Query Letter revisited

I am off to a writing conference later this week, focusing on how to write a query letter. I have had many versions of this, including a fictional news story as a central element, but I have settled on the following, for the moment at least:

Dear Agent:

my bad side, a work of literary fiction, is a story of one who has nowhere to turn but against herself. Two sisters, tragically orphaned in their infancy, have felt betrayed throughout their lives. Crystal, now 27, knows that she was borne of trauma and surrenders to alcoholism along with her boyfriend, Derek, a fire fighter who lost his company in 9/11. The younger sister, Deirdre, studying to be a veterinarian, arrives in New York and attempts to reach out to Crystal but drifts off into isolation, her beauty and eroticism leading toward a world immured in sex. A hapless shooting forces Deirdre to leave the city and embark on a harrowing journey to the majestically barren landscape of the north where she confronts the terror and loneliness in herself.

Set in contemporary New York and Newfoundland, a tone of thoughtful desperation pervades the narrative; the characters are real, the dialogue and themes vital. Deirdre tells her story with trenchant intelligence, contrasting her childhood against a present-day spectacle of carnality. Her life, like her sister’s, is revealed as a series of moments not in search of contact and understanding, but in how to build a barrier against what might be next.

My writing focuses on thought process, capturing characters’ words and actions in a moment while also giving the reader the latitude to bring their own perception to the work. This book in particular reflects upon my own distance from the world at large, developing my personal empathy for those who have been isolated and objectified in modern-day society.

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