Feb 27, 2012

QUERY 2.0 -- A TEMPORARY CONVENIENCE

Click here for the original query.

The language here hasn't been polished. I'm just trying to see if I'm moving in the right direction.

Without further ado --

Beth Macdonald is inexplicably rescued from the world of temp work with an offer of lucrative, permanent employment from successful art dealer Dorie Campbell. The next day, Mrs. Campbell's gorgeous and ├╝ber-rich accountant appears at the shop and quickly launches into ardent and confident pursuit. Perhaps now Beth can tell her parents that her Ph.D. in pre-modern Scottish history wasn't career suicide and not everyone thinks she's a pedantic wiseass (or at least, someone finds that trait endearing). She could be so happy if only she didn't suspect her new boss, her new beau, or both are up to no good.

It sure seems as if they're covering something up. Beth's predecessor supposedly trashed the inventory records and has gone missing. The records Beth reassembles are cryptic, duplicative, and inconsistent, and are promptly snatched away by Mr. Campbell. The IRS is sniffing around, as are a couple members of a reputed Mob family. The Campbells are commonly believed to have a thriving a horse business, but their big barn is almost empty. Meanwhile, their supposedly empty guesthouse is occupied. And a friend emails Beth to report Mr. Perfect is a "Bad Boy" who may have an ulterior purpose (or three) for his sudden infatuation.

The last time a Macdonald trusted the Bloody Campbells didn't work out that well. Beth doesn't want to blow this first chance at permanent employment, but she doesn't want to work for crooks either–particularly not when they're suddenly determined to go into business with her father. She knows she has to figure out if the Campbells are crooked and, if so, what crimes are involved. She just needs to avoid whatever happened to Mrs. Campbell's last assistant, also once wooed by the stunning accountant.

A TEMPORARY CONVENIENCE, a 104,000-word mystery full of sarcasm, Scotch, sexual obsession, and a bit of Shakespeare, is able to stand alone but intended as part of a trilogy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

10 comments:

Rick Daley said...

This is better than the first one, but not by much. You're still trying to cram too much in there.

Did you try the single-sentence approach?

Don't rush the revisions. Take some time and let the feedback sink in. I know you want to get the query out there ASAP, but there's no hurry. The only thing that happens overnight in publishing is writer's block.

Anonymous Author said...

What Rick said.

You haven't followed most of the advice you were given.

Whenever I get edit comments from my agent or editor, I have a rule to let them sit for at least 24 hours-- 72 hours if it's something I'm having trouble with.

It takes that long to understand and synthesize comments. Then you begin again. There is nothing this business requires more than patience.

Anonymous said...

I think this is much improved. The opening para especially. I think the second para had too many specific plot details. But you're on the right track. I think one thing you need to do in the second para is perhaps focus less on the mystery stuff and more on the romance.

(from AW again)

Diane said...

Okay. I'll let this rest for a while. I did my best to incorporate what I understood the advice to be. Maybe in a few days I'll understand more about which details I should drop and what else I missed in the advice I was given.

In other words, I didn't deliberately ignore advice. That would be a waste of your time.

I do appreciate the help you all are giving me. I'm not trying to be difficult.

Meanwhile, I'll actually write down the single-sentence description of my book that's been floating in my brain. Yes, you caught me on that. I was too anxious to play around some more with the actual query. I promise to be good, now.

Again, thank you. This site provides a valuable service.

Meanwhile, any suggestions for tightening up the second paragraph, folks? Which details seems unnecessary? Or maybe all of them are? I'd like this to be tighter myself, but so far I've proven unable to describe the forest without pointing out a few trees. Specific suggestions are more than welcome.

BTW, when I hit "preview" now, what I say ends up spread about the page in a bizarre way. Must just be this effect I have on computer programs.

Rick Daley said...

Meanwhile, any suggestions for tightening up the second paragraph, folks? Which details seems unnecessary?

Do the single-sentence task, it should answer this question for you.

When you start with a single sentence that summarizes the primary conflict in your novel (protag vs. antag) and build on that, you should not have a struggle to decide what details to leave in. Just keep your focus on the core of the story.

Anonymous Author said...

I already told you which details I thought were extraneous in my first comment on your first version. AFAICT they are all still there.

But really, anything that doesn't go into your one-sentence synopsis is extraneous.

Diane said...

Homework done. I've written the single sentence. Now I'll put this away for a few days and come back to it all(including all the posts here) with a fresh mind. Right now my sentence is not telling me anything new.

About details -- one person's irrelevant details are another person's "oh, I like this." I've had other input on the evolving query over two months. When different readers tell me different things, I have to go with my gut and decide. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate the time everyone has put into helping me.

Indeed, some things I've been told here I've used to create (in my own mind at least) a better query. Fewer names, lose the "moribund," get the mystery into the first paragraph, make the details more understandable, put more emphasis on the missing woman.

Once again, thanks to all.

Rick Daley said...

Ultimately it's your decision. The best you can do is solicit a wide range of feedback and look for trends...if most people comment on a particular aspect, you should probably go with the flow. If one out of many says "Oh, I love this" or "Oh, never do that" take it with a grain of salt.

Good luck, I'm glad you found this site useful!

newmancht said...

Interesting book concept, but quite frankly, I think your query actually begins at the last paragraph. Delete everything above, Refine from there and I think you've got a winner.

HollyAnnG said...

I love this. I want to buy the book right now. The story is obviously about the insanity of life, so whatever you do, don't polish that out.