meets the ex-girlfriend, Althea, at a club. Henry loves Jack, he loves him as he’s never loved a woman. But although they are together, Jack dates other men and Henry dates women. Years ago Jack was broken, by a relationship with Althea, and now he needs more love than any one person can give.

 

For decades Henry has trudged through the ashes of Jack’s relationship with Althea, the details of which Jack won’t reveal. So now Henry steps into Althea’s bed, without telling Jack. He wants to learn the secret, to patch Jack’s gaping emotional hole. But soon Henry discovers that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls Jack and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up on Althea, he leaves Henry. Henry knows Jack will retreat to that place in his head he’s tried so long to escape.

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack, and he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health. He recognizes in himself signs of an imminent breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#2 cmmg

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:27 AM

Dear AQCers. I'm working on this query once again. Thank you in advance for your feedback. I am happy to critique your queries, too.

 

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished. (oooooooh intrigue)

 

It happens when Henry meets the ex-girlfriend, Althea, at a club. Henry loves Jack, he loves him as he’s never loved a woman. But although they are together, Jack sees other men and Henry sees women(because they're in an open relationship? I feel like it might be easier to say that. Because now I'm wondering why Henry is only seeing women? I mean some bi people can have preferences but it's odd? I guess for Jack it's because girls might remind him of Althea but for Henry to not see other men?). Years ago Jack was broken, by a relationship with Althea, and now he needs more love than any one person can give(I don't really buy this. I'm not sure how these two things relate? Like literally, this isn't true. One bad breakup doesn't mean you need two boyfriends. Is it he has trouble committing, what's going on because this is just, not a statement I feel is logically connected?).

 

For decades Henry has trudged through the ashes of Jack’s relationship with Althea (So Henry and Jack have been together a while, like 20 years, wow), the details of which Jack won’t reveal. So now Henry steps into Althea’s bed, without telling Jack. He wants to learn the secret, to patch Jack’s gaping emotional hole (how on earth would this work). But soon Henry discovers that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls Jack and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up on Althea, he leaves Henry. (As he should) Henry knows Jack will retreat to that place in his head he’s tried so long to escape.(Then why did you sleep with Althea Henry? Hmm? Sorry, but I find this logic to be nonsensical. I really can't buy this "I slept with her to help you!" that Henry is trying. That makes NO sense.)

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack, and he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health. He recognizes in himself signs of an imminent breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 

 

So I think my main concerns are the logic of these characters. I'm going to assume they make more sense in the novel, but in the query not so much. You get across the stakes, I feel like, okay, Henry wants to help Jack, but that's sort of a bad reason giving his actions? And I'm not sure what the obstacle there is for Henry to help Jack before Henry sleep with Althea. Unless you mean just that Jack won't tell him because I'll back up a bit to my confusion.

 

I feel like, I don't understand why Henry makes any of the decisions he makes and his actions are completely illogical to what he wants. You sort of rescue that with Althea, who's actions are at least internally consistent with what she wants. But first 1) Why is Henry so supposed with Jack's past with Althea? I mean, you say a few things, Jack doesn't want to talk about it, Jack sees other people, but you don't really drive why this is important enough to Henry. I mean, here are some scenarios questions: is Henry dissatisfied by being in an open relationship? No? Then why is it remarkable that Jack is seeing other people BECAUSE of Althea (which makes 0 sense). If he is dissatisfied, is this is central aim to get Jack just to see him?  If Henry just wants Jack to be better in general, why not, like suggest therapy?

 

Why does Henry think Althea is the be and end all of Jack's life? It's been twenty years and Jack's still not over her? How? In what way? I feel like there's some telling that Jack's upset or has issues emotionally, but I don't see it. If you're trying to go "well they have an open relationship so obvious Jack--" no. There are lots of polyamorous people who are happy in open relationships, or closed triangle relationships or all sorts of other things. Also, a bad breakup doesn't mean you have to see other people. If you're saying that since Althea dumped him he can't commit, say that. Show some emotional anguish. If Jack is supposed to be Henry's primary motivator, I don't get a lot of what Jack actually wants or what would make Jack better.

 

2) What is honestly stopping Henry from what he wants? If he just wants Jack to be happy, why can't he just suggest Therapy. Or be happy to have things as they are. Or continue to support Jack. In real life, trying to help someone who doesn't want it, doesn't help. In fiction, people generally have to have a reason to believe that if they dont' help NOW, something bad will happen, what is it?

 

What is the obstacle and how will overcoming it help Henry?

 

3) WHY ON EARTH does Henry think sleeping with Althea will solve things? Is this a case of "Henry is obsessing over this, coincidentally runs into Althea and then suddenly thinks "MAYBE THIS WILL HELP"" because that at least makes sense, since this is a bad decision, but the way that this is constructed seems like, he deliberately sought her out to sleep with her. Instead of just, like, talk to her about Jack?

 

Like, there is no world in which that could turn out well. Why does he think he's going to learn a secret that will help Jack? And again, I don't really feel like it WOULD help Jack. If it's clear in the novel he's making a mistake/is wrong in his belief, I think that should be communicated better.

 

Because Henry is 100% wrong in his belief. He THINKS that he wants to help Jack, but if he knows Althea hurt him, like, he shouldn't sleep with her? Obviously?

 

ALSO, why is this said to be an "affair" if they have an open relationship? Because this seems like Jack is like "WTH why did you do this when you know how much she hurt me."

 

4) I don't believe that Henry's major goal being all about Jack's emotional state, and Jack retreating makes any sense given his action, but also given that Henry is a person. Is he really more upset that Jack might be upset after their breakup than the fact that Jack broke up with him? I just, don't believe him.

 

Overall, you have a good hook, and good complications with Althea, but I don't believe or understand any of Henry's motivations or actions. I'm sorry, but I just, I feel like something isn't coming across because these actions genuinely baffle me and I'm not sure, based on the voice/tone of the query, how I'm supposed to take it.

 

I want to be clear that I know characters can make bad decisions, but usually, there's a kind of like "noooo, don't make that decision" feeling in books or queries when that happens, and here I don't get that. I don't get a tale of Henry spiralling into bad decisions. I seems like he set out to do this, and it backfired in a very easily foreseeable way that doesn't leave me with sympathy or a sense of pathos. For a "beautiful trainwreck" feeling I feel like you have to understand how things got to be this bad. Like a Tragic Flaw. But I don't understand.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

synopsis


#3 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:29 AM

Dear AQCers. I'm working on this query once again. Thank you in advance for your feedback. I am happy to critique your queries, too.

 

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

It happens when Henry meets the ex-girlfriend, Althea, at a club. You could move this to then end of this paragraph.  Start with the dynamics of Henry and Jack's relationship, and then Ka-bam! meets the ex, shit goes down. Henry loves Jack, he loves him as he’s never loved a woman. But although they are together, Jack dates other men and Henry dates women. Years ago Jack was broken, by a relationship with Althea, and now he needs more love than any one person can give.

 

For decades Henry has trudged through the ashes of Jack’s relationship with Althea, the details of which Jack won’t reveal. So now Henry steps into Althea’s bed, without telling Jack. He wants to learn the secret, to patch Jack’s gaping emotional hole. Nothing wrong with this, but it could use a bit more oomph in the way it's told. But soon Henry discovers that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls Jack and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up on Althea, he leaves Henry. I remember reading your synopsis, so I know what's happening.  But if I didn't the flip flopping between all the names here would leave me confused.  Is there a way you could streamline and simplify this?  Henry knows Jack will retreat to that place in his head he’s tried so long to escape. I think you should really amp up Jack's demons in this paragraph.  It's sort of mentioned in a casual way.  Maybe if you could make it sound more dramatic?

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack, and he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health.  He recognizes in himself signs of an imminent breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen. So what I'm gathering, is that Jack is tortued emotionally, and now Henry is going down that same path. And they need each other to make it through.  Maybe you could make the parallels more clear.  If Henry recogizes the same thing is happening to him as to what happened to Jack that might make the stakes more amped up.

 

Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc. For the longest time, I thought the title of this story was "Love, Literary", from the way you wrote the title.  Ahaha, my bad.

 

Hi smithgirl,

 

You were very helpful with my query once upon a time, so I hope I can return the favour.  As this query stands right now, I feel like it needs more oomph and "dramatic stuff" for lack of a better word.  There's a lot of dark shit going on, so if you could amplify Jack's demons and Henry's emotional turmoil, I think it would really help.  Right now, I'm kind of like, "Meh, yeah these guys are going through some shit, but I don't really feel anything for them." Make me feel.  Make me understand how tormented Jack is (all in less than 250 words, of course ;))  I think it would really help show why these two are making the stupid choices they are.



#4 smithgirl

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 12:00 PM

I always get the criticism that Henry is behaving stupidly, and I agree that's true. In real life people make stupid decisions all the time. People are illogical and behave based upon emotion rather than reason. In this book I am trying to explore the emotional fallout of some bad decision making. Maybe that makes my story seem unlikeable, I don't know.

 

I was told by an agent that my query sounded to melodramatic, so I'm trying to keep it a bit dryer, but it seems like a tough balance.

 

I appreciate everyone's honest and well-intentioned feedback.

 

 

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

It happens when Henry meets the ex-girlfriend, Althea, at a club. Henry loves Jack, he loves him as he’s never loved anyone else. Even so, they keep an open relationship because Jack is unable to commit: He is too broken from what happened between him and Althea.

 

For two decades Henry has tried, and failed, to learn and address the secret of what happened between Jack and Althea. So when he meets her, he does something truly stupid: He steps into her bed, without telling Jack. Because he feels strong, he feels loved, he thinks if he can just get the secret from Althea, then he can leave her and finally release Jack from that old pain.

 

But soon Henry discovers that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls Jack and exposes Henry’s role. Jack hangs up on Althea, he leaves Henry. Henry knows Jack will retreat to that place in his head he’s tried so long to escape.

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack, and he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health. He recognizes in himself signs of an imminent breakdown. He regrets what he did with all his heart. But he knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral: the question is whether than can reconnect to make that happen.

 

Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#5 punitrastogi

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 12:32 PM

I always get the criticism that Henry is behaving stupidly, and I agree that's true. In real life people make stupid decisions all the time. People are illogical and behave based upon emotion rather than reason. In this book I am trying to explore the emotional fallout of some bad decision making. Maybe that makes my story seem unlikeable, I don't know.

 

I was told by an agent that my query sounded to melodramatic, so I'm trying to keep it a bit dryer, but it seems like a tough balance.

 

I appreciate everyone's honest and well-intentioned feedback.

 

 

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, he terribly regrets it knowing that it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished. (Just a thought to highlight right at the start that Henry is someone who makes stupid decisions)

 

It happens when Henry meets the ex-girlfriend, Althea, at a club. Henry loves Jack, he loves him as he’s never loved anyone else. Even so, they keep an open relationship because after knowing that Jack is unable to commit: He is too broken from what happened between him and Althea.

 

For two decades Henry has tried, and failed, to learn and address the secret of what happened between Jack and Althea, and address Jack's pain. So when he meets her, he does something truly stupid: He steps into her bed, without telling Jack. Because he feels strong, he feels loved, (This is where you lose me. I am not sure what this means and what is Henry thinking.) he thinks if he can just get the secret from Althea, then he can leave her and finally release Jack from that old pain.

 

But soon Henry discovers that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls Jack and exposes Henry’s role actions(?). Jack hangs up on Althea, he leaves Henry. Henry knows Jack will retreat to that place in his head he’s tried so long to escape.

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack, and he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship (So Althea and Henry are in a relationship now? That is twisted and doesnt help anyone. Why did Henry agree to it?). Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health. He recognizes in himself signs of pushing him to an imminent breakdown. He regrets what he did with all his heart. But And he knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral: the question is whether than they can reconnect to make that happen. (I think I can relate to Henry's pain, but the last sentence doesnt drive the point home.)

 

Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 

Hope it helps.

 

Please have a look at my query too.

Would really appreciate it :)



#6 smithgirl

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 01:22 PM

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s ever truly cherished.

 

 Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits because Jack is haunted by the story he won’t tell: what happened between him and Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night he does something truly stupid. He steps into bed with her, without telling Jack.

 

It seems like a good idea to Henry. Hard to believe he gets this opportunity to learn the secret, whatever it is. All he has to do is sleep with this woman and he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell. But soon Henry learns that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up, he leaves Henry. Henry knows Jack will retreat to that place in his head he’s tried so long to escape.

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always Henry's been the strong one, but for the first time he learns to suffer. Heartbroken, he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#7 cmmg

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 01:45 PM

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s ever truly cherished.

 

 Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits (I think it "has fully committed" since that's in the past of the query) because Jack is haunted by the story he won’t tell: what happened between him and Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night he does something truly stupid. He steps into bed with her, without telling Jack. (This is set-up MUCH better)

 

It seems like a good idea to Henry. Hard to believe he gets this opportunity to learn the secret, whatever it is. All he has to do is sleep with this woman and he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell  (The only thing I'm confused about is why does he think sleeping with her specifically will give the secret?). But soon Henry learns that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up, he leaves Henry. Henry knows Jack will retreat to that place in his head he’s tried so long to escape. (Still don't like how this line executes, but there you go)

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always he’s (Jack or Henry) been the strong one, but for the first time he learns to suffer. Heartbroken, he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship.  (I like this line) Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 

 

 

I like the set-up better but I'm still confused about one thing. Why does he think specifically sleeping with her will unlock the secret? Is he trying to extort it from her, and thinks she'll only relax if he seduces her? A "if he could only seduce her into revealing the secret" scenario?

 

I think the tone of this query definitely makes it clearer that Henry is screwing himself over though, and that's the main thing, for me!


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

synopsis


#8 smithgirl

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 01:48 PM

Bump



#9 smithgirl

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 02:02 PM

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits because Jack is haunted by the story he won’t tell: what happened between him and the girlfriend, Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night he does something truly stupid. He steps into bed with her, without telling Jack.

 

It seems like a good idea to Henry. Hard to believe he gets this opportunity to learn the secret, whatever it is. All he has to do is sleep with this woman; he’s sure she will reveal the story. Then he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell. But soon Henry learns that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up; he leaves Henry. Henry knows Jack will retreat to his old depression.

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always Henry’s been the strong one, but for the first time he learns to suffer. Heartbroken, he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#10 conundrum

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:45 PM

 

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so But, neither never fully commits because Jack is haunted by the story he won’t tell: of what happened between him and the his girlfriend, Althea, and refuses to tell. So By chance when Henry meets Althea one night he and does something truly stupid. He steps (falls or slips) into bed with her, without telling Jack.

 

It seems like a good idea to Henry at the time. Hardly believing he gets this his luck  the opportunity to learn the secret, whatever it is. All I have to do is sleep with this woman and she'll reveal the story. I changed this sentence because I feel its sounds natural if Henry is thinking this instead? Then he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell the painful story. But soon Henry learns that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the(ir) affair. Jack hangs up; he leaves Henry. Henry knows Jack will retreat to his old depression.

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always,(comma) Henry’s been the strong one, but for the first time he learns to suffer feels pain. Heartbroken, he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push(es) him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 

Hi smithgirl, I was reading the other comments here, and noticed DisgruntledWriter mention LOVE in the Synopsis section, so I went there first to get the backstory, which really helped before jumping in here first. I only made changes where I felt it would flow better.

 

From the Synopsis section, LOVE has a high approval rating moving forward. A tiny adjustment or none at all, great job!!! :smile:



#11 RosieSkye

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 10:48 PM

 

Dear Agent:

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits because Jack is haunted by the story he won’t tell: what happened between him and the girlfriend, Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night he does something truly stupid. He steps falls into bed with her, without telling Jack.

 

It seems like a good idea to Henry. (You just said it was a stupid thing to do. Make sure you stick with Henry's POV.) Hard to believe he gets this opportunity to learn the secret, whatever it is. All he has to do is sleep with this woman; he’s sure she will reveal the story. (So he's risking his relationship on the assumption that the ex will spill the beans? That doesn't seem terribly bright.) Then he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell. But soon Henry learns that as desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up; he leaves Henry. (Good for Jack.) Henry knows Jack will retreat to his old depression.

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always Henry’s been the strong one, but for the first time he learns to suffer. Heartbroken, he allows Althea to draw him into an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. (Why on earth would he ever speak to Althea again? I'm liking these people less and less with each sentence; at this point I don't know why I'd want to keep reading.) Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen. (It feels like Henry and Jack are both too unstable to handle each other, and the two of them together seem like a disaster.)

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 

 

 

Sorry if this sounds harsh.

 

My problem with the query is that none of the characters seem particularly sympathetic or bright.  Henry knows that Jack suffers from depression, but he sleeps with Althea (who clearly doesn't have much character if she's willing to sleep with him back) just to discover some secret that Jack isn't comfortable sharing?  I get that Henry wants to clear the air in his relationship, but he's not going about it in a way that makes me even remotely root for or care about him.

 

I obviously don't know the smaller details of your story, but I'd do whatever you can to make Henry seem more sympathetic, and less like somebody who just repeatedly makes terrible decisions.

 

Good luck!



#12 smithgirl

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 10:17 AM

Sorry if this sounds harsh. Honestly, I get this kind of criticism a lot, and it is valid. As a person with a background in neuroscience and psychology, I very much prefer exploring the lives of people who are generally considered less "likeable" -- I have discovered this is a big problem. I enjoy exploring the way people frequently make emotional, irrational decisions. Henry does become likeable as the story goes on, and there is a subplot which works to help him become more sympathetic, but I can't get that into the query.

 

The story is about Henry's gradual descent into serious depression as a result of a hubristic and stupid decision. He becomes a better person for it, but not sure there's any real way for me to convey that within the context of the query (I was trying when I said that Henry learns to suffer for the first time). Henry is kind of free-spirited and inconsiderate, especially at the beginning. I think I might just be stuck with an unappealing query.

 

My problem with the query is that none of the characters seem particularly sympathetic or bright.  Henry knows that Jack suffers from depression, but he sleeps with Althea (who clearly doesn't have much character if she's willing to sleep with him back) just to discover some secret that Jack isn't comfortable sharing?  I get that Henry wants to clear the air in his relationship, but he's not going about it in a way that makes me even remotely root for or care about him.

 

I obviously don't know the smaller details of your story, but I'd do whatever you can to make Henry seem more sympathetic, and less like somebody who just repeatedly makes terrible decisions.

 

Good luck!



#13 smithgirl

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 10:35 AM

Dear Agent:

 

 

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

 

 

Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits because Jack is haunted by a story he won’t tell: what happened between him and his girlfriend, Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night he does something truly stupid. He goes to bed with her, without telling Jack.

 

 

 

It doesn’t seem so stupid at the time. Henry thinks if he just sleeps with this woman she will reveal the secret, whatever it is. Then he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell it, himself. But soon Henry learns it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as he is to learn the secret from Althea, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up; he leaves Henry for good.

 

 

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always he’s been strong, his life has been easy. But now, for the first time, he suffers. Drawn to each other by their shared loss of Jack, Henry and Althea embark on an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can reconnect in time to make that happen.

 

 

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#14 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 01:18 PM

 

Dear Agent:

 

​Hey Smithgirl,

 

Hope I can help.

 

 

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished.

 

 

 

Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits because Jack is haunted by the story he won’t tell: what happened between him and his girlfriend, Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night he does something truly stupid. He ​(this 'falls' into bed with her is a funny verb. Lol You could just say sleeps with her) falls into bed with her, without telling Jack.

 

 

 

It seems like a good idea​ (I don't think cheating ever seems like a good idea. Perhaps say, it felt good at the time, but a good idea?) , at the time, and Henry can’t believe his luck ​(luck about what? He wasn't lucky to sleep with her, right? I mean, he loves Jack more than anyone. He would feel like garbage the next day). He is smooth; he thinks all he has to do is sleep with this woman and she will reveal the secret, ​(That's pretty malicious, and doesn't seem like something a person in love would do to their partner because of a secret. Now, if he suspected the secret was infidelity, or something sinister, that would make more sense) whatever it is. Then he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell it, himself. But soon Henry learns it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, ​(I thought it was Jack's secret) Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up; he leaves them both for good.​(He leaves both for good? If she had to steal his number, wouldn't Jack hadn't already left her? And, if she wanted to get Jack back, why would she let jack know she slept with Henry, that just ruins her chances.

 

 

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always he’s been strong, his life has been easy. But now, for the first time, he suffers. Drawn to each other by their shared loss of Jack, Henry and Althea embark on an abusive, ​(I like this twist, a lot. It deals with real-life consequences)mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown ​(interesting). He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

​I think this story has lots of potential. I think the query has good pacing, tempo, and a good love triangle. 

​I think your structures pretty good, but there are a lot of confusing parts, which I mentioned above. If you answers those

​questions, I think your query will become a lot stronger.

Then, I would create stronger stakes in the last sentence.

 

As I know, writing queries can be a grueling process.

 

​Keep up the Great Work! 

 

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 


Preston Copeland

Website: prestoncopeland.biz

Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#15 Bkrasnik

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 02:46 PM

 

Dear Agent:

 

 

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished. (This hook should be a little punchier.)

 

 

Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits because Jack is haunted by the story he won’t tell: what happened between him and his (ex) girlfriend, Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night he does something truly stupid. He falls into bed with her, without telling Jack. (Although this paragraph is very informative, I feel like you need to work on improving your writing style. It is a little too simplistic. You need to include descriptor words so your query is more emotionally driven. Because right now it's really dry and you are just "telling us" things.)

 

 

 

It seems like a good idea, at the time (I like this and I think it should be incorporated into the hook), and Henry can’t believe his luck. He is smooth; he thinks all he has to do is sleep with this woman and she will reveal the secret, whatever it is. Then he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell it, himself. But soon Henry learns it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. (you mention the club but give no context about what happened at this club.) As desperate as he is to learn Althea’s secret, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair. Jack hangs up; he leaves them both for good. (The last two sentences are way too specific, and making it read more like a synopsis.)

 

 

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always he’s (He's always) been strong, (and) his life has been easy. But now, for the first time, he suffers (I think you need to add something here, instead of ending at "suffers"). Drawn to each other by their shared loss of Jack, Henry and Althea embark on an abusive, mutually hateful relationship. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can ever reconnect to make that happen.

 

 

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc. (from this query, this is not a literary novel. Your writing style is simplistic and suits a middle-grade audience.) 

 

 

Hi,

 

First off, thank you for editing my query! 

 

Now in regards to your book: 

 

My main concern with your query is writing style. In order for it to be YA or Adult you need to have more advanced form. I recommend doing some reading so you can see the way other authors write, so you can enhance your writing. Good luck! 


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#16 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 02:53 PM

Hi,
 
In my opinion, you should change your audience to middle grade. I also recommend doing some reading so you can see the way other authors write, so you can enhance your writing. Good luck!

How the hell do you figure this content is appropriate for a middle grade book? Lol.

#17 W.P.

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 03:38 PM

 

Dear Agent:  ( You probably already know this and this is written this way most likely because it's more practical in this specific website, however, just in case, I feel like I should point out that it shouldn't be "Dear agent" but their actual names. Just adding this because some writers do make this mistake and many of them are auto rejected without even getting their queries read. So even if you do know, I'm still pointing it out because I think it's better to be safe than sorry xD  )

 

 

 

When Henry sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of his longtime lover, Jack, it might cost him the only person he’s every truly cherished. ((although this is the type of conflict that hooks a reader, I feel like the way it is written isn't doing it justice. I feel like the best way would be to reveal it's Jack's ex-girlfriend at the end. Like, first reveal Henry is cheating, then reveal that it's with Jack's ex. Because cheating is bad, but with an ex is just so much worse and makes it a hook.))

 

 

 

Although Henry and Jack love each other as they’ve never loved anyone else. Even so, neither fully commits, ((I think there should be a period here. It'd make the problem in their relationship stand out. So you don't start the sentence with "because" you could strait with "Henry suspects")) because Jack is haunted by a story he won’t tell: what happened between him and the relationship with (shorter and to the point. Also, shouldn't it be "ex-grilfriend" like in the hook? his girlfriend, Althea. So when Henry meets Althea one night, he does something truly stupid. He goes to bed  sleeps (shorter, flows better) with her, without telling Jack implied, trust me xD no one will assume he would tell.

 

 

 

It doesn’t  (you're using the present tense but the action already happened in the previous paragraph. shouldn't this be written in the past tense? sounds odd in the present tense to me personally) seem so stupid at the time. Henry thinks if he just sleeps with this woman she will reveal the secret, whatever it is. Then he can spare Jack the unbearable task of having to tell it, himself. But soon Henry learns it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as he is to learn the secret from Althea, Althea is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. She steals Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, she calls the number and exposes Henry’s role in the affair as a cheater. Jack hangs up; he leaves Henry for good.

 

 

 

Henry doesn’t know how to live without Jack. Always he’s been strong, his life has been easy. But now, for the first time, he  ((pretty sure you don't need this in the query. it's too vague to add anything. in the novel you'll be developing it, but here you don't have the space unfortunately. So I'd stick to the essentials)) suffers. Drawn to each other by their shared loss of Jack, Henry and Althea embark on an abusive, mutually hateful relationship.  ((this is super important but is written in a way that doesn't add the impact it should have. Reword it?)) Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s physical health and push him toward a breakdown. He knows that he and Jack need each other to escape this spiral; the question is whether they can reconnect in time to make that happen.  (although the stakes are clear, it feels like the wording lessens its impact))

 

 

 

 Love is a 100,000-word literary  novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 

 

 

Thanks so much for the critique! I'm here to return the favour! :D

 

Your query is very clear and filled with conflict from beginning to end. I know who Henry is and what he wants. I know the conflicts and stakes. I feel like the content is all there, but isn't yet worded in a way that is impactful. It's so hard, I know, but it's gotta be done. 

 

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback. I hope this has been helpful to you. :)



#18 Bkrasnik

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 03:51 PM

How the hell do you figure this content is appropriate for a middle grade book? Lol.

 

You are right, I misspoke lol. It is not the content that is at the level of middle grade, but the writing style. 


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#19 smithgirl

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 03:52 PM

You are right, I misspoke lol. It is not the content that is at the level of middle grade, but the writing style. 

 

 

Those would be very precocious 6-year-olds.



#20 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 05:27 PM

By the way, somebody above said this is a middle grade novel, Smithgirl. Is that true?

 

I didn't know that. If so, I would consider making it a Young Adult book.

 

It sounds very adultish. :)


Preston Copeland

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Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com





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