Jan 22, 2010


Dear Ms./Mr. X,

When 17-year-old artist Anna Sokolowska learns the Communist regime in Poland may implement martial law, she chooses to escape to Berlin—unwilling to let the government stifle her artistic voice, eager to use her anti-Communist paintings as a tool for change. What Anna fails to consider before leaving is that her abused mother and young brother need her more than she thinks they do.

A year in Berlin forces Anna to face the borderless nature of government corruption as she struggles to balance the harsh reality of poverty in the 1980’s with a passion for art and the Polish Solidarity movement.

WHERE THE DOVES FLY is a literary YA at approximately 76,000 words.

My articles and short stories have been featured in New Moon, Teen Ink, Alive, multiple e-zines, and two Creative Communications anthologies. Last year I received a YoungArts 2010 Merit Award (top 5%) and interned with [an editor; redacted]; now I intern with [an agent; redacted].

I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to query you—someone I admire for Y.

Thank you for your time.



Scarlett said...

This is an intriguing premise, you've got good credentials, and the query is well-written.

However, I'm not clear what the main conflict is. Is she trying to choose between her art/freedom and taking care of her family, or is she trying to balance poverty and art/politics? Or is the abused family somehow the result of poverty? I think you need to focus it a little more, and perhaps bring in a few more details or specific plot points, to make the story come to life for the agent.

Holly said...

Hello, your query is well-written and intriguing. It looks like you've written a gripping story with substance. I remember that tense time in history.

Like the first poster, I feel the query needs more specifics about her conflicts. Just another sentence or so would do it.

Good luck!

John said...

I think it would also help to specify whether she goes to West Berlin or East Berlin. I'm guessing West, but at that time even East Berlin might have been a sort of refuge for someone fleeing martial law in Poland. Of course, if she goes to West Berlin, it raises the question of how.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I agree with Working Rachel. Also, i'd watch the first sentence, it's pretty long...

Travener said...

I think this is pretty good, but agree you need more specifics about the conflict and drama in the book. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by the "borderless nature of government corruption" -- if it's a major source of drama you should spell it out more. But the premise is a good one.

Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge said...

I feel like there are details needed here. You've embraced the concision necessary to a good query, and you mention interesting elements to your story, but at the end of your query I don't feel I have an idea of what your story is Really about.

Aimlesswriter said...

Sounds like a good premise but the conflict needs to be more exact. Right now it tells me she goes to Berlin and leaves behind and abused mother and brother.
Give me more. Tell me what the government corruption is that touches her so personally. What is the problem she has to solve? What is the motivation that moves her forward?

Sara J. Henry said...

Ah, you already know what I think. You don't need to spell out every detail in a query letter - in fact you shouldn't. You just need to grab the attention of the agent so they ask for pages. Brief and succinct worked for me.