Jun 10, 2010

QUERY- REMEMBERING YOU -- women's fiction

Dear Ms. Agent,

Ten years is a long time to live in a self-imposed exile and when Genna’s longing for the familiar turn into nightmares about her future, she realizes it’s time to go home.

Once there, the past comes back to haunt her in the form of her ex-fiancé and his dead wife. Genna’s unresolved feelings for him and what he did a decade ago only twist her heart and lead her down a perilous path. He wants her back and Genna wonders if it’s only for her money.

Coming home has also brought her aunt’s Alzheimer’s to light, something the family refuses to face. Her cousin is falling apart under the strain of a too perfect marriage and her best friend is ignoring her. Genna also finds herself encumbered with an inheritance that threatens to destroy her relationship with her uncle.

What’s a girl to do?

Genna needs to makes some tough decisions regarding her future; does she give up the job of a lifetime and come home to work for peanuts or does she go back and live the same lonely life she’s had for the last decade? And will trying to get over her broken heart lead her to find comfort in the arms of a man she once despised? With the help of the only person who has ever put her first, Genna makes the decisions that will change her life forever.

I am seeking representation for REMEMBERING YOU, a completed work of women’s fiction at 87,000 words. (I have also added a sentence as to why I chose them as the agent.)

Thank you for your consideration.



Jolene said...

Just my opinion - though I guess that's obvious, isn't it?

I would combine the second and third paragraphs, they set up your conflict. I'd delete the second sentence in your second paragraph. You've listed three problems associated with one person, you may not need them all.

You might try taking out "also" in para. 3, there's a lot of information here, a lot of things going on.

The tenor of the book feels serious and soul searching until you have your cute line of "What's a girl to do?" It feels like that line belongs in a book with a lighter mood?

I like that the choice is clear but I'm learning you have to be careful with phrases like "change her life forever" I think the choice you gave makes it clear that her decisions are life changing. You've made it clear that the simple act of going home is life changing.
Why is her heart broken? - You've already said something about her ex wanting her back, and you've already mentioned she's sceptical, you may want to cut this as well.
Who has put her first? Is it someone already mentioned? Are you being coy on purpose?
I'm not saying that's bad, just make sure it suits your style.
Trying to pair down your story into a few short paragraphs is a killer. I can't look at my queries objectively - good luck with yours!

gj said...

This is more back-cover copy than query text. It's too vague and I have no clue what makes THIS story different from every other "girl goes home" story.

Look at your first paragraph. All it tells me is the protagonist's name and that she's been away from home for ten years and is going back b/c of unspecified nightmares. But I don't know where "home" is or what those nightmares are. You need specifics. Is she going back to Alaska because she's having nightmares about never again tasting blubber? Or is she going back to Paris, because she's having nightmares about never again seeing the Eiffel Tower? Probably neither, but I don't have a clue what her fear is or where she's going. Get it down to one sentence: Afraid she's going to ___, Gemma returns to ___ after a ten-year absence.

Then, what happens? Again, you're so vague as to be meaningless. The past comes to haunt her -- well, yeah, that's what happens when you go home again. But I don'tknow if you're talking literally (especially because of the dead wife) or metaphorically. Or what ACTUALLY HAPPENS? I don't even know where she is, but let's say she's back on the farm where she was born, and her neighbor is the old lover, and she starts seeing the old lover's dead wife's ghost. I can picture that. The vague version doesn't give me a picture.

Again, I don't know what he did ten years ago, so I don't understand what her unresolved feelings are, so I can't care about the story.

And all of a sudden he wants her for her money. What money? I have no idea, so I'm not sure if he wants the billions she made as a trader on Wall Street, or the money she inherited from her own dead spouse or the proceeds of a life insurance he's planning to take out on her. If it matters to the story, that detail should be included, because each of those scenarios gives me a different impression of what the story is.

Start over (and save this for the cover copy, although it would need to be shortened). You can write, but you're writing the wrong thing here.

Keep it simple with concrete details: after ten years away from ____, Genna returns to her home town [wherever it is] to [whatever her goal is]. Once there, [the antagonist] complicates her life by [whatever he does to oppose her]. She does something [to establish that there is an escalating struggle] with [whatever the stakes are].

Aleeza said...

gj's right about the more specific details of the characters and the story. i like how the story sounds, and the query itself isn't that bad, but details will make it better.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I knew it was lacking, I just didn't realize how much. I appreciate all the comments and will work on this.