Apr 15, 2009

Query- Severed Ties

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my novel, Severed Ties, complete at 114,000 words.

Three hundred and twenty three passengers feared dead. For Suzanne Taylor, surviving the fiery crash of Flight 148 is bittersweet. Her infant son, Caleb, is missing and presumed dead.

Waking from a coma a week after the accident, Suzanne is told that her son is dead. Her dreams tell her otherwise. Suzanne’s dreams show Caleb growing older with each passing month, causing her to believe that her son is still alive. Her marriage begins to unravel as Suzanne continues to pursue her quest for the truth. A torrid affair with a handsome N.T.S.B. investigator further damages her fragile union. A year after the crash, Suzanne seeks out a fellow survivor who may have answers regarding her son’s fate. As the survivor recalls the final moments of Caleb’s life, a cry from the next room reveals the awful truth.

Thank you for your time and your consideration.

Sincerely,

D. Ross

5 comments:

Rick Daley said...

This one grabbed me right away. It's concise, and I have a clear picture of the story. The one thing missing is the genre...

splatter said...

I would cut this line "Her infant son, Caleb, is missing and presumed dead." and work it into the next sentence... you basically repeat the information, and you really don't want to repeat yourself in the limited space of a query. (so I'd say something like "Three hundred and twenty three passengers feared dead. For Suzanne Taylor, surviving the fiery crash of Flight 148 is bittersweet. Waking from a coma a week after the accident, Suzanne is told that her infant son, Caleb, is dead. Her dreams tell her otherwise." Instead. It makes things a little smoother, I think)

I also wondered about this line: A year after the crash, Suzanne seeks out a fellow survivor who may have answers regarding her son’s fate. - why on earth did she wait a year to ask this person? If she only just found them, you may want to say that... but that's just me being nit-picky.

And finally, I felt as though the query cut off fairly suddenly. I found myself wondering if the end of the novel came at the moment you described, or if the MC now had to fight to recover her stolen child, etc...

Overall, I think it's a good, strong query. Just a few points to punch it up.

The Screaming Guppy said...

I agree with Splatter and Rick.

The repeat of the dead son and the lack of genre are the biggest distractions for me.

This sentence:

"A torrid affair with a handsome N.T.S.B. investigator further damages her fragile union."

This screams romance to me, so if this isn't romance, you might want to consider reworking it. Nitpick on my part, I know.

I'm wondering about the year later thing too. Is she awake from her coma, but still in the hospital? Is that why?

You might want to check some word count suggestions. For the genre this sounds like - thriller? women's fiction? mainstream fiction? - the word count is a little heavy. Just a small thing to consider. Some agents do shy away from high word counts. Here's one agent talking about the subject:

http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html

Overall, this seems very close.

John said...

A strong, succinct query. This one got my attention, but you almost lost me at the beginning with the word "bittersweet." To survive a disaster and find that your child has died wouldn't be bittersweet, it would be unbearable, excruciating, heartbreaking, devastating... I would fix that word, or modify the query to avoid hinging on a single adjective if you can't find the right one. The mother's desperation corresponds to the enormity of the loss she is trying to escape.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind words and the advice. It is greatly appreciated. I am currently working on shrinking this from 114K words to under 100K, preferably to around 90K, (it was originally 156K words, so it went on a serious diet). I am so thankful that I found this site. Thank you again for your help!

D. Ross