As mentioned in newer posts, this is my evolving (or devolving, depending on the day) description of my novel. It is a work-in-progress that will hopefully come together once my book is officially ready to submit. If you have any helpful suggestions, I am always excited to listen.
Acutely aware of their unhappiness, Kristen and Jake say “Fuck it all.” They quit their jobs and sell their house to embark on separate journeys. Instead of traveling together, they seek time apart, unwilling to compromise their visions of self-discovery. While Jake, a lanky but attractive runner, heads across country by car, intent to live out his fantasy of solitude on the open road, Kristen, a self-conscious contrast of dark hair blue eyes, departs for Europe, searching for independence even as she inches her way closer to an old flame living in Paris.
New friendships, passions, and adventures abound along the way. Torn between the allure of the unknown and their unrelenting longing for one another, each must ultimately decide which life holds the secret to greater happiness.
So, I want to help you with this, but want to wait until the ol’ vacation is over. Writing a pitch (or query) is something I really struggle with as well. One thing you might want to do is go over to toasted-cheese.com, sign up and post this in the appropriate forum. Plenty of writers there who can help you out.
Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll check it out. I’ve actually received some good feedback just by posting here too, (sent privately). I’m feeling better about what I need to do, I just don’t understand why I find it so incredibly hard to write a pitch I’m proud of…
I’m a sucker for a query, even if it’s not in my genre. I especially love helping out.
If you haven’t already read How To Write a Great Query Letter by literary agent Noah Lukeman, I would highly suggest you do. He gives great insight into what most agents see as rookie mistakes and what not to include. It’s available as a free e-book and if you are interested can be found here: http://www.lukeman.com/greatquery/download.htm
Also, YA author Elana Johnson, has a free e-book titled From the Query To The Call. She provides a fun, yet informative method of writing query letters. She also uses her own query letters as examples to show you why and how she did what she did. If interested, here’s the link: http://www.elanajohnson.com/#!query-to-the-call
My general advice is to read up on everything you can about query letters. Finding sample queries can be an excellent opportunity see what works and doesn’t work. Most agency websites will have tips, along with individual agents on twitter/blogs. If you have the slightest bit of doubt, don’t send it out. Take it from someone who knows by sending theirs out too soon. You only get one chance to make a great first impression and most agents will equate the qualitiy of your query with the quality of your book. Send only your best.
In my opinion, your query reads like a list. You’re telling the reader instead of showing them what the problems are and how Kristin and Jake plan on dealing with them. I don’t think the first line works. If Kristin and Jake are like most other couples why would an agent want to read on? Most other couples are boing, and Kristin and Jake are far from boring or they wouldn’t be the main characters of a book. You have to grab an agent’s attention quickly. Remember, they have hundreds of queries to read. Yours is one among many. Maybe you could start with something about life being unpredictable and Kristin and Jake’s is anything but unpredictable. Then go on to describe how mundane their lives have become, and what forces them into their revelation, or the catalyst for change.
I like to think of queries as a free sample. You know, when you’re walking through the super-market and some nice person offers you a bite to eat. The intent of that bite is to get you to buy the whole meal. You want your bite to be the tastiest thing a literary agent has had all day. You want them to request more. Try looking at your query as a potential reader or agent would. Pretend you’re reading from the back of a book. Maybe even have someone else read it aloud to you. Would you want to read the rest of the book base on the query? Would you want more?
Sorry for the long reply, but I was in your shoes about a year ago. My best piece of advice is do what’s right for you and your story. Just like there is no magic formula for writing a best-seller, there is no magic formula for writing the perfect query. Good luck!
Please don’t apologize, this is incredibly helpful. I just perused your blog a bit and enjoyed reading the synopsis of your book. I know what you’re saying about making it too list like, it feels that way to me too. Your input and suggestions are great, I’m looking forward to checking out the links too, thank you!
If there is anything else I can do to help, let me know. Btw, the writer in me is looking back at the typos in my comment and cringing!
Thanks, I appreciate it. And, don’t worry, I didn’t notice. I cringe all the time at things I post, comments and otherwise. In fact, this post makes me cringe because I know it’s not my best work, but I also know it’s worth it in the end, to help me improve. I related to what you said about sending out your queries too soon. I think I need to just slow back down and do one thing at a time, no query until I finish polishing the book… Thanks for the good reminder.
[…] https://oliviaobryon.com/2012/06/16/drafts-and-drafts-and-drafts/ […]
Wow. That was good.
[…] Expecting Happiness Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tagged Expecting Happiness, Novel, Writing […]