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Coby married a drug addict and he regrets saying ‘I do’.

When they got married, Coby said he’d never leave Jimmy. Coby stays through Jimmy’s nervous breakdown, but when he finds drugs and the meds Jimmy promised he was taking, the bottom starts falling out. Coby believes he’s the only person who can keep Jimmy stable; if Jimmy’s doing drugs again, Coby has failed. . For the first time in their relationship, Coby questions his efforts to save the marriage.

Tired of taking pills, Jimmy quits his psych meds cold turkey. He’s got a great job, good marriage, and he’s happier than he’s ever been…for the first week. The second week, he plasters on a smile, pretending he’s fine. Then, one misstep by his boss sends Jimmy into a tailspin that lands him on the psych ward for two weeks of fights and a battle of wills.

To save his marriage, Jimmy has to stay clean and stay on his meds. Coby has to find the confidence that made him say ‘I do’ in the first place. If he gives up, he might as well stamp Jimmy’s one-way ticket back to the streets he pulled him from. Neither one knows if they have the strength to save the marriage.

RESCUE ME is dual POV, LGBT contemporary fiction complete at 84,000 words. Elephant Bookshelf Press published my short story ‘Anguish’ in the anthology ‘Winter’s Regret’ in 2014. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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10 Comments

  1. Wow. I actually love the hook line. And I usually don’t care for them. Typically, the feel too gimmicky for my taste and don’t integrate well with the rest of the query. Your hook line does exactly what it’s supposed to: peek my interest and set me up for the rest of the story. It’s a great intro.

    Overall your query flows really well, it oozes character, and the premise is clear. I get that their marriage is at stake, but I would like to see a little more of the character’s goals. Unless divorce is the goal?

    One minor suggestion, it feels weird that Coby refers to Jimmy as “the boy” at the end of the first paragraph. I know Jimmy is younger, but not that much. “The boy” sounds like something a thirty-five year old would call a seventeen-year old, not someone only four years older.

    Hope muy suggestions help. You have a great query as is.

    Happy Holidays 🙂

    @Ashley Hearn

  2. Coby married a drug addict—and he’s starting to regret saying ‘I do.’

    [Coby [was twenty-two when he] saved Jimmy’s life. Jimmy was a seventeen-year-old runaway who’d been beaten, [and] raped, and left for dead in a seedy back-alley in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Friends told Coby not to get attached, that Jimmy was going to break his heart. But Coby couldn’t walk away [from the boy]. (why?-I think it might add a layer of emotion if you tell us what Coby sees in Jimmy, IMO)]

    When [they got married, Coby said he’d stand by Jimmy and never leave him. But when] Jimmy stops taking his psych meds and falls back into drug abuse, Coby reaches a breaking point [he never knew he had]. And when Jimmy has a nervous breakdown at work and gets hauled across town to the psych ward, Coby turns to his lawyer for divorce papers.

    RESCUE ME is LGBT Commercial Fiction, complete at 84,000 words with series potential. My short story ‘Anguish’ was published in Winter’s Regret by Elephant Bookshelf Press in 2014. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    I like this, but this is short and I want more details. What does Coby want? By telling us that he’s having divorce papers prepared, we assume the relationship is doomed, unless you give us hope that it isn’t. Does he want a divorce? Is this about him starting over, or is it a story about him fighting for his relationship? The first line is a great hook, but the next paragraph feels like backstory. Where does the novel start? And then what happens? I know sometimes the story is about the journey, but if the point of the story is to fix the relationship, then I wouldn’t mention divorce in the query letter. Also, Jimmy is mentioned a lot, but I don’t know anything about Coby except who he married, so I’m not sure what the story is about. I think the query should start where the story starts and focus on what Coby wants, since we know what stands in his way.

    I bracketed things to consider deleting. Obviously you know your story better than I do. One more thought is that you start a lot of your sentences with “when”, “but” and “and” and I wondered if you could change up your sentence structure in order to avoid that?

    Good luck with this. 🙂

  3. I’ll echo the previous comment and say you have a good hook line. HOWEVER, I don’t like hook’s that don’t immediately connect to the next sentence. In this case, the next line “Coby was twenty-two…” is strong enough to act as a hook, and I’d recommend cutting the first line out. (It’d be great for a twitter pitch, though!”

    The most immediate problem, to me, is the last sentence.

    “And when Jimmy has a nervous breakdown at work and gets hauled across town to the psych ward, Coby turns to his lawyer for divorce papers.”

    You keep raising the stakes throughout the query, which is exactly what you want to do, but this line kills all the tension you’ve built up. I’m not longer wondering if Coby’s going to stick it out with Jimmy, I know he’s going after that divorce. You want to leave the reader worried, wanting more, wanting to know what happens. I also don’t sympathize with Coby. Jmmy’s having a mental breakdown, and Coby’s running for a lawyer? I want Coby to be there for Jimmy! What an ass!

    With that in mind, I don’t have much to relate to Coby with. What does he want? What are his hopes and dreams? Maybe if you show us how Jimmy is keeping him from attaining his dreams, it’d help me sympathize with Coby more. Right now, the only thing I know Coby wants, is a divorce, and it’s not helping me connect.

    This is an incredibly short query (you could easily add 100 words and still be safe), so you have a lot of room. This is a very solid foundation, and I’m intrigued. Make me care about Coby, and you have a solid winner.

  4. Sounds like you have the ingredients for a dramatic story! A few suggestions on the query itself: In general, I have read that you write a query in present tense. As in Corie is married to a drug addict and starting to regret it. Also, you are telling backstory and I’m not sure if it is part of the novel or not? If not, I would focus on what happens from here on out in your query. Either way, it is a little unclear to me. I would also include a few more details to draw us in. Like Ashley said, what are the goals? I would also consider changing “He never knew he had.” It sounds vague. With some tweaking, this should shine right up! I wish you good luck finding and agent and getting published!

    Sara Ackerman

  5. Hi there,

    I agree with the other’s, the first line is strong & works (for me).
    I also think you have a really interesting story/theme here and, as I also commented on your 1st page, I can see where this is going and the tie-in. – Good job!

    I do have a “but” or two.
    For me (and remember every person will respond differently), I’m not too happy with the emphasis on 22-year-old Coby ‘saving-and then-seducing’ a seventeen year old. I believe that’s not the case. Your 1st page didn’t give me this impression, but if I was reading the QL only, my impression would be of Coby being a little predatory. The combination of someone not even 18 and also emotionally and physically scared/damaged makes (for me at least) Jimmy come off as a victim and Coby as a predator. You even use this line:
    “But Coby couldn’t walk away from the boy”

    Which then leads me to the second BUT.
    Because of this impression (which may be just me of course) I’m not on Coby’s side. I’m seeing an older, desperate Jimmy, needing to escape Coby, even if that’s through not taking his medication & becoming a danger to himself and others.

    For what it’s worth, I would suggest removing the part about Jimmy being a ‘boy’ as well as the impression Coby as some sort of social-worker and get to the meat of it. I’m sure this all unfolds nicely in the MS, but I want to know Coby is a good-guy who is about to struggle to keep is marital vows and promises because Jimmy goes off the rails.

    I hope this makes sense, and as always, this is but one person’s opinion.

  6. This reads like a synopsis, not a query. You shouldn’t tell more than the first 50 pages of the story, and only hint at the ending, not give it away.

    I’m assuming Coby is the main character… but I’m unclear about who he is, what he wants, and what is getting in the way (the main points to hit in a query).

    Does your story start when Jimmy is 17, or does it start when they get married?

  7. I’d reword this to Then Jimmy springs and new job in California on him.

    I’ve been watching your pitches on this and my thoughts still stand. I think you need to crank up the stakes or give it a unique twist.

    I don’t usually read other comments before I comment, because I want a clear mind, but 1000th Monkey is right above the reply box. The “don’t tell more than what happens in the first 50 pages” isn’t really true. Janet Reid addressed this at some point and asked where this came from and no one could say. It just seems to make the rounds. Regardless, agents don’t care. They want an enticing query. Introduce your mc, what do they want, what stands in the way, stakes and do it in an interesting way.

    Good luck with this.

    Julie

  8. This is a very good query. The only things which jumped out to me were: 1. The approximate age of the MC’s. 2. Better defining of the dual-POV voices. I only felt Coby’s in the query.

    Thanks for sharing! Good luck.

  9. I had no idea this was dual POV until I read it in the last paragraph. Have you thought about changing the structure here and giving each POV character a paragraph? Again, contemporary isn’t really my thing, but there isn’t anything in the revised version to make me feel for either character. My first husband was a drug addict, which you’d think would make me the most sympathetic person toward Coby, but has just the opposite effect. I want to tell him to run away and never look back. I think, to feel that sympathy, we need to know why Coby feels the way he does about Jimmy, and we need to feel his struggle. Also, this doesn’t paint Jimmy in a flattering light. If he had his own paragraph here, we might know why he started using again. What threw him off the wagon? Just a few thoughts.

  10. I like the first sentence, it’s a good hook!

    The second paragraph gives a good understanding of Coby and Jimmy’s lives so far, and I like that the third paragraph is about Jimmy, while the fourth one is about Coby – and yet, we never get too much of the same information twice so it helps build a better image as to who the characters are and what the story is about!

    In my opinion though (and please take this with a grain of salt as I don’t usually read anything that has to do too much with ‘real life’) it reads a little more like a synopsis than a query. I think that if more voice is added to the query, that’ll make it sound less like a synopsis.

    Hope this helps!
    Good luck! 🙂


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