Jul 9, 2010

Query- A Cover Story

This is just the meat of the query

Cleo Caswell never knew her father, but if he was of the same breed as her Las Vegas showgirl mother, one parent is plenty, thank you very much. Now, thanks to Mom and her mother's new lover, a not quite over-the-hill showgirl, Cleo has given up her shot at being a respected journalist for a job at a smarmy tabloid.

Not everything at the tabloid is repulsive however. Cleo certainly never expected anyone on the dark side would have her thinking wicked thoughts. But Alec is more than a pretty face (or even an enticing hardbody) as he proves when Cleo's mother is arrested for the murder of a Las Vegas casino owner. Cleo needs help to prove her mother's innocence, and if that means she has to pander to Alec's pursuit of a lurid story about murder, sex, and money, she'll do it. She won't like it but she might just learn that she doesn't have to win a Pulizer to be proud of what she does and that love can be found in the strangest places.

Thanks to all.

4 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

I'm finding this a bit confusing.

There's a tense shift in the first sentence. Changing "was" to "is" might fix it.

My confusion begins in the second paragraph. What is the "dark side"? I'm guessing it means tabloid journalism and that Alec is a journalist, but I'm not sure of either of these things. I'm not sure it's important, either. (Neither is the question of her dad's identity in the paragraph above.)

What's important is that her mother's been arrested for murder, Cleo believes her to be innocent, and Cleo needs to prove it. And I guess Alec is important, since it's a romance, but you need to tell us *how* he's important.

Right now you're only hinting at Alec's role. And the murder arrest is buried mid-paragraph, easy to miss if you're reading fast. Focus on the essential. Remove the inessential. And make sure your meaning is crystal clear.

Suzi McGowen said...

I love it.

I think you should include the word count, but as you say, it's the meat of the query.

I don't normally read romance, but this sounds interesting enough that I would try it. I hope, however, that it's more mystery than romance (which is what it sounds like, mystery with romance).

I had to re-read the second sentence twice to make sure that the "not quite over-the-hill showgirl" was mom's new lover and not Cleo. (Maybe use parens?)

Amanda said...

I think this query has some good parts to it, but I was confused as to how her mother and her lover caused her to start working at a tabloid. You might want to throw in an explanation about this. Just a few words- because most people don't take jobs because of their parents, so this needs to be clarified.
Also, you start off your query talking about someone who isn't a main character, isn't even in the book as as far as I can tell! I would reconsider the part about Cleo's father, as it might just prove confusing to an agent who might initially think this is a story about Cleo and her farther.

RCWriterGirl said...

This has some great and interesting elements, but it needs a little tweaking to really shine.

You should probably get rid of the the line: "Now, thanks to Mom and her mother's new lover, a not quite over-the-hill showgirl, Cleo has given up her shot at being a respected journalist for a job at a smarmy tabloid."

These are two very interesting details, but they don't make sense combined. Her mother having an over-the-hill lesbian relationship should not impact her career as a journalist. So, putting those two together is unhelpful, at best, and confusing to the reader, at worst.

I think it's fine to say, "Cleo has given up her shot at being a respected journalist for a job at a smarmy tabloid." If you want to give a reason for this, do. But, her mother being smarmy is no reason she can't work as a journalist. (Having worked as a journalist for more than a decade, I can tell you honestly, no one gives a damn what your mother does for a living).

Second, the sentence: "Cleo certainly never expected anyone on the dark side would have her thinking wicked thoughts." doesn't really make a lot of sense. How is Alec on the dark side. And if he's on the dark side, why wouldn't she think wicked thoughts about him? It's best to get rid of that sentence. Especially as it doesn't jibe with the first sentence--that everything is not repulsive. Someone causing you to think wicked thoughts is probably repulsive (or close to it).

I think what you're trying to say is that she has mixed feelings about colleague Alec: she finds his hard body enticing, but is disgusted by his pursuit of the lurid. Then, you could go into the info about the mother accused of murder and Alec helping her.

I like the overall feel, but those lines that don't quite fit, or don't make sense within the context of the info you've already provide make the query reader stop and do a double take. It overall lowers the effectiveness of the query.

I think the last couple sentences of the query are perfect. They're a great way to end.

Good luck.

p.s.--I just saw the comment about the father, and I think I agree. While it's a great sentence, I think Amanda is right to say it would lead people to believe the father is going to be a more integral part of the book.