Jan 1, 2012

QUERY-His Muse(Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear [Editor],

Coralie Boisson has one night in Arles to sign a deal with the handsome, and possibly mad, artist Jonah Struik. It’s her big chance to finally prove to her father that she is just as good of an art dealer as the men at their Paris art house. The fact that Jonah is the biggest rival of the secret lover that spurned her only sweetens the deal.

Jonah Struik, who abandoned the fashionable society of Victorian Paris after his fiancée jilted him, only agreed to deal with Boisson & Cie. in order to pay back his debts. When Jonah finds out that Denis Boisson has sent his daughter to broker the sale, he knows that his former employer must be playing games with him. Only a strange feeling that he knows Coralie from somewhere other than the art world keeps Jonah from walking out of their meeting.

Jonah soon realizes that Coralie is not the silly or manipulative dilettante he thought she was. And Coralie realizes that Jonah isn’t the madman the art world has labeled him as. The two come to find that they might just be the cure to each other’s loneliness.

HIS MUSE is a historical romance novella complete at 12,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.



Anonymous Author said...

The first paragraph is much, much better. I'd leave off this line:

The fact that Jonah is the biggest rival of the secret lover that spurned her only sweetens the deal.

It's a little confusing (because of two possible meanings of "rival") and it's unnecessary. You've given us her motive already.

I wondered in the first version why a woman would need to prove herself on this particular front. Now that I see the setting is the 19th century it makes more sense.

The second paragraph is still a bit confusing. Someone mentioned before that romance queries are supposed to show the woman's POV in the first graf and the man's in the second. If that's the case, I guess this is okay. Otherwise, for most fiction, the rule is generally to stick to one POV in a query.

gj said...

For such a short story, you could probably stop after the first paragraph. Or, as the previous poster said, omit the last sentence of that paragraph, and then add one final sentence to encapsulate the heroine's attraction to the hero and whatever is keeping them apart.

You don't need to go all the way to the end of the story in the query. Just establish the inciting event, the two characters and what's keeping them both together and uncommitted.

Anonymous said...

At what point does a short story become a novella? I'd think it'd be much more than 12,000 words.

And from what I've seen, there aren't many literary mags that accept anything over 10,000 words.

I wonder about the cover letter: seems to me this is just a polite way of saying "please read my story" -- no need to go into details about the story.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice. I did end up shortening it for a cover letter version. And 12,000 is very short for most novellas, but it's what this pub wants.