Oct 8, 2010

Query- Second Hand News (revised)

Click here to read the original query.

As promised, I am back.

Dear Agent:

Second Hand News, my 80,000 word humorous women's fiction is about new beginnings.

When Gail Goldblum's arranged marriage fails, she moves into grandma Bubbie's two-room apartment in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, one floor below her parents and loses herself in romance novels and the dream of happily-ever-after.

Gail's family immediately begins the search for her next husband, while she reunites with several old schoolmates, has wild sex with two Princeton "boys," joins a romance book club, washes out of a pottery class and uses her wit and talent to find a new career.

As a teenager, Tony Cimino worked part-time for his father. The youngest of eight children, he still works for his father, but refuses to give up the dream of having his own landscape business. Twenty years have passed when Gail walks up to the counter for a slice of pizza and sees him. Tony, the cute boy from her childhood has grown into a handsome, kindhearted man.

Chaos rules, as Bubbie escapes from assisted living, moves into her granddaughter's small apartment, and entertains the neighbors singing Ethel Merman tunes late at night in the elevator. Gail fends off a Yuppie co-op conversion and Tony tries to capture Gail's attention even as he realizes the dream of opening his own business.

The first time Gail knew she loved Tony, she was in the fourth grade, he was in the eighth. Each time they meet, she tries to deny her feelings and walk away. Tony is a man who knows what he wants, but Gail not being able to trust again, pushes the one person she wants out of her life.

I found your name on Chuck Sambuchino's Blog; A Guide To Literary Agents, read your blog daily, and I believe my work meets your criteria. I would be happy to send part or all of the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,
====
Opening lines:

No matter how a girl gets down the aisle, being married and then divorced is preferable to dragging one's miserable carcass through life as an old maid.
Three of us sit on a cold, wooden bench in the judge's chamber and wait. It's a long day and seven others have already finished and been escorted to the next room to sign papers and get a receipt, pending the official documents.
When it is my turn, I stand to answer three questions: 1) Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, 2) Do you Gail Goldblum Silverstein wish to contest this action, and 3) Do you wish to return to your maiden name?
Nothing comes out of my mouth and the girl next to me pulls the edge of my jacket and snaps, "Say yes, or I do, and let's get the hell out of here."
I gulp, "I do," three times and it is done.
I wait for a cheer from the audience, but alas we are alone in the room with the judge and his bailiff, who points, "This way, miss."
I am officially an ex-wife.

4 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

Well, on the "opening lines" after the query, you lost me on the first sentence. It's so outrageous that it demands some sort of immediate fall-on-the-face, but it doesn't get one, and from that brief sample you give the reader no reassurance that it ever will get one.

As for the query, it's still going all over the place. Drop subplots, and absolutely drop the dual POV.

Florence said...

Whoa ... Thanks Anon ... I am back to the boards on all of this.

Sorry it misses the mark yet again.

Shelley Sly said...

If it's okay with you, I'm going to go paragraph by paragraph in your query and bold the information that I think is important. Remember, this is just my impression.

Dear Agent:

Second Hand News, my 80,000 word humorous women's fiction is about new beginnings.
(This is important, BUT I'd move this paragraph to the end, right before you talk about Chuck's blog.)

When Gail Goldblum's arranged marriage fails, she moves into grandma Bubbie's two-room apartment in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, one floor below her parents and loses herself in romance novels and the dream of happily-ever-after.

Gail's family immediately begins the search for her next husband, while she reunites with several old schoolmates, has wild sex with two Princeton "boys," joins a romance book club, washes out of a pottery class and uses her wit and talent to find a new career.

As a teenager, Tony Cimino worked part-time for his father. The youngest of eight children, he still works for his father, but refuses to give up the dream of having his own landscape business. Twenty years have passed when Gail walks up to the counter for a slice of pizza and sees him. Tony, the cute boy from her childhood has grown into a handsome, kindhearted man.

Chaos rules, as Bubbie escapes from assisted living, moves into her granddaughter's small apartment, and entertains the neighbors singing Ethel Merman tunes late at night in the elevator. Gail fends off a Yuppie co-op conversion and Tony tries to capture Gail's attention even as he realizes the dream of opening his own business.

The first time Gail knew she loved Tony, she was in the fourth grade, he was in the eighth. Each time they meet, she tries to deny her feelings and walk away. Tony is a man who knows what he wants, but Gail not being able to trust again, pushes the one person she wants out of her life.

I found your name on Chuck Sambuchino's Blog; A Guide To Literary Agents, read your blog daily, and I believe my work meets your criteria.
I would be happy to send part or all of the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,


Okay, so that looks like I took out a lot, but some of it doesn't strike me as being immediately important to the core of the story (i.e. Gail joining a book club, Tony's background...) Stick to Gail. Tell us what she wants and what obstacles she faces in pursuit of that struggle.

I hope this helps. It seems like you have a wonderfully witty story here, it's just a matter of making your query shine. Good luck!

Florence said...

Shelley Sly ... I can't thank you enough for taking the time and care to do such a complete critique.

Gail is emerging. Her book and her query. I will copy and paste this to my Note doc. and use it when I begin the rewrite.

You are indeed an angel and thanks again for your help. Will keep the group posted.

I am providing the link to part of a novella. I get dozens of hits daily on this one and I never sent it out anywhere.

I hope you enjoy.

http://ramblingsfromtheleft.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/sad-songs-make-me-cry/