Neither of Susan’s parents were dentists, yet they molded their Southern belle to make a perfect impression. Translation
Susan’s Stepford wife marriage goes to hell in a hand basket when she discovers her Rhett Butler spouse prefers Ashley Wilkes clad in leather Harley gear. She can’t run to Daddy; he’s bankrupted the family fortune and one phone call to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation from her vindictive husband will have Daddy wearing stripes.
Betrayal spreads Susan’s legs wide open as she steps down from her virtuous soapbox determined to put the ‘hell’ back in the ‘hath no fury.’ The former belle of the ball reinvents herself as the sultry redheaded Candice Collins, the in-house call girl occupying the penthouse suite at The Regal, a five star Manhattan landmark. Her alter-ego swells as her mattress grows lumpy with lavish tips for her Academy Award performances.
Candice opens her door to rock stars, politicians, CEO’s, athletes, leading men, and oh my God, a business associate of her conniving closet husband. Susan would have panicked and slammed the door, but Candice keeps her wits and turns discovery to her advantage. She’s tired of looking in the rear view mirror. Like any savvy woman, Candice has a few tricks up her sleeve. Only this time, she won’t be the one dropping to her knees.
VIRTUE is commercial fiction completed at 130,000 words.
There's no plot here.
I know you think there is, but what you're missing is what's at stake for Candice.
I know there's been a lot of talk lately about "likeable characters" and I come down solidly in the camp that chararactrs don't have to be likeable. They have to be interesting.
What trips me up here is the assumption that Susan thinks the best option for revenge is becoming a call girl.
This is the stuff of 70s Lifetime movies. It requires a suspension of disbelief that I just don't have.
Dear Query Shark,
Sometimes between clients, Susan looks back on her life with a dazed bewilderment wondering what she could have done differently. How do you start out as a Georgia pedigreed peach and end up as one of Manhattan’s highest paid call girls?
Just lucky I guess.
Ok, no jokes (and that's an old one) but honestly this is so 70's Movie of the Week I can't take it seriously.
She laughs at the irony of it all. All those years of charm school are finally paying off, she thinks. It really didn’t matter that Susan kept her reputation and knees unscathed, or that she married within her class. That WASPY white bread silver spooned world all goes to hell in a hand basket when the private investigator discovers that Susan’s southern gentleman of a husband is a controlling, powerful, and dangerous fraud.
We already know she's a call girl. This becomes backstory, not the start of the story.
And you're using present tense even though you're talking about events that happen at two separate times: that's textbook confusing.
Susan tries to end the marriage with Jeff and he counters with a Sophie’s Choice ultimatum and swears to make her life a nightmarish hell if she were ever to leave him. In sheer panic, she changes her Grace Kelly spitting image identity and flees to Manhattan as the red headed Candice Collins with two thousand dollars and her wedding ring. (Surprise, surprise, even the diamond is filled with flaws.)
Sophie's Choice is about which of her children a desperate mother will save. Does Susan/Candace have children she's leaving behind? If so, do you expect us to sympathize with her? Very tricky to pull that off.
Freelance journalism just isn’t paying the rent and that is when Candice meets Mandy, the in-house call girl at one of Manhattan’s swanky five star hotels. Susan would never have given Mandy the time of day, but Candice accepts Mandy for who she is and they become friends. Mandy wants to retire after ten years in the oldest profession, and Candice reluctantly accepts and soon masters both the physical and psychological demands of prostitution with a colorful cast of clients.
And here's where you lose me. This is such a cliche I don't know where to start. I don't believe the premise. The characters are straight out of a B-movie. I don't care about any of them. And just to make it a real non-starter, there's no plot. You have description, you have set up, but you don't have choices or stakes. (Choosing to become a whore isn't the plot as you describe it here-it's the start of the story)
Although Candice finds her new profession surprisingly satisfying and lucrative, she will never enjoy tranquility; she knows all too well Jeff’s insatiable thirst for revenge. It’s not a question of will he find Susan, but rather when.
Yea, being a whore is satisfying and lucrative. I simply don't believe that, and there's nothing here that gets me to suspend my disbelief.
Never EVER use the phrase "readers will" and tell me how readers will respond. It's telling not showing. I don't believe you of course, and when you write that in a query letter it's as if you're standing in front of the mirror in the ladies room and when I come in you tell me how beautiful you are. I'm pretty sure you'd never do that. Don't do it here either.
VIRTUE is commercial fiction completed with 150,000 delicious words.
Words aren't delicious. Stories are.
Thank you for your time,
No plot. Cliche set up.