Jul 29, 2010

REMEMBERING YOU -- women's fiction second revision

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

If Genna had thought going home would be hell, she would have brought along her hand basket.

Returning home to Bristol, Rhode Island for the annual Fourth of July parade for the first time in ten years, Genna is more than excited to share the great news about her fantastic promotion as executive kitchen manager at a swanky country club in Delaware. However, she isn’t home five minutes before trouble starts when she runs into her ex-fiancĂ©. Although everyone says he’s no good, Genna can’t see through her memories clearly enough to discern if they’re right.

Genna’s problems escalate as she discovers her aunt may have Alzheimer’s and no one in the family wants to deal with it. Angie is hysterical over a bad pap smear and a broken marriage. Robby completely shuts down when he finds out his plaid and pearl wearing girlfriend is pregnant. To put the icing on the cake, her beloved uncle has a heart attack.

Genna finds keeping her uncle’s diner open during the busiest time of the year is more than just hard work, it is in her blood and she questions if she should give up her new job in Delaware to stay in Bristol. And when little Petie DiCampo appears, all grown up and looking like a calendar boy, she wonders if he could be the man to finally break down the walls she’s built around herself since the night her parents were killed by a drunk driver when she was a kid.

In twenty-one days, Genna figures out all the answers to her family’s problems before she heads back to Delaware. She also decides living without love is not in her future, the problem is, which man will she choose?

REMEMBERING YOU is a completed work of women’s fiction at 87,000 words.


Anonymous said...

I've read earlier versions and see improvements by my 2 nitpicks are as follows;
1. You end to use common phrases (the opening line re; handbasket reference) in order to develop voice, but it seems a little to me like your working too hard to find an interesting way to phrase things. My suggestion is for you to eliminate all kinds of these phrases as essentially they're cliches which may lead an agent to think this problem is part of the ms.
2. IMHO there is simply much backstory in this query. Agents don't need or want all the plotpoints, I would scale it back a little, not necessarily take all of it out just condense. I had a very hard time with this myself, having written a fantasy with a complicated plot and feeling like the agent needed to know every detail. My beta helped my cut to the essentials, and although I was unsure, I had immediate sucecess - so I'll pass the advice on.

Good luck.

Anonymous Author said...

You've given us specifics now; this is a vast improvement in the body of the query.

Now I'd like to comment on the beginning and the end. The "hand basket" remark throws me. You don't bring your handbasket to hell, you travel to hell therein. As Anonymous said, it feels like a reach to be clever. I'd leave it out.

Then when you say "In twenty-one days, Genna figures out all the answers to her family’s problems..." I think that's meant to be sarcastic or ironic. But it's hard to tell. Better to be straightforward.

Danielle said...

The thing that threw me off the most was the two random names - Angie and Robby - that had not been previously mentioned. Can you use their relationship to the protagonist instead? (i.e. Genna's sister/aunt/cousin/best friend) If they don't show up again in the query, you don't need to call them by name.

Also, I'm unclear how Genna went from 'executive kitchen manager at a swanky country club' to 'keeping her uncle's diner open' - did she give up the job to help family?

Does the ex-fiance play more of a role than just to fluster her? You seem to give him a lot of importance at the beginning of the query, but he doesn't show up again.

I'm not sure that we need to know that Genna's parents were killed by a drunk driver when she was a kid. That seems to be unnecessary backstory that can be discovered if you get a request for a full/partial.

Your second-last sentence is awkward. Consider rephrasing it, or changing the punctuation, or making it two sentences. Something like "She also decides living without love is not in her future; the problem is, which man will she choose?" might be less confusing.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad you like this one better. Thanks for all the advice.

@Danielle -- conflicting advice. Some say they want more, some say they want less, they were originally in as "her cousin" but then word count got away from me.

Tony is a major part of Genna's conflict. You're right, he needs to go in at the end.

Genna grew up in her uncle's house after her parents were killed and worked at the diner for most of her teen years. It plays an intergral part of the story.

And yes, the handbasket line is coming out.

Thanks again, for all your great comments. I really appreciate them.

DG said...

I too have read all posted versions of your query. Here's what still gives me a rub. It's what once your opening paragraph but is now just once sentence--it's the hand basket thing. I just don't get it. Is it a Little Red Riding Hood reference, or a "If I knew things were going to be bad at home I would have baked cookies." I mean is that it?

Your story sounds interesting but that first sentence causes me to pause. The meaning is not clear and so I don't know if it's relevant or not. I'm not sure what it adds. You want every sentence to count.

Keep at it, you're getting closer.