Jun 10, 2010

Query- Winter Roses Never Die (fourth revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.
Click here to read the third revision.
Dear Agent,

At thirty-four, Jennie is something of an anomaly. She loves what some might consider a bit incongruous: Jesus AND fairies. Her co-workers in the public library, Sylvia and Helen, can see she's different but can't decide which side of the divide this difference is. The Librarian, Sylvia, leans more to the positive and appreciates Jennie's thoughtfulness and integrity. Meanwhile, Helen, the more outspoken of the two, finds Jennie's whimsical, spiritual nature more hard to take. When Jennie announces she has heard disembodied singing and music while talking shortcuts through the abandoned cemetery and also met an angelic looking man seated beside a wintry, rose-covered grave, her library co-workers suspect it's the strange side of the divide for her. And when Helen fails to find any roses or any man - angelic or otherwise - in the cemetery, these suspicions are confirmed.

The growing enmity at work because of her outlandish claims and her 'inspirationals' which she believes are from the Divine, and also the disappearance of the man she has come to know as Charos, lead her to despair. Despite his thorny nature, he was the one person who showed understanding and made her feel special. Only the magical winter roses which never die hold the key to Charos' mirky, surreal past; and only her inspirationals provide her with the key to real love - understanding and compassion - which can break the curse of his death-like existence. Both the roses and her inspirationals enable her to realise that while many have come to take blood away for their own benefit, only one came to share it for the benefit of others. The culmination of knowledge imparted to Jennie through her inspired thoughts enables her to tap into the same spiritual power source as that contained in the Holy Blood of scripture and legend.

Winter Roses Never Die combines inspirational and mystic Christianity and paranormal romance in a contemporary but similar manner to Merlin and Nimue and the Holy Grail aspects of the Arthurian Legends. The work is complete at 95,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Dan Ritchie said...

The paragraphs could be broken up more, with white space in between.

>When Jennie announces...
should be the start of a paragraph I think.

Instead of just what her coworkers think about her, how does her belief in Jesus AND faeries work into it. It's ok to reflect her personality from their viewpoint, but how does it tie into what you said before. It's a good opening line.
One of them respects her character and integrity. That's good. The other one is skeptical about her why?

wendy said...

Thank you, Dan! Great suggestions again. You're almost an old friend now *g* Btw, what's a good opening line?

gj said...

Try getting deeper into Jennie's point of view. (Yes, there can be POVs in a query.) Forget that you're the author and become Jennie (except don't do first person). Forget about what other people think and believe. What does Jennie think and believe? Keep it tight on her, without the filtering phrases that establish this as YOU, the author, telling a story (as opposed to showing what the story is).

Look at your first line: Jennie is an anomaly. That's YOU saying it, not what Jennie thinks. Jennie thinks the rest of the world is an anomaly, and that she is right, or she wouldn't think what she thinks! You don't need to TELL that fairies/Jesus is an odd combination. Show that she believes in them both, and the reader will conclude that it's an anomaly. In other words, you could start with: Librarian Jennie has always believed in both Jesus and fairies. At thirty-four, she's accepted that most people think she's odd, but when she hears [cut the "announces that she heard" because it's distancing] disembodied singing and music while talking shortcuts through the abandoned cemetery, she has to wonder if maybe she really is odd. And she really starts to worry when she meets an angel [lose the "looking," because it waters down the oddity of it] seated beside a rose-covered grave. Still, she has to be true to her beliefs, so she DOES SOMETHING, which causes her co-workers to shun her.

Kill phrases like "provide her with the key to the past," and "enable her to realize" and the like -- vague phrases that are NOT the sort of thing she would be thinking in the moment.

Stick to concrete actions. Forget your themes and morals of the story. She does something, which causes a bigger problem. She does something else, which causes yet a bigger problem. In the course of describing what she does, you'll be SHOWING what the theme/moral is.

Get into Jennie's head. What is she thinking/feeling? She goes to the cemetary, and sees this guy, and she wants .... what? To see him again? To make him laugh? What? And how does that make her life more difficult? In concrete terms, not vague things like co-workers' enmity. If their enmity matters, give an example of what they do and what she does in return.

wendy said...

Thank you, gj. I can see the improvement your suggestions would make. I appreciate such a thorough explanation.

Dan - I realise now that 'When Jennie announces...' is the opening line you referred to. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Be sure to use spell check, or you just might get overlooked by your perfect agent. Paragraph 1: you can't talk shortcuts. You take them. paragraph 2: there is a spelling mistake. But I'm not going to tell you what it is. I want you to carefully read every single word of your query. If you take the time to correct simple mistakes, the agent knows you took the time with your novel, too.

wendy said...

Thank you, Anon. :)

Dan Ritchie said...

These netbooks with their 11'' screens will get you into a lot of spelling trouble. Not to mention I can't spell.

Anonymous Author said...

Wendy, I'm still seeing the same problem I mentioned before: Too much time spent talking about what these coworkers think about her. Why? Are they major characters? I don't get that from the storyline you describe. If it's a romance, then the business to be settled is between your main character and the mysterious man, and the coworkers aren't that important. Yet they're taking up nearly half the query.

I agree with the other commenters: talk about your main character, not about what other people think about her.