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Author Topic: New Sea Glass query after editing entire manuscript -- again  (Read 183 times)
Munley
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« on: November 14, 2017, 06:34:50 PM »

Thanks for any feedback  anyone may offer.
====================

Please scroll down a few posts to see R E V I S I O N  # 1 .

Dear Agent:

Lucie Giroux appears to be an ordinary neighbor doing her best to raise her nephew, Antoine, in her Nova Scotia town. No one would guess her sleep is rankled by flashbacks of a horrible night: the blast of a gunshot, the haunting scent of beeswax.

Now her days, too, are filled with alarm. Antoine, who was too young to remember the night he came to live with her, has begun having frightening dreams. He hears that same shot. Lucie forbids him to tell anyone, moves him to a new town whenever his glum demeanor worries a teacher, and blames his night terrors on the books he reads. But he comes to suspect they’re memories and goes looking for proof. To her own horror, Lucie burns down the cabin he identifies as the one he sees in his dreams. Evidence found in the rubble, however, prompts investigators to re-open the cold case she covered up.

Even as Lucie ponders how far she’ll go to silence the only witness, she’s tempted to let him uncover the whole truth. She’s provided him with a lukewarm home and mere custodial care. Eight years ago, Lucie, embracing a fatally wounded woman, promised to take Antoine to live with a family who would truly love him. Lucie can still honor her word—maybe even find peace—if she tips the police off to Antoine’s true history so they’ll get him to that family. But she’ll also put herself on the most-wanted lists in Canada and the United States.
   
THROUGH SEAGLASS, DARKLY is a 100,000-word literary novel . . .
[Bio]

« Last Edit: Yesterday at 08:06:07 AM by Munley » Logged
paddler
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 09:06:03 PM »

This is the closest I have seen yet but...

One way I look at it seems a little muddy

Then I look at it another way and it isn't muddy enough

The first way that I look at is with a literary frame of mind. In that way the second paragraph gets jumbled.

The second way is as a psychological thriller. In that way Lucy's voice is more important  and to make it really work she has to be on the edge. Then the second paragraph needed more.

Instead of "Now her days are filled with alarm" try "The days are increasingly filled with alarm"

Change"to her horror" to "In a panic".

Hope that gives you some food for thought
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paddler
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 09:13:58 PM »

And fix that million words. Either put in another comma or take out a zero.
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Munley
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2017, 04:20:29 AM »

Fixed the 1000,000. Thank for that catch and for looking over the query.  I also tinkered with the first paragraph.

Thinking over your other comments.
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billiek
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 12:00:48 PM »

Munley,

I'm new here and haven't seen anything of your prior attempt.

The story sounds interesting, from what I can tell, but becomes lost in too much information for a query. Because you don't have the room of a synopsis, there are details that come across washed out, making it seem somewhat flat. I don't think you need to add detail to what you have, but instead strip back to just what you need to get the gist/drive of your story across with small hints to your ability as a writer.

"Even as Lucie ponders how far she’ll go to silence the only witness, she’s tempted to let him uncover the whole truth." Why B if A is true? Makes Lucie sound ineffectual, which I doubt she is since she's willing to burn places down. I'd cut this.

Also, start off with a bang. Instead of…

"Lucie Giroux appears to be an ordinary neighbor doing her best to raise her nephew, Antoine, in her Nova Scotia town."

…how about something like…

"Lucie Giroux set fire to a cabin, trying to hide the truth from neighbors, and her nephew, in her rural/rustic/secluded/coastal/run-down Nova Scotian/Atlantic Province community."

(I don't know if your town is rural, rustic, secluded, coastal, or run-down.)(This is not meant to be an example of fine writing on my part. This is for informational purposes only.)

Do you see what I mean? "in her Nova Scotia town" won't show the agent the quality of your writing. Explain Antoine in the next sentence or two, but only lightly. Lucie, I'm guessing, is the center of this story. Keep the focus on her.

With kindness.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 12:04:23 PM by billiek » Logged
billiek
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 12:14:08 PM »

Sorry, but to add…

I know/am guessing Antoine is not really her nephew, but if that's what the reader is led to believe at the beginning of your book, it's okay to leave it at that here in the query. You really don't have to name Antoine at all, keeping the query tight, focusing in on this story being about Lucie, the fact that she has a secret, and that she's willing to do some crazy things. That focus, I believe, will resonate more sharply with an agent.

Anyway, with kindness again.
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MKWrites_318
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 04:55:57 PM »

I've just seen some places that need a little streamlining and given loose suggestions for edits. The rest is what I think needs clarification. Hope it all makes sense.


Lucie Giroux appears to be an ordinary neighbor (I think I'd say woman instead. Unless her neighbors/neighborhood play(s) a big role it sounds strange to me.) doing her best to raise her nephew, Antoine, in her Nova Scotia town. No one would guess her sleep is rankled by flashbacks of a horrible night: the blast of a gunshot, the haunting scent of beeswax.

Now her days, too, are filled with alarm. Antoine, who was too young to remember the night he came to live with her, but now he's hearing has begun having frightening dreams. He hears that same gunshot in his dreams. Lucie forbids him to tell anyone, moves him to a new town whenever his glum demeanor worries a teacher, and blames histhese night terrors on the books he reads. But he comes to suspect they’re memories and goes looking for proof. To her own horror, Lucie burns down the cabin he identifies as the one he sees in his dreams. Ok, here, I'd explain that 1. he's seeing a cabin in his dreams and 2. when or how he came to see it in real life. Then say something like "Desperate to keep the secret buried, Lucie burns down the cabin." Evidence found in the rubble, however, prompts investigators to re-open the cold case she covered up.

Even as Lucie ponders how far she’ll go to silence the only witness, she’s tempted to let him uncover the whole truth. I'm will billiek here. It sounds like she's pondering killing him and telling him at the same time, which seems odd not knowing anything about how she actually feels about this kid. She’s provided him with a lukewarm home and mere custodial care. Eight years ago, Lucie, embracing a fatally wounded woman, promised to take Antoine to live with a family who would truly love him. Lucie can still honor her word—maybe even find peace—if she tips the police off to Antoine’s true history so they’ll get him to that family. Why can't she deliver the child herself? Why do the police have to get involved? But she’ll also put herself on the most-wanted lists in Canada and the United States. Overall, I find this last paragraph confusing. I'd tell more about her relationship with Antoine. She's kept him at arm's length or whatever (which would make sense considering the circumstances), and then explain that the guilt of that weighs on her (or whatever the set up is) because she made a promise to his mother/sister/whoever to get him to his family.


Queries are all about hooking the agent, and you do that with stakes. I'm not clear whether the stakes are getting Antoine home without getting arrested or keeping her secret hidden. Outline her main need and end with something that makes them want to keep reading.

Wishing you the best luck!
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deutschlandchick
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 06:02:51 PM »

hi!
I am a sucker for literary fiction! Just finished Tartt's looooong book! lol...anyways...I am intrigued...yet...I think although your language is beautiful, your query is a little wordy. The wordiness causes me to lose focus (I write like that too, so I always have to watch out for that)...one sentence I find really cumbersome is: "She’s provided him with a lukewarm home and mere custodial care." maybe find a different word for 'lukewarm'...also, I understand your characters have the experience of the mysterious gun shots and are troubled, but maybe with your beautiful words you could create an eerie feeling for us. good luck!
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mgmystery
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2017, 08:07:29 AM »

I've read the other versions of this query (all intriguing) and I really like this version! I agree with Paddler's suggestion to change "To her horror" and would specify dreams in the sentence "...comes to suspect they're memories..."

Otherwise I think it flows well and is tightly written. The final paragraph is perfect! Good luck! Smiley
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Munley
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« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 08:03:16 AM »

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful feedback. With that feedback in mind, I've done a revision that attempts to cut a few words and tighten some of the connections, as well as clarify Lucie's internal conflict. In the book, she's at war with herself over other things besides not getting Antoine to that family, but I focus only on that internal conflict here.

In writing a query for literary fiction, I'm aware of the risk of coming off as all thinking and no plot/action.

-------------------------
R E V I S I O N  # 1:

Dear Agent:

   Lucie Giroux appears to be an ordinary neighbor doing her best to raise her nephew, Antoine, in her Nova Scotia town. But her sleep is rankled by flashbacks of the horrible night he came to live with her: the blast of a gunshot, the haunting scent of beeswax.

   Now Antoine, who was too young to remember that night, dreams of a creepy cabin and gets startled awake by that same blast. Lucie forbids him to tell anyone. She moves him to a new town whenever his glum demeanor worries a teacher, and she blames his night terrors on the books he reads. When Antoine, suspecting those dreams are memories, locates that cabin, Lucie burns it to the ground. Evidence found in the rubble, however, prompts investigators to re-open the cold case she had covered up.

   Even as Lucie ponders how far she’ll go to silence the only witness, she’s tempted to let him uncover the whole truth. She’s drowning in guilt for providing him with a lukewarm home after promising a fatally wounded woman he would be taken to live with a family who would truly love him. Lucie can still honor her word—maybe even find peace—if she tips the police off to Antoine’s true history so they’ll get him to that family. But she’ll also put herself on the most-wanted lists in Canada and the United States.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 11:57:14 PM by Munley » Logged
mgmystery
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« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 08:08:06 AM »

Nice job! the changes to the middle paragraph really clear up why she burns the cabin!  Thumbs Up
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paddler
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« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 01:04:13 PM »

Yeah Munley. This reads really well, conveys your story arc nicely and doesn't leave any unanswered questions. Congratulations.
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MKWrites_318
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« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 03:59:48 PM »

Definite improvement! clap
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slightlysmall
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« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 05:56:14 PM »

Love it!

The picky person in me has one minor change:

"The cold case she had covered up." To show that it was a while ago. And it's just a suggestion. Best of luck, Munley!
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Munley
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« Reply #14 on: Today at 01:15:01 AM »

Thanks, everybody! Yes, it should be had covered up. Good catch, SlightlySmall. Fixed it.
« Last Edit: Today at 01:19:11 AM by Munley » Logged
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