Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fake Query 15

A former heroin addict inherits a tattoo parlor and a Cambodian love slave named Jade from a long lost uncle. (The Dragon and the Butterfly)

Dear Evil Editor,

A lawyer came to rehab yesterday. Seems I’m in my Uncle Badu’s will. I’ve never heard of Uncle Badu. And now, I have to leave rehab early in order to take possession of Badu Tattoo. Can I get methadone to go?

He’s picking me up this morning. Said he’s bringing plane tickets, luggage, everything I need to start my new life – in Cambodia. Drugs are easy to get there, aren’t they? My palms are sweating. What the hell am I thinking?

The envelope shakes in my hand as I tear it open. My Badu Tattoo inventory. I didn’t open it yesterday. Information overload. I smooth out the folds, pressing it hard into my lap. Needles, ink, furniture and jade. Is that a gem? Is it valuable? What are the words after jade? I’ve inherited a love slave? Is that legal?

The lawyer’s here. I get up and follow him out the door. One step at a time. Starting my new life. I think I’m going to puke. I clutch my bag of recovery books, take a deep breath and climb into the car for the first leg of my journey. Wish me luck. I need it.

The Dragon and The Butterfly is 65,000 words of a daily journal that follows Matt as he struggles to begin and maintain his sobriety in a new land, a new life, with a new companion. I have enclosed the first three chapters. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.



Robin S. said...

Cool, Sarah. I love the first person, present tense, "real" voice thing you did here.

EE, does this work in a query? Could someone (oh gee, let me see, who could I be talking about) use this to good effect? I mean, the effect being, if written well like this one, being asked to send pages?

Phoenix Sullivan said...

I say we don't need no stinkin' rules. If you break them like this, break as many as you want. Two thumbs way up here, Sarah!

Evil Editor said...

It could work, if someone thinks it shows how creative the author is. It's an attention getter. But I suspect the majority would see it as a gimmick, and would say write a standard business letter and save the creative stuff for the book. If you're querying several places you can try both ways and see if you get different results.

PJD said...

I love the setup and the fact that you've given him a major obstacle to overcome, and the desire to overcome it, right at the outset. Personally, I'm not that interested in drug abuse stories, never have been, so I would probably not be interested.

Robin S. said...

But it still has to be a creative business letter of sorts, doesn't it?

I remember you mentionng, correctly, that my synopsis was very dry, (in the bad way, not the good way). You have to have some voice in there, don't you? So you can't save the creative stuff for the book in a way, because if you do, no one will ever see the first pages. I think. But maybe this first person present bit is just that much too much?

Evil Editor said...

You have to convince them that they have to read your book. Any way you can.

Evil Editor said...

You have to convince them that they have to read your book. Any way you can.

Chris Eldin said...

I love the voice!
But I don't like the query in the first person. I tried it once and won't do that again.

But this could work. Are you going to write it?

Xiexie said...

You know for a moment I was confused, and then I read the last paragraph. Good on you, Sarah.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Write it? Actually I didn't like the query. For me, it was boring, lacked punch, and smacked more of being a first page than a query. And not a great first page at that.

Interesting to see the reactions here and the discussion on this type of query.

I am also too lazy to do the research on heroin addiction recovery and Cambodia in order to write this particular story, but I might consider something along these lines that is more in line with what I know.

Present tense and first person do tend to bother people and that makes each of them individually a harder sell.