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message 1: by Alison (new)

Alison Butler | 15 comments Hi everyone. This is literally my first time writing a query letter, so I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing. Any advice would be helpful :) thank you!

Dear _________:


[I noticed on your Twitter/agency profile you are looking for ______. I hope you will consider…]

As a fifteen-year-old, Zoe DiMartino’s only claim to fame was a first kiss with a soon-to-be popstar named Felix. Ten years later, she’s living a simple life as a nurse in New York City, where the most exciting thing about her day is patients throwing boxes of gloves at her head. But after a one-night stand with Felix, she finds herself pregnant and totally lost.

When the cute son of one of her patients suddenly reappears, Zoe puts up a wall. She's afraid to share her secret and push him away. But, most of all, she’s afraid of falling into the depression she experienced during her parents’ divorce ten years ago. When Zoe pushes too hard, she finds herself spiraling, jeopardizing not only her safety, but that of her unborn child. Can Zoe accept the love of those around her, or will her own fears get the best of her?

Complete at 98,500 words, TEN YEARS LATER is a romantic women’s fiction novel addressing the emotional and psychological challenges women face during pregnancy. This story will appeal to readers who love the independent female voice of Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein, and the barriers to love in The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.

I am a born and bred Brooklynite who has recently graduated with a Masters in Nursing, and obtained a minor in Creative Writing from NYU. Ten Years Later is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
[me]


message 2: by GS (new)

GS Freed (gsfreed) | 6 comments Hi, Alison!

A novel about a woman's psychological challenges while pregnant sounds interesting. Emotional stuff is usually glossed over in favor of morning sickness and mood swings.

As a fifteen-year-old, Zoe DiMartino’s only claim to fame was a first kiss with a soon-to-be popstar named Felix. Ten years later, she’s living a simple life as a nurse in New York City, where the most exciting thing about her day is patients throwing boxes of gloves at her head. But after a one-night stand with Felix, she finds herself pregnant and totally lost.

{The first thing I noticed was that the first paragraph spends a lot of time with setup and backstory. It might be confusing to have the first sentence talk about Zoe being 15 when she seems to be an adult for the rest of the story. I'd lead with Zoe discovering she's pregnant, why she feels lost, and what she thinks her options are (considering the life she's been living thus far). Also, it might be relevant to mention why she feels the Felix character won't be in her child's life.}

When the cute son of one of her patients suddenly reappears, Zoe puts up a wall. She's afraid to share her secret and pushes him away. But, most of all, she’s afraid of falling into the depression she experienced during her parents’ divorce ten years ago. When Zoe pushes too hard, she finds herself spiraling, jeopardizing not only her safety, but that of her unborn child. Can Zoe accept the love of those around her, or will her own fears get the best of her?

{I didn't understand what the patient's son reappearing means. The son disappeared? Why is his reappearance sudden to Zoe? What does the son have to do with her? At first I thought he was a child. I'd make it clear that this son is an adult Zoe's attracted to and dates. I didn't understand why the name of the Felix character is mentioned but not the son's. Is being involved with the patient's son leading to Zoe's depression?}

{"But, most of all, she's afraid of falling into the depression..." This mentions she's afraid of sharing her secret, but this is only one thing and the word "most" implies a comparison to many things. Perhaps "But, more than that, she's afraid of falling..." would be more clear?}

{"When Zoe pushes too hard" -- Pushes too hard at what? At her job? In the relationship? At curbing her depression?}

{"Can Zoe accept the love of those...?" This love hasn't been mentioned in the query before. And this sentence states that there is more than one person whose love Zoe can't accept, but only the son is mentioned.}

Complete at 98,500 words, TEN YEARS LATER is a romantic women’s fiction novel addressing the emotional and psychological challenges women face during pregnancy. This story will appeal to readers who love the independent female voice of Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein, and the barriers to love in The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.

{So, the query could lead with the hook of Zoe discovering she's pregnant and the father being a popstar. Then there would be a bit about why that's a problem for her and how this pregnancy will impact her life and what she must do about it (for example, keep the baby but not tell anyone.) The next paragraph would be about Zoe coping, how the pregnancy affects her emotionally. And then it could get into the son (and how she feels about him), how this involvement complicates what she's going through, and the reasons why she doesn't want to become involved with him. The paragraph could end with Zoe not handling her emotional health very well, and the consequences of that.}

This is, of course, just a suggestion. You may have a better strategy for your query. Good luck. --GS Freed


message 3: by Alison (new)

Alison Butler | 15 comments This was really helpful! I've edited it per your suggestions. My only concern is that, despite the fact that it addresses peripartum depression, it's actually quite a lighthearted story. I don't want it to come across as very serious and dark. (It's not a romcom, per se, but the protagonist is funny and quirky.) So if anyone has thoughts on how to make that more clear...let me know :)

Dear _________:


[I noticed on your Twitter/agency profile you are looking for ______. I hope you will consider…]

Zoe DiMartino lives a simple life as a nurse in New York City, where the most exciting thing about her day is patients throwing glove boxes at her head. But everything changes when she falls pregnant after a one night stand with a popstar named Felix. After Felix makes it clear he doesn’t want any part in her or her baby’s life, Zoe is left completely lost.

When Zoe decides to keep the baby, she puts up a wall and keeps it a secret to all but her family and best friend, lest the truth come out of who the father is, and the reality that she must do this alone. Memories and emotions resurface that have long since been buried, and Zoe feels herself falling into the depression she experienced during her parents’ divorce ten years ago. She begins to spiral, pushing away the love of all those who care about her.

Then Gus, the handsome son of one of her patients, reappears, challenging the barriers that Zoe has become so comfortable hiding behind. But Zoe is terrified of sharing her secret and scaring him away. When she pushes too hard, Zoe finds her depression worsening, jeopardizing not only her safety, but that of her unborn child. Zoe must learn to accept the love of those around her, or her fears may get the best of her.

Complete at 98,500 words, TEN YEARS LATER is a romantic women’s fiction novel addressing the emotional and psychological challenges women face during pregnancy. This story will appeal to readers who love the independent female voice of Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein, and the barriers to love in The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.

I am a born and bred Brooklynite who has recently graduated with a Masters in Nursing, and obtained a minor in Creative Writing from NYU.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


message 4: by GS (new)

GS Freed (gsfreed) | 6 comments Great edit, Alison. I can understand the flow of the story.

As far as making sure that the quirky humor comes across, I would do that with word choices and asides, similar to what Zoe would make about the situation. The first sentence has hints of this with the patients throwing glove boxes at Zoe.

So instead of a neutral phrase like "Everything changes..." you'd borrow a bit of Zoe's perspective with something like "But she should have taken the latex to protect other parts of herself because she falls..." (but you know, worded better and more concisely and matching how she'd say or thinking it). These bits would probably be most useful in the sentences/phrases showing Zoe's reaction to a new circumstance.

Even the part about Felix not wanting any part of the baby's life could be worded as Zoe sees it.

The part in the middle about the depression might not have much humor in it, but it can be added to the sentence where Gus reappears. For example, would Zoe think of Gus being in her life as "challenging the barriers"?

Replacing the neutral wording (instead of adding more words, which might make this too long) with a few that highlight Zoe's personality would convey what type of character she is without just saying she is quirky and funny.

Hope this helped. Good luck.


message 5: by Alison (new)

Alison Butler | 15 comments Thank you so much for your help!! I actually have another updated version that I think is a little more to the point, based on some feedback I got on other sites.

Dear _________:


[I noticed on your Twitter/agency profile you are looking for ______. I hope you will consider…]

As a 15-year-old, Zoe DiMartino’s only claim to fame was a kiss with Felix. Ten years later, Felix is a famous popstar while Zoe is living a simple life as a nurse in New York City. But after reuniting with Felix in a one-night stand, she finds herself pregnant and totally lost.

After deciding to keep the baby, Zoe wants nothing more than to keep watching reality TV and eating pizza every day. But with pregnancy comes hormones, and Zoe’s explode in full-force, threatening to thrust her into the depression she faced when her parents divorced during her teenage years.

Then Gus, the handsome son of one of her patients, suddenly reappears. Afraid to share her secret and drive him off, Zoe puts up a wall, pushing away not only Gus, but everyone who cares about her. Soon, Zoe pushes too hard, and finds herself spiraling, jeopardizing not only her safety, but that of her unborn child. Zoe must learn to accept the love of those around her, or her own fears may get the best of her.

Complete at 98,500 words, TEN YEARS LATER is a romantic women’s fiction novel addressing the emotional and psychological challenges women face during pregnancy. This story will appeal to readers who love the witty, independent female voices of Christina Lauren novels, and the barriers to love in The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.

I am a born and bred Brooklynite who has recently graduated with a Masters in Nursing, and obtained a minor in Creative Writing from NYU.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


message 6: by Gifford (new)

Gifford MacShane (goodreadscomgifford_macshane) | 26 comments Hi, Alison,

You've done a great job editing the first two paragraphs. The only thing I miss is that Felix refuses to have anything to do with the child, which is a major factor in her decision to keep it. I think you should work that back in.

When it comes to the third paragraph, I get a little confused. Where did Gus "reappear" from & why did he go away? Did they have a romantic relationship before? I think it's just the use of "reappears" that creates the question. Would it make sense to just use "appears"?

I'm also thinking you give too much of the story away with this paragraph. I feel like I know the entire story with the exception of *how* Zoe saves herself. There's a fine line between being coy and giving too much information: I think you could use a little more coyness here. Here's a suggestion of what you might do:

Then Gus, the handsome son of one of her patients, appears and challenges the barriers Zoe has become comfortable hiding behind. But she pushes him away, along with everyone else who cares about her. When she starts to spiral into depression, Zoe jeopardizes not only her own safety, but that of her unborn child.

I don't think you need the last bit about her fears. To me, it's pretty obvious that's what needs to happen, and it's giving away too much of the ending. You want to get people interested in how Zoe recovers herself, and I feel this is too broad a hint of what's coming.

Those are just my thoughts -- take what you think makes sense and disregard the rest. Best of luck with your queries!


message 7: by Alison (last edited May 31, 2020 03:55PM) (new)

Alison Butler | 15 comments Thank you for your feedback! I adjusted a little and took out the last sentence of the third paragraph, which hopefully gives away a little less. I also readjusted the first paragraph just a little.

I tried to clarify why I chose "reappeared." She'd met him at the hospital, and then he shows up again in her life. I'm trying to make that clear, but I'm not sure if it's working :/

Here's the latest version...

Dear _________:

When she was fifteen, Zoe DiMartino’s only claim to fame was a kiss with a boy named Felix. Ten years later, he’s a popstar while she’s a nurse living in a shoebox apartment in Queens. But after a chance reunion and a one-night stand, Zoe finds herself pregnant.

After deciding to keep the baby, Zoe wants nothing more than to carry on watching reality TV and eating pizza every day. But with pregnancy comes hormones, and Zoe’s arrive in full-force, threatening to thrust her into the depression she faced when her parents divorced during her teenage years. Even better? Felix wants nothing to do with her.

Then Gus, the handsome son of one of her patients, reappears weeks after they first met at the hospital. Afraid to share her secret and drive him off, Zoe puts up a wall, pushing away not only Gus, but everyone who cares about her. Soon, Zoe pushes too hard, and finds herself spiraling, jeopardizing not only her safety, but that of her unborn child.

Complete at 98,500 words, TEN YEARS LATER is a coming-of-age women’s fiction novel. This story will appeal to readers who love the witty, independent female voices of Christina Lauren novels, and the barriers to love in The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez. [Any personalization would go in this paragraph]

I am a born and bred Brooklynite who has recently graduated with a Masters in Nursing, and obtained a minor in Creative Writing from NYU.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Alison Butler
[contact info]


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