Thursday, November 17, 2016

Query Critique #25: DEAD MUSE WAKE

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 ______,

I’m seeking representation and saw on Anon. Agency’s website that you enjoy weird and unpretentious literary fiction seasoned with a good sense of humor. I think my Adult Contemporary (Or whatever genre it happens to be.) novel, Dead Muse Wake DEAD MUSE WAKE, complete at 71,000 words, might be a good fit. (Great intro paragraph. You definitely did your research will make the agent that much more interested in reading the actual query! I will take the agency's name out of what goes on my website though, just for anonymity’s sake.)

When suicidal computer tech and aspiring author Mael Jones’ new muse, Thalia, is murdered, he hallucinates an ongoing relationship with her which inspires what he believes may be the greatest novel ever written—problem is, Mael is the only person who thinks Mael is any good at writing (This first sentence is a mouthful—48 words long! I think you should try to chop this up a bit and take out some things that aren’t necessary. Here’s an example: Thirty-seven-year-old aspiring author Mael Jones’ muse has just been violently murdered. Except, in his mind, she’s still alive and their imaginary relationship makes the perfect novel. Something that really confuses me about this paragraph is Mael’s delusions. At first it seems like he’s so mentally ill that he has no idea that Thalia has really been murdered. Then it seems he realizes he’s making her up and his delusional relationship would make the perfect book.).

Trapped Iin a downward spiral of his own artistic madness, Mael will engages in an half-assed investigation into Thalia’s murder while being manipulated on two fronts: first, by Thalia’s sister who wants him to write a tell-all about the case and second, by a cabal of middle school rebels (led by a thirteen-year-old writing prodigy) (Parentheses are usually a no-no in query letters.) fighting the tyranny of standardized testing (I struggle to see how these two connect.). Oscillating between grandiose delusions and profound self-loathing, Mael will lose everything (and do anything) in his stubborn refusal to accept artistic failure on society’s terms (This ends on a rather depressing note. It seems like Mael doesn’t have any character growth or overcome a anything. He just flops until he loses anything. What is his goal? Does he want to solve Thalia’s murder or write the perfect novel? What’s standing in his way? These are some questions to ponder as you edit this query letter. This paragraph needs some good strong stakes in it. And by stakes I don’t mean a delicious hunk of meat that I happen to be craving, haha. Show us hat Mael sands to lose and the choice he has to make to keep himself from losing whatever it is.).

Dead Muse Wake is my second novel. My first, a sci-fi satire called Under the Suns, was self-published to positive reviews. I’ve included the first five pages below as specified in your submission guidelines. (From what I’ve read, mentioning a self-pubbed book in the bio isn’t necessary since it’s a different type of publishing. But this is at your discretion.) Thank you for your consideration.


Best of luck with your edits!

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