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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Query Critique #5: De-Clutter your Home

Welcome back, readers! Time for our last query of the first-ever Query Critique Week. I hope you've found the analyses helpful, and I plan to do it again in the future. My comments appear in blue:

People are hoarders. It's part of human nature. We feel better about ourselves with the more goods we have. Even more so when they have designer tags on them. It doesn't matter whether it's the latest perfume collection, a pair of jeans, some pots and pans in the kitchen or the latest edition of the LCD or Mac. We want it. Living without stuff isn't an option in today's consumer driven society. [This may be true for the majority of us, but I'd like to see more specific examples here...e.g. iPad or other timely, recognizable big "brands." This reads too generic to the writer just came up with this off the top of her head.]

So what happens to all this stuff. According to some researchers too many things cluttering your home can have adverse affects on your health. You can suffer from a lack of concentration, too much procrastination and excess stress. All those utensils, things you rarely glance at let alone use, or clothes that are developing moth balls are ruining your health. [First sentence should have a question mark, not a period. And I want some specifics here. Cite some recent studies, and tell me more about what exactly these "adverse effects" (not affects) on your health are. Doing so will strengthen this query, and show the editor that the writer has already done some research (and so will be prepared to write the piece). Otherwise the writer is making some assumptions with no backup, which isn't likely to appeal to an editor.]

Your home should be your boudoir. The place where you can rest, relax and recharge your batteries. The more clutter you have the harder it becomes to unwind and recuperate. How do you feel when you walk into a messy room? Or there's a full sink of dishes in the sink? How do you feel when you come home and all the kids' toys are strewn across the living room floor? Do they really need them all? It's exhausting just thinking about it. [There are some grammatical mistakes in this paragraph, but my bigger concern is that as I'm reading it, I'm thinking, yeah, so? I'd rather see a study that links clutter and stress here than some fairly obvious observations (at least if clutter bothers you). This paragraph also is a bit wordy.]

I'd like to propose 'De-clutter Your House, Improve Your Life' for All You magazine.

In the article I will include information from professional organizational psychologists who help people with their clutter at home and in the office. I also propose speaking to individuals who have gone through the de-cluttering process to get their experiences.

The article will contain information on how you can de-clutter your own house within a few short days by focusing on one area at a time.

No need for multi-tasking here. The article will answer questions such as, Why does clutter stress us out? How can we avoid accumulating stuff? What are the benefits of having a clutter free home? Learning to live with less things? How you can help someone in need with all the clutter in your home? [I think the writer could fold all four paragraphs into one, and I'm not quite sure what the actual focus of this piece is...the query reads like the writer is figuring it out as she goes. It's a bit wordy, too. Here's one way to approach it: "De-clutter your House, Improve your Life" will describe the connection between clutter and mental health, report on recent research in this area, and explain how having fewer things can actually make you happier in the long run. The piece will also include tips for readers about how to de-clutter their own homes. I plan to interview experts such as TK and TK and can also interview people who have pared their possessions for this piece." Also, I'd like to know what word count she's suggesting and what section of the magazine she thinks it's right for.]

Would you be interested in this article for All You magazine? [Unnecessary; cut this line.]

I am a freelance writer and TEFL teacher currently based in Poland. My writing has appeared in Real Travel and among others. [I'd like to see her pump up her ISG. Does she have experience de-cluttering her own life, for example? What kind of unique connection does she have with this topic?]

Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Warm Regards

Readers, I hope you've enjoyed this week's worth of query critiques! Is there a writing-related topic (please limit ideas to what I cover in this blog--namely making more money as a freelancer in less time) you'd like me to cover in the future? Drop me a post and let me know...and have a great weekend!