An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tale of Two Queries

First up is Ms. A. Nonymous. Now you might remember her from the last query she sent in. Have to say, it's nice to have a fan. ;-)

This time, she sent me two queries for the same story, an old version and a newer version, asking me which query I preferred. Here they are for your reading pleasure. And please do feel free to chime in on your favorite.

Original Query


After the tragic death of her husband, Giselle Roberts is certain she will be single forever. Barely staying afloat caring for the needs of her five small children, romance is the furthest thing from her mind. But a chance meeting of a handsome stranger, leaves her wondering if she’s ready to open her heart again.

Declan Worthington is charismatic, wealthy, and British, hence the sexy accent that drives Giselle to the brink of blissful surrender. He’s also great with her kids, who quickly grow to adore him. All except for Giselle’s oldest son Cohen who thinks another man in the house is one too many.

As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle begins to dream about a new future, one that involves romance and passion. Never once does it cross her mind to not trust the man who has brought happiness back to her family.

Upon the discovery of Declan’s shadowy past, Giselle’s perfect image of him crumbles, along with her chance for second love. Will fate find a way to bring Declan back into her life and soften Giselle’s heart?



New Query


Giselle Roberts never dreamed she’d be a single mother raising four children on her own, but fate had other plans.

Romance is the furthest thing from this young mother’s mind as she sits at a restaurant bar in the romantic Queen City a year after her husband’s death. But a chance meeting of a handsome stranger who knows more about her than he lets on, leaves her wondering if she’s ready to open her heart again.

Declan Worthington is as charismatic as he is wealthy. Add to that his intriguing British accent, strong physique, and keen interest in Giselle and her children, and he appears to be the perfect package. He’s also great with her kids, who quickly grow to adore him. All except for Giselle’s oldest son Cohen who thinks another man in the house is one too many.

As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle begins to dream about a new future, one that involves romance and passion. She realizes she’s been given a second chance. A second chance to love. A second chance to live.

Never once does it cross her mind to not trust the man who has brought happiness back to her family.

It takes a worn newspaper clipping to find out the truth about Declan’s shadowy past. Giselle’s perfect image of him crumbles, along with her chance for second love. When fate finds a way to bring Declan back into her life, it will take a lost child, a mother’s hope, and a message of forgiveness for Giselle to decide in the end if love is worth it.


My opinion? Well. Honestly, both are really good, so either could do as the query of choice. However, personal tastes dictate that the first half of the new query was just a bit wordy. See... the agent wants to get to the meat of the matter within seconds, and after we meet the MC(s), the conflict and stakes is the thing the romance query is about. But... as I said... it's just me. Anyway, I proposed a third version combining the two, and then I still had a few suggestions to make:


After the tragic death of her husband, Giselle Roberts is certain she will be single forever. Barely staying afloat caring for the needs of her five four small children, romance is the furthest thing from her mind. But a chance meeting of a handsome stranger, leaves her wondering if she’s ready to open her heart again.

Declan Worthington is charismatic, wealthy, and British, hence the with a sexy accent that drives Giselle to the brink of blissful surrender. He’s also great with her kids, who quickly grow to adore him. [All except for Giselle’s oldest son Cohen who thinks another man in the house is one too many.]<---- Not important for query purposes.

As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle begins to dream about a new future, one that involves romance and passion. She realizes she’s been given a second chance. A second chance to love. A second chance to live.

Never once does it cross her mind to not trust the man who has brought happiness back to her family him.

[It takes a worn newspaper clipping to find out]<---- Beware the passive construction. Rather go with: When Giselle discovers the truth about Declan’s shadowy past. Giselle’s perfect image of him , his perfect image crumbles, along with her chance for second love. [When fate finds a way to bring Declan back into her life] <--- Really?! Or did he make the choice to return? Beware making it seem as if the characters are lost in a sea of fate and circumstance, unable to make choices of their own. It creates the impression of weak story-telling. , it will take a [lost child] <--- lost how? , [a mother’s hope, and a message of forgiveness for Giselle to decide in the end if love is worth it.]<---- I like how the sentence ends, but instead of a laundry list, I think the query is strengthened by more detail. So that the reader gets why Giselle would want to give him another chance. 

Okay. So I had a lot of suggestions. But cleaned up, my idea of this query as awesome looks a bit more like this: 

After the tragic death of her husband, Giselle Roberts is certain she will be single forever. Barely staying afloat caring for the needs of her four small children, romance is the furthest thing from her mind. But a chance meeting of a handsome stranger, leaves her wondering if she’s ready to open her heart again.

Declan Worthington is charismatic, wealthy, and British, with a sexy accent that drives Giselle to the brink of blissful surrender. He’s also great with her kids, who quickly grow to adore him. As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle begins to dream about a new future, one that involves romance and passion. She realizes she’s been given a second chance. A second chance to love. A second chance to live.

Never once does it cross her mind to not trust him.

When Giselle discovers the truth about Declan’s shadowy past, his perfect image crumbles, along with her chance for second love. Yet when one of her sons vanishes, Declan is the one who steps up to help her find him. During the search, Giselle learns how deep the goodness in Declan goes, and she’ll have to decide if that’s worth giving him another chance.
 

As usual, I know it's far from perfect, so please feel free to share further (hopefully helpful) comments. 

4 comments:

mshatch said...

Okay, so I really like how Misha worked this but I'll take it a step further:



But when Giselle discovers the truth about Declan’s shadowy past, the perfect image she had crumbles, along with her chance for second love. Yet when one of her children vanishes, it's Declan who steps up to help her find him. During the search, Giselle sees beyond the man he was; she sees who he is now. Now she has to decide if that’s worth giving him another chance.


"deep goodness" seemed a little bland to me. Anyway. Just my take.

Nice query Ms. A. Nonymous :)

Misha Gericke said...

I agree with you about "deep goodness". Was a bit bleh and I hoped someone could come up with something better.

So thanks! ;-)

Traci Kenworth said...

I like the cleaned up version.

Kristin Smith said...

Thanks Misha for helping me combine the two queries! I like the way you ended it: "now she'll have to decide if that's worth giving him another chance."

Marcy, I love how you took it one step further! I absolutely love the line: "During the search, Giselle sees beyond the man he was; she sees who is now." I think I'll keep that one!