We rolled into the driveway at 10 p.m. on Thursday night, ending a 3 week road trip. We drove through Georgia and South Carolina, where we visited with cousins before spending 2 wonderful weeks with family on Long Island. Then we came home through the Appalachians, ate at much loved Roanoke eatery (which had a cartoon on the wall of the women’s restroom that scared the bee-jezuss out of our son), and then drove home. The LSU Tigers won their bowl match-up against Texas A&M last night. And today, my husband is making breakfast and we still have the weekend ahead of us. Aside from spending $500 on the car because some moron plowed the snow off a curb at a gas station, making us think the entrance was about six feet closer than it actually was, this has been the best holiday EVER.
Now then…[cracks knuckles]…I am working on January Black query letter #…. (Thinking aloud…#1 would be the rejected letter to The Knight Agency. #2 included the stupid-in-hindsight mention of Chutney to The Nelson Agency…) THREE…query letter #3. Ugh…I read yesterday that root canals are preferable to writing these suckers and they are NOT kidding.
But, I’ve been reading some great articles of what NOT to do with a query letter and it’s helping. Writing professionally, (sorry Nelson), while not coming off stiffly, (sorry Knight), seems to be the approach that most agents are looking for.
One site recommends a “When…” opening, and another suggests introducing the protagonist in a way that shows the agent who he is. And then summarize the story in the second paragraph. That’s right…summarize 98,000 words in one paragraph.
This is attempt #3:
Everyone knows that ‘The January Black’ was a ship, but where the ship got its name is a mystery no one cares to solve. Every instance of the word ‘January’ has been deleted from the kingdom’s databases. To answer Hadrian’s question, Matty has to take a leaps of faith across the holes in his kingdom’s history and drown himself in a sea of old books. As he pieces together the clues, a picture of a long forgotten astrophysicist emerges. Her life teaches Matty about passion, fidelity, and sacrifice. He juggles his pursuit of January Black with his first girlfriend, a lively gardener named Iris Locke. The experience will transform him from a walking calculator into a subversive activist who will risk losing Iris and his own life to complete the king’s task.