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Query: Portico
ElleLewis
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 2:52 AM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


I am going to begin this post with the query as [candid as] I have it, and then unload the questions it. There are a few, so please offer insight on whatever items tweak your buttons:

 

Query for PORTICO: Book I

 

Hello [Agent], 


The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiat wants you to know that dragons do not, and have never existed. When 12-year old engineering prodigy, Lia James Auteur, stumbles on a dragon’s skeleton in the mouth of a dormant volcano, she discovers this is only one of their many destructive, elaborate lies. 


The story follows the girl from her bookish adolescence spent helping her father engineer artisanal prosthetic limbs, through her discovery of how fabled Violet Sparks can be used to give life to mechanized creatures: souls to automatons. Instilled with the ethics of her charming scientist parents, Lia becomes embattled with Bastiat over the ownership and use of the technology she has cracked. She is aided in her adventures to destroy the secrets of the State by a cast of magicians, science-minded misfits, a talking cat, and a Kraken, all prodded to her side by fate and history. It is her obsession with the dragon she must use to protect her hometown -- Portico -- and essentially the world, from the threat of annihilation. It is her cunning and curiosity that makes the right enemies to create an honest legacy and restore faith in science and the identities of nations. 


Portico is a [slipstream] fantasy in three parts. Book I, this manuscript, is the first 98k words for which I am currently seeking representation. There are relevant, concurrent themes of living history, female contributions to engineering and the different forms of love that exist between people, and for craft, country, and cause. Much of the underlying themes draw on my work in social activism. The original draft was written with golf pencils on legal pads during a year of incarceration, for nothing nefarious, I promise. 


I would be excited to hear from you and to answer any questions you may have. 


Thank you for your time.  


Elle Lewis


QUESTIONS: 

 

Does the standard order of operations for query formatting go greeting-summary-technical/bio or some other order? I have read arguments for both and the technical bits at the end resonated with on the grounds that I don't want the manuscript discounted just because I've mislabeled my genre or the word count is off-putting. These are things my agent may be able to assist with as we develop the piece, yes? Or is it best to get the technical stuff out of the way first? 


Is "slipstream" used appropriately here? Like a lot of authors, I struggle with labeling the manuscript since it has elements of a few different genres. I understand "slipstream" to be an attempt at giving a blended-genre writ a label, but I have also read that some agents find its use pretentious or to not have a distinct meaning. Should I use it at all or stick with sci-fi/fantasy as a tried-and-true category and work out a sub-genre in further talks with a future agent? 

 

In terms of the author bio, what personal elements should be included if there is no documented writing education/employment in the author's background? I understand including bits relevant to the creation of the work in brief, but would the detail about WHERE this manuscript was drafted in this case count as something intriguing or would it prejudice agents immediately? 

 

 

What is the procedure for proposals of manuscripts in a series? I'm not planning to shop this just yet so there are options for its presentation. 

 

Thanks, kids! 

 

--edited by ElleLewis on 8/8/2015, 3:02 AM--  Copy and paste format created wonky spacing. Sorry. 

 

--edited by ElleLewis on 8/8/2015, 3:04 AM--


Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 3:27 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Here's a little edit from me:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dear [Agent's name]

 

I am currently seeking representation for my 96, 000 word slipstream fantasy novel, PORTICO, a story about a woman who must protect the world from the threat of annihilation. (This could probably use some spicing up, but it's my take on the whole of the novel, so . . .)

 

[Body of query]

 

[Maybe a few sentences to endear agent to the main character]

 

[Credentials--e.g. prior publications and what qualifies you to write this novel. If you don't have any, leave this blank]

 

[A short mention of how this is Book One of a series]

 

I await to hear from you at your convenience.

 

Best regards,

 

Elle Lewis

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Common practice is to write the query like so. It's greeting (including word count, genre, and title), body of query, then credentials.

 

Now, here's a break down of your query, and what--I think--should be changed:

 

Hello, [Agent] should be Dear, [Agent]. This is supposed to be written in a letter-style, not a friendly greeting. Agents want professionalism.

 

I would be excited to hear from you and to answer any questions you may have is a set-up for disappointment. Of course you'd be excited, but the Agent would feel pretty crummy--maybe--for having to disappoint you if the manuscript isn't what he/she is looking for. I'd change it to: I await to hear from you at your convenience.

 

This gives the Agent a sense that you're professional and that you're not rushing him to reply. If the Agent is interested in representing you, he/she'll contact you to ask questions, so the whole I would be excited to hear from you and answer any questions you may have bit is unnecessary anyway.

 

The original draft was written with golf pencils on legal pads during a year of incarceration, for nothing nefarious, I promise.

 

Omit this. It has no bearing on the query itself. Besides, the Agent isn't interested in you as a person . . . yet

 

Now, as for your question about slipstream . . . What is the biggest underlying genre of your story? Is it Magic Realism? Dark Fantasy? Urban Fantasy? A lot of Agents prefer a specific genre, so if you can accurately label your manuscript, the easier it is for them. Looking at your query, I'd say this is Urban Fantasy. But this would depend on the world and the time period, which I'm not certain of.

 

As I mention above, if you have no credentials or prior publications, leave the spot for credentials blank. If it doesn't relate wholly to the novel, then there's no reason in mentioning it at all.

 

Post more questions if you have them, or send me a private message. I'll be sure to answer them as soon as I can--my internet is dial-up, so it might take me a little bit to respond.

 

Amber


ElleLewis
Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2015 12:03 AM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


8/12/15 UPDATE: After a week of screaming into pillows and yelling at my cats (they've forgiven me), I have completely overhauled my query's summary. I stuck with the central theme(s) and steered clear of the sub-plots, and I reviewed a bunch of the successful queries at AgentQueryConnect for help with formatting/order-of-operations. I will likely add a 'how/why-I-found-you' before the summary when relevant, so that's what all that bracketing is about in the first line.


Dear [Agent],


I am seeking representation for Portico, a steampunk epic [set in/featuring...]. I read your [#MSWL] and believe you might find my project interesting.


The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiat has been sitting on its closet of souls for centuries. Violet Sparks, they’re called, and what the State plans to do with them is none of anyone’s business; or it wouldn’t be, if they could figure out how to work the things.


The key, it seems, is to place the Spark into the hands of the right curious twelve-year old girl in one of Erth’s forgotten places.


Welcome to Portico, a historic city transformed by time into a settlement of eccentrics, ex-patriots and refugees from Bastiat’s rewritten history of the world. Instruments of fate tend to converge on this place, and this time find Lia Auteur, a machinist prodigy, poised to make trouble for everyone, whether she means to or not. Dr. Ben Vandy arrives with his two fascinating children and a steamer trunk of glass orbs -- the fabled Violet Sparks -- desperately seeking help from the Auteurs to make them do… well, anything before the State violently decommissions him. During their stay in the city, Lia finds her very first friends in the Vandy kids, and the very first of many strange encounters with the theatrical thieves and bizarre players of the Cirque Nocturna, a night circus of nebulous origin and purpose.  


When Lia determines the Spark is the first light of the living brain and proves it by creating the first living automaton -- a Copper Swallow named Tache -- she is forced into the employ of the all-powerful State. History reveals what is at stake should she lose control of the technology, and she is forced to fight or be re-written herself.


Portico is a fantasy in three parts. This manuscript represents the first book in the series, complete at 99k words. I look forward to it being my first novel.


Thank you for your time and consideration.


Elle Lewis

***
Feedback is most welcome.

--edited by ElleLewis on 8/13/2015, 12:15 AM--


A.J. Helms
Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2015 12:43 PM
Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 12


ElleLewis wrote:

8/12/15 UPDATE: After a week of screaming into pillows and yelling at my cats (they've forgiven me), I have completely overhauled my query's summary. I stuck with the central theme(s) and steered clear of the sub-plots, and I reviewed a bunch of the successful queries at AgentQueryConnect for help with formatting/order-of-operations. I will likely add a 'how/why-I-found-you' before the summary when relevant, so that's what all that bracketing is about in the first line.  Hi Elle, let's see if I can help any. Mind, I'm not a professional, so these are mostly just suggestions.


Dear [Agent],


I am seeking representation for Portico, a steampunk epic [set in/featuring...]. I read your [#MSWL] and believe you might find my project interesting.


The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiat has been sitting on its closet of souls for centuries. Violet Sparks, they’re called, and what the State plans to do with them is none of anyone’s business; or it wouldn’t be, if they could figure out how to work the things. Trim this, there's a lot of excess world-building here. We don't need to know that it's the Most Beloved and Majestic Nation, we just need to know where it is, the story should tell us all of this on its own.


The key, it seems, is to place the Spark into the hands of the right curious twelve-year old girl in one of Erth’s forgotten places. Trim it again. the 'right curious twelve-year-old girl' can be trimmed into either 'the right girl' or to 'a curious girl.' Yes, it's important to tell us about your main character, but word economy tops even that in queries. We can infer that she's young, and we can infer that she's curious, and that she's the right girl to figure it out--after all, she is (I'm assuming) your MC.


Welcome to Portico, a historic city transformed by time into a settlement of eccentrics, ex-patriots and refugees from Bastiat’s rewritten history of the world. It sounds like you've completely restarted your query here. Why are the above two paragraphs necessary now? Instruments of fate tend to converge on this place, and this time find Lia Auteur, a machinist prodigy, poised to make trouble for everyone, whether she means to or not. Again, you can do some trimming here. We don't need to know that she may or may not be intending to make trouble, we just need to know that she's poised to do so. Don't get ambiguous about 'means to or nots' here. Tell us what position she's in, and then show us why this a conflict for her. Dr. Ben Vandy arrives with his two fascinating children and a steamer trunk of glass orbs -- the fabled Violet Sparks -- desperately seeking help from the Auteurs to make them do… well, anything before the State violently decommissions him. During their stay in the city, Lia finds her very first friends in the Vandy kids, and the very first of many strange encounters with the theatrical thieves and bizarre players of the Cirque Nocturna, a night circus of nebulous origin and purpose. I'm hoping that the children have a more important role, because at this point, you can completely cut them from the query. Everything up to these two sentences here has been about the Sparks, not about the kids.


When Lia determines the Spark is the first light of the living brain and proves it by creating the first living automaton -- a Copper Swallow named Tache -- she is forced into the employ of the all-powerful State. History reveals what is at stake should she lose control of the technology, and she is forced to fight or be re-written herself. Hmm...There's stakes here, but they're hard to figure out. Isn't Portico made of rewritten parts of history? So what's so bad about being re-written exactly? Rewrite this sentence, clarify what will happen. Will she die? Will she be forced to become an automaton herself?


Portico is a fantasy in three parts. Fantasy is a pretty broad spectrum, and you have a pretty young MC (I'm assuming that Lia is the 12 yr. old mentioned earlier). You may want to specify if this is a steampunk fantasy, YA fantasy, epic fantasy (the word count indicates as much)This manuscript represents the first book in the series, complete at 99k words. A series of how many exactly? And are they all this long? A debut of 99k might make a few people agents and editors a little leery, especially when you drop the word 'series'. I look forward to it being my first novel. You're looking forward to it being your first novel? You mean to tell me it's not written? It either is your first novel, or it isn't. Didn't you just say it was complete at 99k?


Thank you for your time and consideration.


Elle Lewis

***
Feedback is most welcome.

--edited by ElleLewis on 8/13/2015, 12:15 AM--

Hi again, Elle, I'm hoping this helps (sorry if it seems a little harsh, I really am trying to be gentle!). Overall, I think you have a solid base for a query, it just needs a bit more tweaking before it's ready to go. As a reader, I'm semi-interested to see this story, but I don't know that I can speak for agents and editors. Let me know how it goes!

ElleLewis
Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2015 2:15 PM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


Hi AJ

 

Thanks for the feedback! I forgot I posted this version, but I did sleep on it and made some alterations in the last week that address some of your concerns, so it looks like we were on the same page!

--------------------------

 

Dear [Agent],


The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiät has been sitting on its closet of souls for centuries. Violet Sparks, they’re called, and what the State plans to do with them is none of anyone’s business; or it wouldn’t be, if they could figure out how to work the things.


The key, it seems, is to place the Spark into the hands of the right twelve-year old girl from one of Erth’s forgotten places. Portico is a historic city transformed by time into a settlement of eccentrics, ex-patriots and refugees from Bastiät’s rewritten history of the world. Instruments of fate tend to converge on this place, and this time find Lia Auteur, a machinist prodigy, inescapably poised to make trouble for everyone with her inquisitive nature.


Dr. Ben Vandy arrives with his two fascinating children and a steamer trunk of glass orbs -- the fabled Violet Sparks -- desperately seeking help from the Auteurs to make them do… well, anything before the State violently decommissions him. During their stay in the city, Lia finds her very first friends in the Vandy kids, and the very first of many strange encounters with the theatrical thieves and bizarre players of the Cirque Nocturna, a night circus of nebulous origin and purpose.


When Lia determines the Spark is the first light of the living brain and creates the first living automaton -- a Copper Swallow named Tache -- she is forced into the employ of the all-powerful State; and Bastiät's plans for the technology threaten the existence of every innocent life on the planet. With the help of the Vandys and Players of the Cirque Nocturna, Lia hones her cunning and is set on a path to unravel the fiction Bastiät has used to keep control of the world. She must make allies of Bastiat's enemies before control of the Spark -- and her life -- is out of her hands.


Portico is a lightly illustrated YA/A epic fantasy with steampunk elements in three parts. This manuscript represents the first book in the trilogy, and is complete at 98k words. I look forward to it being my first published novel.


Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Elle Lewis


-------------------------------------------

To address those other things:


*"The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiat" is the name of the country. It's intentionally pretentious and verbose for reasons explained in the story.


*Does it count as a novel if it isn't published yet? I sort of considered it just a story until publishing makes it into a thing. I don't know if it's just semantics, but thanks for pointing that out.


*The trilogy word counts are 98k/88k/83k


Thanks again for going through this for me. You either weren't as harsh as you thought you were, or I've evolved in my ability to take criticism because I didn't cry at all!

--edited by ElleLewis on 8/22/2015, 2:19 PM--


A.J. Helms
Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2015 3:57 PM
Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 12


ElleLewis wrote:

Hi AJ

 

Thanks for the feedback! I forgot I posted this version, but I did sleep on it and made some alterations in the last week that address some of your concerns, so it looks like we were on the same page! Happy to help! I'll go ahead and go through this version as well so that we we're both up-do-date.

--------------------------

 

Dear [Agent],


The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiät has been sitting on its closet of souls for centuries. Violet Sparks, they’re called, and what the State plans to do with them is none of anyone’s business; or it wouldn’t be, if they could figure out how to work the things.  This is still a lot. Try cutting the 'or it wouldn't be' here.


The key, it seems, is to place the Spark into the hands of the right twelve-year old girl from one of Erth’s forgotten places. Much better sentence here. Portico is a historic city transformed by time into a settlement of eccentrics, ex-patriots and refugees from Bastiät’s rewritten history of the world. This is where we've run into a problem here, I'd actually move this sentence down to your next paragraph, and reworkd the following one to make it clear that Lia is the twelve-year-old. Why? Simply because this is the first introduction we've had to Portico (the city), and it ties in a bit better with Dr. Vandy's arrival. Instruments of fate tend to converge on this place, and this time find Lia Auteur, a machinist prodigy, inescapably poised to make trouble for everyone with her inquisitive natureWhy are these necessary? Again, she's the MC, we know she can't escape the situation (or we wouldn't have a story). Is her inquisitive nature important to the story? I would assume yes, but it's not important to the query, there's no other mention of her needing to be curious in the rest of it.


Dr. Ben Vandy arrives with his two fascinating children and a steamer trunk of glass orbs -- the fabled Violet Sparks -- desperately seeking help from the Auteurs to make them do… well, anything before the State violently decommissions him. Every single word counts, absolutely and without a doubt. Use your voice, yes, but maintain a professional manner here. Cut out any instances of colloquial or 'friendly' speech as you can, including this--it makes your stakes seem that much higher since it's so immediate. Compare: ...desperately seeking to make the Sparks do anything...versus: desperately seeking to make the sparks do...well, anything... You'll note that one seems a little more uncertain. Don't be uncertain in your query. During their stay in the city, Lia finds her very first friends in the Vandy kids, and the very first of many strange encounters with the theatrical thieves and bizarre players of the Cirque Nocturna, a night circus of nebulous origin and purpose.The italics: It makes it sound as if their stay in the city is what causes her to come into contact with the Cirque Nocturna. If not, you may need to clarify. Both of the bolded phrases need to be reworked. Very is a weak word to begin with, and close repetition like this doesn't bode well for your story. It's well known that queries are difficult--and it's the first taste an agent has of your writing style and voice. Can you imagine what it would be like for an agent looking through a hundred and fifty queries to come across this, with two instances of weak word choice in the same sentence?

 On a side note, you might be able to boil this entire paragraph down farther. Try something like: "During Dr. Vandy's stay in Portico, Lia makes friends with his children while he struggles to make the Sparks do anything (fill in the rest here)...


When Lia determines the Spark is the first light of the living brain and creates the first living automaton -- a Copper Swallow named Tache -- she is forced into the employ of the all-powerful State; and Bastiät's plans for the technology threaten the existence of every innocent life on the planet. This is kind of a big sentence, with a couple different twists. Can you possibly  break this into two? Also, careful of repetition. Can you reword it to remove one or the other? With the help of the Vandys and Players of the Cirque Nocturna, Lia hones her cunning and is set on a path to unravel the fiction Bastiät has used to keep control of the world. This can be reworks slightly, try cutting out 'Lia hones her cunning...' and shorten it to something like 'Lia begins to unravel the fiction...' It saves you a few words and makes it a little more immediate. She must make allies of Bastiat's enemies before control of the Spark -- and her life -- is out of her hands. You can probably get away with cutting out 'and her life' here. We know the stakes are high, but keep focus on one stake--she needs to control the Spark. Will there be consequences of losing control? Absolutely, but at this point, it feels like an after thought.

Portico is a lightly illustrated YA/A epic fantasy with steampunk elements in three parts. I would leave this out. Depending on how the publisher wants it to go, they may need these, or they may ask if you're willing to work with a professional artist. Also...YA/A? Young Adult/Adult? If you meant YA/Adventure, then no slash and spell out adventure. Also, always use all caps on your title in the query (both to seperate it from the titular city, and because that way if the agent is looking for the housekeeping bits (word count, genre, etc.) they just have to find the title). This manuscript represents the first book in the trilogy, and is complete at 98k words. Try reworking this sentence: 'This is the first in a trilogy and is complete at 98,000 words.' Nothing further needs to be said. I look forward to it being my first published novel. Nope. Simply 'This is my first novel'. They'll know that you don't have any other publishing credits, and that this is your debut novel. It also takes the pressure off them in case it's not something they're comfortable selling (a good agent would rather turn down the next Harry Potter than take a book they can't sell to editors, because it hurts both them and the author). 


Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Elle Lewis


-------------------------------------------

To address those other things:


*"The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiat" is the name of the country. It's intentionally pretentious and verbose for reasons explained in the story.


*Does it count as a novel if it isn't published yet? I sort of considered it just a story until publishing makes it into a thing. I don't know if it's just semantics, but thanks for pointing that out. Yes. It's the word count that makes the novel (or novella, or novelette) not whether it's been published or not. If it's not published, then it's simply an unpublished novel.


*The trilogy word counts are 98k/88k/83k


Thanks again for going through this for me. You either weren't as harsh as you thought you were, or I've evolved in my ability to take criticism because I didn't cry at all!

--edited by ElleLewis on 8/22/2015, 2:19 PM--

Glad I could help. I'm glad I wasn't too harsh as well. A thick skin is even better though! You'll need it as a writer, both to take rejections and critics.

 

 You've got a good strong base, keep working on it (I know how hard queries can be, but keep at it!). You may want to check out QueryShark (it's run by Janet Reid and she has some really good advice on writing queries). You an see what works and what doesn't. Read through the archives, make notes, come back and edit. Above all else, keep going! I think you're pointed in the right direction, you just have to keep at it a little longer.



ElleLewis
Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 4:26 AM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


Hi A.J.

Made some more edits. Thanks for the referral to QueryShark. I'll check it out. I have to post this or I won't be able to sleep:


Dear [Agent],

 

The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiät has been sitting on its closet of souls for centuries. They are called "Violet Sparks." The plans for how to use them would be none of anyone’s business if the State could figure out how to work the things. 

 

The key, it seems, is to place the Spark into the hands of the right twelve-year old girl from one of Erth’s forgotten places. Instruments of fate tend to converge on this place, and this time find Lia Auteur, a machinist prodigy, inescapably poised to make trouble for everyone. 


Portico is a historic city transformed by time into a settlement of eccentrics, ex-patriots and refugees from Bastiät’s rewritten history of the world. Dr. Ben Vandy arrives in the city, desperately seeking help from Mr. and Mrs. Auteur to solve the Spark mystery before the State violently decommissions him. In tow are his two fascinating children. Lia’s friendship with the Vandys leads her to the first of many strange encounters with the theatrical thieves and bizarre players of the Cirque Nocturna: a night circus of nebulous origin and purpose. It is there she receives the first piece of the Spark puzzle. 


When Lia determines the Spark is the first light of the animate brain and uses it to create a living automaton, she is forced into the employ of the all-powerful State to divulge its secrets. She learns quickly that Bastiät's plans for the technology threaten the existence of every innocent life on the planet. With the help of the Vandys and Players of the Cirque Nocturna, Lia begins to unravel the fiction Bastiät has used to keep control of the world. She must make allies of Bastiät's enemies before control of the Spark is out of her hands.  


PORTICO is a YA adventure fantasy with steampunk elements. This novel is the first in a trilogy, and is complete at 98k words.


Thank you for your consideration.


Elle Lewis


 

----------------------

Questions (sorry if these are getting annoying):


RE: illustration - I asked an agent about how to query an illustrated writ. He suggested mentioning in the query that there are accompanying illustrations and linking to a portfolio where the agent might view the sample art. Is that a general practice or are illustrations typically addressed later in the process?


Also, is there an industry preference for the word "and" vs "&" in queries or manuscripts?



--edited by ElleLewis on 8/23/2015, 6:14 AM--


A.J. Helms
Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 4:57 PM
Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 12


Hi again, Elle. I'm glad to answer what I can, no worries!

 

Your query is starting to look really good, keep at it. Queries are tricky, so just keep working on it.

 

I haven't heard anything about creating anything for sample art, unless you're an illustrator for children's book...that may be something to research farther. Ask around and poke into a few holes, you may be able to find a better answer from someone who's had to deal with that before. In this case, take the agent's advice and mention that you have both the complete manuscript and accompanying illustrations should your queried agent/editor ask for them.

 

As far as '&' versus 'and', I honestly don't know. Take a look at any published books (physical copies might be best) and check to see what they use (I say this as it may change slightly from region to region, the way some words do, your physical copies are most likely edited for that particular region). Personally I would say to air on the side of caution and spell it out, but again, it's never something I've questioned myself so I don't have anything more than a guess.


Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 5:41 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


@A.J. Helms: I wanted to thank you for helping Elle with her query. I know my own thoughts and suggestions were lacking, and you've been very thorough with it. Awesome feedback!

 

Amber


ElleLewis
Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 5:47 PM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


Not lacking at all!  It apparently takes a village to get a query done and you've both been very kind in helping me with mine. If it ever gets picked up, you'll know you had something to do with it.  
A.J. Helms
Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 7:45 PM
Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 12


To Amber: you made a lot of good points I wouldn't have been able to help her with, like the query order (I'm always a little fuzzy on that and end up completely rewriting the query half a dozen times at least.

 

And to Elle: I hope you mean 'when' it gets picked up! It sounds like a fantastic story and I'm sure it will get picked up eventually, just keep at it and don't be afraid to work on other projects while you're shopping this one about.


 

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