Dear Miss Snark:
I have recently finished (HUGE RED FLAG) a manuscript entitled WHAT NORMAL LOOKS LIKE (95,000 words) for which I am seeking representation. I am a regular reader of your blog and thought you might be interested.
The Joy Luck Club, Waiting to Exhale, The Saving Graces, Sex and the City: these stories of female friendship hinge on the fact that they are groups of four. Four is a good number for women; it allows everyone a pair, and a flexible coupling at that. WHAT NORMAL LOOKS LIKE examines the lifelong friendship of three women .Three can be a disastrous number among females. The last sentence is all you need
Abby, Nora, and Maude have been best friends since they were twelve. For ten years they were plaited as tightly as a mountain climber’s rope, but over the past decade they’ve become a line unraveled with Abby desperately trying to weave them back together.
But when Abby and her daughter are in a tragic accident that leads to the amputation of the girl’s hand, Abby’s adoration of her daughter coupled with her grief launches an obsession so disturbing, she withdraws completely from her friends. (this is general twaddle..be specific.. does she convert to Scientology and marry Tom Cruise..what??) Nora, meanwhile, feels trapped in what increasingly seems like a marriage of convenience. ( I see we're back to Tom Cruise) She longs for a more meaningful connection with a man. The man she has in mind, however, is her first love, Graham, who is now married to Maude. Maude is a well deep with secrets. She’s engaged in a sporadic and passionate affair with the man she believes to be her adopted brother and discovers she’s pregnant. (Jerry Springer! Calling Jerry Springer!) When the prenatal tests produce a shocking discovery, (alien babies!!-does this occur in chapter 14 by any chance) she feels utterly alone without Abby and Nora. They are the only ones to whom she could possibly confide her secret.
With Abby entrenched in misery, Nora and Maude must bury the past if they are to exhume the lost soul of their friend. Maude is forced to confront the betrayal that splintered their threesome years ago, and Nora plots to right the wrong by taking back what was first hers: Graham. If they cannot find a way to rely on each other again, Abby will have no rope to pull her from the depths of despair; Nora’s contempt for her marriage and reignited infatuation with Graham will devastate the life she’s made for herself; and Maude will have no one to see her through the pregnancy she should not carry to term.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I have included the first page; however, the full manuscript is available upon request.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I'd stop here.
There's nothing enticing about this at all.
It's dreary misery.
Those books/movies you mentioned at the start? They were FUNNY! And sexy! And enticing.
I'm not sure misery would have ever been used in a cover letter pitching any of those books.
and of course a maimed child to top it all off.
1 Abigail Jane Hart
The thought came to Abby in a flash, and she pushed it out of her mind as quickly as it had come. It was hours after the accident, hours that felt like days, days that seemed so long ago it was as if they were from a different life completely. Abby had sent Peter home to shower and maybe rest, but she refused to leave their daughter’s side. Lucy – Luce – was in critical, if stable, condition. The surgery had taken longer than expected. They hadn’t been able to repair the damage; drastic measures were taken to save her life. But they couldn’t save Lucy’s hand. Abby’s head pounded. Sleep was unimaginable. She replayed again and again the moments before it happened. Maybe if she hadn’t been so anxious to get home. Maybe if they’d stopped for a drive-thru ice cream cone because Lucy was hungry. Maybe if her mind hadn’t been elsewhere. Maybe if Abby had done one thing differently, she wouldn’t have been at that exact place, at that exact time. She stared at the tiny figure, watched the gentle rise and fall of Lucy’s breath beneath the blue blanket on the hospital bed, looked at her face, her matted hair, at anything other than the bandages. Consumed with guilt and grief and regret, that’s when it struck her. But what entered Abby’s mind was so gruesome, so disturbing, she willed it away. And each time after that. And each time after that.
It had been a regular day. There were no omens looming, no symbols presenting themselves as they might in a book. The three of them had slept in. It was nearly nine when Lucy first awoke and padded into her parents’ bedroom announcing that she’d kept her sheets dry for the third night in a row. Abby pulled Luce into bed between them.
There's no action. There's no dialogue. There's nothing here but the wine-dark sea of remorse. The only thing that would make this less appealing is rain, a dead dog, and no gin pail in sight.