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Old House Woods (supernatural thriller)


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#1 rcolonel

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 01:56 PM

I am submitting my supernatural thriller, Old House Woods (85,000+ words) for your consideration.

Trapped inside Old House Woods, Christian Lowe witnesses two hundred years of greed and treachery as the final hours of all who died within the cursed trees are re-lived in one night.

Old House Woods, the most supernaturally active area in Virginia’s Tidewater Region, harbors Spanish soldiers, pirates, British Redcoats and even ghostly cattle. Plagued with feelings of inadequacy as both a husband and a son, aspiring writer Christian Lowe defiantly enters the haunted tract of land looking for a good story but soon discovers the old, local tales aren’t so fictional. The curse of a grieving widow as she was buried alive has imprisoned all those who died within the trees. As the history of the woods’ greedy inhabitants unravels quickly before him, Christian must avoid sword wielding pirates, musket fire, and the wrath of a mysterious banshee hovering above the trees or risk suffering the same fate as those who pursue him. Not until he befriends an abandoned, ghostly child who asks Christian to send her to heaven, does he discover the divine solution to his problem. The only way to save his life is to first save the lives of those who want to take his. Unfortunately he has no idea how to do this.

This is my second novel and I’m currently working on a third manuscript. I have also written three screenplays. I am married and a father of four. I tried sending my children into this very real piece of land in my stead but after they trembled violently, I bit the bullet and grudgingly walked through. If successful I will do whatever is required to market my work.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

#2 layinda

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:22 PM

Wouldn't change a thing, except for the last paragraph.

I've been told it's a BIG no-no to mention other works that haven't sold. I would scrap the whole 'graph and replace it with something like, I live near the real "Old Woods House" and while this is a work of fiction, it is inspired by tales of the area... (or some other such thing that makes you the unique person to write this book.)

#3 ravage

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 12:06 PM

The hook is too vague to be of much value. It just leaves me with questions and not really that interested in the answers. The synopsis is better. The last paragraph is an absolute no no. What do you mean by, died within the trees?
The aim of any fiction writer is the same as the satirist. Without satire, we are stuck with the bland truth.

#4 tmcgee86

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 12:14 PM

Is this Christian fiction? If so you def want to mention that in your genre description.

#5 rcolonel

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 03:01 PM

Thank you for your replies. I'll definitely re-work the last paragraph.

I say "die within the trees" because I didn't want to use the word "woods" over and over and to me, the word "Forest" just seems too magical a word as though it belongs in a fairy tale or a book with wizards. I literally mean though, everyone who has died (become deceased) in the woods.

Thanks again.

#6 rcolonel

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 04:31 PM

I've re-worked this a bit. Not just the last paragraph but the whole thing. Maybe its more compelling, maybe its not.

I am submitting my supernatural Christian thriller, Old House Woods (85,000+ words) for your consideration.

Trapped inside haunted Old House Woods, Christian Lowe flees from two hundred years of greed and treachery as the deaths of its ghostly inhabitants are re-enacted before him in one fearful night.

Old House Woods, the most supernaturally active area in Virginia’s Tidewater Region, harbors Spanish soldiers, pirates, British Redcoats and even ghostly cattle. Poor, aspiring writer Christian Lowe defiantly enters the haunted tract of land looking to write a story that will make his wife proud and silence his father’s hateful criticisms but he soon discovers the old, local tales aren’t so fictional. A grieving widow’s curse at the men burying her alive has imprisoned every man, woman, and child unfortunate enough to die within the woods after her. As the history of the forest unravels quickly before him, Christian must avoid sword wielding pirates, musket fire, and the wrath of a mysterious banshee hovering above the trees or risk suffering the same fate as those who pursue him. Not until he befriends an abandoned, ghostly child who asks that Christian deliver her to heaven, does he discover the divine solution to his problem. The only way to escape is to first save the lives of those who want to take his. Unfortunately he has no idea how to do this.

I live near the actual Old House Woods on which my story is based. I have researched the many tales recorded in various ghost books and old newspaper clippings. I have even walked through the woods at night after my trembling, cowardly children refused to do so for me.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

#7 The Foo

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 09:18 PM

rcolonel,

Don't mix fact and fiction. That a particular region of Virginia may or may not be haunted is irrelevant to your query. The bit about sending your kids there is unclear and ought to be scrapped. Focus on the story. Or rather, focus on the common fear we all share that your story is going to dramatize.

I'm not a huge Steven King fan, but what he does is simple. He takes a common fear (a drunken father who beats his family (The Shining), a pet that goes crazy with rabies (Cujo), etc,) and dramatizes it. It's easy to relate because we all fear these things.

If I were an agent, the question I'd be asking after reading your query is, what common everyday fear are you dramatizing? Or to quote Donald Maass in his book, Writing the Breakout Novel, "So what? Why should I care?"

Righte now what you've got is an adventure story, but I'm not seeing the hero's problem as a universal one.

foo

#8 rcolonel

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 04:33 PM

Here's a third revision. I've pretty much redone the whole thing.

Dear Agent:


Old House Woods is haunted and aspiring writer Christian Lowe just foolishly pitched his tent.

Fueled by his father’s hateful criticisms and a feeling of inadequacy he can’t shake, Christian Lowe defiantly enters Old House Woods looking for a story that will put him on the map. Immediately he discovers the old, local tales aren’t so fictional. The woods’ vast saga of greed and treachery replays from the beginning and kicks off with two pirates burying a grieving widow alive who curses them for killing her husband. From this past point in time the story of the woods’ ghostly inhabitants unwinds quickly before Christian. During his unsuccessful attempts to escape, he evades sword wielding pirates, dodges British cannon fire, and flees the wrath of a mysterious specter screaming above the trees. Not until he befriends Victoria, an abandoned child who asks that Christian deliver her to heaven, does he discover his true courage and the divine solution to his problem. The only way to escape is to stop running, turn, and save the lives of those who want to take his. Problem is, he has no idea how to do this. On the path to this answer he learns the startling truth behind the curse that has imprisoned them all, discovers a dark secret that will destroy his hateful father, marvels at the power of God’s forgiveness and weeps over the departure of Victoria whom he came to love.

I am submitting my supernatural Christian thriller, Old House Woods (85,000+ words) for your consideration. I live near the actual Old House Woods on which my story is based. I have researched the many tales recorded in various ghost books and old newspaper clippings about the area. I have also walked through the woods and along the beach it borders at night. Everything I have read is about the ghosts but not why they are there. I submit to you their tragic and eventually uplifting story.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

#9 ravage

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:18 PM

Its getting better. You don't need this sentence... From this past point in time the story of the woods’ ghostly inhabitants unwinds quickly before Christian... Change this...Not until he befriends... to... Victoria, an abandoned child who asks that Christian deliver her to heaven, helps him discover his true courage and the divine solution to his problem.Get rid of this word...turn, thencombine after...his, though he has no idea how to save any of them. The rest is good. Cut the walk through at night, save that for the agent coversation. Cut the Everything sentence, not needed. The I submit sentence would go better in the first para where you appeal to what the agent has done and why they will like your work.

It's getting there!
The aim of any fiction writer is the same as the satirist. Without satire, we are stuck with the bland truth.

#10 rcolonel

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 04:55 PM

Dear Agent:


I am submitting my supernatural Christian thriller, Old House Woods (85,000+ words) for your consideration

Old House Woods is haunted, and aspiring writer Christian Lowe just foolishly pitched his tent.

Old House Woods is crawling with ghosts, so why does Christian Lowe want to setup camp? Because he needs a story, and besides, ghosts aren’t real, right? Unfortunately the old, local tales he ignored aren’t so fictional. The woods’ vast saga of greed and treachery ignites with two pirates burying alive a grieving widow who spits curses at them for killing her husband. During his unsuccessful attempts to escape, Christian evades vengeful pirates, dodges British cannon fire, and meets a ghost whose death could ruin Christian’s belittling father, a man he despises. Victoria, a barefoot, abandoned child with hope of seeing her parents in heaven, helps Christian discover his true worth and the divine solution to his problem. The only way to escape is to stop running and save the lives of those who will take his though he has no clue how to rescue any of them. On the path to this answer he learns why the spirits are trapped, bids a teary farewell to his beloved child companion, Victoria and witnesses the awesome mercy of God’s forgiveness. Now, can he apply that same mercy to his father?

I live near the actual Old House Woods on which my story is based. I have researched the many tales recorded in various ghost books and old newspaper clippings about the area. Everything I have read is about the ghosts but not why they are there. I submit to you their tragic and eventually uplifting story.

Thank you for your time and consideration,




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