Dear Miss Snark,
Following is my first page submission from my manuscript, Channeling Tinkerbell. Mirage is unaware she can see a fairy because she's about to become one. She finds herself dealing with a boyfriend, jealous sisters, a boss who puts out contracts, and friends she never expected to find when she needed them.
Did you miss the part about sending a query letter? Cause this just might be the most minimal query letter I've seen in a while. Genre? Word count? Points for getting my name right, of course. And points for doing a very brief set up in the query letter instead of on the page.
"Jenny, come quickly!"
"What's up, Mirage?"
"You have to see this! Hurry before it's frightened away," Mirage said.
Jenny walked across the path from where she'd been admiring some roses. "Well, uh, yeah, that's a pretty dandelion, I guess."
"Not the weed. You don't see it? It's flying in the air just above and behind the dandelion."
"I see grass, except for a bald spot that they're reseeding and a dandelion that decided to mess up their lawn anyway despite their efforts," Jenny replied. "Is it some bug you see flying?"
"Then you do see it?"
Jenny turned her head in Mirage's direction. "You better point to what I'm supposed to see. I don't see anything unusual."
"You don't see the...?"
"You're gonna have to spell it out for me. "
"Uh, never mind. I don't see it now."
"Spring didn't come soon enough for you," Jenny said. She looked at her watch and shook her head. "We've been here too long as it is. Time to get back or find another job."
Mirage nodded numbly before turning away to walk back along the path they'd followed on their lunch break. Her lightweight walking shoes made it easy for her to walk quietly along the path so that it was possible for her to hear someone walking up behind her unless more walking shoes were in the equation. (only the sentence clunks I guess, not her shoes) She glanced back once, but it wasn't there any longer. At least, not that she could see.
"So, what was it?" Jenny asked.
"Probably just a strange bug. It was hovering just past the dandelion when I asked you to look."
"You got good eyes, girl. I sure didn't see it so it must have been small."
"Uh, yeah. It was tiny," Mirage agreed
"So, what's for tonight. Going clubbin'?"
"No date for tonight. Don't want to look like I'm searching a meat locker, either. Friday's different though."
"You got a date then?"
"I'm meeting someone. Hopefully, he'll turn out to be decent."
"You haven't met him?"
"Only online," Mirage replied.
"You've got to be kidding. You've got brains. You've got talent. You've got looks. You even have what men want. You can have your choice." (girls do not talk to each other like this. Ever.)
"Meeting men in a bar tends to make them ignore two of those qualifications. Sometimes three."
"Well, yes, but it's only a date. Nothing says anything has to happen."
"Unless they get you to drink enough. My mother...."
"... always told me that I should avoid drugs and drinking because it takes away my options."
"Have I said that too often?" Mirage asked.
"Often enough that I know that line. So, where are you going?"
"Dinner and dancing at the Alliteration."
"That's a fun place. Just be careful there."
"What's wrong with it?"
"Just depends upon who you're with. If he's all right, shouldn't be a problem. Otherwise, he might slip something in your drink. Then you wake up in the morning in a strange bed," Jenny said.
"He's not going to slip anything into my drink. Can you fix my hair before I meet him?"
"How long will I have?"
"Probably a half-hour," Mirage answered.
"Right after you get off or at lunch?"
"I'd rather do it after work."
"I'll fit you into my schedule," Jenny replied. "So, what's scheduled for tonight since you don't have a date?"
"I'm not sure. Some reading, perhaps."
"Oh, you're killing me with excitement."
"I'm sure you'll have me wet with desire after I hear about your night tomorrow."
"Well, I gotta have something for my book. It can't all be about hairdressing."
"Very little in your book is about hairdressing."
"So, I write what I know."
Leaving the walking trail, the two women stopped at the street for the light to change. Moments later, they crossed only to split up seconds later as Jenny went to a salon near the center of the block and Mirage entered the lobby of the building at the corner.
"You're back early."
Mirage looked at her watch. "Uh-huh, a whopping five minutes. Hold the phone while I freshen up."
Here are some pruning shears. You've got the set up, we see the fairy, or rather she does, we don't, and then you drop us off into some lame conversation about going clubbin'. You're trying to build tension but you haven't given us a big enough lift off in the first five sentences to sustain such a long swan dive. More action up front, less girl talk. And it's time for you to hover in some bars and listen to girls talk. Totally.
I'd send this back with pretty much exactly that and be willing to read a ruthlessly manicured version.