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We all know the first line of a query is your “hook.” I call the last line the “sinker.” You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.
If you’re looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey – the query. My comments appear in green.
Two years ago, Davinder Jones lost her husband in an accident. Now, at twenty-four years old, Davin has learned no matter how much it sucks, life goes on. I think your hook might be here instead of the opening line you have, which is just a statement of fact. Also, just be sure that the language you use in the query matches the language of the ms. So if “life sucks” is something your MC would say, all is good. If she’d put it more eloquently, use something else. Along with drowning in her grief, she struggles to navigate being a bestselling author and single mother to her twin boys. But even her amazing fresh start cannot replace what she lost, since she refuses to let go of her first love. Fresh start implies that the bestselling author bit came after the death of her husband, if that’s the case you might want clarify that just a little.
Twenty-two-year-old Zachery Blazer would do anything to get un-blackballed from Tinseltown. Hell, he’d even swear off women if it got him a part, and with his reputation— that says something. With his drunk driving escapade no longer front page tabloid news, he jumps at the chance to steal the leading role in the next ‘big’ thing— a bestselling novel film adaptation— and books the part. Hello A-list status, goodbye ladies. This is written fine, but I question whether drunk driving and womanizing would get him blackballed from Hollywood… a reputation, maybe. Blackballed?
When their paths cross on the backlot, Zach realizes he’s met the one woman worth being with… after declaring no one will come between him and his revived career. Stupid resolution. But if he thinks getting Davin to look his way will be easy, he’s hella wrong. As Zach turns on the charm, she feigns naivety, making the chase after her that much more maddening. If he consumes himself with easy women and cheap liquor, he’ll re-damage his reputation and be back where he started, but he’s not sure he can be sane unless Davin is his. Okay, but on the resolution – wouldn’t being with a single mom of twins actually help repair that reputation? Why would being with Davin come between him and the revived career? It doesn’t seem like a huge deviation from his resolution, to be with a down to earth, career minded, single mom.
While Zach continues to push the boundaries, Davin knows it’s only a matter of time before he breaks into her personal life— and her heart. If she can’t learn to let go, she’ll end up alone. But if she lets Zach in and tells him the truth about her past, she risks him doing what he does best—flaking out, then bolting. And Davin’s heart won’t survive being shattered twice.
THE LUCKIEST is a 78,000 word adult contemporary romance told from the alternating points of view of Davin and Zach. It will appeal to fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s After I Do and Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful series.
Honestly I think the query itself is fine, I just am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the content. However, I don’t read romances so it’s very possible that this is right up that market’s alley. Good luck!