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COASTAL - Thriller Revised #5

Fiction Thrillers/Suspense

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#1 christophertwoolf

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 03:44 PM

Hi all! Been a long time but now I'm back at the grind. Shooting for #DVpit on October 6th, so I have one month to make everything shine! As always, I thank you so much for any help, and I promise to reciprocate as soon as I possibly can. Trust me, I will. If you ever want to reach out (as I love making new writing friends) just shoot me a message. 

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Dear Agent,

 

New York City, Cameron's life-long dream, now holds a horrific memory. Moving to LA meant a fresh start, and now he's responsible for the deaths of fifty people.

 

Cameron, aspiring thriller writer, was the perfect Manhattan assistant until he realized what lurks beneath his boss's polished complexion. Cameron fearfully moves to LA, where he’s immediately hired by William Thaxton, a man he knows nothing about. Overcome with excitement, Cameron hastily submits documents on a tablet, detonating a bomb murdering fifty people. Thaxton gleams, “Welcome to your own thriller, my little writer.”

 

Handcuffed and dragged across LA, Cameron inadvertently causes death with each stop until Thaxton arrives at a house of unspeakable horror. Beyond terrified screams and bloodied mattresses, Cameron befriends a sexual assault victim who reluctantly assists in seeking escape. However, after successfully phoning the police, they quickly discover the sickening truth beneath Thaxton and his human trafficking scheme - and, for Cameron, how deep regretful, past mistakes can grow.

 

At ___ words, Coastal is a multi-POV crime thriller with series potential. Over the last year I have worked in both NY and LA, granting me the realistic experience to craft this story.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Respectfully,

Christopher Woolf


Christopher T. Woolf

christophertwoolf@gmail.com

 

Brand new to LA from NY! Working on a new thriller, so no query to critique yet.

Hope you return the help when mine is ready!

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...sed-5/?p=327091

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...er/#entry327479

 


#2 Ms-Q

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 04:34 PM

First, I want to say the query looks like a good length. I want to disclose I am biased against hooks (my own personal preference), so take my advice on the hook with a grain of salt.

 

I want you to think about what the conflict is. Is it uncovering the truth? If so, the last paragraphs are fine as it stands. You might really punch that that he and his friend spend the novel looking for the truth about the traffickers. If they're trying to stop the traffickers, it might need a little revision to emphasize that.

 

In either case, what are the stakes? That is, what will happen if Cameron fails to get what he wants? If more people will die, say so.

 

 

Hi all! Been a long time but now I'm back at the grind. Shooting for #DVpit on October 6th, so I have one month to make everything shine! As always, I thank you so much for any help, and I promise to reciprocate as soon as I possibly can. Trust me, I will. If you ever want to reach out (as I love making new writing friends) just shoot me a message. 

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Dear Agent,

 

New York City, Cameron's life-long dream, now holds a horrific memory. M For Cameron, moving to LA meant a fresh start. , and nNow he's responsible for the deaths of fifty people.

 

Cameron, aspiring thriller writer, was the perfect Manhattan assistant until he realized what lurks beneath his boss's polished complexion. Cameron fearfully moves to LA, where he’s immediately hired by William Thaxton, a man he knows nothing about. Overcome with excitement, Cameron hastily submits documents on a tablet, detonating a bomb murdering fifty people. Revise the proceeding sentence. This is sort of the standard thriller "average man makes a mistake which throws him into peril" line. It's not clear what his mistake is, if that makes sense. Does he pick up the wrong tablet or press the wrong button? That's the kind of info that goes there. Thaxton gleams[period, not comma]. “Welcome to your own thriller, my little writer.”

 

I don't think you should go into much detail of what lurks there, but you ought to be specific. Is it psychopathy? Is he a lizard man? Is he an alien? Since death follows Cameron around, I'm not sure if you mean this to seem eerie or outright supernatural. If you are going to mention his profession, I think it needs to be justified by the larger themes of the story. I'm not seeing that. He can be an author, it just must be important (and you must illustrate that it is important) that he is an aspiring author if you're going to mention it in the query.

 

Why does he gleam? Even if he does gleam, it is a period rather than a comma there.

 

Handcuffed and dragged across LA, Cameron inadvertently causes death with each stop until Thaxton arrives at a house of unspeakable horror. I'd re-word this. Mysterious deaths following your protagonist deserve their own sentence. Beyond Among terrified screams and bloodied mattresses, Cameron befriends a sexual assault victim If this is a secondary character name him or her. The bloodied mattresses imply sexual assault. Maybe "Fellow kidnapping victim [name], who reluctantly assists in seeking helps Cameron escape. However, after successfully phoning the police, tThey call the cops, but quickly discover the sickening truth beneath Thaxton and his human trafficking scheme  [em dash here, not en dash] and, for Cameron, how deep regretful, past mistakes can grow.

 

At ___ words, Coastal is a multi-POV crime thriller with series potential. Over the last year I have worked in both NY and LA, granting me the realistic experience to craft this story.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Respectfully,

Christopher Woolf

 

I hope this helps!



#3 rtburke

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 04:35 PM

My 50 cents/50 pence  for what it's worth.

Best wishes,

Richard

New York City, Cameron's life-long dream, now holds a horrific memory. Moving to LA meant a fresh start, and now he's responsible for the deaths of fifty people.Maybe "New York City holds horrific memories for Cameron so he's moving to LA for a fresh start. But now he's responsible for the deaths of fifty people."

 

Cameron, aspiring thriller writer, was the perfect Manhattan assistant until he realized what lurks beneath his boss's polished complexion. Cameron fearfully moves to LA, where he’s immediately hired by William Thaxton, a man he knows nothing about. Overcome with excitement, Cameron hastily submits documents on a tablet, detonating a bomb and murdering fifty people. Thaxton gleams (not sure gleams is the right word, Gloats? Teases? Taunts?), “Welcome to your own thriller, my little writer.”

 

Handcuffed and dragged across LA, Cameron inadvertently causes death with each stop (maybe just a little too vague - how is he causing deaths?) until Thaxton arrives at a house of unspeakable horror. Beyond terrified screams and bloodied mattresses, Cameron befriends a sexual assault victim who reluctantly assists in seeking escape. However, after successfully (how could they unsuccessfully phone the police? I would just delete) phoning the police, they quickly discover the sickening truth beneath Thaxton and his human trafficking scheme - and, for Cameron, how deep regretful, past mistakes can grow.



#4 spauff

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 11:16 AM

 

 

Hi all! Been a long time but now I'm back at the grind. Shooting for #DVpit on October 6th, so I have one month to make everything shine! As always, I thank you so much for any help, and I promise to reciprocate as soon as I possibly can. Trust me, I will. If you ever want to reach out (as I love making new writing friends) just shoot me a message. 

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Dear Agent,

 

New York City, Cameron's life-long dream, now holds a horrific memory. Moving to LA meant a fresh start, and now he's responsible for the deaths of fifty people. (I like the hook -- his dreams are dashed when he's responsible for this horrific thing -- but I'm confused about the setting. Does the horrific memory happen in New York or LA? Does something horrific happen in NY and then he moves to LA? It could be clearer)

 

Cameron, aspiring thriller writer, was the perfect Manhattan assistant until he realized what lurks beneath his boss's polished complexion (a little too vague. What is so horrible about his boss?) Cameron fearfully moves to LA, where he’s immediately hired by William Thaxton, a man he knows nothing about. Overcome with excitement, Cameron hastily submits documents on a tablet, detonating a bomb murdering fifty people (This is also a little too vague. What is he excited about? What documents does he submit that set off the story? Is it the nature of the documents that triggers the bomb or the tablet itself?). Thaxton gleams (gleams is not a synonym for said. You need another verb here), “Welcome to your own thriller, my little writer.”

 

Handcuffed and dragged across LA, Cameron inadvertently causes death with each stop until Thaxton arrives (brings him to?) a house of unspeakable horror. Surrounded by terrified screams and bloodied mattresses, Cameron befriends a sexual assault victim who reluctantly assists him in seeking escape. However, after successfully phoning the police, they quickly discover the sickening truth beneath Thaxton and his human trafficking scheme - and, for Cameron, how deep regretful, past mistakes can grow.

 

At ___ words, Coastal is a multi-POV crime thriller with series potential. Over the last year I have worked in both NY and LA, granting me the realistic experience to craft this story.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Respectfully,

Christopher Woolf

Overall, it sounds like a really thrilling tale. I agree with the above commenter about the query being a little too vague in places, but you have a good start.

 

Sara



#5 christophertwoolf

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:18 PM

Thanks for your help, everyone! Hopefully this is an improvement. Let me know, thanks! If I can help out in return, please let me know.

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

For Cameron, an aspiring thriller writer, moving to LA meant a fresh start. Now he's responsible for the deaths of fifty people.

 

New York City was Cameron’s life-long dream, until the night he survives the masochist lurking beneath his boss's polished complexion. Fearing his safety, Cameron moves to LA and is immediately offered employment by William Thaxton, a man he knows nothing about. Looking beyond his past, Cameron hastily accepts and is handed a tablet for submitting onboarding documents. Upon his touch, the tablet detonates a bomb murdering fifty people. To Cameron’s shock, Thaxton traps him in his own thriller.

 

Thaxton handcuffs Cameron and drags him across LA to house of unspeakable horror. Among terrified screams and bloodied mattresses, Cameron befriends Clementine, another victim who reluctantly helps him escape. However, after phoning the police, they quickly unravel the sickening scheme beneath Thaxton and his human trafficking ring – and, for Cameron, how deep regretful mistakes can grow.

 

At ___ words, Coastal is a multi-POV crime thriller with series potential. Over the last year I have worked in both NY and LA, granting me the realistic experience to craft this story.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Respectfully,

Christopher Woolf


Christopher T. Woolf

christophertwoolf@gmail.com

 

Brand new to LA from NY! Working on a new thriller, so no query to critique yet.

Hope you return the help when mine is ready!

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...sed-5/?p=327091

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...er/#entry327479

 


#6 Ms-Q

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:46 PM

"New York City was Cameron’s life-long dream, until the night he survives the masochist lurking beneath his boss's polished complexion."

You need to be more specific. My thought is "does he mean 'masochist' or is he confusing it with 'sadist?'" You may be using the word correctly, but I can't tell. It does not make me want to read, it makes me confused. If he thinks his boss tried to kill him but can't prove it (for example), that's a better use of your space. I would say "that makes sense why he would move!" Instead of "huh?"

Part of what is not working for me is that it seems like too many major plot points are in here. We have what I think is your inciting incident (the move and whatever made him move), and possibly the first plot point (the bomb and kidnapping). But then it seems like you want to include the girl.

The first plot point is where your protagonist starts making active choices or is past a point of no return. It's usually about 1/4th of the way through the story. I think that might be the kidnapping, but I don't know what your MC's mission is and what he must choose and how what he wants is in opposition to what the badguy wants. You have a neat idea (a thriller writer trapped in his own thriller), but what is the arc? I don't know what he dreams of besides living on the coast and writing. I don't have an idea of how he will grow as a person. Those are too glossed over. And then I don't know how the antagonist's goals are in direct opposition to what the protagonist wants.

I think if you stop at the first plot point, your protagonist's first real choice, you will have more room to flesh out character. The thriller trapped in a thriller is a neat hook which makes your story unique, but you must also sell it as a story with a character arc.

Does that make sense?

#7 christophertwoolf

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 03:00 PM

Hey!

 

Yes, this makes perfect sense. I need to keep the query on one point: the bomb - then taken to the house, right? Honestly, those two drivers are huge to the story, and the NY past, though crucial, can be described in the synopsis.


Christopher T. Woolf

christophertwoolf@gmail.com

 

Brand new to LA from NY! Working on a new thriller, so no query to critique yet.

Hope you return the help when mine is ready!

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...sed-5/?p=327091

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...er/#entry327479

 






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