Query Wednesday is back!
And to get started again, nothing better than our winner’s query! This is Katie Newingham’s complete query, including the pitch that won the This Meets That Contest.
Some people say a radical is born in an instant, like a crime of passion, but for 18-year-old Dani Caldwell, her transformation begins the summer of 1958, when she meets a boy in pre-revolutionary Cuba.
In the heat of the Danze de Amore, under the moonlit skies of the Malecon, Jose breaks down Dani’s walls of reserve and steals her heart. But when the American mob threatens the future of his family’s storefronts, Jose aligns himself with Fidel Castro, and the two young lovers’ stars cross as their worlds divide. She’ll have to choose between the man she loves and her American ideals.
Lurking behind the scenes, a revolution that will test the bounds of their love, challenge their resiliency, and for Dani, change the very core of what she believes about her world. TLS is Havana Nights meets The Way We Were, in a Sue Miller-esque voice.
THE LOST STORY is an Adult Historical Romance and is complete at 80,000 words.
Katie Newingham is a mommy by day, word contortionist by night and part-time wife, since her husband spends a considerable amount of time traveling for work. She’s passionate about supporting new moms and writes a monthly column for NewbyMom.com, focusing on lack of sleep, how potty training can save your marriage and other self-deprecating and humorous tales from the home. She holds a BA in social work and a master’s degree in journalism.
So, Katie wanted to know if this goes straight to the point and if it is too vague. Yes, Katie, it does go straight to the point! And it’s not too vague. Sometimes, people feel they have to include almost their entire plot development into a query. What they end up with is “this happens, then that happens and then that happens,” which can get very boring. It would be nice, however, to see a little more voice, a little more of the feeling they have for each other. Up the stakes, you know? Leave me heartbroken just by reading your query! You wouldn’t get in trouble for having a shorter, straight-to-the-point query like this. You’d probably get several requests. But if you show voice and feeling, you’ll certainly grab more attention.
Also, make sure you check you Spanish. If you mean “Love Dance,” that would be Danza de Amor (amore is Italian). If this is an actual name of a dance they have in Havana, make sure you mention that, like “the famous Danze de Amore” or something like that. Otherwise, if you reach an agent who knows some Spanish, you lose a little credibility.
On the bio, make sure you don’t talk about yourself in third person. You’re addressing this agent. Talk to her. This is a letter you’re writing to someone, not a résumé. Oh, and I would cut the TLS. It’s confusing where it is, before you mention the name of the manuscript. I would go for “THE LOST STORY, a 80,000-word historical romance, is Havana Nights meets The Way We Were, in a Sue Miller-esque voice.”
You have a great premise and your query is going in the right direction. A little tweaking here and there and it’ll be ready to shine!
Thank you so much for sharing you query, Katie. I hope the comments are helpful. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to leave them on the comments!
Want your query analyzed too? Send it in the body of the email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line QUERY WEDNESDAYS. Chosen queries will be analyzed here on the blog.