Dear Miss Snark,
I'm seeking representation for my 75,000 word fantasy novel entitled Seeing the Knot.
Ok, it's Friday night. I've been working on these for a solid week and I've held it in but now, NO MORE!! Why on Dog's Pink Tam do you use the word "entitled". You mean "titled; called; named; or baptized in the River Snark". I got out my threadbare red Websters vintage edition and looked up "entitled". Herewith: Entitle (vt---transitive verb) To give a title to; designate.
Now, is this an auto-zap. No.
Why should you care? Because I look for a facility with language. I look for people who want to use the right words and bleed buckets on the page worrying about the difference between title and entitle. I want the people with shredded dics.
This isn't as obvious to the naked eye as peek/picque or to/to0/two, but it's the same kind of mistake. Stop doing this.
ok...why am I standing on this soapbox and why are there men in white jackets creeping up behind me??
Princess Norrah falls in love with an unsuitable young man, as princesses often do. During their elopement, he is killed. Norrah manages to run far enough away to find an upstanding man who doesn't count too closely the number of months her pregnancy lasts. Unfortunately, Norahh dies in childbirth, leaving her daughter, Alyse, to find her way back to the kingdom of Carnavon.
The novel takes place sixteen years after the princess's death. Several years have passed since her upstanding man died as well, leaving Alyse to life alone with her Aunt Soria and 4 (four) male cousins. At odds with the social and, mostly silent, etiquette requirements, Alyse strikes out on her own to the royal city and encounters all her mother left behind.
Enclosed please find an excerpt of the first chapter. If you would like to read a lengthier sample of this work, please contact me (yadda yadda zipcoda)
There's no plot to speak of. You start off talking about a character who is dead.
You call the character several different things (by name, "mother" "princess" in the same paragraph which makes me stop and think about who you're talking about. This is not a good thing.
In the end, her world turned on a small carving in stone. Propelled by the crowd behind her, Alyse stumbled to the side of the river of people and tried to remember how to breathe. She couldn't take her eyes off the small knot that she knew so well. How could this be? Her mother had told her the symbol was of a faraway seafaring tribe. Adjusting her cloak as she moved to the next stall, Alyse studiously kept from looking back at the door. When she'd looked at the bolts of cloth for a suitable amount of time, she looked back at the trestle table filled with piles of pottery.
(here's your starting point)
"Fancy a bowl, my dear?"At Alyse's confused look, the clothseller continued "Or a plate, or a nice vase?" Tobias does quality work. He's.. taking a break right now". The large woman continued winding a spool of ribbon. "we try to look out for his wares when he's working."
"Oh, thank you but no, I was just looking." Alyse said softly.
"Go ahead, he's quite good", and she waved alyse back over to the pottery table.
Six steps had never taken so long as she (this is a different she from the previous one. This makes me crazy) moved back and picked up a large platter. It was surprisingly beautiful, a pale green wash with a sprig of pussywillow glancing up the middle. "Don't drop it, don't drop it," Alyse thought as she turned it over to see the knot again. The knot of artisan's mark pierced her heart
Setting the platter down gently, Alyse turned to the neighboring stall and asked the woman, "Is he in?"
"Yes my dear, go right in," as her winding slowed, "the door should be open."
Yea well, ok, I like this.
I get all bent out of shape about these sucky query letters and then you give me something good enough to read, after pruning that first paragraph. I'd read the rest of the pages if you sent them. If you just had a momentary lapse with that first paragraph, I might ask for a partial. If I saw one more flabby paragraph though: ZAP.