Sunday, January 18, 2009

#92

Dear Query Shark,
In a world where movies control every facet of human life, one man will stand up to the status quo. The motion picture industrial complex, the driving force of the modern economy, must be stopped. Howard Terrace will turn against the studio that made him wealthy to save the life of his daughter.
For five years Howard protected his family from the Biz. Sacrificing his own privacy, pride, and independence to the whims of the industry was supposed to keep them safe. Now his six year old daughter Megan’s discovery by O’brandon Entertainment is about to destroy her life as well. He can allow her to be made into a child star and suffer torture living in the limelight or he can refuse and be brought to ruin. His contracts with O’brandon mean they essentially own him, his career, and all his financial assets and they won’t hesitate to cut him down if h e doesn’t hand over Megan.
Howard and his wife Lori will fight back with lawyers, rival studios, and a loyal fanbase. Turning the industry’s own weapons against them is the only way Megan can be saved and the actors liberated from their indentured servitude. Too bad many actors are so used to the system that they will resist change and side with the studios in the coming war, turning friends against each other. Millions of jobs are connected to the entertainment industry and paradigm shift in the Biz could start a global economic collapse. This epic conflict is about to be waged live in front of the paparazzi and cable news, and there can be only one victor.
Hollywood Headliners is the story of a man’s confrontation with manipulative employers and the cult of celebrity that empowers them. The battle before him puts his life, his daughter’s life, and the world economy at stake. The complete 62,000 word manuscript is available for partial or full review upon your request.

Thank you for your consideration,




The huge ass block of text is how the query arrived.

DO NOT DO THIS.

It's impossible to read. Formatting your e-query with white space is essential.

Here's how it should look at a minimum, and if it were me, I'd put in even more. Yes you can break up paragraphs in an e-query that you wouldn't break up in a printed letter.


Dear Query Shark,

In a world where movies control every facet of human life, one man will stand up to the status quo. The motion picture industrial complex, the driving force of the modern economy, must be stopped. Howard Terrace will turn against the studio that made him wealthy to save the life of his daughter.

What? "In a world where" is the ubiquitous movie trailer phrase of course, so when I see it here, I think you're being ironic. What follows does not appear to be ironic. Thus, I'm confused.

For five years Howard protected his family from the Biz. Sacrificing his own privacy, pride, and independence to the whims of the industry was supposed to keep them safe. Now his six year old daughter Megan’s discovery by O’brandon Entertainment is about to destroy her life as well. He can allow her to be made into a child star and suffer torture living in the limelight or he can refuse and be brought to ruin. His contracts with O’brandon mean they essentially own him, his career, and all his financial assets and they won’t hesitate to cut him down if he doesn’t hand over Megan.

You've got both too much and too little here. You're describing a problem we don't understand. Howard needs to keep his family safe from what? He sacrificed himself by doing what? Now the corporation wants his kid. Why? What makes her so special?



Howard and his wife Lori will fight back with lawyers, rival studios, and a loyal fanbase. Turning the industry’s own weapons against them is the only way Megan can be saved and the actors liberated from their indentured servitude. Too bad many actors are so used to the system that they will resist change and side with the studios in the coming war, turning friends against each other. Millions of jobs are connected to the entertainment industry and paradigm shift in the Biz could start a global economic collapse. This epic conflict is about to be waged live in front of the paparazzi and cable news, and there can be only one victor.

An epic conflict of extras?

I'm absolutely at sea here about whether this is a near future noir kind of novel, an irony-drenched critique of the movie business or something else.


Hollywood Headliners is the story of a man’s confrontation with manipulative employers and the cult of celebrity that empowers them. The battle before him puts his life, his daughter’s life, and the world economy at stake. The complete 62,000 word manuscript is available for partial or full review upon your request.

Thank you for your consideration,

I'm confused. I don't have any sense of investment with the characters, and no very clear sense of the story.

Form rejection.

7 comments:

JS said...

Movies control every facet of human life? WHAT?

This wasn't even true in the 1930s and 40s, when people in the US and England went to the movies an average of twice per week.

The idea that movies control anything in particular these days is hilarious. And the "studio system" has been dead for years, dude.

Not only that, one six-year-old is pretty much as good as another--if Howard doesn't want Megan to be a child star, there are thousands upon thousands of other attractive, talented kids out there whose parents are desperate to get them into the entertainment industry.

As for "the actors liberated from their indentured servitude," that happened quite a long time ago. More than sixty-five years ago, in fact, with Olivia de Havilland's ground-breaking lawsuit.

BuffySquirrel said...

Hmm, the global economy vs. this sell-out guy's daughter. Not a hard choice.

Mimzy said...

I thought that was what the problem with Hollywood was. No matter how talented, or beautiful/handsome you are there's always someone more talented, more beautiful/handsome, and younger just down the block wishing desperately for your job.

I also second, Buffy Squirrel. If I was forced to choose between the well being of the global economy and the happiness of one family I would side with the global economy.

Janet said...

The rhetoric in this query sounds like something coming from a conspiracy theorist or a religious fanatic. Not only that, it sounds like the writer is not being ironic.

Somehow, I don't think that's good.

Clare K. R. Miller said...

It looks to me like the author intended to put whitespace between paragraphs, but didn't hit "enter" enough times. Fail.

I agree with Janet: it reads like a conspiracy theory.

Lily Cate said...

Hmm. The name "Howard Terrace" immediately made me think "Terrance Howard". I would never be able to read that without putting that guy in the lead.

talpianna said...

For a stunning, quiet little horror story about the real price of movie fame, check out Tanith Lee's Tamastara.