Wednesday, October 12, 2011

QUERY CRITIQUE #2: OUT OF THE WATER

(Original in blue; revisions in red, and comments in black)


Dear Ms. [Agent],

I suggest opening with a hook about the story to grab the agent immediately. The personalized info is an EXCELLENT addition, though, and will be an asset in any query (so long as it's accurate and/or not accidentally sent to the wrong person!). And I'm torn as to where to put in the mention of the 15th century setting, since any direct mention (e.g., "The year is 1491") just seems to bring the action to a jerking halt. I put it down with the personal info, but I'm still not 100% happy with it. 

Eighteen-year-old Rosa becomes separated from her family as they flee their Spanish homeland--and the Inquisition. Now her life is in the hands of a stranger, Baha, an artist from the Ottoman Empire. He is her one hope of reaching Constantinople and reuniting with her family. As they travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side.

[Personal info stating why I chose the agent], you might find my historical romance, set in the 15th century during the Inquisition, a good fit for your interests.

OUT OF THE WATER, complete at 120,000 words, is the story of 18-year-old Rosa, exiled from her Spanish homeland by the Inquisition and separated from her family as they flee their home. Now her life is in the hands of a stranger, Baha, an artist from the Ottoman Empire. He is her one hope of reaching Constantinople and reuniting with her family. As they travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side.

Despite her family's refusal to accept her marriage to a man of a different faith, when janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything to rescue them. Together they will prove that their love can withstand their differences.

If the Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.

I tightened this second part up a bit, but it's got all the great stuff: forbidden love, a quest, danger--I'm very interested in reading more.

Despite her family's refusal to accept her marriage to a man of a different faith, when janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything to rescue them. Together they will prove that their love can withstand their differences... if the Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.

I have lived and worked in both Istanbul and Kuşadası, Turkey. My non-fiction work, including travel articles, book reviews and personal essays, has most recently appeared in the trilingual (English, French, and Turkish) newspaper Bizim Anadolu. Initial drafts of OUT OF THE WATER were revised through participation in author Barbara Rogan's invitation-only Next Level Workshop.

OUT OF THE WATER is complete at 120,000 words. [Personalized info stating why I chose the agent], you might find my 15th century historical romance a good fit for your interests.

I have lived and worked in Turkey, and my non-fiction work, including travel articles, book reviews and personal essays, has appeared in the trilingual (English, French, and Turkish) newspaper Bizim Anadolu. Initial drafts of OUT OF THE WATER were revised through participation in author Barbara Rogan's invitation-only Next Level Workshop.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[name]

3 comments:

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks Kate! I couldn't figure out if it was better to specify 1492 or say the 15th Century. When I say 1492, everyone thinks of Columbus, and he's really only got a walk-on part...

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Yeah, 1492 is the "who you gonna call?" of dates. "Late 15th century" is better.

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