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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Query Workshop 3--Casualties of Work

Title: Casualties of Work
Genre: Women's Fiction


Revision 2
Riley’s To Do List:
- Make VP of Technology
- Convince her coworker his pick-up line “sleep with me or I’ll
destroy your career” is repulsive.
- Persuade herself success is worth selling her soul for.

Riley doesn’t mind that her job devours her time. Still, she’s not about to pass up a rare, free Friday night, and the chance to have some fun. She doesn’t expect ‘fun’ to end with a coworker forcing
himself on her. News travels fast between corporations and it will only take a rumor she led him on to earn Riley a spot on the industry’s unofficial list of ‘Manipulative and Difficult to Work with
Women’.

As Riley weighs ethics against career, her friends offer a sympathetic ear. Their support would be fantastic if they would stop pushing her to come forward about what happened. The resulting glances, whispers, and people questioning whether or not she asked for it are liabilities her career can’t afford. But the idea of taking a speaking up – even if it means sacrificing everything she’s worked for – grows more appealing every day. If she can’t decide where her priorities lie soon, rumors will make the decision for her. She definitely doesn’t want to lose her choice again.

The women’s fiction CASUALTIES OF WORK is complete at 92,000 words.

Revision 1
Dear Awesome Person:

Riley’s To Do List:
- Land that VP of Technology position.
- Convince her coworker his “sleep with me or I’ll destroy your career” pick-up line is repulsive.
- Persuade herself that success is worth selling her soul for

Riley’s job devours her free time. The one time she manages to squeeze in some fun - like she's going to turn down a night out with friends on a rare, free Friday night - a coworker forces himself on her. News travels fast between corporations and even though she’s the victim in the sexual assault, it will only take a rumor she led him on to earn Riley a spot on the industry’s unofficial list of ‘Manipulative and Difficult to Work with Women’.

As Riley weighs ethics against career, her roommate, Zane, offers a sympathetic ear. His support would be fantastic if he would stop pushing her to come forward about what happened. The resulting glances, whispers, and people questioning whether or not she asked for it are liabilities her career can’t afford. Now she’s struggling to stay composed around her attacker, continue her climb up the corporate ladder, and keep Zane from spilling her secret. If she loses control of any of it, the fallout could obliterate any job options that don’t involve a hairnet, and leave her questioning her every decision for the rest of her life.

The women’s fiction CASUALTIES OF WORK is complete at 92,000 words. My short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including BOUND in WICKED CITY 2 edited by George Wilhite, and SUGAR-COATED DREAMS in GRIM FAIRY TALES edited by Dorothy Davies.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Original
Dear Awesome Person,

Riley’s To Do List:
- Land that VP of Technology position.
- Stop lusting after her roommate, Zane. Any relationship - romantic or purely physical - would just be another thing consuming time she doesn’t have.
- Convince her coworker his “sleep with me or I’ll destroy your career” pick-up line is repulsive.

Riley’s job devours her free time. The one time she manages to squeeze in some fun, a coworker forces himself on her. News travels fast between corporations and even though she’s the victim in the sexual assault, it will only take a rumor she led him on to earn Riley a spot on the industry’s unofficial list of ‘Manipulative and Difficult to Work with Women’.

As Riley weighs ethics against career, her roommate, Zane, offers a sympathetic ear. His support would be fantastic if she could ignore their growing attraction; getting involved is a time suck she can’t afford. Now she’s struggling to stay composed around her attacker, continue her climb up the corporate ladder, and keep Zane at arm’s length. If she loses control of any of it, the fallout could obliterate any job options that don’t involve a hairnet, and leave her questioning her every decision for the rest of her life.

Complete at 92,000 words, CASUALTIES OF WORK is ‘Ally McBeal’ meets Nick Hornby. My short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including BOUND in WICKED CITY 2 edited by George Wilhite, and SUGAR-COATED DREAMS in GRIM FAIRY TALES edited by Dorothy Davies.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

10 comments:

Charity Bradford said...

I think you can drop Riley's to do list because we can see all of that in the rest of the query. This just takes up valuable words, and although it could work, it's outside the standard way of writing queries. You just never know how an agent will take it.

You've done a great job keeping in line with Riley's personality thoughout the query. Even when love is blooming she thinks of it as a time suck she can't afford. Very career driven.

Paragraph 1--only suggestion is you can drop "in the sexual assault". It's obvious that's what you mean by "forces himself" with the rest of the query.

Paragraph 2--love the line about the hairnet jobs.

Great job!

Huntress said...

Love your opening. Good Voice throughout.

I'd edit:
Riley’s To Do List:
- Land VP of Technology
- Stop lusting after her roommate, Zane.
- Convince her coworker that his pick-up line, “sleep with me or I’ll destroy your career” is repulsive.

Also the word 'time' is used twice in the first paragraph. Might want to edit.

You’ve combined humor and pathos in your query. And they don’t mix well. I’d go all one or the other. Humor works better. Allude to the attack at the end, though, w/o too much specifics because if I understand this correctly, Riley doesn’t intend to prosecute her attacker for the sake of ‘climbing the corporate ladder’.

Hm. This concept is a bit difficult for me to grasp. I hope that isn’t what you meant. A whole lotta ‘ethics against career’ might kick the feet out from under a potential reader.

Liz said...

I like the original query better. Revision 2 reads clunky to me. And what happened to Zane?

Mark Koopmans said...

Hi,

I would re-work the last paragraph of Revision 2 and drop the redacted word. This version sounds better to me (sorry if that confuses the issue!)

Good luck :)

Loralie Hall said...

There have been very mixed feelings about the bullet list at the start. Some people love it for being unique, and others say lose it because it's not standard. I'm still torn on that whole thing. And I had a similar very polarized reaction to the hairnet line ^_^ (I like it too). Thanks so much for your feedback :-D

Loralie Hall said...

Yuo make a very good point in your comment about humor vs pathos, and about what the query implies about pursuing action against her attacker. I'm hoping I've cleared that up in the newest version by cutting out the romance and only focusing on the one plot. Thanks so much for your feedback ^_^

Loralie Hall said...

I was really happy with the original query as well, but (epic sadness) it's not working for a lot of people. I pulled Zane from the new version because I'm trying to focus on just one plot in the new query. Trying to mix romance and such a very serious crime in the old query was off-putting to a lot of critiquers, so I've tried to correct that. I'd love to hear any thoughts you had on tightening revision 2. Thanks ^_^

Loralie Hall said...

Done and done. Though I won't ask them to post a revision 3 just for the already x-ed out words :-) Thanks for stopping by ^_^

Huntress said...

Version Part Deux does clarify beautifully. Your MC creates strong emotions - exactly what you want in a reader!

LOL, I was about to note the typo in the last paragraph as my only crit. Blink and there's a strikethrough, ha.

As in the original, love the 'to do' list!
Suggestions:
First paragraph: I'd cut the first sentence and edit down to the following. "Riley’s not about to pass up a rare Friday night away from work as a (--) and the chance to have fun. She doesn’t expect ‘fun’ to end with a coworker forcing himself on her."

Second paragraph: Missing 'that'. "...and it will only take a rumor that she led him on to earn..."

Third paragraph: Cut 'whether or not'. Adding 'wondering' "...and people wondering if she asked..."

last line: Definitely cut 'definitely'

mshatch said...


I've offered my comments/suggestions in parentheses:

Riley’s To Do List:
- Make VP of Technology
- Convince her coworker his pick-up line “sleep with me or I’ll
destroy your career” is repulsive.
- Persuade herself success is worth selling her soul for. (I’m not convinced that this to do list works. I think you could include in the first paragraph in a different format and maybe that would work better. Maybe.)

Riley doesn’t mind that her job devours her time. Still, she’s not about to pass up a rare, free Friday night, and the chance to have some fun. She doesn’t expect ‘fun’ to end with (‘said coworker’ instead of ‘a coworker’ – makes the connection from the list) a coworker forcing himself on her. News travels fast between corporations and it will only take a rumor she led him on to earn Riley a spot on the industry’s unofficial list of ‘Manipulative and Difficult to Work with Women’.

As Riley weighs ethics against career, her friends offer a sympathetic ear. (Does she really tell all her friends? How many friends is that? Because the more that know the better the chance of Riley’s story leaking out) Their support would be fantastic if they would stop pushing her to come forward about what happened. The resulting glances, whispers, and people questioning whether or not she asked for it are liabilities her career can’t afford. But the idea of taking a speaking up – even if it means sacrificing everything she’s worked for – grows more appealing every day. (Why?) If she can’t decide where her priorities lie soon, rumors will make the decision for her. She definitely doesn’t want to lose her choice again.

* The only other thing I’ll add is that losing her job doesn’t seem like such a horrible thing, esp. if she’s got an awesome resume to get her another one. I wonder what this job represents. Why is making VP so important? What has happened in Riley’s past to make her think that her goal is worth the consequences of ignoring what has happened?

Hope this helps.