A PRETTY PICKLE: Query Letters


“a pretty pickle” potential query version 2

AKA The revised query my professor found professional and acceptable.


*Insert pouty face here.* I am not a fan of this iteration: it feels sad and appropriate and not representative of the voice in my story.

Should I go with my professor’s advice—and tradition—and submit my manuscript with this letter? Part of me says, yes, do as you are told.

Part of me says… Well, you can imagine what that part says.


Dear Future Agent,

At 3 p.m. Holli walks out of county jail. Twelve hours later, she digs up her grandmother’s grave.

After Holli sleeps with her best friend’s estranged husband Buck, Barbie threatens to reveal Holli's twelve-year-old secret—a teenage prank gone wrong—which could ruin her career and devastate her family. Holli also discovers her grandfather's shenanigans include stealing money from her grandmother—who dies and literally takes the mystery's key to the grave with her. Hog-tied by blackmail, retribution, and love, Holli must decide how to appease Barbie, how to derail her grandfather, and how to get Buck naked again.

A PRETTY PICKLE is a 90,000-word work of women's fiction that should appeal to fans of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Maddie Dawson’s Matchmaking for Beginners.

I study at Southern New Hampshire University. My major is Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Fiction, and my minor is English Language and Literature.

Thank you,

Marnie Lyn Adams


“a pretty pickle” potential query version 1 or epic fail

AKA The query assignment my professor FREAKED so much about you would think I had burped in her face and insulted her puppy.


I know the querying process takes place after the manuscript is complete, edited, and ready for immediate delivery upon request. I also understand the query letter is an agent’s first impression of the author’s writing ability as well as the potential of the book, and the query itself requires multiple edits and thoughtful word choices.

As a fan of Janet Reid, I have read her Query Shark blog for years, reread every single post in the last couple of weeks, and will probably reread it again before I submit to the first agent. I am also considering sending in my query for Her Sharkiness to chomp on and get another pro’s input on what is working and what isn’t.

Yes, the query below is not your traditional fare: written in first person with a heavy dose of snark. However, this version represents the voice in my story so well, I would love to use it anyway.

Something to ponder.


Dear Ms. Agent:

 I have cemetery dirt under my fingernails, and chicken shit in my ears. And I just finished unearthing Gramma's three-day-old grave.

Yep, my life currently resembles an ass-load of steaming cow patties. Yee-effing-haw!

Let's not forget my ex-best friend Barbie's attempts to blackmail me—which I probably deserve, seeing as I slept with her not-quite-former-husband Buck. My grandfather Trick wants to get his grubby little hands on Gramma's money hoard, and after last night's shovel party, I literally hold the key to the stash. Oh, and did I mention the false arrest and release from county lockup—yesterday? Hell, if it wasn't for my brother's cannabis-infused assistance, I'd be boots-up in a vat of wet cement. If the particulars don't change soon, Barbie will kill my career. Trick will ruin my family. And Buck will break my heart.

Here’s my Lake Texoma-sized quandary: How can I appease Barbie? How do I avenge Gramma?  And how the hell am I going to get Buck naked again?

A PRETTY PICKLE, women's fiction, is complete at 90,000 words.

I study Creative Writing and English at Southern New Hampshire University. I am also a lapsed Okie with a spotty work record which includes crafting marketing copy, AKA making crap up for a living.

Thank you

Marnie Lyn Adams


P.S. I won’t bore you with my tribulations once I do start submitting my book to literary agencies.

Be certain, however, I will brag-brag-brag once I sign with an agent!