Dear Miss Snark:
What would you do if the older sister you idolized vanished from her college campus without a trace? Kelly Victor spends twenty years of her life searching, with no success, until she dreams of a traffic accident. The accident happens just as she dreams it, and though she's not certain if this is a gift or a coincidence, Kelly's excited to have a new tool in her search. It leads her to a new life in a small Northwest Oregon town, and eventually to a newspaper in Idaho that could have the answer she's dedicated her life to finding. It also leads her to people who just may
become the family she's longed for since her own fell apart when she was seventeen . . . and to her upstairs neighbor, the man who just may change her perception of love.
DEPENDING ON THE DAY focuses on Kelly's growth from obsession to happiness
and life on her own terms. DEPENDING ON THE DAY, at 65,000 words, is women's
fiction that explores how one unanswered question can affect a woman's life.
I worked at an independent newspaper as writer and editor for four years while living in a small Oregon town. Two of my short stories have appeared in XYZ Anthology. My next novel is in progress.
May I send you the completed manuscript?
Thank you for your generous time.
The day before my senior year of high school started I sat in the driveway, idling the 1965 Dodge Dart that used to be Hers before She went away to college driving a new Volkswagon Beetle. Everything I couldn't live without was in the trunk and on the seats around me. Mostly clothes. And The Lizard King.
I had to idle to do this right, because the radio would give me a sign. If Hendrix played first I'd drive north because he was born in Seattle, if The Doors played first then south toward Los Angeles, and if it was Janis Joplin -- east. The living room curtains moved, but nobody came out. I left a note.
As soon as I heard the first few notes of "All Along The Watchtower" I put the Dart in gear and pulled out of the driveway. The Lizard King meowed when the blanket he was curled up on moved. It seemed like a good sign that Hendrix led me north. She was last seen in Oregon, but the reality of it was that She could be anywhere.
I started feeling things again in the spring of 1990. First, surprise and disgust that we had four more years of Republican Rule to get through, (President Clinton was elected in 1992) and second, awe when I felt the first door open to the psychic part of my mind. I'd been living with a guy for about a year and had a few dreams that felt more real than they should have. Then one came true. Stu and I woke up on the first day of our two week vacation and I told him the dream. He laughed because I'd never even been to Oakland, California as far as he knew. Except for one trip to the Knowland Park Zoo and one Oakland Raider's game he was right, but I didn't tell him that. I told him that in my dream we were riding up a steep hill and a car came flying over the top of it, just like on The Streets of San Francisco, and it plowed right into
us. I didn't think it was funny, but I also didn't think it was a premonition of any kind, so we left on schedule.
We weren't in a big hurry, and I loved the feeling of freedom I got on the back of his big Harley, even wearing the tight helmet. I didn't forget about the dream, but I didn't dwell on it or mention it again.
Stu rode faster the closer we got to his old neighborhood, where his brother Mike and all their friends still lived. He turned onto Seven Hills Road, and I held on tighter. That road lived up to its name, it was like riding on a kid's drawing of the ocean or a small version of a street in San Francisco – just one hill after another with no flat spots in between. Everything around
us started to look familiar even though that was impossible. The buildings to our left, apartments or maybe condos, and an old red Toyota parked in front of a low brick wall.
You've got an interesting three paragraph start and then you cut away, to a dream no less.
Can you hear me screaming?
I can hear you saying "but ..but..this is the crapometer, it's only 500 words, you'd see more on the page" but I gotta tell ya, sometimes you have exactly as much time to get my attention in the slush pile as you have here. I don't know why you'd shift away from the narrative after three paragraphs but in a query letter with pages, its much better to leave the pyrotechniques off, and just give me straight narrative. Leave the scenery shifts for the partials and fulls. You don't have enough time here to do two scenes well. Give me one good scene, even if its not how you envision the finished book. Right now, all you want is my attention. The rest comes later.