RESCUE ME Query Critique

OR

A Tale of Addiction, Recovery,
and a Husband’s Love

Original:

Dear Agent,

Jacoby married a guy who should be dead.

Most people have a funny or impressive story about how they met their spouse.  Jacoby found his future husband half-dead in a back alley in the seedy part of Council Bluffs, Iowa.  He wasn’t supposed to get attached to a seventeen year old John Doe; it’s one of the biggest rules of first responders. But Jimmy had no family, and Jacoby wanted to give him that.  Every time Jimmy ran back to the streets, Jacoby stood by him.  But when Jimmy goes off his meds once again, Jacoby isn’t sure he’s strong enough anymore.

Jimmy spends two weeks on psych and when he comes home he promises to stay on his meds.  But Jimmy’s resolve isn’t strong enough and soon he’s back into drugs.  When Jimmy finally confesses to Jacoby that he’s been using again, Jacoby leaves him.  For the first time in their relationship, Jacoby can’t handle Jimmy’s addictions.

They try to reconcile and then Jimmy makes a second confession: he’s gone behind Jacoby’s back and taken a job in California.  Jimmy moves despite Jacoby’s protests and when Jacoby flies out to see him, he has the papers that could end their marriage.  It’s up to Jimmy to decide if he’s strong enough to stay stable.

RESCUE ME is dual POV commercial fiction complete at 82,000 words. Readers of Firefly Lane will recognize the themes of friendship, heartache, and struggle. I was recently accepted into the Elephant Bookshelf Press winter anthology with my short story ANGUISH, publishing in February 2014. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Here we go!

Dear Agent: (Colon, not comma)

Jacoby married a guy who should be dead.

Most people have a stupid, gushy (or however he feels about romance) anecdote about how they met their spouse.  Jacoby found his future husband half-dead in a back alley in the seedy part of Council Bluffs, Iowa. I almost feel like this should be your hook.  

He wasn’t supposed to get attached to a seventeen-year-old John Doe; it’s one of the biggest rules of first responders. But Jimmy had no family, and Jacoby wanted to give him that.  Every time Jimmy ran back to the streets, Jacoby stood by him.  But when Jimmy goes off his meds once again, Jacoby isn’t sure he’s strong enough anymore.

Great opening paragraph.

Jimmy spends two weeks in? psych and when he comes home Jimmy promises to stay on his meds, but his resolve isn’t strong enough and soon he’s back into drugs.  When he finally confesses to Jacoby that he’s been using again, Jacoby leaves him.  For the first time in their relationship, Jacoby can’t handle Jimmy’s addictions. Their names are repeated a lot, which kind of impedes the flow.

They try to reconcile and then Jimmy makes a second confession: he’s gone behind Jacoby’s back and taken a job in California.  Jimmy moves despite Jacoby’s protests and when Jacoby flies out to see him, he has the papers that could end their marriage.  It’s up to Jimmy to decide if he’s strong enough to stay stable. This last paragraph reads like a synopsis.

RESCUE ME is dual POV commercial fiction complete at 82,000 words. Readers of Firefly Lane will recognize the themes of friendship, heartache, and struggle. I was recently accepted into the Elephant Bookshelf Press winter anthology with my short story ANGUISH, publishing in February 2014. Thank you for your time and consideration.

So I get that the stakes are either quit using or lose the love of his life. It just feels like a little bit too much is given away in that last paragraph. I’m not feeling a sense of ‘Oh, my gosh. What’s going to happen? What will they do next?’ It seems pretty clear that either they move past the drug obstacle or they get divorced. What else is at stake here?

Maybe if you leave us guessing about whether he decides to go to California. The characters, what they want, and the stakes seem mostly clear to me…it’s just that last paragraph…it didn’t make me want to immediately flip to the first page to find out what happens to the characters. It just seems like the whole 82k words is Jimmy in California deciding whether he will or won’t give into his urges. What else is there? 

I think you should lose the hook and make the next two sentences your hook. I was not drawn in by the first line, but I loved the lines after it. A lot of people will tell you that a hook needs to be a quick, snappy one-liner. I personally disagree. An uninteresting one-liner won’t draw me in, whereas an excellently written two or three sentences definitely will. It’s up to you. The only issue with making that change is Jacoby may not be introduced soon enough. 

Great job!

 

Love, 

The Query Faerie

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