If you haven't commented on one of these before and don't know the system, please go and read a couple. (Click on the label "Submission Spotlights" in the list of posts on the right.)
Remember: all I have asked for is a covering letter and first 500 words - NO synopsis or anything. (That's why the letter says there's a synopsis but there isn't, if you see what I mean.) Please ignore any errors of formatting - it will be my fault.
Comments should be constructive, honest and informed. If you are someone who doesn't normally read this genre, say so but DO still comment. And please, everyone, DO comment. Our brave author needs you!
Dear (name of Literary Agent)
Please find enclosed a synopsis and the first three chapters of my novel Filbert’s Mind Rooms (literary, 72,000 words) for your consideration of representing my work.
After a powerful dream, Donald Filbert wakes up in a wardrobe. He dresses as a woman then takes a train to his new job as a security guard of an empty office block. Filbert is mentally ill, a prisoner within his own mind. Due to his strange mental state, he mixes thoughts of the past and present with surreal fantasy, relating these to a recalled psychiatrist.
There are two tragedies in his life: the loss of his father and the loss of his wife Birnadette. His mental barriers which screen him from recalling those poignant memories are slowly eroded until he finally remembers the shocking truth.
I have written another novel entitled Stubb, A Gothic Tale (gothic/magic realism, 74,000 words) and I am writing my third novel called The Turquoize Traveller (magic realism, 20,000 WIP).
I would be glad to send you the complete manuscript of Filbert’s Mind Rooms for your review. Please note that my proposal is on submission to other agents.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to your earliest reply.
First 500 words of Filbert's Mind Rooms (slightly over to a natural break):
The fisherman is coarse faced with rudder ears; he hoses down already slippery slats, moonlight painted. Restless knife-sharpeners: one touches an oilstone, engrains oil in whorls on his thumb. Spectators with white faces huddle and blink at whipping wind.
‘Let’s hold your hand.’ She is gazing at me and I ask: ‘When, then?’
That mournful horn answers from the ship shape ahead, ebony block against grey, avoiding spotlights from the quay.
A growling from the generator. Chains, powdered with rust, scrape up the slats and become taut in shifting shadows. For every link consumed on a winch reel, the waves give another.
‘See?’ Birnadette says, ‘not long,’ and this difficult watery birth (umbilical cords of iron) begins.
The tail fin first – as tall as I stand – then the body emerging with the sea foaming from the labour. Those tons of flesh keep on coming, gigantic and glistening. The harpoon is an obscene desecration of its flesh. The tip protrudes from the beast, gouging the slats. All is a scraping, rattling, creaking, until even the wind quietens and the generator stops.
This slaughtered and humiliated whale is longer than a train carriage. The bank of flesh builds from the flagging fin curled over those cruel chains.
The butchers sharpen their knives – hear the hissing steel. I shall visit this wondrous mammal. It shouldn’t be here under these cold stars and stares. Its place is the empire of the deep, its monstrous yet refined form surging within an ocean. What stratum of consciousness have we insolently wrenched it from? I have plucked one of the filtering bones and it is so pliable, I almost expect a tone to be produced, perhaps harp-like. I’m able to stroke the inside of that cavernous mouth. It’s like a fur and as soft to the touch. I’ll run my hand over its smooth leather blueish skin.
Step back to the side now. A fishermen has raised a curved knife. He is slitting the creature about its head with a honed experience, his yellow oilskins squeaking.
Birnadette is even-mouthed, breathy, chilled; I stand behind her and bring her to me. She pulls the sides of my coat around her while I lightly rest my chin on her head. I smell shampoo mixed with a stronger, alien odour from the air. Am I imagining the whale breathing so gently as to be barely perceptible? Now more chains slither like tentacles. Hooks are hasped to their ends then embedded into that slit. The sea is sending fingers of foam racing up the sloped slats, trying to take back her child, soughing and whooshing; never reaching.
The generator groans into life again. Those chains jerk on the hooks until the thick skin folds back from about the slit. It’s being pulled away with a loud ripping noise, exposing fibrous white blubber with the inner surface of skin looking like the pith of an orange. Clouds of stinking steam rise to reek this night air. Dancing, prancing mad shadows. No pause to allow remorse or mourning: the flashing knives have been plunged into the peeled animal. They are cutting sizeable chunks of red meat and laying them on a metal platform as though building blocks to some gruesome nightmare igloo.
PS - yes, I have changed "course-faced" to "coarse-faced" as requested - sorry I didn't get to this as soon as gyroscope asked.