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Query for 'Wallflower'. Draft # 3,445,?x@. Aw, help.
Jennifer B Fields
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 2:03 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 6


 Dear……,

 

            Wallflower delves into the paranormal fiction realm of magical realism reminiscent of Neil Gaiman and the style of Nora Roberts. At 77,000 words, Wallflower is aimed at readers aged eighteen and older.

How would you feel if you had complete amnesia and no one could see you or hear you? Such is the story of a young girl who “comes to” in a rural Kansas library that she doesn’t recognize. She’s as real as you and I, only invisible and without a past. The only person who can hear the young “un-ghost” is a battered librarian named Connie, who dubs her “Wallflower” for her shyness and invisibility. Under constant threat from her controlling husband, Connie searches in secret for the young girl’s identity. Together they hunt for the truth and find themselves knee-deep in a series of assaults and killings that hit a little too close to home. Allies become suspects and suspects become allies as the truth is revealed one body at a time.

I am native to the storybook town of Paradise, California where I reside with my husband, daughter and three lively doggies. When I’m not writing, supporting my local coffee house or singing karaoke, I’m building my schedule around watching Castle and Fringe. Please feel free to review my published articles in the yearly “Arts and Letters” magazine as well as my entries and projects on Webook.com. The completed manuscript of Wallflower is available upon request.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jennifer B. Fields

 

1224 Wagstaff Rd

Paradise, CA 95969

(530) 520-4216

jenniferbfields@gmail.com

jenniferbfields.weebly.com

http://wallflowernovel.blogspot.com/

http://www.webook.com/member/fairyfan

 


Jennifer B Fields
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 2:05 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 6


It's weird how some of it turned out in bold letters, while some didn't. Hope it doesn't do that when it counts the most.
Please let me know if this query would perk your interest and of course if there are any mistakes.
Thank you.
Elizabeth Sogard
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 3:12 PM
Joined: 5/3/2011
Posts: 15


I like the comparisons between your book and other, but they normally go at the end so that they can get a clear idea of who might enjoy your book.

I'm not sure what genre your book is in.... Is it scifi? Is it paranomal and fantasy? I don't understand the magical realism thing at all.

Delves, Reminicent... too flowery go for simple black and white so that we your readers and they your agents don't have to over think anything.

A lot of people will peg you for starting you pitch off with a question. Also they will peg you for using YOU or I. This book is about her, or maybe the librarian. Let us get an idea of their voices.

Allies become suspects and suspects become allies as the truth is revealed one body at a time. YEAH! THIS IS YOUR PITCH!!! I still have goosebumps after reading this. Lead with this. Make it your hook! or at least consider it. I am not a pro. I just know that I like something when I see it.

Cut the bio and only list credits.
Jennifer B Fields
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 4:49 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 6


Thank you Elizabeth. That's extremely helpful. I've heard conflicting advice about the location of the comparisons. I'm not sure what to do on that aspect. I've heard that it goes at the end, but I attended a conference in which the agents preferred it at the beginning to orientate themselves on what to expect. Not sure what to do about that part. Thanks again.
Elizabeth Sogard
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 5:12 PM
Joined: 5/3/2011
Posts: 15


From what I understand and I may be wrong, they want to know the genre up front and the comparisons at the end. That way they have an idea of what to expect before they go into your story, then when they get the feel of it, they can see why your book might compare to other books on the market.

I have to say your book sound interesting. I am curious to see how she is a ghost, but still isn't quite a ghost. I have never seen a half way sort of a thing before.

Make sure you post your revisions so we can check them out too!
Shannyn
Posted: Friday, May 6, 2011 10:53 PM
Joined: 4/3/2011
Posts: 8


Hi Jennifer - I think the story itself sounds really interesting, but I don't think your query is working. Comparing yourself to big name authors will be hit or miss with most agents, so I don't think it matters. Opening with rhetorical questions grates on the nerves of a lot of agents, though.

The biggest problem you have is that after reading your query, we don't have a real sense of what's happening. Is the story told mostly from Connie's POV? Maybe it would be easier to write the query starting with her.
(this is totally made up, so I don't know if it will make sense)

After spending the morning attempting to cover yet more bruises, Connie begins to think she's hallucinating when she sees a girl in the library that no one else can see. The girl has no memory of who she is and her invisibility doesn't help. Connie names her Wallflower because the girl is shy.

As Connie avoids her abusive husband and works with Wallflower to determine her identity...

We need specifics here. What you have in bold in your query is too generic. Give us something that tells us who is assaulting and killing? I agree with Elizabeth, it is a great line, but you need to follow it with something that will help us understand YOUR story.

I also agree, cut the bio. They won't care what you do with your spare time unless it directly relates to the story your writing, but do list your publishing credits.

Good luck
NoellePierce
Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011 1:43 AM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227


Shannyn and Elizabeth gave you some great ideas.

The first thing that got me was that I didn't really know who the MC was. The title would suggest it's the not-quite-ghost, but it could also be Connie.

I haven't yet seen an agent say they didn't mind the rhetorical question at the beginning, and I've been following about 20 agents for the last year and a half. That's not to say it can't work, but it's a lot less likely.

I'm not sure I understand what the story is about, but I do love that last line. It definitely piques my interest.

Bio: (From agent blogs and workshops) Cut anything unrelated to publishing, unless it gives you an edge when writing the story--for example, one writer here has experience in politics and her story uses politics as a backdrop, so she put it in there. DO NOT suggest the agent go to a website or forum to view your work. Just tell them where you've been published and list your websites after your name, like you do. (Again, this portion is gleaned from agents' blogs and workshops I've attended, rather than just my personal opinion).

Also, and this is just a suggestion based on my experiences on other sites: go back in and edit your personal info like your address and phone number and other contact info out--it's a public forum and you never know who's on these. It may seem like paranoia, but it's better safe than sorry...and it looks like that's a home address versus a P.O. Box.

Good luck with everything!

x♥x
Jay Greenstein
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 2:47 AM
• How would you feel if you had complete amnesia and no one

Drop “complete.” Unless you specify partial it’s assumed to be complete.

• and no one could see you or hear you?

These are two separate, and important conditions. And of the two I’d say communication is the bigger. Better, I think, to provide the problem, and then escalate it by adding that the character has no clue of where she is, who she is, or how the situation came to be.

Personally, I had no trouble with the rhetorical question.

• Such is the story of a young girl who “comes to” in a rural Kansas library that she doesn’t recognize

“Comes to,” works in speech, but not in print, I think. Opens her eyes to find herself in… might better fit.

• She’s as real as you and I, only invisible and without a past.

You’re repeating what you already told them in the first line.

• The only person who can hear the young “un-ghost” is a battered librarian named Connie, who dubs her “Wallflower” for her shyness and invisibility.

No context for ‘battered.” It could mean beaten or has had a difficult life.

I have a real problem with someone who is shy with the one person in all the world who can talk to her. This is partly because I have no feel for the time over which the woman’s evaluation is made. Personal opinion is that while this generates the novel’s title it’s of minor importance and not worth mentioning.

• Under constant threat from her controlling husband, Connie searches in secret for the young girl’s identity.

As someone who knows nothing about the story I see no connection between the two points, searching and her having a troubled life. You’ve provided the main problem: Your protagonist is invisible and an amnesiac. We don’t know, for certain, if she’s alive or dead.

• Together they hunt for the truth and find themselves knee-deep in a series of assaults and killings that hit a little too close to home.

“together,” just contradicted, “Connie searches in secret for the young girl’s identity.” I see what you’re saying, but there also seems to be a conflict in that the protagonist can’t be involved, or in danger, if she can’t interact with anyone. And “knee deep” in assaults could mean they’re being assaulted, committing it, or turning up evidence if it, so you need to rephrase to eliminate the ambiguity.

As for the bio, I’d limit it to what’s relevant to the creation of this story.

It’s an interesting idea, though.
 

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