Query letter, first paragragh
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Yes, it's only the beginning, but, this is the most important letter I may ever write and would like to start at the beginning. :)

It is a non-fiction proposal..


Dear Agent,

Society has become infused with teenage girls mutilating themselves in order to feel a moment of “life”, killing themselves to avoid it, and bullies gleefully pushing them to the edge of self destruction. Why? Because we have become a nation of weak mothers, ashamed to use the “G” word in fear of being ridiculed by our own children.…


I'd like to say be gentle, but I know that won't do me any good. Instead I'll say, be honest.

A Painted Box

  • Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah. I chose to write a blog over working on my query today. I'm sure a psychologist would have a field day with that choice...


  • I think it's working for you, but it rather depends on the shape of the rest of the letter.  Getting all the parts to adhere as one hole is half the battle.  Keep going!
  • Thank you, Candy!

    Now, before I move onto the second paragraph, can I get your opinions on this one as a non-fiction query opening? As we all know, this letter will make or break my chances, so I'm going to be a bit needy over the course of writing it.

    I'd like to say how grateful I am for all of the help so far.


  • Sarah, I love your response!

    Yvonne, see how my revised version reads for you.

    Carolyn, I made a slight change to the suicide portion in order to incorporate your suggestion...

    Dear Agent,
    Somewhere, right now, a teenage girl is cutting herself, self-mutilating in an attempt to feel something, anything, other than overwhelming numbness. Somewhere she is overeating, filling her mouth with food in order to have a moment’s reprive from the gnawing hunger of emptiness buried deep within a famished soul. Somewhere, she is taking the final step to end her pain. These girls are starving for life, with no idea how to feed their hungry souls. I know, because I was one of those girls.

  • The opening sentence is striking, just needs a tweek to take out the passive voice, and you might be able to use a better verb than infused, and as a first paragraph, it's pretty good, but I'm not sure what the "G" word is. God? As in God will strike you down??  There are a lot of weak mothers out there but my impression is that they're afraid of the "No" word. Weak mothers and absent fathers. I'm not a non-fiction expert but I'm sure this is a subject with legs.  You're right about the importance of the query letter.
  • You caught the part that snagged me. I wasn't sure if I should put "one of those girls" because I mentioned one taking the final step so I changed it at the last moment. I do prefer it your way.


    Thank you

  • Oh! Oh! Much more intense!


    One small tweak: "I know, because I was one of those girls."