Guess the Plot
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Dear Literary Agent,
I am seeking representation for my novel, Crimson Courtship. It is a historical romance set in Regency London, and is complete at 92,000 words. Also enclosed is a short synopsis and sample chapter.
I have always loved historical romances, especially if there are multiple books connected by common characters. However, I have been frustrated that it always seems to be a group of brothers, or male cousins or friends. [This will be a fascinating topic of conversation at your next Romance Writers of America chapter meeting. In the meantime, let's skip to the part where you tell your prospective agent specifically what it is you've written, so she can skip to the part where she guesses whether it will put any money specifically in her wallet.] In Crimson Courtship and the three books that will follow, the story of each of the women from Hillgate Manor is told.
For a young lady in 1815, being presented to London society is the most exciting time of her life. However, with the sudden death of Patricia’s [Patricia Vandermere's] father, everything changes. She is left penniless and alone, forced to take up residence with an aunt she has never met. There she takes up the post of gardener, [changes her name to Abby Clumm,] and says goodbye to the dream of season of her own.
Fate is working in her favor, when by chance she meets and falls in love with Gordon Bray, Earl of Hawksworth. There’s just one problem… he doesn’t know that she is merely a gardener, and not the lady she has been pretending to be. When Gordon discovers the truth, tempers flare and cruel words fly. Will the two of them reconcile and live happily ever after? Or will an obsessed serial killer have the final say? [KaBoom!!] [Whoa! Where did that come from? You might as well have written, Will they live happily ever after? Or will they step through a wormhole and find themselves in a Turkish prison in the year 2342?] [Will they live happily ever after? Or will an albino crocodile bite off Bray's legs, forcing Patricia to decide between pushing his wheelchair everywhere for the rest of her life, or leaving him and starting a small landscaping business?] [Is there an obsessed serial killer? If so, you might consider mentioning it a bit earlier than the last sentence. Try the first sentence: My novel, Crimson Courtship, is the story of the worst month of Patricia Vandermere's life: first her father dies, then her rhododendrons die, then she meets and falls in love with Hannibal Lecter.]
Thank you for your time and consideration. I will be happy to provide additional material upon request. [How did you manage to write a query letter for a regency romance without using the word "ton"?]
Note to author: use only the red-colored phrases that apply correctly to your novel, and ignore the others. Evil Editor wasn't sure which section of the book the obsessed serial killer was in.
Dear Literary Agent,
I am seeking representation for my novel, Crimson Courtship, a historical romance set in Regency London. This is the story of Patricia Vandermere, of Hillgate Manor, and of the obsessed serial killer stalking her.
For a young lady in 1815, being presented to "the ton" is the most exciting time of her life. But not for Patricia Vandermere. With the sudden death of her father at the hands of a serial killer obsessed with wiping out his entire family, Patricia is left penniless and alone, forced to take up residence with an aunt she has never met, an aunt who proves to be an obsessed serial killer. There she accepts the post of gardener, and says goodbye to the dream of a season of her own.
Fate is working in her favor, when by chance she meets and falls in love with Gordon Bray, Earl of Hawksworth, and, unknown to Patricia, an obsessed serial killer. There’s just one problem… he doesn’t know that she is merely a gardener, and not the lady she has been pretending to be. When Gordon discovers the truth, tempers flare and cruel words fly. Will the two of them reconcile and live happily ever after? Or will an obsessed serial killer have the final say?
Crimson Courtship is complete at 92,000 words. It is the first in a series of novels, but unlike most romance series, which seem to focus on groups of men, be they brothers or male cousins, or obsessed serial killers, this series will tell the stories of the four women of Highgate Manor, and of the obsessed serial killer who stalks them all.
Thank you for your time and consideration. A short synopsis and sample chapter are enclosed; I will be happy to provide additional material upon request.
Since you are telling the stories of the women of Highgate Manor, you might mention that Highgate Manor is the Earl's home, or the aunt's, or Patricia's father's. Or mention who the other women of Highgate Manor are, in relation to Patricia.
Would Patricia pretend to be a lady if she had really said goodbye to the dream of a season of her own?
Evil Editor hopes there's a serial killer, as without one, there doesn't seem to be much to distinguish this from what Evil Editor imagines other regency romances would be like, if he actually read them.