Jul 8, 2009

QUERY- SOUTH BEACH STAR

A revision of this query has been posted, click here to read it. It's the same one posted in the comments below.
Click here to read revision 2.

ATTN: AGENT


To become a star is everyone’s dream. To become a star in New York you have to make it on Broadway, in Hollywood you need a hit television show or a top grossing movie, in Milan you have to be a world renowned fashion designer but in South Beach everyone, well practically everyone, thinks that he or she is already a star or at least has dreams to become one. South Beach, the home of the beautiful, flamboyant and fabulous, was once the playground of models, celebrities, playboys, drag queens, gay circuit boys and millionaires. Today the party is over, well almost, and the developers have taken over, but in 1996 everyone was a star and the parties were incredible. And I was at every party.
As a South Beach nightlife columnist, I covered the waterfront (low tide and high) from 1995 to 2006. I survived the millions of air kisses and late night parties but like a war correspondent I have plenty of memories and scars. I’ve written an adventurous fictional tell-all of the real behind the scenes South Beach. They say that truth is often more unbelievable than fiction but while much of this story rings true it’s pure fiction. Or possibly it’s all true as my memory has been warped by years of living in a world where lies passed as truth. Fantasy or reality, it didn’t really matter as everyone looked great and I had a great time. Or did I?
SOUTH BEACH STAR is a fictional account of a nightlife writer’s adventures in wonderland and is filled with quirky characters reminiscent of Holly Golightly of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and Little Kiwi from Ethan Mordden’s BUDDIES. Imagine THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA but the main character gets a job as a nightlife writer and suddenly finds himself fighting to survive in BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY while partying with the crew from CELBUTANTES. SOUTH BEACH STAR is approximately 64,942 words.

5 comments:

folksinmt said...

Hmm... there might be an interesting story in there somewhere, but it is hard to see it. Poor sentence structure and tense changes make you focus on the weak writing and not on your story. Don't start off with generalities...does everyone really want to be a star? And what does New York, Milan and LA really have to do with your story? I think you were using them to make a point, but instead end up wasting space.

Start off with a hook...what makes your story unique. Then we need to get a feel for the characters, the plot....the CONFLICT! I don't see a conflict at all in your query. If an agent doesn't see a conflict in the query, they will think you don't have one in the book, and they will not read a book without a conflict. Your query has a non-fiction feel to it.

All the info about you living in South Beach should be saved for the last paragraph and should be very brief.

Also, you said approx. 64,942 words. That isn't approx, that's the exact amount! Approx would be 65,000 words. By the way, which genre is this? If this is YA, the length would be fine. But you should have at least 70,000 for adult genres.

Best of luck with your revision! I like your title!

scott g.f. bailey said...

"while much of this story rings true..."

The problem is, you don't tell us what the story is. What's the story? "the real behind the scenes" is not a story, it's a setting. Who is this story about? A fictionalized you? Who are you?

"To become a star is everyone's dream." False assumption. To become a star may have been *your* dream. If so, say so. Is that what this story is about? You trying to be a star in South Beach? 'Cause, like, I have no idea what this book is about except the general feeling that maybe it's set in a vapid club scene. Who does what in that vapid club scene is anyone's guess at this point. Don't make us guess. Tell us what the story is.

In case I haven't belabored the point enough: What's the story? Whose story is it? What happens? The idea of South Beach is not, sadly, compelling enough on its own. Hell, I don't know if I know where South Beach even is.

Also, you name check five other books in the last paragraph. Don't.

SOUTH BEACH STAR said...

SOUTH BEACH STAR
Jamie Kidd, a thirty-something writer, thinks life is sweet until he wakes to discover that his business partner and secret lover has left town after emptying the company bank account which leaves him heartbroken, penniless, and somewhat suicidal, so he escapes to the infamous South Beach where he finds fleeting success and celebrity as a nightlife columnist for SOUTH BEACH STAR but falls victim to a life of debauchery.
Jamie Kidd left his heart in the small Virginia town that he called home for the past six years. Heartbroken and drowning in despair, Jamie could barely face himself or deal with being dumped by his secret lover, so he packed his car and drove until he landed in Miami. Jamie felt out of place in the tropical paradise known as South Beach but found a job as an editor’s assistant at a local trendy tabloid staffed with a motley crew of competitive social-climbers. Promised writing assignments never materialized so Jamie turned an invitation to a VIP party into an opportunity and a job promotion. His coverage of the celebrity party transformed Jamie into a weekly nightlife columnist and toast of the town.
Jamie’s old life was quickly forgotten as he hurled himself into his fabulous new lifestyle covering the infamous celebrity-studded party scene where he nightly mingled with beautiful shallow fashionistas, famous models, and wealthy jet-setters. Not accustomed to being fabulous or a party boy, Jamie gradually morphed into a nightlife aficionado named “Kidd” with bleached hair, designer fashions, celebrity friends and invitations to every party in town. His coveted lifestyle, in reality an out-of-control roller coaster ride of late-night-parties and photo-ops, fueled by his addiction to crystal meth, soon crashed leaving him jobless, lonely, and in a situation far worse than the one he had left in Virginia. With the gutter looming ahead, his former lover arrives to save the day offering Jamie a job as a writer in New York.
As a South Beach nightlife columnist, I covered the waterfront (low tide and high) from 1995 to 2006. I moved to South Beach from Virginia where I was the editor of a statewide arts & entertainment publication. For over ten years, I covered South Beach nightlife for several publications including the weekly tabloids The Wire and Sunpost. I’ve been a contributing writer and photographer for publications such as Miamigo, Ocean Drive, D’Vox, Genre, SKIN, Contemporary Woman, Scoop, Groove, Fashion Times, Miami Metro, Where Magazine, LRM (Lincoln Road Magazine), Closer Magazine, MAP (Music Art People),Where Guestbook, Public Magazine, Ego Trip Magazine, and Miami Herald as well as websites like MiamiArtZine.com, cooljunkie.com and MiamiStar.com. SOUTH BEACH STAR is approximately 65,000 words.

folksinmt said...

Much, much better Mr. Star! Now we have a mc, a plot, and conflict! You are headed in the right direction.

Watch for run-on sentences. Don't say...so he...Use the period. Love the period. It provides impact. It makes your reader stop. Otherwise, it sounds like a ramble.

Watch your tense...a query should be present tense. Hard to do when you have to tell a little backstory, but the reader (agent) will feel more connected if it is in present.

Great bio info, lots of credits to your name. But maybe don't mention them all...it gets a little long. Just pick the big ones and say something like "More credentials available upon request."

Good luck. Keep revising and you'll make it!

SOUTH BEACH STAR said...

SOUTH BEACH STAR
Jamie Kidd, a thirty-something writer, thinks life is sweet until he wakes to discover that his business partner and secret lover has left town after emptying the company bank account which leaves him heartbroken, penniless, and somewhat suicidal. Jamie opts for a new life and escapes to the infamous South Beach where he finds fleeting success and celebrity as a nightlife columnist for SOUTH BEACH STAR where his star burns brightly but eventually falls from the sky.
Without looking back, Jamie Kidd leaves the small Virginia town that he called home for the past six years. Heartbroken and drowning in despair, Jamie can barely face himself, much less his family or friends who know nothing of his hidden relationship. Packing in the middle of the night for a new life, Jamie drives until he lands in Miami. Feeling out of place in the tropical paradise known as South Beach, Jamie discovers a town where beauty and wealth outclass talent and skill. After a chance meeting with the gregarious editor of SOUTH BEACH STAR, a trendy tabloid staffed with a motley crew of competitive social-climbers, Jamie lands a job as editorial assistant. As promised writing assignments never material, Jamie turns an invitation to a VIP party into an opportunity. His coverage of the celebrity party proves Jamie’s talent and secures him the position as the STAR’s weekly nightlife columnist and toast of the town.
South Beach opens its arms and doors to Jamie, who, like an actor taking on a new role, throws himself into his fabulous new lifestyle covering the infamous celebrity-studded party scene where he nightly mingles with beautiful shallow fashionistas, famous models, and wealthy jet-setters. Not accustomed to being fabulous or a party boy, Jamie transforms himself into the nightlife aficionado named “Kidd” with bleached hair, designer fashions, celebrity friends and invitations to every party in town. His coveted lifestyle, in reality, is an out-of-control roller-coaster ride of late-night-parties and photo-ops, fueled by his gradual addiction to crystal meth. Like many before him, Jamie loses control and finds himself jobless, lonely, and in a situation far worse than the one he had left in Virginia. With the gutter looming ahead, his former lover arrives unexpectedly, offering Jamie a job as a writer in New York but he eventually returns to South Beach.
As a South Beach nightlife columnist, I covered the waterfront (low tide and high) from 1995 to 2006. I moved to Miami from Virginia, where I was the editor of a statewide arts & entertainment publication. For over ten years, I covered South Beach nightlife for several publications including the weekly tabloids The Wire and Sunpost. I’ve also been a contributing writer for publications such as V Magazine, ZED Magazine, Miamigo, Ocean Drive, Genre, Fashion Times, Miami Metro, Where Magazine, LRM, Where Guestbook, Public Magazine, Ego Trip, and the Miami Herald. SOUTH BEACH STAR is approximately 65,000 words.