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See Sabrina Run Query
LisaMarie
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 7:19 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 216


Okay ... I shall throw myself on the fire. I got a nibble from the first agent I queried, but need to get a feel for how well it will be received by others before I go gung-ho.


::shudder::


___________________


Dear (Agent to Whom I Suck Up),


I seek representation for See Sabrina Run, a 90,000-word contemporary romance with a kick of humor.  

 

Thirty-seven-year-old Sabrina March, Chief of Staff to Austin’s beloved “green” legislator, has reason to consider marriage nothing more than a contract. Her father fled the familial nest for a total life “do over” with a younger woman, and her mother’s post-divorce struggles convinced Sabrina that career offers far more stability than after-school carpool duty. Now that she's being groomed to take over the seat, there’s only one hiccup in her plans.


Sabrina’s own brush with matrimony – a vehicle to further her political career – left her with payments on a plush townhome she can’t afford. Temporary rescue comes in the form of an unwanted but necessary housemate: shock jock Gage "Fitz" Fitzgerald, whose politically incorrect radio show captivates the public far more than the latest eco-friendly legislation.   

 

Sabrina and Gage’s worlds would never overlap if they weren't forced to share the same house, but now everything from the kitchen to the bathroom is an ideological war zone. She prides herself on her tough, Type A persona, and the last thing she needs is to be revealed as a deeply-closeted romantic. But as legislative session heats up, so does their mutual attraction.

 

She wouldn't mind an ad-hoc distraction in Gage's big four-poster, as long as it doesn’t lead to serious business. To her surprise, the man behind “Fitz,” his boorish alter ego, is one of genuine substance. He wants much more from her than casual sex. His vote goes to the one thing she’s tabled: a conventional family life. To keep him, she may have to step off the political fast track.

 

Will Sabrina run?

 

I actually do know my subject matter. I was a policy analyst for the House of Representatives. My short stories placed in (literary journal) short story contest and (literary journal). I hold a Bachelor of Journalism degree from (university), where I studied creative writing with novelist (name). A freelance writer for more than twenty years, I play well with editors and others.

  

This “dark horse candidate” thanks you for your time and consideration.


Lisa Marie

(Contact information)


Shannyn
Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2011 3:41 AM
Joined: 4/3/2011
Posts: 8


Hi Lisa - I think your overall query is too long. Start with your inciting incident -- WHY does she have to share her house with Gage? Yes, she needs a roommate in order to afford the house, but why does it have to be him?

If you started your second sentence with "After Sabrina's attempt at marriage puts her on the brink of bankruptcy because she has a house she can't afford, she needs a roommate." We don't need her family background in a query. We only need to know she doesn't believe in marriage. Obviously, my sentence is far from perfect, but it sets up the story for what it is. We need the characters' GMC.

Streamline your 4 paragraphs to 2. Give us one for Sabrina and one for Gage, or one for characters and one for plot. Hit the GMC and that's what should draw in agents (hopefully)

Hope that helps -- Good luck
NoellePierce
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 7:16 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227


The following is solely my opinion, which is based on hours of reading Query Shark, agent blogs, and struggling to write my own queries.

Okay, now that the disclaimer's out of the way, here we go:

1. In addition to what Shannyn said (about why does the roommate NEED to be Gage and cutting the pitch portion down), I'd also cut the bit about the humor in the very first sentence. Humor is highly subjective, and if they don't find it funny, it falls flat. Let your pitch show the humor and speak for itself.

2. You could cut the first paragraph down a lot. We don't need to know about her parents' issues with marriage. It's backstory. We'll find out if we read it, but for now, you want us to WANT to read it. I love what you do with the political terminology as you describe their relationship, and I think that's going to be your biggest hook. Concentrate on that.

First para could easily get cut to this:
Thirty-seven-year-old Sabrina March, Chief of Staff to Austin’s beloved “green” legislator, is being groomed to take over the seat, but there’s a hiccup in her plans: an unwanted roommate, Gage "Fitz" Fitzgerald.

Gage earns his living as a shock jock with a politically incorrect radio show and under the same roof, the pair soon find the kitchen to the bathroom becoming an ideological war zone. But as legislative session heats up, so does their mutual attraction.

She wouldn't mind an ad-hoc distraction in Gage's big four-poster, as long as it doesn’t lead to serious business. To her surprise, the man behind “Fitz,” his boorish alter ego, is one of genuine substance. He wants much more from her than casual sex. His vote goes to the one thing she’s tabled: a conventional family life. To keep him, she may have to step off the political fast track.


That's just a quick rearrange and cut of extraneous information. We don't have to know why she tabled a conventional family life--just that she did. There are stakes, complementary personalities, and just enough to make us want to learn more.

I hope this helps a little.

x♥x
Toni Wyatt
Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:33 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 53


Lisa,

I recently won a query critique from an agent and here is what she told me, I hope this helps.

The query should start with the title, genre, and word count, followed by a one paragraph summary, and then a paragraph of biological or development notes and then a closer.

I was told my summary was too long. My brain gets like scrambled eggs when I try to shove over 100,000 words into a paragraph. I end up wanting to tell too much, and end up not telling the right things, I fear.

So, the best advice I can give is to try to get all of your summary into one paragraph or at the most two. Of course, no one said how long those paragraphs should be. ; ) But, I have seen at least two agencies who have said they don't want queries to be much more than 250 words. I haven't been able to comply with that yet.

Best of luck!


 

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