Brief back story: I went on RottenTomatoes -- a frequent lurking location of mine -- to check out what's new in new releases. I ended up discovering the most hilarious example of complete vagueness that I've seen in a long time. In fact, I realized that from said example, we can glean a rudimentary set of basics for the beginning query-writer.
Lo! From the description of Safe Haven, the obligatory annual Nicholas Sparks film adaptation:
"An affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman's struggle to love again, Safe Haven is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the hit films The Notebook and Dear John. When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller."
For the greater good, let's take a closer look. This could be useful in that it gives clear examples of practically every mistake one could make in a query letter! Yay!
Slowly, she begins putting down roots, (Here I'm left wondering where the "questions about her past" went. Abrupt changes in subject without resolution to the first subject are incredibly jarring; everything in a query should be clearly connected.) and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. Okay, so we have
But dark secrets oh boy, here we go intrude on her new life with such terror the secrets ... are terrified? that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice the longer I look at this phrase the less sense it seems to make and rely on the power of love I love this particular cliche because it always makes that one Celine Dion song play in my mind in this deeply moving romantic thriller. WHAT EVEN IS THIS SENTENCE.
...right. Go ahead and reread that a few times -- every writer can use a nice ego stroke every once in a while.
What I've personally gathered from this is that even the most incompetent of query-writers could be an A-plus blurb writer for Hollywood. Woohoo! [adds this surreptitiously to list of potential careers]