Help with a query letter please.

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2ndchance

Stephen M Davis
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Can I please have a punctuation and grammar check on this? I have read it out-load so many time I wouldn’t know a mistake if it bit me on the neck.:eek:


This is the bare bones of my tale so please feel free to add any other comments as you see fit.
Steve

REBECCA AND THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE is a (YA) fantasy of 95,000 words set in Northwest England.

Rebecca’s father, James is a demanding, power-hungry man in the financial world, who has little time or regard for women.

Growing up, she watched her mother, Elizabeth’s, silent demise at the hands of her father’s oppressive arrogance. Upset and anxious, she would often escape into an imaginary world of fairies.

Now 15-years-old, her father turns his repressive tactics on her. She begins to feel worthless, but like many children her age, is unable to understand or communicate these feelings and so still escapes to her trusted world.

Her family moves to a vast gothic mansion, built in the sixteenth-century. Rebecca stumbles upon a spiral staircase that leads her on a series of adventures, stepping back through the history of this old house. Each time, she becomes the daughter of the resident mother. Seeing first-hand how these women lived, allows her a brief and insightful look at womanhood through the ages. She evolves steadily, becoming stronger with each journey through time. Armed with this developing tenacity, she gradually stands up to her father, turning her and Elizabeth’s downtrodden existence, on its head.
 
Can I please have a punctuation and grammar check on this? I have read it out-load so many time I wouldn’t know a mistake if it bit me on the neck.:eek:
This is the bare bones of my tale so please feel free to add any other comments as you see fit.

REBECCA AND THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE is a (YA) fantasy of 95,000 words set in Northwest England.

Rebecca’s father, James
comma
is a demanding, power-hungry man in the financial world, who has little time or regard for women.

Growing up, she watched her mother, Elizabeth’s, silent demise
question "demise", as her mother (at least in the bit I read) is not actually dead.
at the hands of her father’s oppressive arrogance. Upset and anxious, she would often escape into an imaginary world of fairies.

Now 15-years-old,
as written this indicates that her father is fifteen
her father turns his repressive tactics on her. She begins to feel worthless, but
I'd put the comma here, instead of before the "but", so the subordinate phrase is separated.
like many children her age, is unable to understand or communicate these feelings
Question "these feelings "; only worthlessness, as far as I can see
and so still escapes to her trusted world.

Her family moves to a vast gothic mansion, built in the sixteenth-century. Rebecca stumbles upon a spiral staircase that leads her on a series of adventures, stepping back through the history of this old house. Each time, she becomes the daughter of the resident mother. Seeing first-hand how these women lived, allows her a brief and insightful look at womanhood through the ages. She evolves steadily, becoming stronger with each journey through time. Armed with this developing tenacity, she gradually stands up to her father, turning her and Elizabeth’s downtrodden existence,
no comma
on its head.
 
Hows this CPCate'

I took most of your advice and understood and agreed with your points.

Rebecca’s father, James, is a demanding, power-hungry man in the financial world, who has little time or regard for women.

Growing up, she watched her mother, Elizabeth’s, silent submission at the hands of her father’s oppressive arrogance. Upset and anxious, she would often escape into an imaginary world of fairies.

Now that she’s fifteen her father turns his repressive tactics on her. She begins to feel intimidated, worthless, and insignificant. Like many children her age, she is unable to understand or communicate these feelings, and so still escapes to her trusted world.

I take it the rest is okay?

Steve

PS I so knew you would be the one with the answers. I slip into a blind road sometimes, especially when I have read it a bazillion times and know what it means. Demise, what was I thinking?
 
The trouble I have with the letter is that it gives the impression that the book is about the father rather than the daughter. Whereas his role in the tale is really secondary and undeserving of a primary mention.
 
TEIN, I take your POV, but I must follow the flow of the story all-be-it starting with him, similar in the synopsis too. I have been round the block on this and did start with Rebecca, but it just wasn't true to the flow.

It is difficult 95k into a couple of graphs. What I did was wrote one sentence and expanded it after reading each chapter and highlighting the issues that simply can’t be left out.

The hook is he is an ass, as he is in the book, from the start and you want Bex to tune him in sooo much. The difference is she does it by way of the time door and the women she learns from.

Thanks though

Steve
 
Steve, you can compress your whole book in few sentences, and all your query letter should do is to give an initial pitch to the story.

If you feel that you want to remove the father from the story then why don't say for example:


REBECCA AND THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE is a (YA) fantasy of 95,000 words set in Northwest England. Rebecca is a lonely teenager, who one day finds a key that unlocks a door leading a mysterious staircase. Through the staircase she finds a away going back in time. Time where she becomes a daughter for an old matriarch. The experiences grows her and shapes her, so that she can solve her own challenges in her dysfunctional family.


As you can see, it's not a perfect, but at least I speak there only through one character, Rebecca. You should do the same and by no means, you can take my pitch and shape it as you want.
 
CTG,

I went down that road initially but lots of people said they wanted more, which I guess is a good thing and hence so many threads on this. I even ended up putting the whole synopsis up to save time he-he.

One of many, many examples of how I tried to unfold my story from Bex POV...

England, 2008 and Rebecca is certainly not your average 15-year-old. (secondary)

Preferring her imaginary world of fairies to a mobile phone, Rebecca is more akin to the 1950s. She has such a unique way of explaining her world it leaves those close to her believing anything is possible. (secondary plot)


Maturity finally gets a foothold, which opens her eyes to the real world. Angered that her father’s arrogance is pushing her mother towards oppressed silence, she recognises these same tight-lipped traits in herself. Infuriated with her own behaviour, and frustrated by her mother, she becomes restless and determined to change things. (Plot starts with her dad, not here which is chapter 4/5)

Boy it was difficult to do it the way I have...


The tale is 3rd Rebecca, semi her mum. We observe her dads actions mostly from Bex POV and when appropriate her mums. The thing is, although he is only a non-acting player – so to speak- he does nevertheless play an integral part in the story line, without him there is no plot. He will have the final say on Bex success or failure. As hard as it was for me to accept, the journeys back in time, are, actually only semi-second to the unfolding story. I have used that as a different way to look at a very difficult subject, one, which is all too often avoided. Trust, there is a serious twist and turn in all 22 chapters, and boy-o-boy was it hard leaving them out. A four page synopsis might help lol.


The bottom line, both her and her mother suffer at the hands of this arrogant fool, gradually, by learning from women through the ages does she ultimately grow into a strong woman, one who is capable of finally standing up to the ol ‘man and along the way – for good measure – she takes the mum with her.


I do however greatly appreciate your thoughts and words.

Steve
 
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Soory folks, I know, I hate it this way, but he is the silent hook, the unspoken key player, the sword in the stone ??? The thing is, once I had completed this little query, I sat back for the first time and thought -that is my book - in one.

I have been chatting to an american author who I have become pals with. She knows the story inside out, she tuned me in, focussed me - gently - in the right direction.

I appologise if this comes across as churlish, it really isn't meant to be.

I havn't even mentioned the 'twit' her annoying 11yo brother, or that the reader is left uncertain if any of these journeys actually take place (I show, don't tell, but you try putting that in a synop without telling)
Steve;)
 
I so knew you would be the one with the answers. I slip into a blind road sometimes, especially when I have read it a bazillion times and know what it means. Demise, what was I thinking?

When you put "grammar" and "punctuation" into the first sentence it's almost like sending me a PM, is it not? Even if I can't be around quite a much at present, I try and read everything, and comment where I feel useful.

Giggles and point out the "out load" in the first paragraph, the bit that doesn't get corrected.
 
I used this sentence. Excuse the grammar etc.

Dad PPP’s every one off, Bex runs off to the fairies, then finds the stairs back, where she learns for women past, grows up and kicks dad into touch. End
Steve
 
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CPCate, yep in one. thanks soo much, trees - wood - can't see - looking too hard - help CPCate.

out-load I did say blind road he-he... and - time - no 's'.

And I'v got the camma after fifteen,,,,
Steve
 
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Okay, I have been 'finking. How's this slightly altered version?
Steve


REBECCA AND THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE is a (YA) fantasy of 95,000 words set in Northwest England.

On the surface, Rebecca is like any other girl her age, happy, smiley, trying to appear older to the on looking world.

Her father, James, is a demanding, power-hungry man in the financial world, who has little time or regard for women. Growing up, she watched her mother, Elizabeth’s, silent submission at the hands of her father’s oppressive arrogance. Upset and frightened, she would often escape into an imaginary world of fairies.

Soon after her fifteenth birthday, her father turns his repressive tactics on her. She begins to feel intimidated and worthless. Frustrated, and unable to understand or communicate these feelings, she still escapes to her trusted world.

Her family moves to a vast gothic mansion, built in the sixteenth-century. Rebecca stumbles upon a spiral staircase that leads her on a series of adventures, stepping back through the history of this old house. Each time, she becomes the daughter of the resident mother. Seeing first-hand how these women lived, allows her a brief and insightful look at womanhood through the ages. She evolves steadily, becoming stronger with each journey through time. Armed with this developing tenacity, she gradually stands up to her father, turning her and Elizabeth’s downtrodden existence on its head.
 
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