Author: JamieKate
•9:58 PM
Okay, so I figured that if anyone was reading this blog and wanted insight into how I'm getting along with my current query letter (be quiet, you know you're at the edge of your seat), I'd help them on out with that. 

My problem is with my synopsis, not any of the other parts, so I'll only be posting that here. I'm having difficulty conveying the themes of my book while still inciting any anticipation or excitement about the plot. Blah. Well, here are my drafts. Enjoy.

Draft the First:
Marriage is not a choice in 1850's England. Or, it isn't for Victoria Calwell. Her father, the Marquis of Malmsbury, is forcing her into an advantageous marriage to suit his need for social standing. She is left not only divided from her all-too-devoted best friend, Leonard Allen, but trapped for the rest of her life with the Duke of Winchester, whose idea of marital satisfaction is absolute obedience. Her only light in the darkness is her new stepson, Gregory, who, thanks to the duke's numerous defunct marriages, is ten years Victoria's senior and devoted to keeping her safe.

As Leonard realizes the seriousness of Victoria's attachment to Gregory, and Victoria in turn realizes just how harsh her new husband can be, the two begin to wonder if they can ever be happy again.

Fine, right? Not great, but fine. It gets the point across. But there's no excitement to it. It doesn't make you go, "Oh yeah, I'd love to read that! I want to know what happens next!"

So then I tried a slightly different approach.

Draft the Second:
Victoria Calwell is not the marrying kind. Rather, she’s the kind to get drunk and raucous and not care about society’s opinions. But marriage is inevitable for all beautiful, wealthy girls in 1850’s England, especially ones born to socially-obsessed fathers. He forces her into marriage with the ancient and lecherous Duke of Winchester, and both she and her best friend Leonard (whose unrequited love has led him to tail behind her for years) are devastated.

For a girl who has used her behavior to escape all her life, her immediate goal is to get out of the marriage by any means. That is, until she meets her new stepson, Gregory, ten years her senior and devoted to keeping her safe from the duke’s violent tendencies. His sad life and meek nature draw her to remain in the debilitating marriage, despite Leonard’s concern for both her safety and her loyalty to him.

And there's where I gave up. I don't know. Some of the wordings are weird, and it's just...again, there's no real excitement. It sounds like an encyclopedia entry. "This happened, then this happened. Aren't you excited. Please buy my book, plzkthx."

Draft the Third:

Everyone in London society is in love with Victoria Calwell. Some love her just because they need someone to ridicule, and some love her because they enjoy watching her brazen and often intoxicated antics at parties. But men love her, in their different ways, for different reasons. Her best friend Leonard admires her tenacity and empathy. The Duke of Winchester finds her impudence a challenge, as if she were a horse to tame. And his son, Gregory, finds that she is the only person he can talk to without fidgeting or stuttering.

Each man wants to possess her in his own way. The Duke, of course, wins her hand in marriage through social connivance with her father. But marriage contracts are not everything, especially to a woman whose conscience in regards to public opinion is nonexistent. 

And this is my current draft. I'm unsure about this one, only because everything is happening to Victoria, and she doesn't seem like the awesome go-getter she is. I don't know. Maybe I'll tweak it and make it work somehow.

If anyone has any thoughts on how I could make any of these more awesome, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.

EDIT: No matter how many times I try, I can't get the whacka-doo spacing and coloring from Word to look pretty and neat like I want it to, so please dismiss any formatting errors. 
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On January 20, 2010 at 10:10 PM , Kat Riddell said...

Out of the three, I like the second one best, although it could definitely use some revision &etc. That's the one that best expresses the characters and the general feel of the book. Of course, it could use some touching up, but I think it's definitely the best place to start out of the three versions you have so far.

On January 20, 2010 at 10:34 PM , JamieKate said...

Thanks, Kat! Your vote has been accorded. I might agree with you. I don't know. I'm having trouble deciding. :P

On January 21, 2010 at 9:51 AM , DL Hammons said...

You have perfectly illustrated the agony they call querying. I'm in the same boat as you, having generated at least a dozen versions of my own query letter. It is tortorous!

Anyway, I'm actually partial to the first one, and don't like the third one at all. I like some elements of the second one (the introduction of the step-son). A question, what is your MC's main objective in the story? To extract herself from an unwanted marriage, or is there something more compelling? Put that in your query.

On January 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM , JamieKate said...

I know! I wish someone who knew the ins and outs of my book would just tell me which one would sell my book, and I'd be able to say. "Oh, yeah, thanks for that!"

Hmm. That's a good way to look at it. I'll write another draft. Haha!

Thanks for following, new follower! You made my day extra special. :D


On January 21, 2010 at 5:32 PM , Kimberly Franklin said...

I agree with Kat. I like #2 the best, too. That was definitely the one to make me think "now I'd like to read that." : )

On January 21, 2010 at 5:41 PM , JamieKate said...

Thanks for your input!! 2 against 1. Hmm. Haha!

On January 21, 2010 at 6:41 PM , Anonymous said...

*Gasp* You have a blog? I had no idea until now. I've missed out on so much.

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your progress with us. I, for one, know a bit of how you feel as I've had to write a synopsis as well. The thought of having to write one was horrifying, and burdensome. Kept heaving out sighs at the thought of it. I never want to write one again...but I'll probably have to.

I really like your synopsis though. Very catchy.

On January 21, 2010 at 9:43 PM , rfoley.08 said...

Well. I've read it, as you know. I choose...numero dos. It portrays Vee perfectly. She's fiesty and unique and that needs to be a part of your query, because that's part of what makes this story so awesome.

On January 21, 2010 at 9:44 PM , JamieKate said...

Yeah! Awesome. That's the one I just queried a few agents with, since it's gotten the most votes out of all the people I know so far. Thanks!