Mar 13, 2009

QUERY - BROKEN

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Dear Agent,

While standing on a busy London street, American psychologist Alec Sumner spots Eli Burke and likes the look of him, but there’s no way for him to know that behind the man’s bright blue eyes lies the memory of his lover’s murder.

Having relocated after a failed love affair, Alec is not eager to launch the next, but when he unknowingly rents the attic in the house Burke shares with his loving, if flawed, family of friends, he’ll have little choice.

My 80,000 word gay fiction manuscript, BROKEN, explores the idea that whatever scars you carry, there might be someone out there who will see beyond them and love you through the pain.

I worked as a copy editor for a daily newspaper. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

6 comments:

pulp said...

This is clear and concise, and flows well.

The pronouns in para #1 are not clear. Whose eyes, whose lover's murder?

I think it could use more tension; that is, clearer conflict. This is evidently not genre/commercial fiction, so perhaps you don't need to slam home the high stakes, but the second para really should make us understand the problems and conflict more.

I like the format. However, agents who comment on queries alway say not to say that this is your first novel, or that you haven't been published yet.

Dawn said...

I agree it could use more punch/clearer conflict. I was trying to be as concise as possible, but it hardly makes an agent want to request a partial.
Thank you, pulp ... I appreciate your comments.

Carolyn said...

Like the writing style, but agree more conflict/tension is needed. Use words like secrets, and hidden past.

Also, Unknowningly rents sounds a bit too convenient. Maybe they meet at work and Alec tells him he has an apartment to rent. Maybe make him act mysterious about the whole thing.

Also, not sure memories lie behind eyes. Memories are in the mind, I think...

Good start. Keep crafting.

Agree not to say this is your first novel. Maybe tell how your newspaper work led to this story in some way.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Nice start. Sounds interesting.

But I agree with the others who have commented. Never say this is your first novel. Do provide info on any writing groups you may be a part of at the end. Try to connect your copy editing experience to the story. Or omit it all together.

You seem a little too tentative. Be confident. I'd start with your theme as the first paragraph. Whatever scars you carry, there's someone out there who will see beyond them and love you through the pain.

Be sure to include very clearly what is keeping the men apart. Stories thrive on conflict. The editor wants to know what the stakes are in your ms.

I'd also watch the phrase "have little choice." You may want to revise that.

End with, BROKEN is an 80,000 word m/m romance. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Good luck!

Rick Daley said...

The first and sceond paragraphs almost seem like they could be different stories. After reading the first, I thought "Murder mystery" and after the second "Unrequited love."

If Eli's lost lover is more a matter of drama the gives motives to his present day actions and feelings, rather than an active part of the plot that affects the main character Alec, then consider re-phrasing it so it doesn't end up misleading a prospective agent.

Dawn said...

All excellent points and insights. Thank you so much. This helps a great deal.