Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Inside The Mailbag, Weeks #2 and #3

Ok, this may seem like a strange post to you, but I really did want to continue this feature and then whoops, arthritis decided to come up and smack me around. So I've had this saved in Blogger for ages, and this particular post is never going to get totally finished. So I present it to you in its incomplete glory; ten queries and two partials--notice the #3 at the end of the partials list? I really did have good intentions of finishing this. Let's see if I can get "week #4" done this week; five queries and five partials; I can handle that. =)

[ETA: I started this post ages ago and wow, the Thanksgiving holiday did delay things! I'm finishing it up now and look for week #4 later this week.]

It's a double combo week here, due to me being sick last week and the Thanksgiving holiday coming up this week. So what fun! Ten queries and ten partials! Let's get to it, shall we?

  1. This query is decently written, but nothing about the fantasy plot grabs me. Oh, and add in the fact that the word count for the novel is over 140,000 words by quite a bit... and it's an automatic pass for me. Shorter is better!
  2. This query is nicely written, but the novel is a strange amalgamation of vampires and science fiction. I'm not buying the author's plot, so I'm passing on it.
  3. This query is for a novel whose plot makes absolutely no sense to me. I'm passing on it.
  4. Once again, another query letter where the plot makes no sense. Passing again.
  5. This query is a generic historical romance plot. Nothing excites me about it at all; I'm passing.
  6. This query is something YA, but once again, I don't get the plot at all. If you're going to write a novel, please have a plot that makes sense.
  7. This query is for a fantasy novel; it appeals to me because it seems like the author is melding a number of different cultures, and it could be an interesting read. That said, the synopsis makes me skeptical of the plot, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt, since synopses are notoriously hard to write. I'm asking for this one.
  8. Occasionally, you get queries that just floor you. This one is from someone who's married to a famous Japanese TV personality and has connections to Johnny Depp. I will say no more, except that I'm incredibly flattered to get this letter, and of course, I'm asking for more. =)
  9. This query is for a science fiction romance; I'm not too sure how well it fits into either genre, but I'm intrigued enough to give it a look. I'm asking for it.
  10. This query just isn't right for me. I'm passing.
  1. This is a middle-grade fantasy, involving Ireland and ships. There's nothing wrong with the writing, per se, but it's just not grabbing me in the way that a "sellable" novel will. I stopped reading on page four; I'm passing on it.
  2. This is a fantasy novel that suffers from what I like to call "adjectivitis"; an excess of adjectives that completely detract from the narrative. I stopped reading on page one; I'm passing.


Adrienne said...

Genuine question (I always say that before a question that could seem leading, I really am just interested in the answer).

Did query number 8 have an interesting premise/hook, or was it simply the connections the author had that made you want more?

Jenny Rappaport said...

adrienne, query #8 actually did have an interesting premise to it as well. I haven't read the partial yet, but I would have requested it even without the nice connections. The added connections are just sort of like icing on the cake, for an agent.

Ben S. D. said...

Long ago, writing didn't necessarily involve the business-oriented angle. These days, a writer must be able to impress an agent, the agent needs to impress the publisher, and the publisher needs to impress the public. That's the ideal scenario, and sometimes, it scares the ever-loving sh** out of me when I realize how extraordinarily difficult that task really is...

Reading all that makes me want to succeed in the game I've chosen, but in more ways than one. I have an agent ( :) ), but there's no rest for the weary writer who still isn't happy with his writing ability. Sure, I can do non-fiction (I think), but I find it VERY ironic that eventually, I want to publish my fiction, and that entire process seems far more difficult. It's more difficult to write, it's more difficult to pitch, it's more difficult for the agent, it's more difficult for the publisher, etc, etc, etc. What odds!

Eh. I won't be stopped by such trivial matters. ;) Success will be mine! I had best live long enough to taste it, though.

P.S. I guess I don't miss writing queries. LOL

SaraMurphy said...

When you find that the plot does not make sense do you include that in your response to the writer?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Ya know, Jenny, I really like it when you break things down like this. Gives lots of food for thought -- and is an entertaining read, too.

joycemocha said...

Hmm. I think I recognize something in there.....

smile. That comment was actually pretty helpful. Thanks!

Adrienne said...

Thanks Jenny for your answer! (also good to have you back in the blogosphere!)

Niteowl said...

Just posting to say I really love the mailbag posts.

So rarely do you get a glimpse into the why's and wherefore of query rejection/assement.


Sheryl Nantus said...

*jumps nervously from one foot to the other*

see, now you're just teasing me... I sent you a partial back in September!


a great variety of storylines, however - and more power to you for having the patience to slog through it all!


Chro said...

Gee, #1 sounds like what I assume every agent says when they see my novel. :(

Adaora A. said...

#1 is never well done unless you're s big name isn't. It ranges from having the result of setting the bar for the prospective work, to completely turning off the agent completely. You're having none of it Jenny.