Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Query Critique #21: PULLING ME BACK IN

My thoughts are added in redEvery comment is my own opinion. Readers, feel free to leave your own comments below and help a fellow writer out!

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Original Version (with comments):

Dear ______,

Blending two timelines (“Timelines” threw me off a bit. It could be the word choice or it might me. You might not even need to mention the blending of two timelines because that’s not entirely clear from the rest of the query. But if you think it’s necessary, consider something like Alternating between past and present, or something like that.), PULLING ME BACK IN (Great title!) is New Adult women’s fiction with romantic elements, complete at 87,000 words.

GWEN PRESCOTT Gwen Prescott (You don’t need all caps for queries, just synopses.) thought she had her life had her life figured out by the age of eight: she would marry her best friend, JEFF CRAWFORD Jeff Crawford, and work as a museum curator. However, after a steamy teenage affair that caused her to rebel against her parents (Why did it cause her to rebel? Who was the steamy affair with? Jeff?) and put up with Jeff sleeping around (How would an affair make her put up with that? Are they more than friends?), her world collapsed (This seems a little cliché.) when he ran away from home and never contacted her again –and her (This implies that he never contacted her again without coming out and saying so.).

Now aged twenty-four, Gwen works at a gallery in NYC (Instead of “works,” could you be more specific? What’s her exact position?), well on her way close to achieving her lifelong ambition (I think “goal” or “dream” might work better. “Ambition” is just like drive or motivation.). She’s convinced herself her love for Jeff was an illusion, an unhealthy fixation fueled by hormones and adolescent fantasies, yet she’s still unable to let go. (I think you should combine the first and second sentences and cut the “ambition” altogether. It is clear from the second paragraph that her goal is to work as a museum curator and she’s well on her way. Plus, combining the two sentences helps with flow. For example, Now twenty-four, Gwen is a curator’s assistant (or whatever she happens to be) at a gallery in NYC and has convinced herself that her love for Jeff was an illusion, and unhealthy fixation… Just an idea. See if you like it!) A photo of Jeff in the newspaper announcing and his presence in the city stirs Gwen’s past feelings, and make her question whether she’s capable of being happy with anyone but him.

When Gwen sees Jeff again (Is this a chance meeting? Might want to describe this a little more), the sexual attraction that always drew her to him as a teen overwhelms her reignites, and past pain is put aside for the chance to be with him forgotten. But acting like the submissive girl she used to be once was risks puts her in danger of another broken heart., and She’ll have to choose whether to stay with him regardless of how much he can hurt her or fight against his pull and risk losing him forever. (This is a little convoluted for me. I think you need to clean it up and make the stakes hit home. The way it reads it sounds a little like Jeff is abusive. Here’s a suggestion: Gwen finds herself torn between staying with the man she loves and protecting her heart.)

PULLING ME BACK IN combines the flawed characters and messy relationships of an NA romance (Not all NA romance’s are messy so I think you can do without this.) with the complexity and sensibility of Emily Giffin (Is there a specific novel of hers you can point to?). This is my first novel. While it stands alone, I’m currently working on two related books. (Consider putting the first paragraph down here as well. That way all the information about the book is in the same place.)

Thank you for your time and consideration.


You’re off to a great start with your query letter. I think a little tweaking and delving into the plot more would make it perfect! If you make some changes and want me to take another look, feel free to send it my way! Best of luck with NoQS! 

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