Critique This! #3

Please give me feedback on my query letter! I'm panicking! Thank you for your time.


Dear Publisher/Editor, [I know you can’t properly address this particular version of your query, but when sending the real one, be sure to find out who to send it to and address it correctly—double check the spelling of the name.]

Brits and Pieces is a story about the power of love and the twists and turns it can take along its road. [its road? to what? to where?] This fiction/romance genre novel [fiction/romance is not a genre, per se; since your protagonist is kidnapped by a psycho stalker from her past, you may safely call this a romantic suspense, or perhaps a thriller romance. A fiction novel is redundant] has humor, tragedy and hope. [don’t tell me, show me]

Angie Carmichael never believed that famous singer Michael Winchester would actually read the Book of Mormon she sent him on a whim but when he requests to meet her after a concert, she agrees with enthusiasm. After an instant attraction, Michael invites her to be his personal guest on his concert tour rather than lose her to her boring life as a welfare worker in Las Vegas. Angie can hardly believe the turn her life has taken when she tells Michael that she has always wanted to pursue musical theater but could never overcome her vicious [find a different adjective] stage fright. With Michael's help, Angie is able to step into the concert when the soloist falls ill with no understudy. [Is this a single person concert? Or a theatrical musical production? or something in between?]. In doing so, Angie draws the attention of her former friend Michelle Davis. The attention turns deadly when Michelle feels threatened by Angie's relationship to the object of her obsession: Michael Winchester. As Angie fights to recover from the accidental death of her parents [what?! where did this come from? Is she recovering physically? was she in the accident with them? or is she recovering emotionally?] and the infidelity of her fiancé, [what?! another jolt. this needs to come sooner] Michael battles his own demons remaining from his painful divorce.

The murder of Michael's manager prompts Angie to feel responsible for his death [why? did she kill him?] in addition to her parents' [why? did she kill them too?] and she begins a rapid descent into shock climaxing with her own kidnapping by Michelle and Angie's escape. [this makes it sound like “her” and “Angie” are two different people.] Michelle is arrested and the new couple moves to England to recuperate. [what?! When did they get this close?] Michael's interest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grows along with his feelings for Angie and soon he is baptized and proposes to Angie.
Through love and loss, Angie and Michael find each other only to wonder if it will last through eternity. [You end the book with some question about them being able to stay in love??]
This 94,000 word manuscript is completed and ready for review. I am currently a full time student in Las Vegas, Nevada and a Human Services caseworker. [how is this relevant?]

This query needs some work. Watch your sentence structure. Shorten them up, make them clear and concise and packing a full punch.

Your facts seem to be out of order. They don’t present a smooth story line. The query is choppy with surprises popping up in the wrong places. It leaves me with too many unresolved questions. In the rewrite below, I’ve made up some details. Replace them with the facts from your story.

After reading your entire query, I don’t get the “Brits” part of your title. Is this a typo? Or are you alluding to the fact that they go to England at the end of the book? And how long after they go to England does the book end? I can’t tell if that is the end of your story (in which case, the title doesn’t work) or if they go in the middle of the story and spend some time falling in love there (in which case, the title still doesn’t work—unless Michael is British, but there’s no mention of that anywhere.)

I know this is every woman’s fantasy, but I don’t buy the premise that a famous singer would ask to meet a stranger after the show, invite her to go on tour with him, that she would drop everything and go, and that she just happens to have the desire, the talent and the skill to replace the lead singer in the show. If this is indeed how you want the plot to unfold, you have to build in some credentials.


Dear LDS Publisher, [We’re assuming this is my real name.]

Brits and Pieces is a 94,000 word romantic suspense novel, featuring love and betrayal, murder and kidnapping, tragedy and hope.

Angie Carmichael’s life is a mess. Her parents have recently died in a suspicious car accident. She discovers that her fiancé has been unfaithful. And the final straw, she loses her part-time job as the weekend warm-up singer at a local dinner theater—lately the only spot of joy in her life. Overwhelmed by grief, anger, guilt and betrayal, she jumps at the chance to escape her life as a welfare worker in Las Vegas (her day job) and go on tour with a musical theatrical group [I am not familiar enough with musical performances to know what to properly call this. But as the author, be sure to research this out and call it the correct thing.] starring none other than the British born tenor, Michael Winchester, her secret crush.

On a whim, Angie gives Michael a copy of the Book of Mormon and he actually reads it! He asks her to accompany him for a quick bite after a show and she agrees with enthusiasm. Michael confesses his own struggle with a painful divorce, and the relationship grows as both Angie and Michael learn to trust again.

Just as it seems they might be headed toward “happily ever after,” Angie is thrust into the spotlight when the soloist in the musical production falls ill and the understudy quits just before the curtain opens. Angie is the only one who can fill in at a moment’s notice. To everyone’s surprise, Angie is a hit and continues on in the role. Being the focus of a production like this is a thrill for Angie, but it has its drawbacks—namely the unwanted attention of former friend, Michelle Davis. The attention turns deadly when Michelle feels threatened by Angie's relationship with the object of her obsession: Michael Winchester.

Michael’s manager turns up dead, with all fingers pointing to Angie as the prime suspect. Even Michael has his doubts about her innocence, until Angie is kidnapped by Michelle. Angie escapes her captor and together, she and Michael find the evidence to expose Michelle as the true killer.

With Michelle in prison and the tour ended, Angie and Michael travel to England to recuperate and pick up the pieces of their relationship. Michael's interest in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to grow and soon he is baptized. His proposal to Angie testifies to the strength of true love and its ability to overcome tragedy and loss, replacing it with the hope for eternity.

1 comment:

Helena said...

I have a friend named Angie Carmichael.