Dear Miss Snark,
I am currently seeking representation for a completed 70,000+ word novel entitled “Good News, Bad News”. In this work of contemporary mainstream fiction set in Savannah, GA, Nina Lyles, 36, an ambitious small-town news anchor with few friends and fewer scruples, who, perhaps inadvertently, sets her co-anchor’s house on fire.. (I like her already)
The accident sets off a chain of events that threaten her position as a small-time celebrity with big-time potential while simultaneously making her more famous, and more vigorously despised, than she has ever been. Her one reluctant ally, an aged ex-hippie painter-turned-masseuse, has his own distant memories of fame and vilification, and may not be above using her circumstances and the one secret she’s been able to keep to try to stage a comeback and recover his own reputation.
This is a novel about the good and bad in the human spirit, unlikely friendships, unexpected metamorphoses, and the certainty that, however well we may think we know our neighbors, we don’t ever really know them at all. (thank all dogs)
I have attached one page for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration. I enjoy your jackhammer-blunt criticisms and insights. (I'll let you take that back if you want) You provide a very valuable service to writers.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Despite the fact that I think she may be a small town Miss Snark, your heroine is sadly lacking in redeeming qualities. RQs pretty much a requirement in contemporary mainstream fiction. You've got stock characters and no plot. I'll probably read your pages cause I've seen damn fine writing turn up with worse query letters, but you need to polish this up.
“That bitch ran over my foot with her grocery cart,” says a leggy blonde with narrowly spaced eyes and a humped nose.
“And she’s gotten so big. I mean, really, she had that baby, what, two years ago?” her neighbor stage-whispers back, lazily picking a piece of lint off her black pants.
Nina is the sort of woman people like a lot -- on their TV screens. But even the glow of small-time, small town fame casts shadows and there are always those who dislike slinking through them.
ZAP. I'm not sure what a humped nose is but I know POV problems when I run them over with my grocery cart.
And the unfortunate truth, Nina laments at least once a day, is that in Hollywood or New York, there are others like her, people who understand, but in Savannah, Georgia, there is practically no one. It is a little like dating at a single-gender college. Or attending a family reunion. You make the best of it, you scrutinize your company looking for some measure of common ground, and you take what you can get, all the while dreaming of sweet release and better options.
She takes her seat at church assiduously baring her white teeth and flipping her chestnut hair, toting her ruffle-clad infant with great aplomb while greeting those who like her and those who don’t and occasionally sparing a terse parade wave.
The few who can understand what this is like – ex-beauty queens and elected officials, primarily – are not her choice of companions. She would, in fact, eschew social interaction altogether, but this is the South and that would be professional death. A certain distance, maintained with a relentless politeness, is tolerated here, but does not win her any friends.
While Bunco is thankfully unnecessary, church attendance is most definitely required, and the only small comfort she has as her well-toned but admittedly larger than she’d like ass flattens on the hard pew is that three rows in front of her, silently sharing her disdain for the whole charade, is her co-anchor. She mentally traces the curve of his neck with her tongue before she grabs her husband’s hand and resolutely grips it until it becomes sweaty.
Don't worry about polishing your query letter.
You need to work on the writing.
Get to a critique group.
You'll get some comments in the comment trail here.
Pay attention to them.