Jan 17, 2010

Query -- Masquerade Romance

Business letter format

Dear Ms. Agent,

I am seeking representation at this time for Masquerade, a single title Regency Romance complete at 99,081 words.

When the Earl of Westerly agrees to do his cousin a favor, he is more than surprised upon his arrival at Wakefield. Mr. Quiggins, the trusted butler reveals, “…things are not what they appear to be.”

William Smith, the Earl of Westerly, has only one passion, horses, until he meets the mysterious Miss Penelope Higgins whose sweet, sunny smile makes his heart skip a beat. He knows she is not the person she is pretending to be. The Duchess of Caymore, is a meddlesome old bird who keeps a strict eye on Penny and William means to find out why but no one is talking. He knows the Ladies are in trouble, they are in hiding, and now it appears he will also have to masquerade…as the steward.

When Penny’s’ true identity and her reason for hiding is finally revealed to William, he entrusts some unlikely friends to devise a plan to bring the villains to justice. Upon their return to London, a comedic chain of events finds Robert, William’s cousin, masquerading as Penny’s fiancĂ©. Moreover, now that William knows who Penny really is, he is awed but undaunted. Despite Robert’s annoying role as Penny’s fake fiancĂ©, her father’s threats to marry her off to a duke, and the Duchess of Caymore’s machinations to keep Robert and Penny together, William is determined to marry Penny, even if he has to give up her enormous dowry to do it.

I would be delighted to send you the synopsis and first three chapters. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

My contact info


Lori Folkman said...

I think you have a lot of good things going for you. Your tone matches the period very well.

But a few things that stood out: round off your word count, it looks novice to be that exact. "Heart skips a beat" is cliche. Have you googled the title "Masquerade?" I would think that it has been used to death. Can you come up with something more original? I also think I would leave out that last line about him giving up his dowry to marry her, as that has also been done to death.

Your first paragraph needs more of a hook. And sorry to say, but I ended up skimming most of the query. It just didn't grab me...it sounded like so many other books out there.

Really focus on what is unique about your book. Help us get a better feel for your characters...why should we care about them enough to read 100,000 words?

Like I said before, your tone is perfect for this genre. I could really get a feel for the time period just by ready your query...which is very good! Often times Regencies lack that element of authenticity. That will give you a leg up on the competition.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

I agree, you've got a good voice, and "heart skips a beat" is used way too much.

I also think you need to give a little more information. For instance, you say that no one is talking about Penny, yet William "knows" that she isn't who she says she is and that she's in trouble. If he can't get any information from people how does he know all of that?

I had to force myself to read this, it really did lack a hook and all the questions I had weren't out of interest. Make me wonder what Penny is hiding.

Again, I do like the tone, you just have some tightening to do. I hope this helps.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your praise and your comments. It's nice to know I finally have a "voice". I've sent Rick my revision to post so you'll be able to see if it has more of a hook.

Thanks again.

RC Writer Girl said...

I agree with previous posts. Nice voice.

But, the query has continuity and flow problems.

First, it's like you have two opening paragraphs ("When the Earl..." being the first, and "William Smith, Earl of..." being the second). I think we need the earl's proper name and title only once.

Second, you can't be coy. You have to explain what's going on. What is her secret? You can still leave some mystery in the query, but not at the risk of alienating the reader by hiding what Penny's secret is. Who is she pretending to be and why?

Finally, the query is very confusing. In addition to you refusing to let us in on the secret, you tell us what actions they take so they can continue hiding this secret and seek revenge, yet we haven't a clue why they're hiding this secret or for what they're seeking revenge.

You've got to streamline. Focus on the romance. Focus on him and her and how they feel about each other, and what lengths he goes to to be with her.

It sounds like the book could be interesting, you just refuse to tell me enough about it in this query to make a determintation yay or nay.

Focus and tell us the story, and your query will be vastly improved.

Good luck.

Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge said...

I think the voice is certainly present. I don't want to repeat anything that's been said before, but I did want to mention one thing.

"When the Earl of Westerly agrees to do his cousin a favor, he is more than surprised upon his arrival at Wakefield."

I expect that character to be surprised. I expect things to not go as planned. This would be the moment to tell us what happens that is so surprising. "When the Earl of Westerly agrees to do his cousin a favor, he doesn't expect to end up traveling to Belize to rescue a ravishing, young damsel from a Bavarian prince/ running around the countryside trying to recapture an escaped heard of enchanted fowl/ voyaging to Pluto to discover how its inhabitants feel about it no longer being a planet." Something unexpected.

Lenworth said...

Random thoughts.

Probably should move first chapter to the end and merge into ... I would be delighted...

Delete second paragraph.

Begin with third...William Smith...

Who is Penny, and why is she hiding? Need more details. What sort of trouble is she in?

William is determined to marry her, but how does she feel?