Saturday, August 2, 2008

#56

Dear Query Shark:

I have chosen to submit my 110,000 word romantic comedy, “The 15 Date Rule” to you due to your interest in women’s fiction as well as the fact that from reading your blogs, you appear to have the shoot from the hip qualities I am seeking in an agent.

Trusting Allie Alexander created her, the Fifteen Date Rule in order to protect herself from sleeping with ill-intentioned men. Lately, it seems as though Allie is finding every reason to break her rule.


When it comes to concrete subjects such as math and science, Allie is an exceedingly intelligent woman. Yet, when it comes to relationships and human motivations, let’s just say that Allie’s trusting, naive character often overrides her common sense. For example, on the romance front, Allie keeps her humiliation in overdrive by frequently bumping into Matt, a handsome man who occasionally fills in at his brother’s relationship break up service. Matt is well aware of Allie’s numerous dating misadventures and seems to magically appear to witness every humiliation. On the career front, Allie is a successful and busy astrophysicist who seems to be continuously leaving things out of place at her work. Dismissing these problems as a symptom of being too busy, she ignores the discrepancies until the groundwork for a sensitive project is stolen from her offices. Allie must then learn to trust herself as well as her abilities in order to solve the mystery of her stolen work as well as to snag Matt's heart.


whoa. First of all, this paragraph is way too long. Particularly if you are querying by email you want to break up big blocks of text. Also, you've got so much extra wordage in here, I want to bring my tweezers and start plucking.

Consider this:


Allie is a successful and busy astrophysicist. Somehow though, she keeps forgetting things, and that's creating a problem at work. To top it all off, Allie keeps bumping into Matt just when she's in the throes of yet another humiliating date moment.

The problems at work are getting serious. Matt isn't. Allie must solve the mystery of her stolen work as well as snag Matt's heart.


Clearly that's not polished and it needs a bit more fleshing out but you see my point. LESS IS MORE.

And what happened to the 15 Date Rule?

Recently, I ranked in the top ten of a RWA sponsored writing contest. I have also written entertainment articles for small newspapers, garnering me several contributor awards. I am also a member of my local writers guild.

Don't mention contests unless you won. Even then, they don't mean much.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

16 comments:

walkie-talkie said...

hums with autobiography.

nice though...

Southern Writer said...

The query wasn't great, but the storyline might have potential. I like the idea that the guy shows up every time she's having a lousy date. That could be funny.

I'd check the first page, and one in the middle somewhere, to see if I would read more or put it back on the shelf.

Southern Writer said...

*tiptoes in* Sorry. Excuse me. It's me again. I forgot to subscribe to these comments, too. *tiptoes out.*

jeanoram said...

I must say, Shark, you rock! Can you write all future queries for me? I like the simplicity of your version. I must admit that I have pared this beast down since sending it, but I know it still needs more work.

Thank you for your time and tips. Hopefully your example will help other wordy wilmas like myself.

:)
Jean

beth said...

The Shark version is much better...short is sweet.

Just_Me said...

I think this could be a fun book, but the query needs some work. Do as the shark says, shorter is better.

talpianna said...

An absent-minded astrophysicist seems like a contradiction in terms.

Southern Writer said...

talpianna said...

An absent-minded astrophysicist seems like a contradiction in terms.


LOL, normally, I'd agree, except if memory serves me, there was once this guy named Albert Einstein. Maybe you've heard of him?

talpianna said...

Einstein wasn't an astrophysicist. He didn't have to do both math AND astronomy.

Although I do remember a PBS series on astronomers that started with a guy who found distant galaxies but couldn't find Gate #1 at the airport when he went to meet his wife.

jeanoram said...

Allie the astrophysicist is a lot like the airport guy. Smart at some things, but totally clueless at others. It was fun to write but as you may have guessed, the query is killing me! :)

Helen said...

Sounds like a neat idea. Less is more, yadda, yadda. But it looks like you've got something good to work with. As a smart, absent minded chick with lots of dating misadventures under my belt, I'd totally read it. I've got a similar rule, though I call it the "Dosha Rule" since it was my friend Dosha who came up with it.

Beth said...

The Shark's rewrite is a lot punchier.

I was bothered by the pairing of "successful" and "astrophysicist." They don't seem to go together, because "successful" conjures up images of corporate ladder-climbing or making the Forbes top ten tycoons list or getting the leading roles in Hollywood.

Maybe "gifted" might be a better descriptor.

talpianna said...

Beth, I'd make the astrophysicist "distinguished."

Beth said...

Tapianna,

Yes! Excellent suggestion.

jeanoram said...

'Distinguished' is the perfect word, Talpiana.

SwineyLOTR said...

I swear I just read an internet article with the same title. Hmmmmm