Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Write by Wednesday-- an Updated Query

Another big thanks to Matt over at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment for his feedback and comments on my current query. I've done some playing with it, and revised my "two paragraph synopsis" of Don't Wake Up below. What do you think, more interesting?

Gillian has always encompassed the vast space between pretty and ugly. In fact, from her appearance, to her small town upbringing, to her simple administrative job, there is nothing remarkable about her, a fact that she is painfully aware of. To her and everyone around her, she is simply a plain woman, living a plain life… until her husband Ricky experiences a mysterious fall and ends up in a coma. As doctors and nurses rush to assure her that Ricky will recover well, Gillian thinks of the years of cold silence and manipulation that have overshadowed their marriage, and her life.

As this coma persists, Gillian realizes that she dreams of the house to herself, and hopes Ricky does not wake up. Nonetheless, his eyes open to reveal a man who claims to remember nothing of his former self. Gillian, convinced that this is only a furthering of the manipulations that have filled most of her life, seeks to test this new Ricky. She invents a family they never had, and fills his head with stories of an imaginary life. Ricky becomes a father, and an orphan, eagerly accepting magazine-clipped photos and an urn filled with cigarette ash as evidence of his once-happy life. But, as Ricky persists in his assertion that he remembers nothing of their real past, Gillian begins to question how far she can go in punishing a man for sins he cannot remember committing.
Despite an MBA in marketing and a BA in Creative writing, one book under my belt, having worked for small presses before, etc., etc., I find summing up a literary fiction premise (and likely any novel) in two paragraphs to be a Herculean task. For you writers out there, want to share your quick overviews of your books?

1 comment:

  1. Oh Shauna, I feel your PAIN. Query synopses are a total bitch, if you'll excuse the French. I ultimately had a friend write mine because I was just too close to the source material.

    I think what you have here is a good start but could use some more cutting. I think the meat of what makes your premise interesting doesn't start until the second sentence of the second paragraph. I think you should start with that nut of tension: manipulative husband wakes from coma forgetting who he is; roles reverse as the formerly submissive wife becomes manipulative through seizing her opportunity for revenge.

    Have you ever visited Query Shark? SO helpful.