Sep 8, 2009

NOT HER MOTHER'S FATE, revision 2.

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.

When Amy Thompson consented to have a big party for her twenty-first birthday, she didn’t expect to meet the man who would pursue her romantically until she relented, expose the most closely guarded secrets of her childhood, and inadvertently introduce her to the same choices her own mother must have faced. And when Robert Crane wins the heart of this reclusive beauty, he never dreams he’s set them on a path of self discovery that will end in redemption for one, tragedy for the other.

A survivor of years of abuse by her alcoholic father and two previous boyfriends, Amy thinks she has learned her lesson about the cost of a relationship with a drinking man. But Robert is not a typical, abusive alcoholic. Their friends think him impulsively charming, his parents and church believe marriage and family is the cure for his rebelliousness, and his best friend Calvin Mertz refuses to allow Robert to suffer the consequences of his alcoholic binges.

For a while, Amy is sure she can save Robert and, by extension, herself from the haunting memories of her childhood. She involves herself in Robert’s faith; she makes friends of his disapproving parents; and even excuses his occasional brutality as a product of his insecurities. The one thing she refuses to do is to marry Robert and produce the family he craves, the family everyone is sure will make a difference in his commitment to sobriety.

As the relationship progresses, and Robert’s alcoholism escalates, Amy becomes convinced that her own mother would not have married the brut her father eventually became if he didn‘t have some redeeming qualities. Though Robert still suffers the guilt of his actions, Amy is convinced that if she doesn’t leave him, before marriage and children bond them forever, she could also end up with her mothers fate: to die a supposedly accidental death at the hands of her drunken husband.

Not Her Mother’s Fate is a 90,000 word women’s fiction that tests the limits of friendship, love, and loyalty.

Sincerely,

Donna Hole

7 comments:

MattDel said...

I just re-read the other revisions to make sure I wouldn't repeat anything that was already said, so hopefully this will be helpful.

The first thing that hits me is there appears to be a lot of cataloging of events going on " ... expect to meet the man who would pursue her romantically until she relented, expose the most closely guarded secrets of her childhood, and inadvertently introduce her to the same choices her own mother must have faced."

The same sort of cataloging happens in paragraph 2 and 3 with Robert's support system/Amy's actions.

I feel like 2 and 3 can be combined easily and chop out some words in the process.

Try "After years of abuse, Amy think she's learned her lesson about a relationship with a drinking man. But Robert Crane isn't the same abusive alcoholic her father was, and she believes she might be able to save him and, by extension, herself from the haunting memories of her childhood."

I also don't think you need to mention marriage and children more than once in the query. Leave it in the final paragraph -- it's strongest there.

Move the mother's death up into the first paragraph. Just saying "the choices her mother must have faced" isn't specific enough to tell us how serious Amy getting involved with an alcoholic is.

This is something I'd personally read, by the way, if I came across it in the bookstore because of the subject matter it deals with, so I hope my opinion helps you.

-MD

Jim_Wisneski said...

Please note that (1) I am an unpublished author querying my butt off for my novel (the revisions of my queries are on this site and (2) I have read so many books and articles on how to write a query that my head hurts when I see the word "query".

Your story is interesting. I would read it. Stories about redemption and tragedy and rigt up my alley because they express the real world.
Your query is too long with too many words.

I have been told that an agent reads the first sentence and goes from there.

I have also been told that the agent will look at the query and if it looks long - REJECTION.

Are these two things true? I don't know.

For the intro - this is what popped into my mind after reading the letter three times.

After years of abuse by her alcoholic father and two previous boyfriends and the "accidental" death of her mother, the last thing Amy Thompson wanted was to be pursued by another alcoholic.

(I know that it probably choppy and too long, but it sums up SO much of what your query says.)

Or add something like:

What makes it worse with Robert is that he is being pushed towards marriage and children to cure his rebelliousness which Amy beleives will only lead her to the tragic footsteps of her mother.

(Again, choppy - but it cuts it way down.)

The query, in my opinion, is the true test of an author to know what they are trying to say and write about. That's why it's so tough - you have to take a 90,000 word novel and make it three or four paragraphs. Agents want to see this done to make sure you have focused on the plot, the meaning, and if you are that good of a writer to convey your image in a few paragraphs.

This is a good story line - keep it up and keep posting your revisions because they are getting better!!!

Jim

Gina Logue said...

I suggest starting with the second paragraph because the first paragraph is vague and didn’t make a whole lot of sense until I read the entire query.

“Robert is not a typical, abusive alcoholic” and yet the description in the third and fourth paragraph kind of sounds like he is.

4th paragraph uses the word ‘convinced’ twice. “Mothers fate” should be “mother’s fate”.

Here is my attempt at re-writing to get the query to flow the way I like:
A survivor of years of abuse by her alcoholic father and two previous boyfriends, twenty-one-year-old Amy Thompson has learned her lesson about the cost of a relationship with a drinking man. But Robert Crane charms and romances her until she relents.

His parents and church believe marriage and family is the cure for his rebelliousness, and his best friend Calvin Mertz refuses to allow Robert to suffer the consequences of his alcoholic binges. Amy also strives to support Robert and make excuses for his behavior.

For a while, Amy is sure she can change him. But as his alcoholism and his brutality escalate, she begins to have flashbacks of the night her mother died. Only, her life with Robert now and the memories of her childhood are too horrifyingly similar. Amy is convinced if she doesn’t leave him before marriage and children bind them forever, she could end up with her mother’s fate: to die a supposedly accidental death at the hands of her drunken husband.

Not Her Mother’s Fate is a 90,000 word women’s fiction about testing the limits of friendship, love, and loyalty.

L. T. Host said...

Hi Donna;

Your premise is really interesting! I got the impression from a prior version that Calvin was a potential romantic foil for Amy, is this still the case? I'd like to see that back in here, because it adds a whole other dimension-- the best friend who's in love with the girl but won't do anything about it because of his loyalty to his alcoholic friend who abuses her. That sent chills down my spine the first time, if it's the case then bring it back!

Other than that, I think Jim has some good ideas-- I think it's a bit long and windy, but I think if you cut out some of the repetition and streamline it better, the length will be appropriate. My plot was really complicated and hard to condense, yours is too, but it's interesting. Simmer and reduce to the essential, key plot points and I think you'll have a winner. :)

Thanks for your help on my queries, I hope I helped a bit back.

RCWriterGirl said...

I remember reading your other two queries, and this strikes me as much better.

I agree with others who say you can cut out some of the repetition, but I think you've got the heart of a good query here. It really gets the meat of the story out there. I wasn't troubled by the opening. I found it compelling. (Now, I read the original two queries, so if people found it confusing, trust that, because I was familiar with the story; but I thought it was good).

Lastly, I agree with LT about the romantic interest with Calvin being thrown back in. I think queries are supposed to be tease the reader. And throwing in Calvin as romantic foil does that a little. You ended the previous queries wondering if she would choose cal or stick with this loser everyone was pushing her to be with.

The new query, I think, ends more like a synopsis. It seems pretty clear she gets the Hell away from Robert. I think adding her attraction to Cal in would give us a little more of a MC dilemma.

Good luck with your query.

Donna Hole said...

I'm stoked that so many people gave such insightful comments. I'm going to sit with this a day or two because I am kinda overwhelmed by your generosity.

I can already see several points I'd like to incorporate in a revision. So thanks; though that's totally inadequate to express what I'm feeling right now.

I gotta get out of here before I get really gushy.

.........dhole

Anica Lewis said...

Oh, I'm late! No matter.

I agree with others that this query is stronger than the first two. Still a bit long, but much more emphatic and driven.

I'm a bit confused by the first sentence of the fourth paragraph. How does this revelation about her mother's choice stem from and/or affect her current situation? (And "brute," not "brut.")

Another thing: I know from the earlier queries that Calvin Mertz is important as a potential good-guy love interest for Amy, but this query tosses in his first and last name while giving us only the briefest reason to note who he is. Maybe a little expanding on his role is in order?

I like Jim's idea of referring to Amy's mother's "'accidental' death" rather than calling it "a supposedly accidental death."

Good luck!