This is the FINAL assignment in the course INTRODUCTION TO NOVEL WRITING offered by The Writer’s Workshop • The class is taught by Jana Harris • The text used for this class is The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray
• May 11, 2021 Assignment 7
WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Write a 250-word query letter about your novel, explaining the genre, story, characters, point of book, and how it fits into the market (which I didn’t do yet… I want to write more of it before I shop it).
This was the response by the teacher to my Query Letter:
Hi Lesa, This is a scream! Delete the first paragraph. You are obviously by nature a very funny person. Comedy is the hardest form and you write it as if it falls out of your cuff, which I am sure isn’t the case. I have enjoyed having you as a student. So onward, to more of One Life to Live—great title, good use of soap opera tones. Perhaps needs a good and funny subtitle, so the casual observer registers your humor. Let me know if you have questions. BEST, JH
Here is the revision with her edits (I did delete the first paragraph):
10th May 2021
Editor, First Time Novelist Inc.
123 Address St
Anytown, ST 12345
Dear Ronny Reader,
One Life to Live is a coming of age story set in the milieu of the 70s with the decade’s breakout sexuality and quest for spirituality. The year is 1975. On a dead-end street in Lackawanna, NY, soap opera soaked, twelve year old Audra Noon discovers her father Arc, whom she hasn’t seen in a year, has returned. He slinks into town to cook spaghetti and bed hop with their neighbor Jane, the mother of Audra’s friends. Together they uncover the affair. The outed couple bounce across the country to Northern California where they begin a school for troubled boys. During Audra’s initial visit, she falls for the school’s first student Jared, a former Jehovah Witness. Audra and Jared begin a tumultuous teen romance in the midst of a flash flood. As the school begins to fill with the disturbed waters of adolescence, the adults just can’t keep their act together. Jared’s father’s unexpected arrival at the school leads to its demise.
Would you like to see sample chapters? Recently, I have enjoyed freelance contracts as a writer, editor, and content creator for local nonprofits. I studied writing craft with notable Pacific Northwest writers. My essay Radioactive Tumbleweeds was included in the anthology “Sweet Breathing of Plants” published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. My complete biography and publishing credits can be seen here.
Thank you for your consideration,
Lesa Quale Ferguson
This class was funded by a generous endowment to my writing by my mom.