Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jen Daiker's Current Query Critiqued

Okay. So here it is. If you didn't see Monday's post, or yesterday's, please check them out, below.

Here is Jen's query again, along with my thoughts, in red. Please feel free to add your feedback in the comments.


For twenty-four year old Jules Ausborn, Relationships aren’t exactly built on trust – or even reality, for that matter.

First off I just want to say that I think this whole query is very close. You've got the tough parts covered: it has great voice, and it's funny.

This opening hook is pretty good. We have a decent sense of character, which is the most important, and we have a hint of what kind of conflicts will be coming up. I would like to see even more character though, if possible. Even just a couple additional words could tell us a lot. Is Jules a shy barista? An ambitious student? An over-zealous journalist? Who is she? What kind of life does she lead?

I would also drop the "for that matter." It's not a huge deal, and is probably just a matter of taste, but I think the funny/snarky/slightly disturbing idea about reality has much more punch if it ends the hook all by itself.

She’s used to receiving unsolicited, and frankly awful, dating and self-improvement advice from her overly critical mother. That’s a normal day for her. She’d much rather seek guidance from celebrities she admires than the same help from her own family.

I like this too, it sets up the stakes and a little bit of backstory without going into too much detail or using too many words. I do think it could be reworded though.

Could you say "a normal day is full of unsolicited, and frankly ...?" The way it's written here feels backward, like it making up a normal day for her is an afterthought. And I noticed someone on yesterday's post didn't like the "frankly." I have to respectfully disagree. I think it fits with the voice here. It's not a word a young woman would likely use, but I think it goes with the subtle snark and hidden wit that I suspect Jules has.

That just goes to show you how subjective all this is.

I also think you should cut "same help;" it's redundant and therefore unnecessary.

What starts as a new years resolution and an infatuation with Paula Deen, slowly turns into a quest to straighten out her dating life. But when Jules takes things too far, blocked numbers and restraining orders produce a pile of trouble for her. She’s not exactly someone celebrities would normally befriend.

This is where we get to the vagueness that has been discussed. First off I love the bit about Paula Deen, living in the south I find her hilarious, if a bit pervasive. But, as funny as I think it is, I don't totally get it. What is the resolution? Does it have something to do with food? Or is it about men in her life? Don't be afraid to get specific with stuff like this. Just a few more words would make it a lot clearer.

I like the blocked numbers and restraining orders. I still think that line needs its own paragraph, and it should come later. It's hilarious, it's sad, it's scary, and it really wraps up the stakes pretty well. I would also like to see the bit about the guy next door coming sooner after the part about straightening out her dating life.

When you mix together misinterpreted dating advice, family pressures to be in a relationship and a hot next door neighbor who wants to be that guy, Jules finds herself on a wildly unexpected ride, seeking advice from Carrie Bradshaw’s sex talks and her fairy Godsister, Anne Hathaway. Jules has to decipher what advice she should heed, and when to let her own heart lead the way. Her Journal is the only one who knows the whole story.

I think this last paragraph is great. It really sings. It sums things up nicely, has great voice, and is pretty funny. I think if you moved the neighbor to the paragraph before, and then made the blocked numbers and restraining orders line a one sentence paragraph just before this one, that would improve things a bunch.

IN THE MIND OF A CELEBRITY STALKER is a 60,000-word epistolary, chick lit novel.

I know what epistolary means, and you can probably get away with it because technically this is the housekeeping section, and not the "story" part of your query, but I actually think it fit the voice of the rest of the query better when you said "told in journal format." You could also say "told as entries in her journal."

I'm a genre idiot, so I'll let the readers comment on how they feel about chick-lit versus Women's Fiction or Commercial Fiction.

The first five pages are included and a synopsis and the complete manuscript are available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Daiker

So that's it. Please let Jen and I know what you think. You are strongly encouraged to disagree with me if that's how you feel. I'm no expert, and we all know how subjective this all is, so please let Jen know what you think.

51 comments:

Jen Daiker said...

This was fabulous advice already this morning Matthew! Thank you! As for all those who commented on the post yesterday I will take your thoughts into consideration and already have (yup, I'm already hard at work).

It looks like I condensed my query letter just a little too much and I agree that a few more tidbits of knowledge should be added!!


I would greatly appreciate ANY info on what to label my novel as... I heard chick-lit is going out of style and I thought about going with contemporary fiction but some guidance would do me wonders!

Laura Pauling said...

Sorry about commenting yesterday! Great suggestions Matthew! I like journal format better too. And I believe chick lit is an outdated term and non trendy genre, so women's fiction might be better. But I could be totally off on that one.

Kelly said...

Jen has a cute story premise that will hook twenty somethings!
Matthew, I think your critiques are spot on. I like how you reworded the paragraph starting "a normal day".
A few grammatical nitpicks: would it be New Year's resolution instead of new years resolution?
Agreed tell a little more about the resolution (small hint?) plus reword last sentence in that paragraph! And fairy Godsister - Fairy Godsister? Just double check.
Great job, Jen & Matthew!

Tracy said...

I agree with Matt, this letter is pretty close to ready. I also agree with the wording to start the second paragraph. Maybe play around with it and come up with something a little more like "A normal day is usually chock full of unsolicited, and frankly awful, dating or self-improvement advice an overly critical mother." Well, that's a little rough, but hopefully you get the point.

Good luck, Jen, and hopefully, you continued to get lots of good tips and suggestions!

Vicki Rocho said...

I want a few more specifics. What is the Resolution? How is she contacting these celebrities? The restraining order intrigues me, so I'd like that disaster hinted at more...don't have to give up all the details but just hint at who it involved.

Catherine Denton said...

The first line hooked me; the third paragraph captured me. I wanna know what those restraining orders are for.

The only part that tripped me up was the second paragraph and Matthew covered the part that concerned me. As far as chick lit versus the other, I'm sorry I don't know.
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Anne N Kenny said...

I love Matt's advice. Revealing a little more about Jules, especially the restraining order ;) could make this stand out even more.

Anne Gallagher said...

Is Paula Deen the only celeb she stalks? I wouldn't have known who she was save the fact I now live in the south. And if this a novel for 20-somethings, wouldn't she be stalking Christina Aguilera? You mention Anne Hathaway -- she's 20 something. I think if you do use Paula Deen you have to comment on why, as she's older, maybe her southern charm or the relation to food -- does Jules watch her program on tv? Paula just doesn't cut it for me.

Also, as to genre - humorous women's/commercial fiction -- would work.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Jen, I like the feedback much better than the query letter. I think you have a great start, but it is short. I think, unless the agent knows you well, that you need to add something and make it longer. Something about you. Who are you? That's what the agent will be wondering. Most query letters I've studied have a little something about the author at the end.

Sometimes there is a sentence on why you selected this agent to query too, although that is debatable depending on who you talk to. This all can be done while keeping the query letter well under one page.

Finally, I would pay for an editor to give it a once over. I paid my editor a fair fee and believe me it looks so much better. There are things only an experienced editor can give you above and beyond what anyone else can.

Best wishes for your success!!!

LTM said...

I agree with all of Matt's comments. He has this way of taking what I say and pretending like he said it first... LOL! I'm totally j/k~

That last part, Chick-lit is indeed a genre, so I'd leave it as is. I'm just not sure the correct way to write it. :D Great work, Jen! You're a natch, baby~ xoxo

Katie Mills said...

Good Job Matt. I agree with mostly everything except the first line. I would keep it exactly as it is- including the 'for that matter'. It really gives a sense of the voice and subtle humor. Great job both of you!

Lydia K said...

Great job Matt and Jen! I agree with wanting more specifics. It would color the voice even brighter. And I'll say it again, the idea of this book is great and I can see a ton of people who love celeb gossip loving this book!

Bish Denham said...

Good job Matt. I first thought Jules was a guy, and it startled me a bit to discover he was really a she. So doing like Matt suggested, giving a bit more about who she is will resolve that.

I don't know who Paula Deen is but that's just my ignorance because I don't watch a whole lot of TV.

The only other "issue" I have is in this sentence: "Her Journal is the only one who knows the whole story." I strongly feel the 'who' should be a 'that.'

Minor nit-picky stuff.

Good job Jen! Sounds like a funny romp.

Shain Brown said...

I think her approach is almost spot on and suggestions are great. The journal approach, that I had to think about, but I love it. I look forward to seeing the final providing Jen decides to make any changes.

Jen, thank you so much for sharing with us. Sometimes it can be tough being in the center seat.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I thought this was a great query (better than I usually write), but it was nice to see how to make it better. Matt's suggestions are spot on. The vagueness didn't bother me much because I was already sold on the hook and voice, but I'm not an agent.

Thanks, Jen, for being brave and sharing this with us. And awesome job as always, Matt.

Donea Lee said...

Jen - you already know I love your concept! :) You've got some wonderful advice here.

Matt - that "wonderful advice" bit above was aimed at you!

I agree, something more specific about who Jules is any other day and also a specific idea of how she gets into trouble would add that little bit extra. BEST of luck with this! I know Jen will be hard at revising as all the comments come in ~ :D

Tracey Neithercott said...

What a fun idea. I love the voice!

I agree with Matt's advice. I'm also having a hard time making the connection between Paul Deen, the resolution, and her dating life.

I have a few other comments:

1. It's twenty-four-year-old Jules
2. I'm not sure why the R in relationships is capitalized. I would understand it if you did it in the fourth paragraph, because by then we've established that relationships are a huge deal to her famliy, but in the first sentence I'm not sure it's clear yet.
3. I wonder if you can just cut "That's a normal day for her" without working it in somehow. If she's used to receiving unsolicited advice we can assume it happens often. I'm not sure knowing that it happens daily vs. often is essential to understanding her motives.
4. The last sentence of that paragraph could end with "she admires." It's understood from that we're talking about instead of her family.
5.It's New Year's resolution.
6. I wonder if the "that" in the final paragraph should be italicized?
7. I think if you're going to capitalize the G in godsister you should capitalize the F in fairy since together that's her title.
8. Not sure why the J in journal is capitalized.
9. In that sentence it should be "the only one that knows..." Who's only for people.

I'm going to cast my vote for women's fiction. I read on some agent's blog (and of course I can't remember where!) that chic lit is out and now being marketed as women's fiction. If you do that, I think the particular type of story is very clear in your query.

Good luck, Jen. This sounds like a great story!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i like this. The only thing i really had a problem with, and Matt captured it, was the vagueness of the 3rd paragraph. I agree with matt, that you should move the restraining line out (later) and get more specific here.
Otherwise, great job!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Just sent Jen an email since I'd told her I'd look at her query. I think everyone here has great advice, too! I'd agree going for the women's fiction genre, too.

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

I was going to say JUST what Catherine Denton said...

Michelle Merrill said...

Great critique.

I like the comments about getting more specific.

I'd go with a different way to say epistolary.

I think chick lit is fine. Maybe it's a personal preference, though.

As far as the first five pages being included, I think a lot of submission guidelines are specific about what you include. But I think that is a flexible sentence :)

Abby Minard said...

Jen- Matt's comments look pretty spot on. I would also change the "chick lit" to "women's fiction". Or you can cater to each agent- look to see what the agent has listed, whether it's chick lit or womens fiction and then go with that.

Good luck my brave friend! Can't wait to hear how it goes!

Tawna Fenske said...

Sounds like a funny story!

I'll stay out of the query critique since everyone else seems to have handled that beautifully, but I will comment on the genre.

DO NOT under any circumstances use the term "chick lit." That term became a kiss of death with agents and editors about five years ago, and using it now is a surefire way to show you're out-of-touch with the marketplace (sorry...that sounds harsh, but it's unfortunately true).

What we used to think of as chick lit does still sell, but we now have to call it "commercial fiction" or "humorous women's fiction" (don't use straight-up "women's fiction" for a story like this one, as that term carries a more literary implication).

That's my .02, which is a reasonably educated .02 since my agent and I went through A LOT of drama surrounding what to call my work before we landed my three-book deal. Interestingly enough, the term "romantic comedy" (what I write) is often considered a kiss of death by many editors, who prefer "humorous women's fiction" or something like that. I knew I loved my editor when she flat-out called it "romantic comedy."

Elana Johnson said...

When you mix together misinterpreted dating advice, family pressures to be in a relationship and a hot next door neighbor who wants to be that guy, Jules finds herself on a wildly unexpected ride, seeking advice from Carrie Bradshaw’s sex talks and her fairy Godsister, Anne Hathaway. Jules has to decipher what advice she should heed, and when to let her own heart lead the way. Her Journal is the only one who knows the whole story. (Don’t hate me, but this whole paragraph feels disjointed from the rest of the query. It’s almost like a second query all it’s own… So what I’d do is keep what you have up above, and cut and rewrite this paragraph into the conflict and consequence. Maybe something like, “After mixing misinterpreted dating advice, family pressures to get married, and a hot next door neighbor, Jules seeks guidance from Carrie Bradshaw’s sex talks and her fairy Godsister, Anne Hathaway. In the end, Jules will have to decipher what counsel she should take, and when to let her own heart lead the way.” THE END.)

IN THE MIND OF A CELEBRITY STALKER is a 60,000-word epistolary, chick lit novel. (Okay, I had to look up “epistolary” but I like it. I might just rearrange. Like, “IN THE MIND OF A CELEBRITY STALKER is an epistolary chick lit novel, complete at 60,000 words.” That eliminates that weird comma, you know?)

Hope something helps!

Elana Johnson said...

For twenty-four year old Jules Ausborn, relationships (Not sure why this was capped; I made it lowercase.) aren’t exactly built on trust – or even reality, for that matter. (Nice. I like this opener.)

She’s used to receiving unsolicited, and frankly awful, dating and self-improvement advice from her overly critical mother. That’s a normal day for her. (I’d cut this sentence, as you already said “she’s used to” which implies normal. Then I’d add a “But” to the beginning of the next sentence. “But she’d much rather seek…”) She’d much rather seek guidance from the celebrities she admires than the same help from her own family.

What starts as (word change sugg: with) a new years (New Year’s should be capped.) resolution and an infatuation with Paula Deen, (no comma) slowly turns into a quest to straighten out her dating life. But when Jules takes things too far, blocked numbers and restraining orders produce a pile of trouble for her. She’s not exactly someone celebrities would normally befriend. (I’m good until here. Then the voice and who’s narrating become all muddled for me.)

Elana Johnson said...

Oops, my comments are out of order. Ha ha! The second one is the first part of the query, the first one is the last part. :)

KarenG said...

I'm just agape at the awesome advice that has been given here, in the posts yesterday and today, not just Matthew's but all the comments. I'm intrigued by the women's fiction/chick lit controversy. I like 'humorous women's fiction' as Tawna mentioned. I don't like 'commercial women's fiction' as that implies that *plain* women's fiction won't sell, and so where does that put the likes of me? Ha! Anyway, this is really wonderful that so many people have pitched in to help with Jen's query. I heart the writing blogging world.

beth said...

I've not read any of the other comments, even Matt's--here's my take:

For twenty-four year old Jules Ausborn, Relationships aren’t exactly built on trust – or even reality, for that matter.

--It should be: twenty-four-year-old
--Why is Relationships capitalized?
--I think this is a great opening line, btw!
--In reading further, I think I should also add: the line the they aren't based in reality made me immediately think "paranormal"


She’s used to receiving unsolicited, and frankly awful, dating and self-improvement advice from her overly critical mother. That’s a normal day for her. She’d much rather seek guidance from celebrities she admires than the same help from her own family.

--This is succinct and tightly written. I think you could delete the sentence "that's a normal day for her"--it's superfluous.

What starts as a new years resolution and an infatuation with Paula Deen, slowly turns into a quest to straighten out her dating life. But when Jules takes things too far, blocked numbers and restraining orders produce a pile of trouble for her. She’s not exactly someone celebrities would normally befriend.

--Hmm. Infatuation with Paula Deen sounds fun and funny, a light toned novel (perhaps like Bridget Jone's Diary?) but the "blocked numbers and restraining orders" sounds like she's creepy--not fun and light and at all. I'm not sure where you're going with the story. Is this light and funny? Is it dark and creepy? Basically--does she involve herself in hilarious high-jinks or is this a dark psychological decent?


When you mix together misinterpreted dating advice, family pressures to be in a relationship and a hot next door neighbor who wants to be that guy, Jules finds herself on a wildly unexpected ride, seeking advice from Carrie Bradshaw’s sex talks and her fairy Godsister, Anne Hathaway. Jules has to decipher what advice she should heed, and when to let her own heart lead the way. Her Journal is the only one who knows the whole story.

--Why is Journal capitalized?
--I don't see the connection between the named celebrities and the character's journey. Rather than name so many, why not give an example of a specific piece of advice (i.e. Following Carrie Bradshaw's advice to buy shoes before food...)
--I also don't really have a clear idea of the stakes involved. What's the plot?
--Let me be clearer on that--the best advice I ever heard was from Cheryl Klein. Basically, in a query letter, you should show the interntal and external situation. In other words: the emotional conflict and the physical conflict. What, emotionally, does the MC want? What, physically, does the MC want? If you can nail that down, you've got a query. (Example: a character wants to find happily ever after with the boy next door (physical) but needs to first come to love herself (emotional).)


IN THE MIND OF A CELEBRITY STALKER is a 60,000-word epistolary, chick lit novel.

--Not epistolary; journal style
--Why is there a comma between epistolary and chick lit?


--AFTER READING OTHER COMMENTS--

-I like the "for that matter" that Matt suggests you cut; it shows style to me.
-I also liked the "frankly!"
-RE: labeling the genre. I think "women's fiction" is the more accepted term for chick lit these days. Some agents HATE the chick lit term--so, really, I think it just comes down to researching the agent, seeing what term they like. You could also get around this through a comparison: "women's fiction similar to____" Comparisons can be dangerous, but in this situation, I think it would help.
-I think Tawna's advice is spot on--give it a label more closely related to its genre (i.e. romantic comedy)

Hope this help!

Talli Roland said...

I've been told chick lit is dead - so to call it 'light women's fiction' or 'romantic comedy'. There's not much more I can add here that others haven't said -- good luck, Jen!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

My two cents! I wrote these yesterday, and I think some of what I think is in line with Matt/other ppl's critiques. Take of leave what you will :)

1st para: Twenty-four year old should be twenty-four-year-old, I believe. Is relationship capitalized on purpose? I LOVE the not being in reality part! I got sucked in RIGHT away with that little tidbit!

2nd para: I’d tweak the wording here, especially the second sentence because it seems clunky in the middle. What about something like: She receives unsolicited and, frankly, awful dating and self-improvement advice from her overly critical mother, pretty much on a daily basis. But Jules turns, instead, to seeking guidance from celebrities she admires.

3rd para: EXPAND on Paula Deen and what she has to do with Jules’s resolution! I really want to know more—which is good anyway, but I think a little bit more detail would seal the deal. And blocked numbers and restraining orders… Love :)

4th para: ooo okay, so here we have the possible love interest. I think he’s too hidden in the text. Could you bring him in earlier, or make him stand out more? Actually, I'd cut the stuff about dating advice and family pressures and keep the first sentence solely about the neighbor guy. Then, start the next sentence with “Jules finds herself on a wild ride…”

Good luck! I can't wait to hear about all your success :)

Joanna St. James said...

Good Luck babe, it sounds really funny but I would follow all the advice and include more detail Stephen tremp is also right abt the other stuff he mentioned too.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I learn more every time Matt features a query. Thanks!! Jen, I think your letter is off to a great start. I echo Anne's comments about Paula Deen, as she is an older woman and really only well-known by southerners and foodies who tune into the Food Network.

Also, I realize this is a draft, but grammatical issues and capitalization/punctuation mistakes tend to pull my attention to them, and away from an author's work. Tightening up the mechanics of your letter will strengthen its overall impact. Good luck with it!!!

((hugs)) Nicole

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Okay, I haven't read anyone (including Matt's comments) AND I'm writing this under the influence of a head cold and fever. So...sorry if it's repetitive or incoherent.

My 2 cents:

Like the hook, though I do wonder why the R in relationships is capitalized. But then it throws me when I get to the next paragraph, because I don't see the connection. It's like: here's this great hook about how relationships aren't based on reality, so I'm expecting the next sentence to explain what kind of imaginary insanity they are based on. And...instead I learn about her mother. So I think you need to connect those two better. Though honestly, I kinda feel like you don't need it. It's pretty much just back story, right?

I also see a lot of vagueness. "But when Jules takes things too far" and "pile of trouble" are way too general. But even things like"seeking advice from her fairy godsister, Anne Hathaway." Um...what advice? Anne Hathaway has played so many different roles and stuff, I have absolutely no idea what that means. Even the infatuation with Paula Deen. That makes me think so...what, she's going to start eating too much butter? I need to know what it is about Paula that makes her decide to change--and then what does she do?

Also--maybe I'm dumb, but I have no idea what you're trying to say with "her journal is the only one who knows the whole story." Does that mean the book is written in journal format? If not, why is that the thing you end on? And even if it is in journal format...I think you can end on more of a high. I think queries work best when they end with a call to action. Something like your second to last sentence, only with a little more punch.

Might just be me though.

Hope that helps. Sorry if it doesn't. And please, ignore ANYTHING you disagree with. :)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Okay, so I am dumb. If I'd read the stats sentence I would have noticed the word epistolary in there. I still don't think that's the best last sentence. But it would at least help if I'd read the entire thing. Can I blame the fever?

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Talei said...

Jen,

This is great! Enjoyed reading it, I liked the voice, and definitely piqued my curiosity. Also, I think this is a great critique by Matthew. Agree with all his points too.

Thanks so much for it sharing with us.

Suzie F. said...

Firstly, thank you, Matt for this feature of your blog. I learn so much when reading and participating in query critiques. Great notes on Jen's query.

Hi Jen, you brave girl! Thanks for having the courage to post your query for us. Here are some notes I took yesterday.

1st P - I really like your opening line.
lower case r for Relationships

2nd - I like this first sentence but think you could cut a couple of the adjectives and leave it as, She's used to receiving unsolicited advice from her critical mother.
This is a personal choice, but what about combining 1st and 2nd paragraph since they're both so short?

3rd - capitalize N and Y and apostrophe s on New Year's. Like first sentence. How does Jules take things "too far?" I think you need an example or two here.

Last sentence: I don't want to sound mean so "I'm sorry" first. The last sentence fell flat for me. It doesn't blend with the others because I don't feel how it connects to the previous ones.

4th P - First sentence is good but should be broken up. It's too long. I was thrown off a bit when you mentioned the "hot guy." I'm not sure if you might want to mention him earlier or if you're going for a "whoa, there's a hot guy?" teaser at the end. I'd cut "unexpected" and keep the phrase "wild ride." This would be a good place for a period. Then you'd need to reconstruct your second sentence. I really like the "Jules has to decipher..." sentence a lot (awesome)

last sentence: My thought was "Whoa, she's writing in a journal?" Perhaps you could use this fact in the opening of your query. Just a thought. Maybe use it (or something similar) as the last sentence of your 1st P. Then you wouldn't need to combine the 1st and 2nd.

I hope these notes were helpful. You're off to a great start. Good luck!

Kittie Howard said...

Great job, Jen! Not much to add, save that I agree with Kelly's comment and I needed a bit more info. Why Paula Dean?

Maybe Romantic Comedy?

Jen, you so nailed it, I think you've got a winner! Good luck!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Hey, Jen!

It seems to me that Jules is a pretty quirky character, and I would recommend bringing more of that quirkiness out in your query. If possible, I would get the line about restraining orders into that opening sentence -- because saying that her relationships are not based on reality led me to think "fantasy" not "stalker."

This is just off the top of my head but, I'm thinking:
"For twenty-four year-old Jules Ausborn, relationships aren't exactly built on trust -- or even reality, as the restraining orders ought to have shown her by now." That's a little weak, but you get the idea.

"She'd much rather seek guidance from celebrities she admires ..." This sentence sounds as if the celebrities WANT to give their advice. How about finishing it with something like: "... even if some of them are more likely to answer her with pepper spray."

In short, I'd like to see the query funnier, quirkier, and more off-beat, to match the plot you're describing. What do you think?

Jen Daiker said...

Thank you everyone for their fabulous advice. I will take it all home and look through all that was offered and find out what I'll keep.

It was not easy sharing my query but you all made it easier!

Dianne - I loved your pepper spray idea, that was super cute! ;)

Just one other note - I chose to leave the author bio out because I thought for the purpose of the query letter that had nothing to do with the story, therefore didn't need to be critiqued! :)

Jennifer Hillier said...

Gosh, not much to add to what's already been said. You're on the right track with this Jen! Don't be afraid to be as funny in your query as you are in your book. And I think I prefer the term "women's fiction" to "chick-lit", but that's just me. GOOD LUCK, girl!

E. Elle said...

First off, this sounds like a book I would read so it's a winner with me. There are a few cliches that bother me (i.e. "let her own heart lead the way") but I'm anti-cliche anyway, so feel free to ignore that.

In the paragraph that starts "When you mix..." I kind of feel like the last sentence is just tacked on. Could you put it somewhere in the middle? I think the next to last sentence would make a stronger conclusion to the paragraph.

I have no real opinion on Chick Lit vs. Women's Fiction. But I think "Chick Lit" fits better with the voice of the query.

Best of luck!

Old Kitty said...

Oh I do like the points in red here! That's why I'm so way not to the query stage yet cos I'd not pick up what Matthew with the Change of Surname has commented on!! I like the word epistolary - but then again it does kind of stands out as being not a normal word used. But hey what do I know!! I'd love to read the re-write if that's happening!! Yay!! Good luck Jennifer Daiker, thanks for sharing!! Take care
x

Jemi Fraser said...

You've got a great voice here Jen! That will definitely grab some attention :)

I tried to avoid looking at other comments before making mine, so I may repeat (sorry!).

I think you could tighten a bit - eliminate 'for that matter', 'overly critical', 'that's a normal day', 'the same help' - make it flow a little more smoothly & I don't think eliminating those would hurt your voice.

A few nitpicks on capitals (Relationships, New Year's).

I think you'd be better off saying humorous women's fiction (a friend of mine was advised to use that instead of chick lit by several agents & editors)

Anyway - love it! Hope that helps! Good luck in the trenches :)

Carolyn V said...

Actually, I think you hit it right on Matthew! Excellent work Jen! I can't wait to hear the good query news! =D

Chris Phillips said...

Everything I would have said is covered. Nice work.

Jessica Bell said...

Some great advice form Matt here. Yes, it's definitely chick lit! Good luck Jen! I think Matt has pretty much said it all. :o) Can't wait to hear how your querying goes!

Michelle McLean said...

ack! late to the party :) You've gotten some awesome advice, it sounds like a great book. Good luck!

M Pax said...

I think Jen did a great job and your advice will only make her sparkle more.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Jen, you've done a great job so far, and all my comments have been said by others already, so I'll just say:
BEST OF LUCK! :-D

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Wow. So interesting to read this version considering I read a different version last week. :)

As I told Jen, I'm so impressed that she wrote multiple versions.. I ca barely churn out one query letter per book. ;)

So many people already gave great advice so I'll just say I love Jen and can't wait to hear about her agent announcement!