Author Topic: My Query - Eastmarch  (Read 23067 times)

luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #75 on: September 12, 2008, 03:24:28 PM »
Quote
Extraordinary writers find the words to display not only the novel's voice in the word choices, but the exact word choices

Ah, therein lies the problem, though, Wolfe. Apologies now to everyone, but we are not dealing with 'extraordinary writers' here. Such writers - such natural talents; the Rushdies, Amis's, Banville's - would not need any help from the likes of us, and by 'us' I mean a third party who can see the wood for the trees.
Rather, we are the Dan Brown's of the writing world, capable of earning $millions if we were ever to hit it lucky with plot equivalent of The Da Vinci Code, but not Man Booker winners.
I can just imagine Dan Brown's queries - like his novels - full of cliched cliff hangers.

Quote
"The writing gets no better than the query letter."  This mantra is fact to agents.

I have read some dire synopses written by some very good novelists, so I'm afraid I don't believe that one necessarily follows the other. Which is why I think writers should be given all the help they need to re-word the query, even if that means writing it for them.
Yes, I agree, it is vital to get the query right if you want the agent to read the novel, but, tbh, the novelist is not necessarily the best person to write it.


luvwriting
« Last Edit: September 12, 2008, 03:29:45 PM by luvwriting »

Offline eric

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Re: My Query
« Reply #76 on: September 12, 2008, 03:35:28 PM »
I think Wolfe is getting the better side of this argument, but that may have to do with his reference to the American experience, with which I have more familiarity, rather than the UK version that luv mentions.

I think it is unfair to characterize all MWC writers as occupying this or that niche in the writing hierarchy.  You may think of yourself as a wanna-be Dan Brown, luv, but I would have to ask you to speak for yourself.  That isn't me.  I may not succeed at what I do, but I won't be trying to crank out useless junk just to make a buck. 

On the poetry side, we have had a very wide range of talents, from highly successful both artistically and commercially to complete crap-doggerel me-oriented teenage-angst wrist cutters.  On the novel side, I helped with and know of literary-quality pieces that are now out on the market, and of course there is a wide range of more pot-boiler things, as you say. 


And I have to say Wolfe is talking about publishers and agents in general--not the underbelly of pulp fiction.  You are essentially saying that MWC writers don't deserve good advice, because their stuff is too trashy to merit it.  I think this is wrong on two scores.  I talk about the writers themselves below; as to the agents,  I know there is a surprising unanimity among American literary people about what's necessary to make a good presentation, and I think we are very lucky to have Wolfe's insight into that.

As far as dire synopses being written by very good writers, the need for putting one's best foot forward presumably decreases dramatically with success.  The people seeking help with their synopses here are all-first time writers who need to get their respective foots in doors.

I think it's a complete myth that great writers like Rushdie have natural talents that do not need the kind of trench-work we do here.  I've known several great writers (5 or 6 anyway) and one thing they shared in common is hard, hard work.  In an essay I read the other night, Rushdie talked about writing copy to support himself.  The people on this site don't just play, some of them work, and that work might someday pay off.  Else why bother, really--just to have a good time?

Personally, I think your views are more idiosyncratic than UK oriented.  How it could possibly be better for a writer to have his query ghosted, when it is the writing in the book that will ultimately count, escapes me.  Surely this thought is more yours than the British market's in general, is it not?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2008, 04:19:47 PM by eric »

luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #77 on: September 12, 2008, 04:32:11 PM »
Yes, well I did tend my apologees before stating my case - and of course, it is only my opinion which can be dismissed without my taking offence. I was only trying to be a realist, and it was in response to Wolfe's 'extraordinary writer's' comment. And you say yourself "The people seeking help with their synopses here are all-first time writers who need to get their respective foots in doors."
Wolfe provides that help in one way - and tbh, eric, you don't seem to be learning from it - and I provide feedback in another way. Again, I won't take offense if people prefer Wolfe's method.
Not sure if there's anything else to add, other than I don't think Dan Brown writes trash.... <ducks as various readers lob their doughnuts at me> :)

Quote
Surely this thought is more yours than the British market's in general, is it not?

There is a thriving business of writing synopses for novelists in the UK. I'm not in the business, I hasten to add, but just do it as a favour for friends, as they do it for me. But one could equate it to copywriters in advertising. If you can turn a good phrase, then why not sell your experience to help a good, jobbing, novelist get a foot on the ladder?
You also say yuorself that Rushdie wrote copy to support himself (I assume that's in the advertising business). It's not much of a stretch of the imagination to think such expereince would have put him in good stead to get his mss noticed with the agents. Without it, who knows? He might still be languishing in the slush pile.



luvwriting
« Last Edit: September 12, 2008, 04:39:10 PM by luvwriting »

Offline eric

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Re: My Query
« Reply #78 on: September 12, 2008, 04:38:13 PM »
Well, I certainly wasn't taking offense, only stating my own view of the matter, and I appreciate your ideas and concerns.  As far as learning from Wolfe, I think I have progressed greatly and have worked diligently, but you're entitled to your opinion even though it's demonstrably wrong in this respect in my humble view.   :)  Even so, I do thank you for your contributions about my query, with most of which I have agreed.

Regarding the synopsis-selling in the UK, I wasn't aware of that and you make a good point.  My book is not the sort of book that would be susceptible to that sort of thing, I fear.  But I am sure others who wish for a hackneyed (!) phrase or two might find it handy.

About Rushdie, yes indeed.  My point being only that we all have to start somewhere, wherever that might be.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2008, 04:45:31 PM by eric »

luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #79 on: September 12, 2008, 04:40:24 PM »
:)

Good luck with the query writing, eric. I will put my oar in as and when I think I may be of help.


luvwriting

Offline eric

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Re: My Query
« Reply #80 on: September 12, 2008, 04:43:52 PM »
as always I completely welcome and appreciate your faithfully attending to my misery.

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #81 on: September 13, 2008, 03:24:30 AM »
Let me say this and I will drop the topic for all-time:  No writer, no writer, starts extraordinary.  It takes years, sometimes decades, for a writer to find the voice and skill needed to make it in mainstream publishing.  Some take more, some take less, but don't believe for one second any best-seller didn't struggle hard to get there ... well, except the celebrities ... but it's another topic.

Every single person I respond to has this potential.  All of them.  I don't judge because I believe in their abilities.  If I didn't, I wouldn't bother trying to give back as I move forward.

Now here's the thing:  You never know who is behind the handle or who it may be.

On my old stomper ground, and Cathy can back me on this, you had agents, published and best-selling authors, and other notables post.  What sticks out in my mind is one poster who struggled with her manuscript and query letter until it sang.

And that manuscript and query letter was Water for Elephants.

Don't discount anyone's abilities.  They might surprise you.

Now ... where's that new query?   ;)

Wolfe

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #82 on: September 13, 2008, 05:23:57 PM »
Another try... ;D



Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max's memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown, uncovering his past to discover he was unjustly convicted for murder, and struggles to recover his missing memories. With his conviction pardoned and his memories returned, he must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 06:20:33 PM by Andrewf »
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

Tales from the Circle - A charitable read. http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1146002
Ask about eBook versions if required.

luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #83 on: September 13, 2008, 06:13:16 PM »
Much better, imo.

Quote
Our memories define us, but Max’s memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown, uncovering his past to discover he was unjustly convicted for murder, and struggles to recover his missing memories. With his conviction pardoned and his memories returned, he must decide between his new life and the old.

uncovering his past to discover
'uncover-' and 'discover' are the same thing. Could be shortened to: 'where he discovers'

, and struggles to recover his missing memories.
This comes across as tacked on to the end of the sentence. It needs to be in it's own sentence, with something added onto the end. eg, As he struggles to recover....

With his conviction pardoned and his memories returned
I would avoid wording it as a conclusion - you are aiming to keep the suspense going within the query.
eg, However, if he manages to get his conviction pardoned.......will he decide....?


luvwriting
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 06:16:23 PM by luvwriting »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #84 on: September 13, 2008, 06:24:39 PM »
and another... ;D



Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max's memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown while uncovering his past, finding he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction pardoned, but must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,




;D
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 06:27:15 PM by Andrewf »
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

Tales from the Circle - A charitable read. http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1146002
Ask about eBook versions if required.

luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #85 on: September 13, 2008, 07:14:17 PM »
Quote
Our memories define us, but Max's memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown while uncovering his past, finding he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction pardoned, but must decide between his new life and the old.

You were very close before, but this one is not so good.
You've lost the bit that links the missing memories to the reason they were taken and the method of their return.

Howabout:

If our memories define us, then Max’s is in deep trouble when he finds that his are missing. Covertly working for the crown, he discovers he was unjustly convicted for murder, and so begins his struggle [fight?] to get his conviction overturned and his memories restored. But, if successful he will be forced to choose between his new life and the old.



luvwriting
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 07:25:13 PM by luvwriting »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #86 on: September 13, 2008, 07:38:20 PM »
A different first bit...


Covertly working for a Crown's magistrate, Max - whose memories are missing - finds he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his lost memories, prove his innocence and get the conviction reversed while knowing nothing of his past. He learns that our memories define us and must decide between his new life and the old.
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

Tales from the Circle - A charitable read. http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1146002
Ask about eBook versions if required.

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #87 on: September 14, 2008, 10:24:22 AM »
Which one of these two?



Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max’s memories are missing. He covertly works for a Crown’s magistrate, uncovering his past to find he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction reversed, but must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land, and takes place within the port city of Eastmarch.
I wrote this to explore what might happen if someone's memories were removed, and what choices they might make. It was inspired by the quote, "What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?"

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



Or



Dear [agent],

Covertly working for a Crown's magistrate, Max - whose memories are missing - finds he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his lost memories, prove his innocence and get the conviction reversed while knowing nothing of his past. He learns that our memories define us and must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land, and takes place within the port city of Eastmarch.
I wrote this to explore what might happen if someone's memories were removed, and what choices they might make. It was inspired by the quote, "What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?"

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

Tales from the Circle - A charitable read. http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1146002
Ask about eBook versions if required.

Offline eric

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Re: My Query
« Reply #88 on: September 14, 2008, 12:29:56 PM »
From my personal point of view, I vastly prefer the second one.  I think it still needs more work, but it is light years ahead of the first.  But then what do I know?  (That's a rhetorical question)

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #89 on: September 14, 2008, 09:10:42 PM »
I'm not seeing the difference between the two other than somantics.

Wolfe