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Love, Literary Fiction: Closed for Now


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#41 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 01:04 PM

Well, it's never good when one's head explodes.  :laugh: by all means . . . relax. 


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#42 smithgirl

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 01:19 PM

OK I took some time off to recover because I was having query overdose. Here's my latest attempt below -- super short and tried to make it less synopsis-y. Thank you everyone who has/will provide their comments.

 

 

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her.

 

It seems like a little mistake at the time; Henry and Jack both see other people, men and women. And Jack is consumed by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and his ex-girlfriend, Althea.

 

So Henry will sleep with her, lure the secret from her. He won't say how he learned it, and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. But soon Henry finds it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself.

 

Too late Henry sees how reckless he was. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, and she can tell Jack where she got it. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out.

 

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



#43 conundrum

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 11:47 AM

OK I took some time off to recover because I was having query overdose. Here's my latest attempt below -- super short and tried to make it less synopsis-y. Thank you everyone who has/will provide their comments.

 

( Hi smithgirl, I feel your pain regarding query overdose. I'm following everyone's progress and I'm wondering at what point do we say, it's done, query ready!

That being said, comments as follows:) )

 

 

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets (his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend) at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her. Your hook here hasn't changed,it's great and everyone likes it, but for some reason I stubble over the wording of boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. It might just be me, and I would slip in Jack's name.

 

It seems like a (little) mistake at the time; Henry and Jack both see other people, men and women. And Jack is consumed by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and his ex-girlfriend, Althea. I'm not sure about using the word "little," only because he is forty-ish, and should know better, especially after knowing Jack has suffered considerable pain with Althea. Seems like a major mistake.

 

So Sleep with her, lure from her the secret from her, don’t tell Jack how he learned it comma but and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. But soon Henry learns it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. I like this para., just a few tweaks for me, but maybe not necessary, let's see what other's think.

 

Now it's to late comma Henry sees how the terrible err he's made. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea, himself; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, and she can tell Jack where she got it. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out. For me you nailed it! Great job! Just a few preference tweaks, but not necessary.

 

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

I have to say smithgirl...I'm invested in your story and characters now. I've read your synopsis, and know there is a much deeper back story. I hope you get further positive reviews here and can move forward. I'd love to hear that you nabbed an agent. 



#44 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 12:03 PM

OK I took some time off to recover because I was having query overdose. Here's my latest attempt below -- super short and tried to make it less synopsis-y. Thank you everyone who has/will provide their comments.

 

 

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her.

 

It seems like a little mistake at the time; Henry and Jack both see other people, men and women. And Jack is consumed by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and his ex-girlfriend, Althea.

 

So sleep with her, lure from her the secret, don’t tell Jack how he learned it but spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. This is a bit clunky to me.  I see what you're trying to do here, but I wonder if you could streamline it slightly. But soon Henry learns it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. Nice.

 

Too late Henry sees how terribly he erred. Little awkward. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea, himself the himself throws me, I'm not sure if you're talking about Jack or Henry here; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, and she can tell Jack where she got it. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out.

 

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

 

Few little tweaks here and there to make it flow a little better, but I think this is pretty solid.  



#45 Kjcloutier19

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 06:13 PM

OK I took some time off to recover because I was having query overdose. Here's my latest attempt below -- super short and tried to make it less synopsis-y. Thank you everyone who has/will provide their comments.

 

 

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her. (Oohh snap. Interested!) 

 

It seems like a little mistake at the time; Henry and Jack both see other people, men and women. And Jack is consumed by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and his ex-girlfriend, Althea. (This last sentence about Jack seems out of place. What does this have to do with the mistake? And is Althea the same girlfriend Henry just slept with?) 

 

So Henry will sleep with her, lure the secret from her. He won't say how he learned it, and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. (I don't understand this. So Henry is not willing to make Jack feel bad by asking him about this secret, but he is willing to make Jack AND this girl feel bad by manipulating and sleeping with her? This logic makes no sense to me.) But soon Henry finds it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. (Why does Henry care so much about this secret?)

 

Too late Henry sees how reckless he was. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, and she can tell Jack where she got it. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out. (Hmm, so this query isn't bad. In fact, I think the query is well written. However, I think my problem is with the story itself. The stakes seem to be around Henry losing Jack. But Henry seems to be a giant asshole that I don't like and to be honest, I hope he does lose Jack because Jack deserves better. Basically, I don't really care about the stakes, which means I don't care enough to keep reading. I know from comments you've made that you wanted to explore writing an unlikable character, but the problem with that is most people don't have the patience for reading about idiot assholes. They have to have at least one redeeming quality (if Henry has one, it doesn't show in the query) for us to have interest, and if not, it's just tiring and annoying. So i don't think the issue is your query at all, I think it's Henry. He's just too illogical and unlikable. If you can find away to make us see why Henry does these things, maybe that would help?) 

 

 

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

 

 



#46 AstrMikeDexter

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 06:25 PM

OK I took some time off to recover because I was having query overdose. Here's my latest attempt below -- super short and tried to make it less synopsis-y. Thank you everyone who has/will provide their comments.

 

 

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her. I think this hook is really great. This is my first time reading your query and I gasped.

 

It seems like a little mistake at the time; Henry and Jack both see other people, men and women. And Jack is consumed by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and his ex-girlfriend, Althea. I'm having a little trouble connecting the first sentence in this paragraph to the second one. I went back and read some of your earlier versions and it seems that Henry sleeps with Althea to learn what the secret is about Jack.

 

"Henry's boyfriend, Jack, is consumed by a terrible secret regarding something that happened twenty years ago between him and his ex-girlfriend, Althea. Jack won't confide in Henry so Henry decides to sleep with Althea to lure the secret from her." Just a thought.

 

So Henry will sleep with her, lure the secret from her. He won't say how he learned it, and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. But soon Henry finds it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself.

 

Too late does Henry sees how reckless he was. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, and she can tell Jack where she got it. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out.

 

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

 

Just a few minor suggestions. I really liked it and I'm intrigued. I think you have a very interesting story on your hands.


Any help with my query would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


#47 Tanja

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 03:05 AM

Thank you for your help with my query.

Hope I can return the favor.

 

OK I took some time off to recover because I was having query overdose. Here's my latest attempt below -- super short and tried to make it less synopsis-y. Thank you everyone who has/will provide their comments.

 

 

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend I do agree with codundrum here. It is a bit of a tongue breaker. But I can't think of another way to word it better at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her.I still love the hook. It's great. Just that one issue I pointed out.

 

It seems like a little  I also agree with others and think considering his age, little sounds a bit off, though I see you can't delete it. Maybe use: It didn't seem like a big deal; mistake at the time ; Henry and Jack both see other people, men and women why beat around the bush? Why not just say they are bisexual. It's another thing that I think in their age they would stand up for it. Or you could say they  have an open relationship no matter the gender. And I think But would work better here:  But Jack is consumed by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and his ex-girlfriend, Althea.

 

So Henry decides to will sleep with her, lure the secret from her. He won't say how he learned it, and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. But soon Henry finds it was no coincidence Althea was at the club.  I would put this to the end of this para. Stay with the secret first and then he finds out it was no coincidence she was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself.

 

Too late Henry sees how reckless he was It's a little awkwardly worded.Maybe: It's too late when Henry realizes how reckless he was.. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone, and she can tell Jack where she got it. I'm still struggling with the phone number part. It nearly feels like telling, not showing. So far from other versions, I understand Henry doesn't know she took Jack's number from his phone. Therefore it's even more telling because the query is in Henry's POV. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out.

 

 

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

 

It's certainly reads less like a synopsis and it has improved a lot. I just made a few suggestions but my main issue is still the part about the phone number. Is that part really the big cliffhanger? I'd say his fear that Jack will find out is bigger than just the phone number she's got, of which I'm not really sure if Henry even knows about. So if he doesn't know about it, it shouldn't be in the query. Unless, and that's something I don't know, the book is written in dual POV and Althea has a voice in the book too. If this is the case, then I suggest writing the first para in Henry's POV and the second in hers and then bring it together in the third. But if the book is in Henry's POV only, then I would leave out the number and concentrate on the conflict Henry has about Jack finding out about his night with Althea.

 

Hope this helps


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

Twitter: @tccorrey


#48 smithgirl

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:42 AM

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her.

 

It doesn’t seem like such a big deal at the time After all, Henry and his boyfriend, Jack, both see other people, men and women. And Jack’s beautiful soul is poisoned by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and the very same ex-girlfriend, Althea.

 

So Henry decides to sleep with her, lure the secret from her. He won't say how he learned it, and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. Then, finally, Henry can help Jack move on. But soon Henry finds it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself.

 

It’s too late when Henry appreciates how reckless he really was. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone. She can tell Jack where she got it and expose Henry’ s role in the affair. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out.

 

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



#49 kleblanc13

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:00 PM

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her.

 

It doesn’t seem like such a big deal at the time After all, Henry and his boyfriend, Jack, both see other people, men and women. And Jack’s beautiful soul is poisoned by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and the very same ex-girlfriend, Althea.

 

So Henry will sleep with her, lure the secret from her.(So is that the reason he slept with her? Also are you writing that sentence in the future tense? The whole thing should be in present) He won't say how he learned it, and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. Then, finally, Henry can help Jack move on. But soon Henry finds it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself.

 

It’s too late when Henry appreciates how reckless he really was. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone. She can tell Jack where she got it and expose Henry’ s role in the affair. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out (Find out what? If Jack can forgive him I assume? Seems too weak for a closing line).

 

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

 

I'm struggling a bit with this query. Even though you describe Jack's soul as being poisoned by what happened with Althea, I have no context for what sort of tragedy we are talking about. Is it a lost child? A murder? I honestly don't know what the stakes for the story are because the query is too vague about everything. You also have a few sentences like the one I flagged about that seem to switch from the present tense. I think the query needs some tightening and I need to have a better sense of what the stakes are then I do now.

 



#50 smithgirl

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:16 PM

Thank you for everyone who helped. I'm closing this out for a while.



#51 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:06 PM

Dear [Agent Name]:

 

When Henry meets his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend at a club he makes a terrible mistake: He sleeps with her.

​I like the hook. :)

 

It doesn’t seem like such a big deal at the time After all, Henry and his boyfriend, Jack, both see other people, men and women. ​(Their open relationship kind of takes away the power of the hook, the lack of morality can have that effect. Also, if they both see other people, why is it a terrible mistake?) And Jack’s beautiful soul is poisoned by the terrible secret of what happened twenty years ago, between him and the very same ex-girlfriend, Althea. 

 

So Henry decides to sleep with her, lure the secret from her. He won't say how he learned it, and spare Jack the burden of sharing a story he finds too unbearable to tell. Then, finally, Henry can help Jack move on. But soon Henry finds it was no coincidence Althea was at the club. As desperate as Henry is to extract the secret from Althea, she is equally desperate to reclaim Jack for herself. ​(This paragraph was kind of confusing. So many things going on at once)

 

It’s too late when Henry appreciates how reckless he really was. He knows Jack is too emotionally fragile to face Althea; Henry can’t broker the union she demands. But Althea has Jack’s number from Henry’s phone. She can tell Jack where she got it and expose Henry’ s role in the affair. Jack is the only person Henry has ever truly loved, but he’s unsure Jack can forgive him for sleeping with her. Unfortunately, Henry is about to find out.

 

​I feel like your making this query too complicated. There is so much going on, and I assume, the book is the same, but here you only have a few hundred words to explain. I would rethink your approach. 

​Simplify things. I know there has to be more to this story than a secret. Who is Henry? What is he like? Tell us how him and Jack are together, then maybe lead into the betrayal, although, it doesn't sound like betrayal, it sounds ok, between them...

 

​I would only mention the woman once, and focus on how close they are, the betrayal, and the stakes of that choice...

 

​This is just my opinion, so take it with a puff of smoke. :)

 

Hope that helps

 

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


Preston Copeland

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Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#52 smithgirl

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Posted 21 July 2018 - 01:31 PM

So after a long (very long) break, I'm back to this query. I decided to change the focus of the query to the major subplot of the book, which I think could make the book sound more compelling. Thanks in advance for reviewing. I am happy to reciprocate.

 

 

As an unmarried, childless playboy of forty-three, Henry never thought he’d be the one responsible for keeping a teenage boy from suicide.

            

It happens that Henry’s own life—so long happy and carefree—is on the rocks. He just made the biggest mistake of his life: sleeping with his longtime male lover’s ex-girlfriend. Now his lover, Jack, has left him, and for the first time in his life, Henry is alone.

 

So when he’s approached by one of his literature students, a troubled boy named Marc, Henry feels too emotionally depleted to take him on. Then Henry learns that Marc is haunted by a story in a book. As a professor of literature, Henry has the book on a shelf in his office, and Marc believes Henry is the only one who can understand what he suffers.

 

Eventually Henry relents and takes the boy under his wing. But he's still heartbroken from losing Jack; plus he’s being sucked into a caustic relationship with Jack’s ex-girlfriend. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s health and push him toward a breakdown. As his own life spins out of control, Henry fears he won’t be able to save anyone, not even himself.

 

LOVE [not real title] is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#53 Denisa

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 05:23 AM

So after a long (very long) break, I'm back to this query. I decided to change the focus of the query to the major subplot of the book, which I think could make the book sound more compelling. Thanks in advance for reviewing. I am happy to reciprocate.

 

 

As an unmarried, childless playboy of forty-three, Henry never thought he’d be the one responsible for keeping a teenage boy from suicide.

            

It happens that Henry’s own life—so long happy and carefree—is on the rocks. He just made the biggest mistake of his life: sleeping with his longtime male lover’s ex-girlfriend. Now his lover, Jack, has left him, and for the first time in his life, Henry is alone. in your first para you tell us that Henry is a playboy. In your second Henry has a long time lover, and the biggest mistake of his life is cheating on his lover with the ex girlfriend. The two are a bit contradicting.

 

So when he’s approached by one of his literature students, a troubled boy named Marc, Henry feels too emotionally depleted to take him on. Then Henry learns that Marc is haunted by a story in a book. As a professor of literature, Henry has the book on a shelf in his office, and Marc believes Henry is the only one who can understand what he suffers. I don't understand what's going on here. I think it would help if you told us specifically what it is that haunts Marc. And why would having a book on a shelf make Marc believe Henry is the only one who could understand his suffering? Certainly other people have that book, too. Is there any other reason?

 

Eventually Henry relents and takes the boy under his wing as a mentor or lover? it's not clear. But he's still heartbroken from losing Jack; plus he’s being sucked into a caustic relationship with Jack’s ex-girlfriend. Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s health and push him toward a breakdown. As his own life spins out of control, Henry fears he won’t be able to save anyone, not even himself.

 

I think it would really help to understand what makes Henry want to help Marc. As is, Henry feels very passive. things are happening to him, he is kinda forced to take Marc under his wing, and he's played by Jack's ex. 

 

You could change this by bringing on the page Henry's motivations. The first sentence is great. You present a dynamic, interesting MC. Then he goes passive. 

 

I also don't understand what Henry wants? Save the boy? Get back with Jack? What does he do to achieve his goals?

 

 

 

LOVE [not real title] is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#54 Tanja

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 07:32 AM

Hmm I'm really torn about the new version. Not sure if you're on the right track. I liked the conflict of the previous version more. Though that might just be me. Knowing the other version, I'm wondering what the main plot is. You mention the new version is a major sub-plot. But in the query you should concentrate on the main plot. But now the main plot is kind of washed away and it reads rather ... sorry, depressing. i don't feel connected to Henry and the stakes. It seems Henry has no motivation at all. I personally think the other story had more backbone, more stakes, more desire. But like I said, that might just be me.


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

Twitter: @tccorrey


#55 Tyokunbo

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 01:53 PM

As an unmarried, childless playboy of forty-three, Henry never thought he’d be the one responsible for keeping a teenage boy from suicide.
It happens that Henry’s own life—so long happy and carefree—is on the rocks. He just made the biggest mistake of his life: sleeping with his longtime male lover’s ex-girlfriend. Now his lover, Jack, has left him, and for the first time in his life, Henry is alone. (Just like in the original version, it sounds like Henry is whining once again).

So when he’s approached by one of his literature students, a troubled boy named Marc, Henry feels too emotionally depleted to take him on. (For this query to work, Henry has to be strong, he has to get over the relationship with Jack). Then Henry learns that Marc is haunted by a story in a book. As a professor of literature, Henry has the book on a shelf in his office, and Marc believes Henry is the only one who can understand what he suffers.

Eventually Henry relents and takes the boy under his wing. (Why does he relent?) But he's still heartbroken from losing Jack; plus he’s being sucked into a caustic relationship with Jack’s ex-girlfriend. (This is the second time in the query you say this. The sentence is redundant. The query isn’t moving forwards). Their malignant trysts erode Henry’s health and push him toward a breakdown. (Is the query about Jack or the troubled student?) As his own life spins out of control, Henry fears he won’t be able to save anyone, not even himself.

LOVE [not real title] is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

Hi smithgirl,

You were very helpful with my query, so I hope I can return the favor. I loved the conflict of the previous version much more, though I didn't like the fact that Henry whines over the breakup with Jack. . My problem with the new version of your query is that its sounding like the first - Henry is whining once again about the breakup with Jack. This query will be stronger if you leave Jack out of it entirely, it should be treated differently from the original version.



#56 smithgirl

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 05:41 PM

Thanks everyone for your feedback! Here is my next attempt. Foul query wrirting!

 

 

As an unmarried, childless playboy of forty-three, Henry never thought he’d responsible for keeping a teenage boy from suicide.

 

Henry’s own life is on the rocks. He just made the biggest mistake of his life: sleeping with his male lover’s ex-girlfriend. His lover, Jack, was the one constant in his life, and Henry is desperate to repair the damage.

 

So he is especially unprepared when one of his literature students, a troubled boy named Marc, appears at his office, then at his front door. Henry wants the boy to seek help elsewhere, but Marc is unreasonably fixated on Henry as the father figure he never had.

 

Henry’s resistance to Marc fades as he learns a new kind of love, as he realizes he wants to be the parent Marc needs. But he and Jack’s ex have embarked on a caustic relationship that is eroding Henry’s health and pushing him toward a breakdown. Henry’s life is spinning out of control and if he doesn’t get himself together he’ll fail at saving the one person who still needs him.

 

LOVE [not real title] is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#57 Bibliophyl

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 06:21 PM

Thanks for stopping by my query!

 

 

As an unmarried, childless playboy of forty-three, Henry never thought he’d responsible for keeping a teenage boy from suicide.

 

            

It happens that [this wording is kind of weak] Henry’s own life is on the rocks. He just made the biggest mistake of his life: sleeping with his male lover’s [male lover sounds kind of awkward, what about boyfriend?] ex-girlfriend. His lover, Jack, was the one constant in his life, and Henry is desperate to repair the damage.

 

 

 

So he is especially unprepared when one of his literature students, a troubled boy named Marc, appears at his office, then at his front door. Henry wants the boy to seek help elsewhere, but Marc is unreasonably fixated on Henry as the father figure he never had.

 

 

Henry’s resistance to Marc fades as he learns a new kind of love, as he realizes he wants to be the parent Marc needs. But he and Jack’s ex have embarked on a caustic relationship that is eroding Henry’s health and pushing him toward a breakdown. Henry’s life is spinning out of control and if he doesn’t get himself together he’ll fail at the saving the one person who still needs him. [good statement of the stakes]

 

 

 

LOVE [not real title] is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc.

 

I can see that you've been working hard on revising this (though I only skimmed the other revisions so as to come at it fresh) and I think it's going in the right direction! It reads smoothly and I didn't have too much to pick on. Good luck! 



#58 Caligulas

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Posted 24 July 2018 - 06:02 PM

 

Thanks everyone for your feedback! Here is my next attempt. Foul query wrirting!

 

 

As an unmarried, childless playboy of forty-three, Henry never thought he’d responsible for keeping a teenage boy from suicide. (I like this)

 

Henry’s own life is on the rocks. He just made the biggest mistake of his life: sleeping with his male lover’s ex-girlfriend. His lover, Jack, was the one constant in his life, and Henry is desperate to repair the damage. (Ehhhhh, I understand this, but it paints MC in a bad light that is off putting. This, still at this moment, mystery kid is SUICIDAL and Henry has relationship problems. The two don’t jive in any way other than to make Henry look like a selfish asshole. I think you should skip this and focus on what’s going on with the kid)

 

 

So he is especially unprepared when one of his literature students, a troubled boy named Marc, appears at his office, then at his front door. Henry wants the boy to seek help elsewhere, but Marc is unreasonably fixated on Henry as the father figure he never had. (Why? You make it seem like Henry wants to push him off but like the kid is latched to him. Typical of younger children, but not teens. So I want to know why Marc feels he can go to Henry. Like, what is their relationship like before this?)

 

Henry’s resistance to Marc fades as he learns a new kind of love (This instantly reads a little predatory. Especially when you put relationship stuff in my head previously), as he realizes he wants to be the parent Marc needs. (How? Paint a picture here) But he and Jack’s ex have embarked on a caustic relationship that is eroding Henry’s health and pushing him toward a breakdown. (What?) Henry’s life is spinning out of control (Because of a relationship? Little dramatic, especially for someone you characterized as a playboy. You’d think he’d just, you know, move on to the next) and if he doesn’t get himself together he’ll fail at the saving the one person who still needs him. (Weak stakes. He cares about the kid, sure, but what else is there? What does Henry himself have to lose? Truly, I’m not even sure what he wants or plans to do. He reads like a victim character. Everything bad is happening to him and he’s just taking hits and not making many moves. It’d be more engaging if Henry sought to help the kid on his own volition as a way to avoid his life problems and get some satisfaction. Henry needs to be more active in this query, and again, I don’t think his relationship problems read well in the query just by contrast. Hope this helps : ) )

 

 

 

LOVE [not real title] is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#59 smithgirl

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 05:09 PM

For those of you who are familiar with the previous version of the query (focusing on Henry, Jack, and Althea), it was a complete failure. I sent ~ 205 queries and received 2 requests. The Marc part of the story is almost as important as the Henry/Althea part. The two elements run in parallel all through the book. Hence, my attempt to refocus the query -- because realistically speaking, the Marc-focused query can't do any worse.

 

Even with the Marc focus, I still think I have to include the sexual gallivanting, because it's what blows Henry's life apart, so he struggle to give Marc what he needs. The point is that Henry gets himself into a position where he's trying to save Marc even while his own life is going to pieces, and that's important to the story.

 

I'm not sure there's any good solution, but since my original query did so badly, I'm trying this instead, because it can't do worse. 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

As an unmarried, childless playboy of forty-three, Henry never thought he’d be the one responsible for keeping a teenage boy from suicide.

 

It’s one of Henry’s literature students, a troubled boy named Marc. Over time Henry coaxes Marc into sharing his fears: He is haunted by a terrible story from an obscure book that his parents read to him, over and over, when he was a child. Henry is a professor of literature; he has book on a shelf in his office, and Marc is convinced Henry is the only person who can understand what he suffers.

 

But Henry is an irresponsible person and his sexual gallivanting just came to bite him in the ass. As Marc appears in Henry’s office, then at his front door, Henry spends his days trying to make up with the one person he ever loved and his nights screwing a woman he hates and who hates him back.

 

Even so, Marc refuses help from anyone else. So Henry tries to set aside the chaos of his own situation. He gives Marc the spare room in his apartment, he becomes the parent Marc needs but never had. But for the first time in his life Henry is heartbroken; his carefree, hedonistic lifestyle has become a thing of hate. The stress is eroding his body and his mental health. If he can’t get his own life in order, and do it soon, then he’ll fail Marc completely.

 

LOVE [not real title] is a 100,000-word literary novel. Author bio, comps, etc.



#60 Tanja

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Posted 26 July 2018 - 03:02 AM

Hi Smithgirl,

Thank you so much for helping with my query. You had some great suggestions.

 

As for your query, I honestly think you're on the wrong track with the Henry and Marc story. Since I know the previous versions involving Henry's troubles with love, I'm wondering which one is the main plot. It can't be both.

 

Now here is a suggestion. What about you work on the previous version, invoking Henry, Jack, and Althea , and then maybe use Marc as kind of a salvation. Like sidetracking Henry from all his troubles. I don't know at which part of the story Marc enters Henry's life, but could that structure work for your query?

 

As an example, Henry's biggest mistake was sleeping with his lover's ex-girlfriend. Then elaborate the problems. But since he can't solve it he's lost, until Marc enters his life, giving him ... I don't know, meaning for life. Just a suggestion. I'm fishing for solutions since I don't know what comes first in the story. But I hope this will give you a better idea which way to go. Try not to go into every little detail, concentrate on the facts. The entire part between Henry and Marc can be as short as one of two sentences.

 

I hope this helps. I'm open for questions. :smile:


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

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