Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Query of the Month

I know I harp on "brevity" as being a key aspect of good query writing but you can write a longer query if you execute the form superbly. Below is a fine example of a query that "oozes" writer-smarts (chops). It's one of the best fiction queries I've ever read:

October 31, 2007

Dear Justin,

In the spirit of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, Beyond Coincidence is a modern quest for personal fulfillment, directed by dream signs and played out along the California coast. A battle between free will and destiny ensues, enhanced by teasing skirmishes of luck, love and immortality. This women’s fiction novel is the tale of a divinely unfulfilled love triangle between Emily, a compulsion driven photographer, her dead husband Daniel, and an unnamed and unfocused shadow.

Emily Elliott’s life was neatly categorized and pigeonholed. She approached her life with the same zest and ambition as a stapler salesman. That is, until the day Daniel died. Having acknowledged that she and her husband lived at opposite ends of life’s spectrum, Emily unavoidably finds she is horribly unbalanced.

Oddly, Daniel’s death does not delete him from view. Instead, he becomes a guide in Emily’s pursuit of peace. Daniel brings a shadow to Emily. This hazy, vague spirit has a voice that speaks to Emily’s soul and a wit that challenges her sanity.

An arsenal of highly detailed memories and recurrent dreams of gingerbread men launch Emily’s journey to regain her happiness. Abandoning her corporate ways for the passion of modern art, she embraces the camaraderie of the beach community. An art gallery owner encourages Emily to use her photography to bridge her dream world with reality. Back in her dreams, the enticing introduction to the obscure shadow captivates Emily’s imagination and finding him in reality becomes her mission.

The accidental discovery of the fourth floor home, the source of her dreams, in a forsaken Los Angeles neighborhood, blurs the boundaries of time with rays of reality. As Emily nears her journey’s end in a Malibu coffee house, she realizes she is a pearl, a solitary grain of sand evolved into a gem. And she finds Richard. Never again will the reader be able to doubt the validity of dreams, the true meaning of déjà vu, or that a resounding YES is the answer to the question, “Is there anything more?”

After several years in journalism writing for two New England newspapers, I worked many years as a trade magazine photographer and writer. The basis of the fourth floor is born from my own recurring dreams and this is only one of its stories. Beyond Coincidence is an amusing and poignant tale of the layered lives of the people who touch our souls while offering a surprisingly quirky twist on fate. I look forward to your reply.



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