Disclaimer: Some of you may have already read this on my Guest Blog entry at Karin Tabke’s site (www.karintabke.com, check her out!). Not that it isn’t worth reading twice – I’m just sayin’.
Lately I’ve become fascinated with the whole concept of writing queries. For the uninitiated, a “query” is what an unpublished writer sends to agents to try to sell a manuscript they have already written. In a nutshell, it’s their story condensed into a few succinct paragraphs. The query hits on key plot points, characters and conflicts and gives enough info to entice the reader to want know more, but doesn’t give away the surprises or ending – think of it as a movie trailer in written format.
I have had individual works published, but the Road to Publication for the humorous essay is quite different than for a full-blown novel. There’s a real talent to capturing the essence of a story in a quarter-page query. I wondered if it was something I could even do. But I didn’t want to have to write a whole novel to find out. That could take…..hours.
But life itself is a story, isn’t it? And often it’s stranger than fiction. So instead of inventing a story, I took a day in my life and captured it in query format. Here it is, for your reading entertainment:
Introverted, menopausal redhead Jody Werner has finally arranged her life exactly the way she likes it: simple and drama-free. She works at home doing the artwork she loves, has a cute little studio in a blissfully quiet neighborhood and gets to spend the glorious California summer afternoons at the barn with the horses. The cherry on top of the sundae that is her life: she has the freedom to nap anytime she wants. Ah, life is good.
She’s looking forward to another blessedly uneventful day in her “I-refuse-to-turn-on-the-tv-and-hear-any-bad-news” paradise….until the phone call from the mysterious entity known only as The Banker.
The Banker tells her that before her loan application can be accepted, she has to come up with two years back tax returns. Oh no! That means a journey into the black hole that is her filing system; the swirling, bottomless abyss into which paperwork disappears, never to resurface.
Aided by The Ladder (which creaks and wobbles the higher she climbs) and The Flashlight (which takes sick pleasure in randomly blinking in and out of usefulness) she embarks upon the treacherous journey into The Attic in search of The Box.
But finding The Box is not enough. Working against time, she must assemble two years of back tax returns in the proper order AND find a logical explanation for the decided dip in income for 2007. There is only one way to summon this kind of creativity on short notice: she must sacrifice herself at the altar of chocolate and caffeine.
With a solution (and chocolate-smeared tax returns) in hand she hurries out the door only to discover that her car has a flat tire! While waiting for the roadside assistance people, she gets a call from the barn. Her horse has lost a shoe! Now she has to get the flat fixed, deliver the tax returns to The Banker, locate her farrier and still find a way to get in her afternoon nap. Will she make it, or will the universe add insult to injury by extracting the ultimate price of unplanned expenditures AND sleep deprivation?
I am seeking validation for the non-fictional masterpiece that is my life. Jody’s Day is a complete waste of your time at 75,000 words. I’d be happy to submit the full manuscript for your consideration, provided you give me ample time to find it in The Box.
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