Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Query letter #4: fiction

Dear Agent Sydney:

Disgusted with God’s plan for Judgment Day, Satan has quit his job and left Hell in favor of a quiet retirement in Washington, D.C. [I'm hooked already - great premise, clearly expressed - plus the hilarious prospect of a quiet anything in DC.] But life on Earth is tricky for an ex-angel with a short fuse and no impulse control. [Ha!] When a parking attendant mysteriously bursts into flames and a weight-challenged woman somehow ends up in low-Earth orbit, Satan finds that he has attracted the attention of several meddlesome federal agencies. Even worse, there are signs that the governor of Texas has somehow gone ahead and started up the end of the world. The Prince of Darkness heads for the Lone Star State, where he tangles with a megalomaniacal televangelist, joins the Militant Arm of the American Geriatrics Association, and wields the Flaming Stick of Divine Justice at a guy whose hobbies include invading churches to denounce ritualized cannibalism. Through it all, one thing is clear: Someone has to put a stop to Judgment Day. Now, having spent millennia trying to wreck the place, the Devil may be the world’s only hope. [All very well expressed, but break into two paragraphs - especially if this query is sent by email, the one para looks too dense. Para break should come before 'The Prince of Darkness'.]

WHAT WOULD SATAN DO? is 95,000 words of humorous/satirical general fiction that should appeal to folks who like reading absurdist humor of the sort found in Christopher Moore’s Lamb and Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. [Good to mention these as it establishes a potential readership - particularly in spec fiction - and also good to not directly compare yourself to them - which is a fine distinction, but an important one.] I'm a member of the Lesser North Texas Writers, the Writers Guild of Texas, and a group called the Writers of Weird Works, but it’s probably only my job as a trial lawyer that qualifies me to make up stories about Satan. [Ha! Nice hook.] I am prepared to send the completed manuscript if you'd like to take a look.

I look forward to hearing any thoughts you might care to offer, and thank you for your time and consideration.

Thank you,

Author A

Overall: excellent. Told me everything I needed to know in a very appealing fashion - even if I thought this story wasn't right for me, I'd still want to read it because I suspect it would be funny and that the author may also be fun to work with.


twittertales said...

Personally, it makes me want to buy the book. No other query I've read has caused that reaction. If the author is that funny in real life, they should speak at as many conferences as possible.

Louise Curtis

PS Nice to see you again, Agent Sydney.

Gregory House said...

I must agree wiht twittertales it sounds very similar to the satirical novels of Tom Holt. As well this is first query that got my interest. Personally I wish the author luck.