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Query Within Dark Waters


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#101 starwriter

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 11:42 AM

Newest Version:

 

I like this one!!!

 

Dear Mrs. Moran:

 

I’m seeking representation for my 70,000-word novel, THE ELDRITCH GHOST.  Rosemary Bell is a clairvoyant Witch, a gifted artist. All she wants to do is to isolate herself and grieve in private. Jonathan Fraser is an eldritch cursed ghost who has suffered in a melancholy existence for 60 years. When he meets Rosemary, the chance of freedom from his prison of torment is irresistible.

 

Jonathan haunts Rosemary for her help to find his wife and solve his murder. Rosemary’s suspicions about the truth of Jonathan’s tragic murder meet dangerous resistance from the townspeople. She struggles to stop the killer in time before she becomes the next victim.

 

My regional novel is based on an historical event that occurred in Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton in 1947. My writing is published in the short fiction anthology Nosetouch Press - Wax and Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, Circle Magazine, Essential Herbal magazine, Canadian Stories, and Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine. I’m a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Heddy Johannesen

(902) 404-7989

Email: heddyjohannesen@gmail.com

https://ladyspiderwitch.wordpress.com/



#102 Ms-Q

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 12:11 PM

I like earlier versions better. What is missing now her personal struggle. How her identity ties into the conflict.

Here's how I break this down:

Who is the MC? A grieving widow.

Inciting incident: moves to a seaside town

What does she want: to grieve her husband in peace.

What is stopping her: a ghost invades her dreams.

What must she do to get what she wants: help the ghost solve the murder in order to come to terms with her husband's death. <---- THIS IS IMPORTANT. This is the heart of the story. This is your character's arc.

What will happen if she fails: the person responsible for the ghost's death will kill again. <--- and this is why we care if she fails.

Is that right?

So: A grieving widow, Rosemary Bell, moves to the seaside town of [x] to grieve her husband in peace. She does not find it. A seaweed-covered ghost, Johnathan, invades her dreams, begging her to help him find his killer so he can finally rest. In order to come to terms with her husband's death, Rosemary must solve Johnathan's murder before his killer kills again.

Not perfect, I'm sure, but it has the elements you need.

#103 starwriter

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 12:14 PM

wow you're good at this!

Thank you.



#104 starwriter

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:52 AM

Here is my latest draft for a query:

 

May 2017

 

Karen Dales, Managing Editor

Dark Dragon Publishing

Canada

 

 

Dear Mrs. Dales:

 

 

HAUNTED is a supernatural novel set in a seaside town. HAUNTED features a clairvoyant widow, Rosemary Bell who wants to grieve her husband alone. A cursed seaweed ridden ghost, Jonathan, begs her to find his killer so he can rest in peace.

 

Rosemary is grieving, which she pushes aside to help him. Rosemary discovers Jonathan was murdered via her dreams and her psychic abilities. Her friendships with her neighbors become strained the closer she comes to the truth.

 

The climax of the novel involves all of the elements of horror, sacrifice and suspense.

It culminates in a frightening confrontation between Rosemary, Jonathan and Duncan who is the killer. She is forced into an impossible situation- send Jonathan’s soul to eternal light or die at the hands of Duncan. In order for her to come to terms with her husband’s death, Rosemary must solve Jonathan’s murder before his killer strikes again.

 

 My writing is published in Nosetouch Press - Wax and Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Witches & Pagans magazine and Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine. I’m a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. The novel is about 70,000 words. I have also enclosed the first five pages.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Heddy Johannesen



#105 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:58 AM

NEVER tell. ALWAYS show. A query letter is a pitch, it sells your story to the agent. This query feels like its you just talking about the book, and I HATE to use this word, but it's rather dull. Explanatory phrases like "the climax of the novel," or "it culminates in" are dreadfully red flags for an agent I haven't read earlier versions, but what I'd suggest you do is bring the voice of your story into the query. Write a back cover blurb for the book as if it already has a deal, using the elements described above (MC, catalysing event, goal, obstacle, etc.); the query should be as much a writing sample as the sample pages themselves.

Hope this helped a bit :)

JJW

My Perpetually Metamorphosing Query

 

At vahrai u ihlókéon. At u Atavithion. 


#106 Olive K. Aristen

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:48 PM

Here is my latest draft for a query:

 

May 2017

 

Karen Dales, Managing Editor

Dark Dragon Publishing

Canada

 

 

Dear Mrs. Dales:

 

 

HAUNTED is a supernatural novel set in a seaside town. HAUNTED features a clairvoyant widow, Rosemary Bell who wants to grieve her husband alone. A cursed seaweed ridden ghost, Jonathan, begs her to find his killer so he can rest in peace. I think some of your earlier versions were better. I remember this one:

 

When Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home in Pleasant Bay, she hopes to find peace after the death of her husband. Instead, closing doors, scent of seaweed, and dreams of a drowning man haunt her. 

 

I wonder if you could do something like, "After the death of her husband, Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home wanting nothing more than to find peace (or something about the circumstance that's unique to her situation).

 

Instead, closing doors, scent of seaweed, and dreams of a drowning man haunt her.

 

But after moving settling into her new home in Pleasant Bay, [province?], the odd scent of sea weed fills her nose in the (kitchen?) and doors slam in her face. And the ghost of a man named Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder. I don't know if this is accurate, but you could use something like this.

 

Rosemary is grieving, which she pushes aside to help him. Rosemary discovers Jonathan was murdered via her dreams and her psychic abilities. This reads a bit like a list. Rosemary this, Rosemary that. Does that make sense? Her friendships with her neighbors become strained the closer she comes to the truth.

 

The climax of the novel involves all of the elements of horror, sacrifice and suspense. Don't tell this. Show it.

It culminates in a frightening confrontation between Rosemary, Jonathan and Duncan who is the killer. Leave the ending to the synopsis. She is forced into an impossible situation- send Jonathan’s soul to eternal light or die at the hands of Duncan. In order for her to come to terms with move past/continue living her husband’s death, Rosemary must solve Jonathan’s murder before his killer strikes again. This is really out of order. I think you need to revise.

 

 My writing is published in Nosetouch Press - Wax and Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Witches & Pagans magazine and Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine. I’m a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. The novel is about 70,000 words. I have also enclosed the first five pages.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Heddy Johannesen

 

 

I think you might want to go back and try to follow the shell that they suggest on this website. This one doesn't seem better than what you started with.


Current query for critique: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=340722


#107 starwriter

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 10:36 AM

ok



#108 starwriter

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 10:53 AM

Dear Mrs. -

 

During the winter in a rural seaside town, Rosemary Bell and a ghost are joined in an experience they will never forget.

 

HAUNTED features Rosemary Bell, a clairvoyant artist overwhelmed with grief. After the death of her husband, Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home wanting nothing more than to find peace. Instead, the scent of seaweed and dreams of a drowning man haunt her. And the ghost of a man named Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder. Rosemary must find a way to help the ghost Jonathan if she hopes to move past her grief and stop the killer from striking again.

 

 

My writing is published in Nosetouch Press - Wax and Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Naming the Goddess, Paganism 101,  Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants, Witches & Pagans magazine and The Queen of the Sky: A Devotional anthology in honor of Bast. I’m a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. The novel is about 70,000 words. I have also enclosed the first five pages.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Heddy Johannesen



#109 starwriter

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 12:01 PM

where do we put contact info and how much?



#110 inkandcocoa

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 08:50 AM

Dear Mrs. -

 

During the winter in a rural seaside town, Rosemary Bell and a ghost are joined in an experience they will never forget. [This line doesn't grab me. Your first line does a better job at this in the next paragraph, since this one tells me nothing interesting about Rosemary.]

 

HAUNTED features Rosemary Bell, a clairvoyant artist, is overwhelmed with grief. After the death of her husband, Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home wanting nothing more than to find peace. Instead, the scent of seaweed and dreams of a drowning man haunt her. And the ghost of a man named Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder. Rosemary must find a way to help the ghost Jonathan if she hopes to move past her grief and stop the killer from striking again. [My only hesitation with this is that this is the entire summary of your book and it's incredibly short. Are the neighbors people Rosemary suspects of being Johnathan's killers? Do they get snoopy when she goes investigating or asking around about him? Do they judge her from the start? I think bringing in a sense of the seaside town (Pleasant Bay, right? -- Name it in here somewhere) will give the agent a better sense of the suspense in your novel--or at least another layer of it, as opposed to the typical "girl must solve pervious murder to stop a killer" plotline. In this case (I'm guessing) Rosemary must also fight against the town wanting to keep its secrets, which adds another layer and makes this far more interesting.]

 

My writing is published in Nosetouch Press - Wax and Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Naming the Goddess, Paganism 101,  Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants, Witches & Pagans magazine and The Queen of the Sky: A Devotional anthology in honor of Bast. I’m a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. The novel HAUNTED is complete at about 70,000 words. I have also enclosed attached (only use enclosed if you're submitting via Snail Mail. All email elements get attached, but typically agents want the sample pages pasted in the body of the email to eliminate potential viruses. When I was an intern we had a strict deletion policy for any email with attachments in the submissions bin) the first five pages.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Heddy Johannesen

Hi Heddy!

 

I really like your concept, but I'm afraid that you may have parsed down your most recent draft a bit too much. I like what Olive had suggested earlier, and also wanted to ask about the temperament of the town and if they accept her when she first moves in or if she finds herself an outcast there from the start, too. It adds another layer of suspense to your letter.

 

As for contact info, if you're submitting via Snail Mail (which not many agencies do anymore) you should use the standard business letter format (so contact info at the top of your letter with their address below yours and the date). Via email submissions, your contact info can sit under your signature

 

i.e. 

Heddy Johnannesen

p: X (XXX) XXX-XXX

e: yourname@website.com

 

Not many agents care about street addresses anymore, since a lot of things happen via email these days.

 

Hope this helps!

- Hannah


If you've got the time, check out my query for a Sci-Fi Western, BEAST.

I'm also looking for a couple beta readers for conceptual edits on the project (DM me if interested).


#111 starwriter

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 10:54 AM

wow I love these helpful comments



#112 starwriter

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 11:08 AM

I'm worried that the whole story paragraph here sounds like a list and doesn't flow. I think this is what I struggle with.

 

They do see her as the outcast. I just don't know how to express it

 

Dear Mrs.

 

Rosemary Bell, a clairvoyant artist, is overwhelmed with grief. After the death of her husband, Rosemary isolates herself in a Victorian home hoping to find peace. Instead, she's haunted by the scent of seaweed and recurring dreams of a drowning man. When the eldritch ghost of a man Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder and find his wife, she jumps at the chance to learn more about Jonathan's mysterious murder. They bond over the loss of their own beloveds. The town regards them as outcasts. On the quest for answers, Rosemary struggles to uncover the truth buried beneath in a town hellbent on keeping secrets. She must find a way to help the ghost Jonathan if she hopes to move past her grief and stop the killer from striking again.

 

My writing is published in Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Witches and Pagans Magazine, Essential Herbal magazine, Naming the Goddess, Paganism 101, Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying , Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants, and The Queen of the Sky: A Devotional Anthology in honor of Bast. I'm a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. HAUNTED is complete at 70,000 words. I have attached the first five pages.

 

 

Sincerely,

Heddy Johannesen 

xxx xxx-xxxx

heddyjohannesen @ gmail.com


Edited by starwriter, 20 June 2017 - 03:02 PM.


#113 inkandcocoa

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 07:27 PM

I'm worried that the whole story paragraph here sounds like a list and doesn't flow. I think this is what I struggle with.

 

They do see her as the outcast. I just don't know how to express it

 

Dear Mrs.

 

Rosemary Bell, a clairvoyant artist, is overwhelmed with grief. After the death of her husband, Rosemary isolates herself in a Victorian home wanting nothing more than to find peace. Instead, she's haunted by [changed to active voice, these things are now the object of the sentence, not the subject as they were previously] the scent of seaweed and recurring dreams of a drowning man haunt her.

 

And When the eldritch ghost of a man Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder[, Rosemary gasps at the chance to/learns the death of her husband and Jonathan are connected/she must....] [Also, how do she and Jonathan bond/become allies? Does Jonathan promise her anything? Do they connect over the death of her husband?]

 

On the quest for answers, Rosemary struggles to uncover the truth buried deep beneath in a town hellbent on keeping its secrets from her. She must find a way to help the ghost Jonathan if she hopes to move past her grief and stop the killer from striking again, all the while [battling the stigma of the crazy cat lady]. [Does she know who the next intended victim is? Does she care about this next victim at all? Could be interesting and important to know in your query if she does figure out who's next and has a personal connection to them somehow. It ups the stakes.]

 

 My writing is published in Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Witches and Pagans Magazine, Essential Herbal magazine, Naming the Goddess, Paganism 101, Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying , Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants, and The Queen of the Sky: A Devotional Anthology in honor of Bast. I'm a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. HAUNTED is complete at 70k 70,000 words [spell this out, 70k is shorthand and unprofessional]. I have attached the first five pages.

 

 

Sincerely,

Heddy Johannesen 

xxx xxx-xxxx

heddyjohannesen @ gmail.com

Hi again, Heddy,

 

I think where you're feeling stuck with your summary feeling like a list is understandable. I went ahead and split them up to see if there's more room for expansion on each key element of the plot. I think giving yourself a bit more breathing room to express some ideas and reveal a little more about the murder (obviously without spoiling your ending) could really help on this one. Feel free to try it as an exercise and see what you come up with. :) I added in a few leading lines here and there in green to give you jumping off points to try and help point out spots for expansion or where you can slip in those little details.

 

- Hannah


If you've got the time, check out my query for a Sci-Fi Western, BEAST.

I'm also looking for a couple beta readers for conceptual edits on the project (DM me if interested).


#114 starwriter

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 02:53 PM

Thank for such a wonderful reply. I find your comments very helpful. I think I should work in whether the deaths of Jonathan and her husband are indeed connected. That really tightens the story. Thank you again



#115 starwriter

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 10:35 AM

Latest Version:   Aug., 26, 2017

 

Dear Mrs. Dales:

 

 

Rosemary Bell has an unusual vocation: she's always had the ability to naturally see the dead. Rosemary's guilt over her husband's death halted her glamorous art career.  She and her magical cat find themselves living in the one haunted house on the block with a supernatural history when she moves to Pleasant Bay.

 

Soon she's haunted by her recurring dreams of a drowning man. The sinister ghost of a man Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder and find his wife. Her guilt moves her to learn more about Jonathan's mysterious murder to banish his spirit. To complicate matters, Rosemary struggles to uncover the truth buried deep by the unknown killer hellbent on keeping his secrets. She must find a way to help the ghost Jonathan if she hopes to move past her grief and stop the killer from striking again.

 

 

My writing is published in One Night in Salem, Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Witches and Pagans Magazine, Essential Herbal magazine, Naming the Goddess, Paganism 101, Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying , Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants, and The Queen of the Sky: A Devotional Anthology in honor of Bast. I'm a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. HAUNTED is complete at 70,000 words. I have attached the first five pages.

 * I changed the title.

 

Sincerely,

Heddy Johannesen 



#116 jaustail

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 11:19 AM

JMO:

 

Rosemary Bell has an unusual vocation: she can see the dead. Rosemary sacrificed her glamorous art career to grieve for her late husband(i didnt understand this. did he die while she had a career? why is she grieving suddenly?) in a Victorian home in Pleasant Bay. Instead, her(she) and her magical familiar cat find themselves living in the one haunted house on the block with a supernatural history.

 

Soon she's haunted by the scent of seaweed and recurring dreams of a drowning man. When the eldritch ghost of a man Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder and find his wife, she jumps at the chance(why? she was grieving earlier so where did this enthusiasm come from?) to learn more about Jonathan's mysterious murder. They bond over the loss of their own beloveds. The town regards them as outcasts(i guess the town must've forgotten John since he's dead). To complicate matters, Rosemary struggles to uncover the truth buried beneath in a town hellbent on keeping its secrets(maybe give a glimpse of the secrets or the kind of secrets). She must find a way to help the ghost (add: of) Jonathan if she hopes to move past her grief and stop the killer from striking again.

 

 

 

This didn't work for me. I got an idea of what the story is about but not a strong sense of who is the antagonist.

Your writing is great though. Great publishing history as well, but it becomes tough to read through all those magazine titles. Maybe just mention 2 big magazine titles and then mention 'among others' and in bracket put the number of short stories accepted or something like that, so it's easier to read.

 

Good luck!!

 

My query is there in my signature if you want to have a look.



#117 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 12:38 PM

Latest Version:   Aug., 26, 2017

 

Dear Mrs. Dales:

 

​Greetings Starwriter, 

 

Rosemary Bell has an unusual vocation: she can see the dead. ​I just left this sentence alone, since it seems like your hook. Maybe tell how she can see the dead. A freak accident left her with a power to see the dead. 

 

Rosemary sacrificed ​(a sacrifice implies a choice. I don't think this was  so much a choice as it was depression, pain, or agony that forced her to put her career on standby) her glamorous art career to grieve for her late husband in a Victorian home in Pleasant Bay. His death halted her career.  She and her magical familiar ​(why do you say familiar cat? Is that a term I don't know? Magical cat is fine. If it's her cat, they're familiar) cat find themselves living in the one haunted house on the block with a supernatural history. ​(Did the couple live there before his death? If not, say she moved in, or mention the transition.)

 

Soon she's haunted by the scent ​(how does a scent of seaweed haunt someone? Is this a literal expression? Maybe just mention the bad dreams) of seaweed and recurring dreams of a drowning man. When the eldritch ​(what is an eldritch? Don't be fancy. Just say sinister. It sounds better, too) ghost of a man Jonathan Fraser materializes, begging her to help solve his murder and find his wife, she endeavors  ​(tell us why she does help a ghost because it's a pretty strange thing to do. Does her lack of work, depression, her own guilt of her husband's death send her on this journey?) to learn more about Jonathan's mysterious murder to banish his spirit. They bond over the loss of their own beloveds. The town regards them as outcasts ​(wait, the town regards them as outcasts? The town knows she's chilling with a ghost? Lol. I'd mention that the town knows ghosts exist.). To complicate matters, Rosemary struggles to uncover the truth buried deep by the unknown killer hellbent on keeping his secrets. ​(Is there a correlation between her hubby's death and the murderer she's hunting? I'd mention that, if so) She must find a way to help the ghost Jonathan if she hopes to move past her grief and stop the killer from striking again.

 

​You've got a cool sounding story. I really enjoyed reading it. I hope I was able to help you with my suggestions.

 

​Please reciprocate at - http://agentquerycon...-book/?p=345722

 

 

My writing is published in One Night in Salem, Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, The Dark Ones: Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods, Circle Magazine, Witches and Pagans Magazine, Essential Herbal magazine, Naming the Goddess, Paganism 101, Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying , Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants, and The Queen of the Sky: A Devotional Anthology in honor of Bast. I'm a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. HAUNTED is complete at 70,000 words. I have attached the first five pages.

 * I changed the title.

 

Sincerely,

Heddy Johannesen 


Preston Copeland

Website: prestoncopeland.biz

Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#118 starwriter

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 10:11 PM

I have spent a lot of time on this forum revising my query. I plan to review all my posts I have made and then arrive at a final version. Then you can all view it. The one problem with this forum though it has its good points is no one here will agree on one version. So I should pick a version already- the best.



#119 jaustail

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 12:51 AM

JMO:

 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Moran:

 

I’m seeking representation for my 70,000-word novel(maybe put this in the end. it's kinda implied your writing them for representation), THE ELDRITCH GHOST.  Rosemary Bell is a clairvoyant Witch, a gifted artist. All she wants to do is to isolate herself and grieve(grieve for what?) in private. Jonathan Fraser is an eldritch cursed ghost who has suffered in a melancholy existence for 60 years. When he meets Rosemary(how does he meet her?), the chance of freedom from his prison of torment is irresistible.

 

Jonathan haunts Rosemary for her help to find his wife and solve his murder. Rosemary’s suspicions about the truth of Jonathan’s tragic murder meet dangerous resistance from the townspeople. She struggles to stop the killer in time before she becomes the next victim. (this is a very short query. maybe add more details. I was wanting to read more. so that's good)

 

My regional novel is based on an historical event that occurred in Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton in 1947. My writing is(maybe  'was') published in the short fiction anthology Nosetouch Press - Wax and Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, Circle Magazine, Essential Herbal magazine, Canadian Stories, and Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine. I’m a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and the Horror Writers Association. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

I think this needs more detail. You have ample space to flesh this out. JMO. Link to my revised query is in my signature, in case you want to have a look.






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