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Black Forest (YA/Thriller) - Latest version in #23


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#1 jscottboyd

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:29 AM

I'm a brand new poster, but have been reading for a bit. I've read some great feedback and love watching people's queries progress. I'm a rookie when it comes to these, but I will absolutely offer my input to others now that I am a member. I would love any feedback you all might have...
 
I don't love the last sentence of the summary. The intention was to show that it's not all action all the time. I'd also be curious what you think about the bio. I have nothing writing related to put here, but there is enough psychology/therapy in the book I felt what I did list was relevant. 
 
Dear [Agent],
 
A hidden file leads 15-year-old, Dante Larson on a desperate search for his missing father that thrusts him into a dangerous world where stolen drugs, racial violence, hidden treasure and first love are all part of growing up.
 
Dante’s father, who didn’t return home from work two years ago, was a psychotherapist at the county jail and the hidden file Dante finds belongs to Alex Finn, a now deceased, skinhead who was awaiting trial for the murder of a local Black high school basketball star. When Dante and his best friend Jonny (son to the local drug dealer) piece together clues from the file in an attempt to find out what happened to Dante's father, they are initially led to the Black Forest Inn, rumored at one time to have been a secret Nazi hideout where Alex claimed he found millions in gold.
 
No one wants to find the hidden gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six and a half foot White supremacist sociopath, and when he finds out Dante and Jonny may know where it’s hidden, all hell breaks loose. Dante and Jonny try to stay one step ahead of Zufelt while still enjoying Slurpees, the occasional MDMA trip and the company of the beautiful and rich Cal Ashby and the hilarious, perennially stoned Kelly Stokes.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, anxiety and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott


#2 Testome

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:08 PM



 

I'm a brand new poster, but have been reading for a bit. I've read some great feedback and love watching people's queries progress. I'm a rookie when it comes to these, but I will absolutely offer my input to others now that I am a member. I would love any feedback you all might have...
 
I don't love the last sentence of the summary. The intention was to show that it's not all action all the time. I'd also be curious what you think about the bio. I have nothing writing related to put here, but there is enough psychology/therapy in the book I felt what I did list was relevant. 
 
Dear [Agent],
 
A hidden file leads 15-year-old, Dante Larson on a desperate search for his missing father that thrusts him into a dangerous world where stolen drugs, racial violence, hidden treasure and first love are all part of growing up. I'm not really sold on the hook. It' too much telling. I would ditch it and focus on a hook around the missing dad alone.
 
Dante’s father, who didn’t return home from work two years ago, was a psychotherapist at the county jail and the hidden file Dante finds belongs to Alex Finn, a now deceased, skinhead who was awaiting trial for the murder of a local Black high school basketball star. Nearly a 50 word sentence here. I would trim it down. I'm do a condensed version of this as your hook and make it catchier. When Dante and his best friend Jonny (son to the local drug dealer) Not sure the parathesis work well for a query.piece together clues from the file in an attempt to find out what happened to Dante's father, they are initially led to the Black Forest Inn, rumored at one time to have been a secret Nazi hideout where Alex claimed he found millions in gold. again, quite a long sentence.
 
No one wants to find the hidden gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six and a half foot White supremacist sociopath, and when he finds out Dante and Jonny may know where it’s hidden, all hell breaks loose. This is vague.Dante and Jonny try to stay one step ahead of Zufelt while still enjoying Slurpees, the occasional MDMA trip and the company of the beautiful and rich Cal Ashby and the hilarious, perennially stoned Kelly Stokes. The end here doesn't give us any info really and you name drop the last two character seemingly for no reason.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, anxiety and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
wc, genre, title, target audience.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott

 

 

 

I would limit your sentences to near 20 words for the query. Some are near or over 50. I think the stakes are the only thing that really needs a bit more info here at the end.



#3 phil3

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:25 PM

 

Dear [Agent],
 
A hidden file leads 15-year-old (omit the comma) Dante Larson on a desperate search for his missing father, that thrusts thrusting him into a dangerous world where  of stolen drugs, racial violence, hidden treasure and first loves.  are all part of growing up.
 
Dante’s father, who didn’t return home from work two years ago, was a psychotherapist at the county jail. and The hidden file Dante finds belongs to Alex Finn, a now deceased (omit comma) skinhead who was awaiting trial for the murder of a local Black high school basketball star. When Dante and his best friend Jonny (son to the local drug dealer) piece together clues from the file in an attempt to find out what happened to Dante's father, they are initially led to the Black Forest Inn, rumored at one time to have been a secret Nazi hideout where Alex claimed he found millions in gold.
 
No one wants to find the hidden gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six and a half foot White supremacist sociopath. and When he finds out Dante and Jonny may know where it’s hidden, all hell breaks loose (all hell breaks loose is a cliche--can you figure out a way to be more descriptive?). Dante and Jonny try to stay one step ahead of Zufelt while still enjoying Slurpees, the occasional MDMA trip and the company of the beautiful and rich Cal Ashby and the hilarious, perennially stoned Kelly Stokes. (I like the elements you introduce in this sentence--they help describe the tone of the story. Although you might not have to actually state the names of the girls. It could be information overload this late in the query)
(Don't forget to say the title, word count, and genre)
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, anxiety and depression in Boulder, CO. (I think this is a perfectly fine bio. It shows you probably have lots of stories.)
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript. 
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott

 

 

Your story seems interesting overall.



#4 Chuck_Spragins

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 04:07 PM

Finally another thriller writer!

 

I think this query does not do the story justice. It needs some work.

 

Dear [Agent],
 
A hidden file leads 15-year-old, Dante Larson on a desperate search for his missing father that thrusts him into a dangerous world where of stolen drugs, racial violence, hidden treasure and first love are all part of growing up.   The list comes across as a preview of what's to come. My initial reaction is, not again!
 
Dante’s father, who didn’t return home from work two years ago, was a psychotherapist at the county jail. and The hidden file Dante finds belongs to Did it actually belong to him, or is it a file about him, like a police file? Alex Finn, a now deceased, skinhead who was awaiting trial for the murder of a local Bblack high school basketball star. When Dante and his best friend Jonny (son to the local drug dealer) piece together clues from the file in an attempt to find out what happened to Dante's father, they are initially led to the Black Forest Inn, rumored at one time to have been a secret Nazi hideout where Alex claimed he found millions in gold.
 
No one wants to find the hidden gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six and a half foot Wwhite supremacist sociopath., and When he finds out Dante and Jonny may know where it’s hidden, all hell breaks loose Avoid cliches. Be specific. Dante and Jonny try to stay one step ahead of Zufelt spelling. His name is Krufelt, right? while still enjoying Slurpees, the occasional MDMA trip and the company of the beautiful and rich Cal Ashby and the hilarious, perennially stoned Kelly Stokes. Too many names without any role in the query.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, anxiety and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott
 
There is a lack of definition as to what the book is about; the search for the missing father, finding the gold or old fashion teenage fun. Your reader wants to know what the protagonist wants, and what are the stakes if he fails.
 
Hope this helps.
 
Perhaps you could read my query, RIVER PLATE BASIN.


#5 jscottboyd

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 04:44 PM

Testome - Thanks for the feedback on the hook and the telling, working on that now. Also making the sentences shorter. Also getting rid of the all hell breaks loose cliche and the names of the two characters added on at the end. Really helpful.

 

phil3 - You made the first sentence so much more clear. I'm getting rid of the names of the girls as well. Thank you.

 

Chuck_Spragins - I will absolutely review your query. The initial issue is about Dante wanting to find his father, so I will keep just that. I'm gonna get rid of the cliches and the extra names as well. Thanks so much.



#6 Paulsvault

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:42 PM

It appears most posters before me have pointed out most of the necessary corrections so I will just parrot what some of them said. Cut back on some of the 'wordiness' which will trim down the query and allow more space for necessary details. There are a lot of characters introduced as well (which you addressed in the post above). From what I have been told, no more than 3 or 4(tops). And it still needs a good 'pop' at the end

 

Aside from that, it sounds like a lot of interesting personalities on a collision course for an entertaining novel!


The Warrior's Crown Query: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown First 250: http://agentquerycon...warriors-crown/

The Warrior's Crown Hook: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=337108

 

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. - James Douglas Morrison

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury

 


#7 RosieSkye

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 11:00 AM

 

I'm a brand new poster, but have been reading for a bit. I've read some great feedback and love watching people's queries progress. I'm a rookie when it comes to these, but I will absolutely offer my input to others now that I am a member. I would love any feedback you all might have...
 
I don't love the last sentence of the summary. The intention was to show that it's not all action all the time. I'd also be curious what you think about the bio. I have nothing writing related to put here, but there is enough psychology/therapy in the book I felt what I did list was relevant. 
 
Dear [Agent],
 
A hidden file leads 15fifteen-year-old, (no comma) Dante Larson on a desperate search for his missing father that thrusts him into a dangerous world where stolen drugs, racial violence, hidden treasure and first love are all part of growing up.  (This is both overly-wordy and vague, and you're telling rather than showing.  You need a short, snappy hook.)
 
Dante’s father, who didn’t return home from work went missing two years ago, was a psychotherapist at the county jail, (comma) and the hidden file (You've mentioned this file twice now, but I'm unclear - is it like a file folder? A computer file?) Dante finds belongs to Alex Finn, a now deceased, (no comma) skinhead who was awaiting trial for the murder of a local Black high school basketball star. When Dante and his best friend Jonny (son to the local drug dealer) piece together clues from the file in an attempt to find out learn what happened to Dante's father, they are initially led to the Black Forest Inn, rumored at one time to have been a secret Nazi hideout where Alex claimed he found millions in gold. (I'm unclear about your setting. Does this take place in Germany, or do they plan to travel there?)
 
No one wants to find the hidden gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six and a half foot Wwhite supremacist sociopath, and when he finds out Dante and Jonny may know where it’s hidden, all hell breaks loose. (I think you plan on losing this cliche. Also, you've switched POV's here. Stick with Dante.) Dante and Jonny try to stay one step ahead of Zufelt (Krufelt?) while still enjoying Slurpees, the occasional MDMA trip and the company of the beautiful and rich Cal Ashby and the hilarious, perennially stoned Kelly Stokes. (You completely negate any sense of danger by segueing to Slurpees and such. What's ultimately at stake for Dante?  "If Dante and Jonny can't stay ahead of Krufelt, then XYZ will/won't happen.)
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, anxiety and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott

 

 

 

I'm not sure what Dante's actual plan is, which also ties into the setting.  Does he want to go track down this mysterious hidden gold based on a rumor?  What's his motivation for doing so?  (If it's about his father, I'd make that more clear.)  And again, I'm uncertain about where your story takes place.  Is the inn in Germany or the U.S. - and if it's in Germany, how do two teenagers plan on getting there?

 

I also think you can eliminate Alex from your query.  You'll still be mentioning three characters, which is plenty.  You can just say Dante finds the file, and stumbles upon information about the inn and the gold.  No need for extra names that muddy the waters.

 

Good luck! 



#8 jscottboyd

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:10 PM

Thanks so much for all of the great feedback. I took another stab at it based on all o your input. Hopefully it is headed in the right direction.

 

-----

 

Dear [Agent],

 
[Personalization]. BLACK FOREST is a Thriller/Adventure manuscript complete at 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. I won’t be as bold to say it's reminiscent of THE BODY by Stephen King, but I will say it was an inspiration. 
 
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s father went to run an errand and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante refuses to believe his dad would abandon him. Other than what he knows in his heart, Dante had nothing to back up this belief, until he finds a file his father hid in his study. 
 
The file is composed of session notes from one of Dante’s father’s psychotherapy patients at the county jail. The notes say the patient claims to have found hidden nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 
 
In search of his father, Dante and his best-friend Jonny follow clues in the file, leading them to the Inn and the gold. Krufelt’s own search for the gold leads him to Dante. When Dante learns Krufelt wants to kill him, he finds an unlikely ally in a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante knows he has a decision, one that no fifteen-year-old should ever have to make, either have the man killed who wants him dead or wind up dead himself.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott


#9 trailerbride

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 08:53 PM

I think this is well-structured, but could perhaps be edited down and tweaked a little. I've made some suggestions below and I hope at least some of them help.

 

 

Thanks so much for all of the great feedback. I took another stab at it based on all o your input. Hopefully it is headed in the right direction.

 

-----

 

Dear [Agent],

 
[Personalization]. BLACK FOREST is a Thriller/Adventure manuscript complete at 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. I won’t be as bold to say it's reminiscent of THE BODY by Stephen King, but I will say it was an inspiration. 
 
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to run an errand and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante refuses to believe can't accept his dad would abandon him, and when he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead. . Other than what he knows in his heart, Dante had nothing to back up this belief, until he finds a file his father hid in his study
 
The file is composed of session notes in the file from one of Dante’s father’s psychotherapy patients at the county jail. The notes say the a patient claimed to have found hidden Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 
 
In search of his father, Dante and his best-friend Jonny follow clues in the file, leading that lead them to the Inn and the gold. Krufelt’s own search for the gold leads him to Dante. When Dante learns Krufelt wants plans to kill him, he finds an unlikely ally in a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante must decide--kill or be killed.
 
knows he has a decision, one that no fifteen-year-old should ever have to make, either have the man killed who wants him dead or wind up dead himself. (I really dislike this sentence. Even if you hate my suggestion, I strongly recommend you rework this.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott

 



#10 jscottboyd

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 11:44 PM

NSSB - thanks so much for your feedback. I don't hate it at all. It's definitely trimmed down. I would love to hear from others if they think the latest version has enough info to sound like something an agent might want to read.

Dear [Agent]
[Personalization]. BLACK FOREST is a Thriller/Adventure manuscript complete at 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. I won’t be as bold to say it's reminiscent of THE BODY by Stephen King, but I will say it was an inspiration. 
 
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to work one morning and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante can't accept his dad would abandon him, and when he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead. 
 
The session notes in the file say a patient claimed to have found Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 
 
In search of his father, Dante and his best-friend Jonny follow clues that lead them to the inn and the gold. Krufelt’s own search leads him to Dante. When Dante learns Krufelt plans to kill him, he finds an unlikely ally in a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante must decide — kill or be killed.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott

#11 Chuck_Spragins

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 02:44 PM

This is a good query, far better than the first version I saw last week - well done! Just a few minor things below.

 

Dear [Agent]
[Personalization]. BLACK FOREST is a Thriller/Adventure manuscript complete at 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. I won’t be as bold to say it's reminiscent of THE BODY by Stephen King, but I will say it was an inspiration. 
 
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to work one morning and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante can't accept his dad would abandon him., and wWhen he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead. 
 
The session notes in the file say a patient claimed to have found Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 

 

In search of his father, Dante and his best-friend Jonny Since he has no role in the query, I'd leave out Jonny. follows clues that lead them him to the inn and the gold. Krufelt’s own search leads him to Dante. When Dante learns Krufelt plans to kill him, he finds an unlikely ally in a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante must decide — kill or be killed.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,



#12 jscottboyd

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 03:10 PM

Thanks Chuck. I think you are right, Jonny's getting cut. You guys have been so helpful. Here is the latest. 

 

Dear [Agent]

[Personalization]. BLACK FOREST is a Thriller/Adventure manuscript complete at 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. I won’t be as bold to say it's reminiscent of THE BODY by Stephen King, but I will say it was an inspiration. 
 
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to work one morning and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante can't accept his dad would abandon him. When he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead. 
 
The session notes in the file say a patient claimed to have found Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 
 
In search of his father, Dante follows clues that leads him to the inn and the gold. Krufelt’s own search leads him to Dante. When Dante learns Krufelt plans to kill him, he finds an unlikely ally in a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante must decide — kill or be killed.
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott


#13 Paulsvault

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 05:14 PM

Quite a nice transformation from your 1st post to now. Cleaned up quite nice. Has a strong flow and easy to read, never found myself caught up in pauses or backtracking for information.

Well done.


The Warrior's Crown Query: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown First 250: http://agentquerycon...warriors-crown/

The Warrior's Crown Hook: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=337108

 

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. - James Douglas Morrison

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury

 


#14 Testome

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 06:21 PM

It looks good. I would move the title and comparison info to the end and I would cut out this line though. 

 

 

Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.

It's a bit redundant and it seemed off-putting when I read it, but that may be just me.



#15 Navin

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 01:12 AM

Thanks Chuck. I think you are right, Jonny's getting cut. You guys have been so helpful. Here is the latest. 

 

Dear [Agent]

[Personalization]. BLACK FOREST is a Thriller/Adventure manuscript complete at 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. I won’t be as bold to say it's reminiscent of THE BODY by Stephen King, but I will say it was an inspiration. ( Don’t overdo it)

 

Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to work one morning and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante can't accept his dad would abandon him. When he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead. 

 

The session notes in the file say a patient claimed to have found Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 

 

In search of his father, Dante follows clues that leads him to the inn and the  gold. There he runs into Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath, and a gold hunter. Facing death from the hands of Krufelt, Dante  finds an unlikely ally in a black gang member who has his own reason to want   see  Krufelt dead. Dante must decide — kill or be killed. ( Why would anyone one want to be killed if he can kill his enemy? Secondly, you seem to have forgotten that Dante is looking for his dad. What happened to the old man?

 

I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.

 

Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.

 

Thanks so much for your time and consideration,

 

Scott

 

Pls have a look at my query: THE MESSENGER

 

http://agentquerycon...-the-messenger/



#16 Ajax

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 08:39 AM

 

Dear [Agent] <-----( Comma after the agent's name.)

(Break row.)

[Personalization]. BLACK FOREST is a Thriller/Adventure manuscript complete at 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. I won’t be as bold to say it's reminiscent of THE BODY by Stephen King, but I will say it was an inspiration. (Keep this professional.)
 
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to work one morning and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante can't accept his dad would abandon him. When he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead. (A detail about this lead would make this hook more intriguing for me.)
 
The session notes in the file say a patient claimed to have found Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. (I have no idea what Nazi gold stands for. Plus, is Jason the lead?)
 
In search of his father, Dante follows clues that leads him to the inn and the gold. Krufelt’s own search leads him to Dante. (How? And why is Jason after Dante? I'm lost here.) When Dante learns Krufelt plans to kill him, (Why?!) he finds an unlikely ally in a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante must decide — kill or be killed. (Why can't Dante seek help from the authorities? Why is this the only choice for the protagonist?)
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.
 
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading my manuscript.
 
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott

 

 

I need to see clear motives for all the characters. Plus, I hope you'd get Jewish sensitivity readers to check this manuscript for anti-Semitic elements. I have ominous feelings about this query. Things like Nazism, white supremacy, and the black sidekick seem forced.

 

Good luck.



#17 kaznats

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 10:38 AM

Great to read another thriller query, here are my suggestions:

 

Dante Larson's psychotherapist father disappeared without a trace two years ago, No trace, that is until Dante uncovers a cryptic file in his father's computer that leads him to an infamous haven of skinheads guarding Nazi Gold.

 

 

The file recorded the last interview of a murderous Neonazi seeking a pardon in exchange for a cache of lost Nazi Gold. A treasure hunting white supremacist tracks Dante and the gold to the Black Forest Inn. Dante is forced into a moral dilemma of helping a rival black gang avenge a member's death if he is restore his father's reputation and solve the mystery of his Dad's disappearance.

 

 

Well, as you can see I also need work on queries but I do think you may want to read more about the Hardy Boys because your story reminds me of an updated version of those young sleuths.

 

I love your credentials and hope you look at my own query, it is a harsh reality to discover academic writing is no real asset when writing fiction, it may actually be a detriment at times



#18 jscottboyd

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 04:31 PM

Thank you everyone for the feedback (latest at the bottom). I’ve responded individually below, but had a question in general about focus. Does anyone ever post a summary of their manuscript with their query on here so folks can see if they are focused on the right stuff? Should I state in the query that Krufelt was responsible for Dante's father's death? It's not giving away that much I don't think.

 
Paulsvault - Thanks so much for the kind words. It’s all the work of the kind folks that offered their feedback.
 
Testome - I took out the sentence you flagged and moved the comparison info to the end.
 
Navin- I took out the Stephen King reference. Great questions. On the kill or be killed, the issue is that Dante is a normal fifteen year old kid, the most violent thing he has ever been a part of was a fist fight in fifth grade at recess. he is way over his head. His dad was actually killed, indirectly by krufelt, the day he went missing. So his dad has been dead for two years. Dante finds this out midway through the manuscript. I will definitely take a look at your query.
 
Ajax - By detail making the hook more intriguing, do you mean something about Dante that would make people care more? Nazi gold in this case is gold that was hidden by nazi spies in the 1930s. Jason is not the lead he is the antagonist. In a nutshell Dante is looking for his dad, he’s lead to the inn where he finds gold, Krufelt finds out Dante knows where the gold is and is now after Dante. In regard to help from the authorities, they were not helpful when looking for Dante’s dad, so he is jaded. And Jonny’s dad is a drug dealer and wants nothing to do with the cops (Jonny is his best friend who got cut from an earlier version of the query). 
As far as your note at the bottom, I totally hear you. I’m clearly struggling to get across subtleties in 300 words or less. Dante is mixed race (dad’s black and mom is white). The skinheads/Nazis are the bad guys. The black gang member is not a sidekick, but someone he reaches out to for help because Krufelt killed this guy's brother. Dante does not have the skills nor the balls to kill someone straight out. In a clear self-defense instance, sure. But he talks about in the book how he doesn’t think he can basically execute someone. Teaming up with someone else to do it though, he’s fine with.
 
Kaznats - Thanks for the feedback. Your version of my query sounds like something I would like to read. But, this manuscript is much less about treasure hunters and much more about a kid that is looking for his dad and gets in way over his head. treasure is part of it, but it’s more a coming of age novel and dante proving his dad didn’t bail on him. What is your query title?
 
--
 
Dear [Agent]:
 
[Personalization]. 
 
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to work one morning and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante can't accept his dad would abandon him. When he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead.  
 
The session notes in the file say a patient claimed to have found Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 
 
In search of his father, Dante follows clues that leads him to the inn and the gold. Krufelt’s own search for the gold leads him to Dante. When Krufelt tries to kill Dante, he forges an unlikely alliance with a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante must decide — kill or be killed.
 
BLACK FOREST is a Thriller manuscript of 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. 
 
I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.
  
Thanks so much for your time and consideration,
 
Scott


#19 Navin

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 02:14 AM

Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Dante Larson’s psychotherapist father went to work one morning and never returned. The cops say he left, but Dante can't accept his dad would abandon him. When he finds a hidden file he finally has a lead.  

 

The session notes in the file say a patient claimed to might  have found Nazi gold at a local inn. Everyone in town knows the rumors about the inn, that in the 1930’s Nazi spies were housed occupied the inn and from  there as they mapped the area in anticipation of the inevitable for the  German invasion. No one wants to get their hands on the gold more than Jason Krufelt, a six-foot-five white supremacist sociopath. 

 

In search of his father, Dante follows clues that leads him to the inn,  and the gold, and brings him face to face with  Krufelt. ’s own search for the gold leads him to Dante. When Krufelt tries to kill Dante, he forges an unlikely alliance with a black gang member who has his own reason to want Krufelt dead. Dante must decide — kill or be killed, But killing is not easy an choice for someone as young as Dante. (.( What about his dad? The story should end with Dante finding his dad. Isn’t?

 

 

BLACK FOREST is a Thriller manuscript of 80,000 words. It will perhaps appeal to fans of LAST CHILD by John Hart and THE THICKET by Joe R. Lansdale. 

 

I hold a masters degree in clinical psychology and provide therapy for adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, personality disorders, trauma and depression in Boulder, CO.

  

Thanks so much for your time and consideration,

 

Scott

 

---

 

Hope it helps. Pls re-visit my query. I’ve revised it.

 

http://agentquerycon...-the-messenger/



#20 kaznats

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 02:53 AM

actually, i would read your novel because of your credentials. I work a lot with those in the medical field and value their unique insight. I would love to see how you show a 15 year old views on racism and violence. It would be a projection on how he feels about his own father and moral upbringing. I love a story with good moral underpinnings. Unlike the main character of my own novel, he is basically a skillful, patriotic reprobate. But, I also have a character who loves her father and she is of a mixed cultural heritage being part French, Black and Taino Indian. Here is the link you requested, I would love to hear your opinion: http://agentquerycon...reads/?p=337752

 

as you can tell I do not know how to post my query so it moves up my thread instead of being hidden under pages of old queries. Let me know how you do it if you have time. Thx

Richard






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