My desperate wish is for someone out there to see something valuable in the stories I’ve written. I’ve been feeling really pessimistic about Twenty-Five lately, but deep down, I don’t think it’s a bad book. Even though the subject matter isn’t really unique, it isn’t a formulaic book about love. That’s where I have a problem in writing my query letter.
I keep getting the suggestion to answer three questions in my query:
1. What does the MC want?
2. What does she have to do to get it?
3. What happens if she fails to get what she wants (the stakes)?
Okay, so I’m going to try, but this is where I’ve been having problems, answering these questions. You would think this would be easy, but I don’t think it’s so black and white as these questions seem. Here goes:
1. Abigail wants love. She wants it so badly she doesn’t believe she’ll ever find it. She wants to be a journalist, she wants to have a column published in the magazine she works for.
2. To get love, she just has to be open to it. She has to believe that Ben really does care about her and that she deserves his love. To get her column, she has to persevere and write from her heart. She has to not care what others think.
3. Here’s the issue. She can’t have both, but she gets both. Ben falls in love with her, she falls in love with Ben. She gets her “Facing Your Fears” column and then she gets offered a column in London.
She can take the column in London and advance her career, but doing so means leaving Ben behind. Why does it mean leaving Ben behind? Because she’s scared- her old insecurities pop up and once again she thinks she’s not good enough for him. She thinks that he won’t be willing to do long distance and when he doesn’t encourage her to take the job she takes that as him saying their relationship can only exist while she stays in America.
She could pass up on the column and stay in America with Ben, but to her that means facing a lifetime of regret and resentment. Regret that she didn’t take the opportunity to advance her career further, knowing that turning down one job puts her in a negative light with her editors and the possible chance that she won’t be given any more opportunities. And resentment of Ben that he didn’t support her and allowed her to pass up the opportunity.
To her it seems like an impossible decision. She chooses to take the job and break up with Ben. She’s wrong- but that’s the decision she makes. He would have been willing to do the long distance, but she never asks him to. Of course, the fault isn’t all on Abby, he doesn’t offer it either.
So what’s at stake? Her relationship with Ben and her job. In the end, they find a way to make both work, but it’s a long time coming.
So now, how the HELL do I put all that in a query letter?