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Remember, anyone who offers their comments this month is eligible for either $10 for Amazon or B&N OR a 20-page critique from me.
This week we have a query letter for a commercial literary novel. My inline comments are to the side, with overall thoughts at the end. As always, this is all just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
|I wasn't sure if these were part of the|
query, or here just for me. If the
former, write it in paragraph form and
round the words to the nearest 1,000.
Commercial literary fiction
|Make sure line breaks between the|
paragraphs make it into your e-mail.
|You should mention the name of the|
town in para 1. It's not clear this is
the same town Yola's in.
Cale Williams has tried to fill the void left by his wife's death by working, raising twin boys, and pastoring a small church, but the arrival of two new women in Talihina has thrown off his careful balance. He is attracted to Vivian, but conflicted by his position as her pastor and the proper counsel he should be giving her. He is equally conflicted, perhaps even tormented by the visions he has of the beautiful and secretive waitress at Vivian’s café whom the folks of Talihina know as Teresa.
|See here for why I cut this. And you|
can talk about future novels if/when
the agent considers representation.
Thank you for
Randal J. Brewer
The meat of the query, the story, is not bad at all. It shows me you can write, and it sounds interesting.
I want a little more though. Maybe connect the three characters sooner (for example, you could tell us Yola is working at Vivian's cafe in Yola's paragraph, maybe). And I really want a sense of the plot. This is a good setup, and I would read the sample pages, but I still don't know what happens. What compelling choice do these characters need to make?
Writing a query highlighting three different characters can be difficult. So another thing you might consider is sticking to a single point of view and focusing on fewer characters.
Lastly, in your submission you said that TALIHINA GRACE has already been self-published. This is something you need to mention in the query. Rachelle Gardner wrote a post on this topic that you definitely should read. I don't know whether it will hurt your chances (probably depends on the agent), but if you don't tell them up front, your chances will still be the same and the agent might be upset you didn't tell them. No need to risk that.
What do the rest of you guys think, about the query in particular?