Jun 29, 2009

Query - Margarita Nights

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Telephone, telegraph, tell-a-gay-man – the gayvine is the source of all information--plus a healthy dose of misinformation--within the gay community of Nashville, TN. In a strange twist of Fate (who he thinks is laughing hysterically at him), Jared suddenly finds his life spreading through the gayvine as he struggles with the realization that his happily ever after is not so happy after all.

One question – do you love me? – by his partner of five years makes Jared realize that sometimes, love is not enough. He loves his partner. He is also, perhaps unhealthily so, consumed with thoughts of a kiss – a simple peck on the lips, in greeting only – from a friend. He doesn’t have a fairy godmother (though he knows a few drag queens in sparkly dresses) to wave her magic wand and fix his problems. He only has the boyz (well, grown men desperately trying to hang on to their youth), snarky comments, and margarita nights once a month to help him figure out if even the most meaningless relationships, ironically, have meaning after all.

MARGARITA NIGHTS is a 72,000-word commercial fiction novel filled with a hearty dose of snark, plenty of margaritas, and the drama queen moments of Jared and the rest of the boyz as they confront their loneliness and insecurities in an often unaccepting world. It presents a realistic portrait of gay life.

On any given Friday night, I can be found drinking margaritas and listening, perhaps adding a tidbit or two, to the gayvine. As per the guidelines on your website, I have included the first ten pages of my completed manuscript.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,



Joshua McCune said...

Hi Scott - first, the positive - you've got a fairly distinctive voice and writing style - which are both evident in your query (kudos!)

Now, to the bit more critical aspect - though this isn't my cuppa tea, so take it w a GOS and stir as you see fit - this query seems more style over substance... the good about this, IMO, is that style is harder to achieve than substance...

That is, I'd like a few more details about the conflict. You allude to it, but you ultimately elude it. Try to provide a few more specifics - you may lose some of your voice, but I think you've got enough of that in droves.

Finally, your last 2 paragraphs strike me as mostly unnecessary (other than defining the genre and word count). I think we already realize that there's gonna be snark, margaritas, and drama queen moments - whether or not it portrays accurately, that'll be seen in the accompanying pages... the next paragraph is cute and adds to your voice, but I don't think you need to add to your voice.

Last, the first line threw me a bit - I had to reread it a couple of times to figure out the dash metrics; I may be alone, but if not, you might want to change the structure a bit b/c you don't want to throw the agent/editor and definitely not out of the gate.

Anyway, hope this helps and makes sense.

hope101 (Jan) said...

Agree with everything Bane has said already. Lots and lots of voice here.

I think you're trying to say that Jared is torn between his long-term partner and another man with whom he shares only a casual friendship; and then that he has no one to turn to who can act as an advisor, but it's not clear to me.

Also, I'm not understanding why you're terming it a "strange twist of Fate" that Jared's life is being disected. Is it ironic, because he's one of the gayvine's biggest participants beforehand, and now he's its victim?

Anonymous said...

This may be an example of a query that doesn't follow all the standard advice, but that really works.

Maybe a little tightening would be good, but I'd suggest at least trying it out on a few agents.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Scott.

I agree with Bane - although your snarky voice is evident in this query, it does embody more style than substance. It would be better to rein back on the snark - and be clear about what happens to Jared in this book - the conflict at his core, which seems to be the love for his partner versus his interest in a potential fling.

Also, Bane is right about the last two paragraphs - no need to repeat yourself. Agents seem to appreciate brevity.

Good luck, though - it sounds like a lot of fun. Reminds me of my part-time home (the New Orleans French Quarter) - margaritas and drag queens abound there!

Rick Daley said...

I agree with anon@10:53, the voice makes this stand out above form or format. I think if I read 50 queries in a row, I would remember this one for the voice.

Robyn Campbell said...

Okay Scott, you know I read and write MG so consider that as you read,my friend.

I love the premise of this and I love the way you explain in the second paragraph about how he doesn't have a fairy godmother to fix his problems. Great!

I don't really understand what the struggle is other than another person in his life. I know there must be more. So show that in your query. Get to the good stuff.

I think you can move the sentence with the word count up and do you really need the other stuff? Except the last sentence, of course. I mean is it important to the agent that on any Friday night you can be found listening to the gayvine? I mean will he need that in your query?

Unless you're trying to show that you understand about this. But I think your story will stand on its own and show that.

The stuff with the boyz and them confronting their loneliness isn't really needed is it?

Give us the meat and do it in 15 words. Or in my case 22. If I learned anything yesterday it is that. I think your hook is to cliche. I know you can come up with a hook that is really attention-grabbing. I hope I helped Scott, because I know you helped me. And forgive me if I said anything that was previously mentioned. It's just that I haven't had a chance to read them, because of my horse. Good luck with this. Talk 2 ya later my friend. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Scott, I just took a moment to read the comments and I agree that the voice is exceptional. Let that carry the query. :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

If I wore an agent hat, I'd be interested.

Scott said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! I've taken them to heart and plan on reworking the query this evening. I'll post submit the revamp to Rick either tonight or tomorrow. Thanks again.


Unknown said...

LOVE the voice--that's very hard to pull off in a query, and you've nailed it.

My only suggestion? Cut the first paragraph. We don't need it. The meet of the story is in the second--why not just start there? Add maybe a sentence more about what's at stake (is he concerned about losing his partner? what's the biggest fear for him?) like Bane mentioned, and I think it's gold.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, All!

After re-reading the comments here, I have a concern. And please be advised that this is merely a point of curiosity - not a criticism of this or any other query...

But I've just noticed an interesting trend with voice-related comments on this site. Even though I agree that Scott's query has a memorable voice, I find it curious that every time someone says a query has a unique voice (like this one and the "Quest Support" query), it's usually funny or snarky in tone.

So, how can a writer capture the voice of a non-funny novel in a one-page query? Is it even possible?