Mar 24, 2010

Query- Facets of Sorrow

Dear (Agent’s Name),

Thank you for allowing me to introduce my novel to you. Facets of Sorrow is a work of women’s fiction, which is complete at 95,000 words.

Gemma Allen knows sorrow – she knows him well. He overwhelmed her with his confidence, seduced her with his charm and injured her with his strength. His name is Aaron Dullis, and if she would just stop needing him maybe he could stop loving her. She refuses to give him that satisfaction.

When Gemma meets Kyle Johnson, she thinks he’s the one person who can bring her joy, and he does. The problem with loving two men, however, is that she’s not sure how to balance her need for each of them with her desire for them both. It seems an impossible choice – maybe it is, but she knows she must choose.

Gemma and Kyle marry, but after a few years of marriage his secretive behavior and mysterious business trips have Gemma convinced he’s not who she thought he was. She’s right. He has a past of his own, full of his own sorrow and regret. When Gemma is forced to protect Kyle’s secret, she makes decisions that land her in a hospital bed, Aaron in handcuffs and Kyle in a legal and ethical dilemma as he tries to clean up the mess they’ve all made.

I have a B.A. in English from the University of Texas. My previous writing experience includes serving as a ghostwriter for Life Builders, a nationwide mentoring ministry.

Thank you so much for your time and for considering my novel.

Sincerely,

Genevieve Wilson

7 comments:

Lynn Colt said...

First off, the writing is great! However, while it sounds like you've got a compelling story here, the query is so vague that I'm not sure what that story is.

There are a lot of phrases that are pretty but don't tell us anything concrete. Who is Gemma Allen, and who are Aaron and Kyle? Why does Gemma have to stop needing Aaron (also, 'injured her with his strength' makes me think he raped her or something, which then makes me cringe at her 'needing' him) and why does Kyle 'bring her joy' (another vague phrase)? Also, what does refusing to 'give him(Aaron) that satisfaction' mean? She's refusing to give him the satisfaction of her not needing him and him not loving her? I'm thinking that's not the intended meaning, because I'm not following (I thought she wanted to stop needing Aaron?).

What is Kyle's secret? What is Gemma's decision that lands her in a hospital bed (which is one of the only concrete, specific details we are given in the query)? And what is the main conflict of the story? Is it Kyle cleaning up 'the mess', or Gemma's decision (presumably between the two men?)?

The thing is that I get that Gemma, Kyle and Aaron are in this tangled love triangle, and that they all have secrets and sorrows. But that is all I know, and you've taken three long paragraphs to tell us. Agents want specifics: who are these people, what conflict are they facing and what are the stakes?

Also, I'd cut the first sentence, as agents already know you want to introduce your novel to them (and you thank them at the end). Just start with Facets of Sorrow is... (unless you have a personalized reason why you queried that agent)

Hope this helps! I'd really like to see a revised version of this, because the story sounds interesting and *I* want to hear the specifics :)

gj said...

You have great voice, but I don't have a clue what the heck happens in this story, except that the protagonist, who has baggage, is in love with two men, who have baggage, and marries one of them, and there are troubles in their marriage.

Don't hide the story. Focus on what the protagonist wants, what she's doing to get it, and who's stopping her. In CONCRETE terms.

Genevieve Wilson said...

Thanks guys. This is VERY helpful. Rape her? Eek! I don't want to leave that impression! Of course, now that you've pointed it out, I see how I have.

Honest to God, if I had known I'd have to write a query letter, I may not have even written the novel. I guess ignorance is bliss until it slaps you in the face.

Thanks again! I'm on it.

Dominique said...

I'm not sure I like the part about Gemme knowing sorrow well. It made me think sorrow should be capitalized and was actually someone's name.

Is this book about her choosing the guy, or is it about the parts that happen after the marriage. The length of each part in the query should reflect the amount of each part in the book. Right now, I'm getting the feeling that's not the case.

The Starving Writer said...

Dunno where to begin on this one. Totally blew my mind. But I think that this query is quirky enough that it may work with an agent. Book sounds very angsty and sorrow filled.

See below suggested tweak of first 2 chapters. Note I chopped out most of your original chap 2. I dunno whether the contrast between both men was a dark vs. light or happy vs. sad thingy. If so, that should be highlighted more. Then it would make the fact that Kyle had a past full of sorrow and regret more relevant.

Also, need a bit more info on the conflict that lands her in hospital. And, on another topic, my assumption is that whenever ya get married, you’re supposed to get over the prior loves and romances. This query reads like Gemma has not. Having a problem with hubby, and running to ex makes her lose likeability points.

Gemma Allen knows sorrow – she knows him well. He overwhelmed her with his confidence, seduced her with his charm and injured her with his strength. His name is Aaron Dullis, and if she would just stop needing him maybe he could stop loving her. She refuses to give him that satisfaction, so she marries Kyle Johnson, the one person who can bring her joy.

After a few years of marriage his secretive behavior and mysterious business trips have Gemma convinced he’s not who she thought he was. She’s right. He has a past of his own, full of his own sorrow and regret. When Gemma is forced to protect Kyle’s secret, she makes decisions that land her in a hospital bed, Aaron in handcuffs and Kyle in a legal and ethical dilemma as he tries to clean up the mess they’ve all made.

Genevieve Wilson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Genevieve Wilson said...

I deleted my previous comment because I had a typo. Ugh.

I appreciate everyone's input. I'll post my revised version in a few days.