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Heroin Heroine-Romantic Suspense


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#1 ReginaZ

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:04 PM

See post no # 29 for revised query

Dear Agent,

When Fiona Corolla, a documentary film maker, interviews a drug lord, Wayne Vanderputt, in a blood stained cellar in suburban New York, she is unaware that cupids are aiming arrows at her.

The interview is aired on a T.V channel and the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne. Fiona has to stay with Wayne as a T.V anchor to record his daily life in murky shots for a T.V show. The publicity seeking Wayne agrees to the plan and takes her on a secretive journey to his drug cartel operating in an unknown island. The charity loving drug lord’s charisma attracts Fiona. Love precedes common sense and the spy pact becomes a love deal. Fiona believes her intense affection will reform Wayne, the right man on the wrong side.

All is well until a business man is found murdered on Wayne’s ship wrecking yard. Who has the guts to infiltrate the tightly guarded island and commit murder? The suspect wheel spins and points at Father Gabriel. Wayne shoots Father. Later he learns he killed a wrong man. The bitter truth stings; he can’t run a drug cartel and be in pure love at the same time. He chooses love and decides to surrender to the DEA. Fiona rejoices and they secretly marry.

But the man who killed the business man jails Fiona and the whereabouts of Wayne is unknown. Is he alive or dead?

May I send you my completed, 75k, romantic suspense novel, Heroin Heroine?

#2 gaius

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 02:51 PM

This is just a stab at it. I tend to like queries clean and crisp. It's not a synopsis. You're just a traveling bard trying to get your foot in the door.
Story sounds solid. Lets see what our other members think. Okay?

Gaius


When documentary film maker, Fiona Corolla, travels to a blood-stained suburban cellar to interview drug lord, Wayne Vanderputt, she doesn't see cupid's arrow aiming at her heart.

After the interview airs, the DEA approaches her with a scheme to capture Wayne–––record his murky existence by catering to his narcissism. The publicity-seeking cartel kingpin can't resist and brings beautiful Fiona into his underworld. There, she discovers Wayne to be a reluctant Robin Hood. Love conquers common sense as the undercover operation becomes romance. She is certain her affection will convert Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side.

Fiona's plans proceed accordingly, that is, until murder steps in.

Heroin Heroine is complete at 75k words. Want to read it?

#3 Jean Oram

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 04:19 PM

Great query! I picked at every little thing that came to mind and mostly they are just minor nitpicks and places where things could be fleshed out a little more to up the intrigue. Your base is strong and with these added bits, I think you'll be close to rockin' agents with your query.

Take what you want from this critique and leave the rest!

Dear Agent,

When Fiona Corolla, a documentary film maker, interviews a drug lord, Wayne Vanderputt, in a blood stained cellar in suburban New York, she is unaware that cupids are aiming arrows at her.

[I like it! That is not somewhere I would expect cupid and I am immediately intrigued! I'm not sure about plural cupids though. Maybe: ...she is unaware cupid has her in his cross-hairs. ??? I think "blood stained" might need to be "blood-stained."]

The interview is aired on a T.V channel [cut because it is assumed] and the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne. [Would it be capture, or would it be frame, or set up, or...? Because to capture him, it doesn't really seem like he is on the run or hard to find... I like how this is already setting up a conflict for Fiona since we know about the cupid part already. Nicely done.] Fiona has to stay with Wayne as a T.V anchor to record his daily life in murky shots for a T.V show. [How did we leap to recording his daily life? I thought the documentary was done and aired. Is this part of the DEA trapping him?] The publicity-seeking Wayne agrees to the plan [what plan?] and takes her on a secretive journey to his drug cartel, operating in an unknown [uncharted?] island. The charity [hyphenate?] loving drug lord’s charisma attracts Faith. Slowly love precedes common sense and the spy pact becomes a love deal. [How? He doesn't know it is a spy pact does he? And a love pact--what does that involve? Does he love her now too?] Fiona believes her intense affection will reform Wayne, the right man on the wrong side. [I like that.]

All is well until a [is he unknown? Where did he come from?] business man is found murdered on Wayne’s [island] ship wrecking yard. Who has the guts to infiltrate the tightly guarded island and commit murder? The suspect wheel spins and points at Father Gabriel. [How about a little bit about why it points at him? Why a priest and why is he on the island? It seems a bit out there to the reader, so a little hint about F. G. will remedy that easily.] Wayne shoots Father. Later he learns he['s] killed a wrong man. The bitter truth stings; he can’t run a drug cartel and be in pure love [pure love? I know what you mean, but I'm sorry to say that it comes across as a little cheesy.] at the same time. He chooses love and decides to surrender to the DEA. [How does he know about the DEA?] Fiona rejoices and they secretly marry. [Even though he is going to spend a whole hell of a lot of time in jail??? That doesn't feel very happily ever after... :sad: ]

But [However,] the man who killed the business man jails Fiona [Hang on... he jails Fiona? Why? Who is he? You need to have a bit more here so we know enough to be intrigued.] and the whereabouts of Wayne is unknown. Is he alive or dead? [I think the real issue isn't so much whether Wayne is dead or alive, it is more whether the two can live happily ever after. Can you make your closing hook reflect that more?]

May I send you my completed, [You don't need to ask permission. Simply state: HEROIN HEROINE is a 75,000 word romance.] 75k, romantic suspense novel, Heroin Heroine? [Titles go ALL CAPS]



Best of luck! It sounds like you've got great conflict and an unique hook.

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#4 Jean Oram

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 04:26 PM

I think Gaius has some intriguing elements and some voice that you might be able to borrow. I also like the way she shortened the end and made it a high-stakes hook.

Here are my two cents:


When documentary film maker, Fiona Corolla, travels to a blood-stained suburban cellar to interview drug lord, Wayne Vanderputt, she doesn't see cupid's arrow aiming at her heart. [Another spin on cupid--use what works for you, of course.]

After the interview airs, the DEA approaches her with a scheme to capture Wayne–––record his murky existence by catering to his narcissism. [Not sure about narcissism as he is supposed to be the hero and the reader isn't going to be easily endeared by a narcissist. I do agree that something about his love of publicity would be good--sort of the motivation behind it.] The publicity-seeking cartel kingpin can't resist and brings beautiful Fiona into his underworld. There, she discovers Wayne to be a reluctant Robin Hood. [I like Robin Hood, not sure about 'reluctant' as I got the impression that he liked giving to charity. And again, may not make him as lovable.] Love conquers common sense as the undercover operation becomes romance. [I like that. You might be able to work a version of this into your own words and style.] She is certain her affection will convert Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side.

Fiona's plans proceed accordingly, that is, until murder steps in. [If you want a shorter version of your query, this is a nice way to end off. We know what she wants, what some of the conflicts are, that things are going well, but that there is something that is going to mess it up and we are intrigued.]

Heroin Heroine is complete at 75k words. Want to read it? ["Want to read it?" worked for RS's voice and query tone, but I don't feel it quite works with Regina's voice. Maybe something along those lines, but softer?]


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#5 ReginaZ

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 08:40 PM

Thank you so much, Gaius and Jean. Noted your points. reworking the query and will come up with another version soon.

#6 Fitz

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:54 AM

Thank you so much, Gaius and Jean. Noted your points. reworking the query and will come up with another version soon.


I'd love to see the revised version! I think you have a very interesting hook and Im curious to know more! Me personally, I feel that direct sentences instead of questions work better at getting a point across, but other than that, I think your first draft was a great start!

#7 gaius

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 09:15 AM

I think it has a lot or promise! Keep at it and get back to us. Jean has always been spot-on. Follow her advice.

Best of Luck,
Gaius

#8 redwood

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:47 AM

Although if you use "cupid" in the way Jean suggests, you should capitalize it.

Good query!
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#9 Jean Oram

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 11:54 AM

Good catch, Redwood.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

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#10 ReginaZ

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:49 AM

Thanks so much Jean, gaius and redwood,

Revised query

Dear Agent,

When Fiona Corolla, a documentary film maker, interviews a drug lord, Wayne Vanderputt, in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart.

After the interview airs, the DEA approaches her with a scheme–––stick with Wayne and record his murky existence. The publicity-seeking Wayne can't resist and brings beautiful Fiona into his cartel operating from a discrete island. Wayne, the modern Robin Hood, attracts Fiona. Love conquers common sense as the undercover operation becomes romance. She is certain her intense affection will reform Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side.

All is well until a doll merchant from London is found murdered in the ship wrecking yard. Who has the guts to infiltrate the tightly guarded island and commit murder? The suspect wheel spins and points at a priest, an ex convict. Wayne shoots the priest. Later he learns he has killed a wrong man. The bitter truth stings; he can’t run a drug cartel and be in love at the same time. He chooses love. Fiona rejoices and they secretly marry.

However, a mysterious organization RING that killed the doll merchant kidnaps Wayne and keeps Fiona under house arrest. Can the lovebirds survive the RING’S deep conspiracy? Where is the DEA? Can love soften Wayne’s hunting skills?

HEROIN HEROINE is a 75,000 word romantic suspense.

#11 Terry

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 12:16 AM

Regina,
I really like the hook. I think it grabs the reader right away. It should, however, be "Cupid's," not cupids (which wouldn't be possessive).

In the next paragraph, I'd suggest some surgery to tighten things up. The tone is more like a synopsis than a query, which should be used to sell, not tell. Try to smooth out the writing and pacing. For instance, the first three sentences could be combined into something like:

When the interview airs on TV, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne—record his daily life in murky shots for a T.V show.

Also, writing in passive voice in a query seems deadly to me. These two sentences stopped me: "The charity loving drug lord’s charisma attracts Faith. Love precedes common sense and the spy pact becomes a love deal" Who is Faith? Who's falling in love? Who's common sense?

I do like the line, "Fiona believes her intense affection will reform Wayne, the right man on the wrong side." Nice juxtaposition.

Third paragraph, is the shipping yard on the island? You've mentioned the island previously, but not the ship yard. Why is that important? Or is it? Also, Wayne was going to surrender, but he didn't? And why is Fiona jailed? As you can see, the query raises lots of questions, which is not good. I hope this helps.

Terry

#12 ReginaZ

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 01:37 AM

Thank you, Terry. I revised the query. It is in the post # 10

#13 Terry

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 11:35 PM

Hi Regina,
Sorry, but post #10 still raises lots of questions, uses some words that don't seem to fit the situation, and involves some stylistic elements that may not do well in a query. (Big caveat: I don't write romance, so maybe I'm wrong!)

If you declare war on adjectives, adverbs,and anything that might be considered redundant, you'll come up with something along these lines for the last part of paragraph 2.

The publicity-seeking Wayne can't resist and brings Fiona into his cartel, which operates from a discrete (little-known?) island. Fiona finds the modern (modern-day?) Robin Hood attractive and is certain her intense affection (love?) will reform Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side.

In the third paragraph, you've got "all is well" (which seems out of place to me) until the doll merchant is murdered. That's where things fall apart for me. Do you mean "who had the guts"? What's the deal with the suspect wheel? It sounds like Wheel of Fortune and the priest lost. The short sentences from this point forward still remind me of a synopsis, not a sales pitch. Also, the questions at the end just serve to confuse things. Is the point of the novel that their love must overcome his remorse at killing an innocent man, a rival drug cartel's vengeance, and the long arm of the law?

I hope you don't find this too critical, but I still think this one needs work. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox and see if others have comments.

Good luck,

Terry

#14 Litgal

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:23 AM

GUT REACTIONS AS I READ:

When Fiona Corolla, a documentary film maker, interviews a drug lord, Wayne Vanderputt, in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart. [I LIKE WHERE THE HOOK IS HEADED BUT FIND THE PHRASE "cupid's arrow aiming at her heart" TOO TRITE AND TOO MUCH OF A CONTRAST WITH THE NICE, GRITTY SETTING YOU'VE LAID OUT. CAN YOU REPHRASE? CLEARLY THIS WOMAN NEVER IMAGINES SHE CAN SEE A DRUG LORD AS OTHER THAN LOATHSOME -- LET ALONE FALL IN LOVE WITH ONE, RIGHT? SO CONVEY THAT WITHOUT "CUTSEY" LANGUAGE.

After HER interview airs, the DEA approaches FIONA with a scheme WORD CHOICE -- ONE DOES NOT THINK SCHEME WHEN ONE THINKS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, PLAN MAYBE, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO KNOW, RIGHT UP FRONT, WHAT THE DEA HOPES TO ACHIEVE BY THE PLAN. SURELY THE RECORD OF WAYNE'S EXISTENCE IS THE COVER FOR GETTING HER IN BUT THEY MUST WANT TO CATCH HIM RIGHT? SO MAKE CLEAR THAT THIS IS AN UNDERCOVER OP AND WHAT HER (OR AT LEAST THE DEA'S) REAL GOAL IS --stick with Wayne and record his murky existence. The Publicity-seeking Wayne can't resist and brings beautiful Fiona into his cartel operating from a discrete island. Wayne, the modern Robin Hood, attracts Fiona. DON'T TELL HE IS A MODERN ROBIN HOOD AND ATTRACTS F AND EXPECT US TO TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT -- ILLUSTRATE IN A PITHY SENTENCE OR TWO WHAT FIONA SEES THAT TURNS HER VIEW OF HIM AND MAKES HIM LOVABLE. IN OTHER WORDS, SHOW US HIS ROBIN-HOODEDNESS Love conquers common sense as the undercover operation becomes romance. FIONA is certain her intense affection will reform Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side. BUT IS SHE RIGHT? -- I AM NOT ASKING THAT I AM ADDING THAT AND SUGGESTING YOU END HERE WITH A QUESTION. I DO THINK SOME OF THE FACTS IN YOUR NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS PROBABLY (BUT NOT CERTAINLY) BELONG IN YOUR MINI SYNOPSIS BUT THEY NEED TO BE WOVEN INTO ONE PARAGRAPH AND DON'T OVERDO IT. I WOULD NOT GIVE AWAY THE ENDING IN THE QUERY. I GUESS HAVING READ ON, I NOW FEEL THIS QUERY LACKS THE RUTHLESS FOCUS THAT IS NECESSARY -- CHERRY-PICK FACTS AND INCIDENTS THAT SUPPORT THE MAIN CONFLICT HERE (BOTH ROMANTIC AND ADVENTURE) RIGHT NOW I SEE INCIDENT, INCIDENT, INCIDENT, -- ALMOST A LAUNDRY LIST, BUT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS PRIMARY? IS IT FIONA'S STRUGGLE TO DECIDE BETWEEN BEING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LAW AND LOVING WAYNE? IS IT WAYNE'S STRUGGLE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN LOVE AND CRIME? IS IT FIONA'S ATTEMPT TO CHANGE WAYNE? TO GET HIM TO SEE WHO HE REALLY IS? SEE MY POINT?

All is well until a doll merchant from London is found murdered in the ship wrecking yard. Who has the guts to infiltrate the tightly guarded island and commit murder? The suspect wheel spins and points at a priest, an ex convict. Wayne shoots the priest. Later he learns he has killed a wrong man. The bitter truth stings; he can’t run a drug cartel and be in love at the same time. He chooses love. Fiona rejoices and they secretly marry.

However, a mysterious organization RING that killed the doll merchant kidnaps Wayne and keeps Fiona under house arrest. Can the lovebirds survive the RING’S deep conspiracy? Where is the DEA? Can love soften Wayne’s hunting skills?

HEROIN HEROINE is a (75,000 WORDS) IS A romantic suspense NOVEL. I AM SEEKING YOUR REPRESENTAITON BECAUSE (COGENT REASON HERE). THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.


Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#15 Derrick

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:25 AM

I really like this. The hook is great. Personally, I think it can be tightened to something like this:

<<When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart.>>

Just a thought.

Other than that. I found the questions really jarring. Probably because I was so hooked by what you have to say, but I find that questions often turn it back around on the reader. Just one of my things.

I think you should delete this question without subsitute:

Who has the guts to infiltrate the tightly guarded island and commit murder?


I find this question is telling me how I should be responding. I think the query is strong enough to give me the sense of the stakes.

I think you should replace the questions in the last paragraph with a statement of what Fiona/Wayne/whoever must do to overcome the situation (you can do this without giving the outcome).

Also, I think that a colon would do better than an m-dash here:

After the interview airs, the DEA approaches her with a scheme–––stick with Wayne and record his murky existence.



#16 gaius

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:22 PM

Hey ReginaZ, Gaius here. Just checkin' in. Look's like you're well on your way. Start putting together a list of five agents who you think will have a go at this.

Waiting to hear the good news,

Gaius

#17 gaius

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:26 PM

btw and with all due respect, what's with the CAPS. IS SOMEBODY BLIND OR SOMETHING. Poor form.

Gaius

#18 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:54 PM

btw and with all due respect, what's with the CAPS. IS SOMEBODY BLIND OR SOMETHING. Poor form.

Gaius


Gaius -- the all caps are my tradmark for comments. Ask anyone who has been around here a few years. You see caps, it's me, Litgal. Not yelling, just making it easier to see the comments within the text of the letter. But never fear I shall forebear from commenting on any letters you post
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#19 gaius

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:13 PM

Noted. And by your response, I see that those caps truly reflect something else.


Gaius

#20 C. Taylor

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:47 PM

Noted. And by your response, I see that those caps truly reflect something else.


Gaius


Gaius, don't go picking a fight over caps, when everyone here knows Litgal prefers caps for critiquing queries, plain and simple. I can totally see why she uses it, since it's a quick and easy way to critique something and easily distinguish between the original query and her recommendations.

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