Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Query, query, query

On Sunday, September 11, I sat on a panel for UCLA's Writer's Fair. I sat on a panel to discuss publishing. I brought a sample of a query letter (a letter to inquire about representation or to pitch an idea). Unfortunately, there wasn't enough copies for everyone. I promised to place it on this blog for people who didn't get a copy.

Here goes:

July 21, 2000

Jed Mattes
Jed Mattes Agency
2095 Broadway #302
New York NY 10023

Dear Mr. Mattes:

Eight-year-old Bong Bong Luwad prays to a dead movie star. He writes letters to 1950s matinee idol Montgomery Clift, knowing that in America, nothing is worth a damn unless it’s on paper—including prayers. He appeals for his mother’s safe return, begging, “Please. Bring my mama back to me. Safe. With no more bruises.”

Through his letters, Bong tells of his parents’ disappearance during the political bloodbath of 1970s Philippines. He writes of his new home in Los Angeles, where he endures the abuse of his alcoholic aunt. He describes his adoptive family, the Arangans, loving Filipino Americans with a shameful secret. He speaks of maturing, entering adulthood, and loving men (like his idol Montgomery Clift). And he tells of his passion for the film actor’s ghost, dancing, laughing, and even making love with him.

I am approaching various agents, seeking literary representation for my novel Letters to Montgomery Clift. I received a 1998 Emerging Voices fellowship from PEN Center USA West to develop this novel. I was a 1999 Community Access Scholar to UCLA’s Writers’ Program and a 1999 finalist to the Sundance writers’ program. I will have pieces anthologized this year in Take Out (Asian American Writers Workshop, edited by Quang Bao) and Tilting the Continent (New Rivers Press, edited by Shirley Lim and Chua Chen Lok). I have a BFA in drama from the University of Southern California and was a member of the David Henry Hwang Writers’ Institute at East West Players. I have had plays produced and read in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. One critic from the LA Weekly said, “Alumit’s point of view mingles acute intelligence with gently sardonic irony.”

I am currently touring with my critically acclaimed one-man show The Rice Room: Scenes from a Bar, dealing with the lives of gay Asian men. The San Francisco Examiner said of the show, “The charm is as much in Alumit’s deceptively light but intriguingly nuanced writing as in his engagingly skillful performance. Sad, serious, challenging and touching revelations are built into the gentle comedy of his portraits.” My work would cater well to the gay and Asian markets—having had success in those communities—but I see my writing having a greater appeal. As the San Francisco Bay Times puts it, “The gay denizens of the Rice Room may be of Asian origin, but their dreams, ambitions, and late-night sexual drives couldn’t be more universal….highly recommended.”

If I may, I would like to send fifty pages of Letters to Montgomery Clift for your review.


Noel Alumit

1 comment:

Los Angeles: a strange and unsober journey said...

Hi Noel. I was at the Writer's Faire on Sunday and sat in your panel (front row so I did in fact get hold of your letter). Thanks for your time at the seminar. I definitely want to pick up your novel and will check back on here for updates on your next project. I hope you find a publihser for your second manuscript (or perhaps you have already?). I'll also be in touch regarding my friend's potential reading at Skylight. Thanks again!