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And Nature Must Obey - Speculative Fiction


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#1 Félix

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 10:08 PM

Hello everyone, I'm thankful to be able to speak on a forum to a group of immensely talented authors and literary insiders about fiction and queries. 

 

Today I have a small favor to ask, if at all possible. I've sent this query of mine out to a few different agents (five, to be exact) and they've all come back with a rejection. And while this may sound petulant or whiny because five is no great number in the pantheon of rejection notices, I'd like to submit my query in its most base form as to possibly be able to improve it with the power of community.

 

And so if you decide to read it and also read any of this and also respond, then I must thank you profusely.

 

Now personalizations are done w/r/t the queries, but those are generally light, the real meat-and-potatoes of the query is provided infra. 

 

Thank you for all criticisms, and if the writing is flat-out bad then please inform me of that too. 

 

Thank you!

 

Dear [EDITOR],

 

Today I would like to present my 102,000-word Novel And Nature Must Obey for your consideration today,

 

Charles Boñeyt is a man with no sense of self. He is not devoid of emotion, but when it comes to deep intrinsic beliefs and actualizations, Charles is unable to perceive either. And so, as he experiences this crisis of self, whereas he feels like he’s missing something he doesn’t he know ever had in the first place, he decides to move to Deleuze, a city on the crossroads between Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. There he is confronted with a synecdoche of himself in the city, and it makes him realize what he has become. So he must decide if he can fix himself to be alive in a hypertensive-hypertrophic world where he matters very little either way.

 

Then we have Charles Boñeyt Jr, who faces his own dysphoria of self four years after the death of his father. As Charles Jr. follows in the footsteps of his father he is conflicted with what he wants to be, what he knows he is, and his own rapidly deteriorating health at the behest of a disease that no one seems to know about. And in this conflict he finds himself forsaking the people and passions most close to him--whether or not due to the disease or due to his own fading sanity is unknown.

 

Interspersed along with these two main story lines we see the tales of drug addicts, people afflicted with Bipolar Disorder, A student who needs to explain a call from a school, a system of colostomy bags and catheters to keep people operating at top efficiency, and a group of anal-retentive accountants on the brink of committing terrorism. All stories take place against the backdrop of the ever-imposing Deleuze, which is impassive to it all.

 

Inspired by Pynchon, Delillo, and Wallace, And Nature Must Obey is my cross between Black-Comedy Satire and Speculative Fiction which proposes thoughts on inefficient bureaucracy, alienation, motivation, depression, and the pursuit of happiness in America.

 

Thank you very much for your time, I have included the first fifteen pages of the novel for your consideration. Upon request I can also provide a detailed synopsis and full manuscript.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

Q.v. Draft 2 Infra



#2 Testome

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 10:21 PM



 

 

 

Dear [EDITOR],

 

Today I would like to present my 102,000-word Novel And Nature Must Obey for your consideration today,

 

Charles Boñeyt is a man with no sense of self. He is not devoid of emotion, but when it comes to deep intrinsic beliefs and actualizations, Charles is unable to perceive either. And so, as he experiences this crisis of self, whereas he feels like he’s missing something he doesn’t know ever had in the first place, he decides to move to Deleuze, a city on the crossroads between Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. unnecessary.There he is confronted with a synecdoche of himself in the city, and it makes him realize what he has become. So he must decide if he can fix himself to be alive in a hypertensive-hypertrophic world where he matters very little either way.

 

Then we have Charles Boñeyt Jr, who faces his own dysphoria of self four years after the death of his father. As Charles Jr. follows in the footsteps of his father he is conflicted with what he wants to be, what he knows he is, and his own rapidly deteriorating health at the behest of a disease that no one seems to know about. And in this conflict he finds himself forsaking the people and passions most close to him--whether or not due to the disease or due to his own fading sanity is unknown. This is essientially all character intro. I don't know why you included the character in the query.

 

Interspersed along with these two main story lines we see the tales of drug addicts, people afflicted with Bipolar Disorder, A student who needs to explain  a call from the school, a system of colostomy bags and catheters to keep people operating at top efficiency, and a group of anal-retentive accountants on the brink of committing terrorism. All stories take place against the backdrop of the ever-imposing Deleuze, which is impassive to it all. This is all character intro. Stick to the story.

Inspired by Pynchon, Delillo, and Wallace, And Nature Must Obey is my cross between Black-Comedy Satire and Speculative Fiction which proposes thoughts on inefficient bureaucracy, alienation, motivation, depression, and the pursuit of happiness in America. Show it in the query or novel.

 

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.   , I have included the first fifteen pages of the novel for your consideration. Upon request I can also provide a detailed synopsis and full manuscript. redundant.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

The main problem is you've only really introduced your characters. I would stick to these: hook, who is the mc, what do they want, what they do to get it, what stands in their way, what happens if they fail. You give perhaps a hint of a story in the first paragraph, but that's all. 



#3 gigigriffis

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:38 AM

 

Hello everyone, I'm thankful to be able to speak on a forum to a group of immensely talented authors and literary insiders about fiction and queries. 

 

Today I have a small favor to ask, if at all possible. I've sent this query of mine out to a few different agents (five, to be exact) and they've all come back with a rejection. And while this may sound petulant or whiny because five is no great number in the pantheon of rejection notices, I'd like to submit my query in its most base form as to possibly be able to improve it with the power of community.

 

And so if you decide to read it and also read any of this and also respond, then I must thank you profusely.

 

Now personalizations are done w/r/t the queries, but those are generally light, the real meat-and-potatoes of the query is provided infra. 

 

Thank you for all criticisms, and if the writing is flat-out bad then please inform me of that too. 

 

Thank you!

 

Dear [EDITOR],

 

Today I would like to present my 102,000-word Novel And Nature Must Obey for your consideration today, <-- You've said today twice here and this needs to be a sentence (period ending rather than comma). I'd personally move it to the end. The story is more important than word count. Also, novel isn't capitalized

 

Charles Boñeyt is a man with no sense of self. He is not devoid of emotion, but when it comes to deep intrinsic beliefs and actualizations, Charles is unable to perceive either. <-- What does this mean? Show us. Don't tell us. I'd like to see what this actually means for his life. And so, as he experiences this crisis of self, whereas he feels like he’s missing something he doesn’t he know ever had in the first place, <--This is too vague. What is his crisis? What does it look like? What do you mean missing something he doesn't know he had? Also there are grammar errors here. You've said he twice. he decides to move to Deleuze, a city on the crossroads between Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado.  <-- Why? Why did he move there? Why does it matter? There he is confronted with a synecdoche <-- I know what the word means, but I have no idea what you mean in this context. of himself in the city, and it makes him realize what he has become. So he must decide if he can fix himself to be alive in a hypertensive-hypertrophic world where he matters very little either way. 

 

Then we have Charles Boñeyt Jr, who faces his own dysphoria of self four years after the death of his father. <-- Wait, he died? As Charles Jr. follows in the footsteps of his father he is conflicted with what he wants to be, what he knows he is, and his own rapidly deteriorating health at the behest of a disease that no one seems to know about. And in this conflict he finds himself forsaking the people and passions most close to him--whether or not due to the disease or due to his own fading sanity is unknown. <-- You talk a lot about the internal conflicts of the story, but I have no idea where this is happening or why.

 

Interspersed along with these two main story lines we see the tales of drug addicts, people afflicted with Bipolar Disorder, A student who needs to explain a call from a school, a system of colostomy bags and catheters to keep people operating at top efficiency, and a group of anal-retentive accountants on the brink of committing terrorism. All stories take place against the backdrop of the ever-imposing Deleuze, which is impassive to it all. Not important to the main storyline.

 

Inspired by Pynchon, Delillo, and Wallace, And Nature Must Obey is my cross between Black-Comedy Satire and Speculative Fiction which proposes thoughts on inefficient bureaucracy, alienation, motivation, depression, and the pursuit of happiness in America.

 

Thank you very much for your time, I have included the first fifteen pages of the novel for your consideration. Upon request I can also provide a detailed synopsis and full manuscript.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 


The big thing you're missing here is plot. What does the main character want? What's keeping him from getting it? What are the stakes - what choices does he have to make? Right now you're talking a lot about internal conflict and psychology, which are important components of the story, but are not what drives agents or readers to buy. We want to know what challenges, choices, and terrible dilemmas the character faces and why. In the story itself, you can unfold the psychology of the characters.

Also, make sure you follow submission requirements to a T. If the agent asks for the first 15 pages, great. If not, don't include. You may already know this, but wanted to mention it since your query says they're attached. :) Good luck!


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#4 Carney

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:02 AM

 

Hello everyone, I'm thankful to be able to speak on a forum to a group of immensely talented authors and literary insiders about fiction and queries. 

 

Today I have a small favor to ask, if at all possible. I've sent this query of mine out to a few different agents (five, to be exact) and they've all come back with a rejection. And while this may sound petulant or whiny because five is no great number in the pantheon of rejection notices, I'd like to submit my query in its most base form as to possibly be able to improve it with the power of community.

 

And so if you decide to read it and also read any of this and also respond, then I must thank you profusely.

 

Now personalizations are done w/r/t the queries, but those are generally light, the real meat-and-potatoes of the query is provided infra. 

 

Thank you for all criticisms, and if the writing is flat-out bad then please inform me of that too. 

 

Thank you!

 

Dear [EDITOR],

 

Today I would like to present my 102,000-word Novel And Nature Must Obey for your consideration today,    Open with your hook and save the "housekeeping" info for the final paragraph

 

Charles Boñeyt is a man with no sense of self. He is not devoid of emotion, but when it comes to deep intrinsic beliefs and actualizations, Charles is unable to perceive either. And so, as he experiences this crisis of self, whereas he feels like he’s missing something he doesn’t he know ever had in the first place, he decides to move to Deleuze, a city on the crossroads between Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. There he is confronted with a synecdoche of himself in the city, and it makes him realize what he has become. So he must decide if he can fix himself to be alive in a hypertensive-hypertrophic world where he matters very little either way.  #1: You are telling, not showing and that makes this feel flat and uninteresting. #2: This tells us nothing. It sounds "touchy-feely" but not story. Who is your MC? The hook is meant to "hook" the agent's interest and compel her/him to continue reading. This is not a working hook. What must we know about the MC to understand the plot? Also, most agents dislike the use of obscure or at least uncommon words such as "synecdoche" - a term I've heard, but still had to look up. #1 rule: write for the common reader or at least don't use seldom used words in your query where context is difficult to ascertain. [You may get away with this in the narrative because you provide the reader with context] 

 

Then we have Charles Boñeyt Jr, who faces his own dysphoria of self four years after the death of his father. As Charles Jr. follows in the footsteps of his father he is conflicted with what he wants to be, what he knows he is, and his own rapidly deteriorating health at the behest of a disease that no one seems to know about. And in this conflict he finds himself forsaking the people and passions most close to him--whether or not due to the disease or due to his own fading sanity is unknown. You are talking TO the agent/reader. This doesn't show story, it feels as if you are telling the story instead of showing action. Agents want action because this shows story and helps display your narrative ability. 

 

Interspersed along with these two main story lines we see the tales of drug addicts, people afflicted with Bipolar Disorder, A student who needs to explain a call from a school, a system of colostomy bags and catheters to keep people operating at top efficiency, and a group of anal-retentive accountants on the brink of committing terrorism. All stories take place against the backdrop of the ever-imposing Deleuze, which is impassive to it all. I have absolutely no idea what any of this means. There is no sense of character, plot or narrative arc. In short: where is your story? 

 

Inspired by Pynchon, Delillo, and Wallace, And Nature Must Obey is my cross between Black-Comedy Satire and Speculative Fiction which proposes thoughts on inefficient bureaucracy, alienation, motivation, depression, and the pursuit of happiness in America.  BLAH - the problem is you are telling the agent instead of showing her/him. We need to know the story and the characters and we don't. 

 

Thank you very much for your time, I have included the first fifteen pages of the novel for your consideration. Upon request I can also provide a detailed synopsis and full manuscript.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

You asked for honesty, so here it is IMO (you choose whether it makes sense to you or not): this doesn't work at all. A query must answer these questions:

  • Who is your MC? What must we know of her/him in order to understand the story?
  • What does the MC want/need? 
  • What stands between the MC and the goal?
  • Who helps/hinders the MC in pursuit of the goal?
  • What happens first?
  • What happens next?

I strongly suggest reading agent Janet Reid's excellent blogs: http://queryshark.blogspot.com/    http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/ 

 

Take the time to read all the archives and study what works and what doesn't. 

Because you are writing in a mixed genre and one that some don't fully understand, it is doubly vital your query is clear as to plot, characterization and narrative arc. Do take some time to understand what agents expect and how to best structure a query that will be read and result in a request for pages. Don't be discouraged, most of us have to rewrite our queries multiple time before getting it close to working. 



#5 Félix

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:40 AM

Thank you all very much for the critique. As you may see I'm not well-versed in selling things, (and especially queries), and but I appreciate the pointers and deconstructions and the time that you all took to critique it. I would also like to say that the criticism encourages me very much so because I'm happy to know that I was simply doing it all wrong. So, if I may I'm posting another draft of the query, and if anyone wishes for me to see his/her piece, well, I can't honestly say I offer good criticism for queries but I know fiction. So here it goes:

 

(And of course personalizations done as seen fit, this is the outline)

 

Dear [EDITOR]

 

Spend none more than a little while around the Deleuzean out-of-state licensed members of financial pedigree and tenure and you will learn their special tricks of the trade. Such as: in a business that is all structure, structure is almost of the least amount of importance in a brokerage firm.  Or that the best way to keep people silent is to make them think they aren’t. 

 

Charles Boñeyt has found one last-gasp attempt to keep himself from his own person hell. He has found it in the form of an errant advertisement from a relatively unknown state-mandated organization in Deleuze. But this initiative, home to outcasts and errata of the world, is different. Its one reason for existence is to document the minutiae and banalities of Deleuzean life in an attempt not to lose anything. Charles finds himself adapting to his life easily, up until the point when the iron first of Deleuze comes down upon him when he steps outside the lines of his newfound home and he's espoused into a new world where he must choose between what is right and what makes Deleuze happy for the good of the common person.

 

Intertwining with the story of Charles Boñeyt is the story of Charles Boñeyt Jr, whose story takes place thirty years after his father's and four years after his father's suicide. He, born into Deleuze, finds himself able to euthanize a terminally-ill patient while working in the same organization as his father did before him. And so, he finds himself distancing away from the husk that--he views--is Deleuze and challenges the status quo in the pursuit of change amidst his failing health and pressure from all parties of Deleuze.

 

And Nature Must Obey is a 102,000-word novel that is ready to submit upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

(And also thank you all once again).



#6 Testome

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 11:47 AM



 

 

Dear [EDITOR]

 

Spend none more than a little while around the Deleuzean out-of-state licensed members of financial pedigree and tenure and you will learn their special tricks of the trade. Such as: in a business that is all structure, structure is almost of the least amount of importance in a brokerage firm.  Or that the best way to keep people silent is to make them think they aren’t. I'm still not hooked. I would try a goal and a obstacle for the mc in a hook.

 

Charles Boñeyt has found one last-gasp attempt to keep himself from his own person hell. He has found it in the form of an errant advertisement from a relatively unknown state-mandated organization in Deleuze. But this initiative, home to outcasts and errata of the world, is different. Its one reason for existence is to document the minutiae and banalities of Deleuzean life in an attempt not to lose anything. Charles finds himself adapting to his life easily, up until the point when the iron first of Deleuze comes down upon him when he steps outside the lines of his newfound home and he's espoused into a new world where he must choose between what is right and what makes Deleuze happy for the good of the common person. This is still a bit too vague. We have very few details. 

 

Intertwining with the story of Charles Boñeyt is the story of Charles Boñeyt Jr, whose story takes place thirty years after his father's and four years after his father's suicide. He, born into Deleuze, finds himself able to euthanize a terminally-ill patient while working in the same organization as his father did before him. And so, he finds himself distancing away from the husk that--he views--is Deleuze and challenges the status quo in the pursuit of change amidst his failing health and pressure from all parties of Deleuze. I would say ditch this character from the query.  I'm still unsure why you're including it. It may be crucial for your novel, but is it for the query?

 

And Nature Must Obey is a 102,000-word novel that is ready to submit upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

(And also thank you all once again).



#7 Félix

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 04:57 PM

Dear [EDITOR]

 

Fastow exited his domicile/office at the D.D. in a panic--he's hyperventilating and orthotropic-hung--partly due to his long-standing condition. That being cyclic episodes of expressive acute stress (insofar he refers to as his 'moments' when he's alone) of which he's been afflicted with and partly due to the feeling of complete and utter dread that accompanied him as he realized one thing. He was being followed.

 

Charles Boñeyt has found one last-gasp attempt to keep himself from his own person hell. He has found it in the form of an errant advertisement from a relatively unknown state-mandated organization in Deleuze. But this initiative, home to outcasts and errata of the world, operates above Deleuze to the point where they know more than any other statutory or administrative body. Its one reason for existence is to document the minutiae and banalities of Deleuzean life in an attempt not to lose anything. Charles finds himself adapting to his life easily and enjoys the meticulous grind of work. But as he lives in Deleuze the culture shock of the city leads him to documenting outside the bounds of what the Big O allows.

 

He experiments in documenting Observers, Cartesian principles, and dangerous self-destructive individuals of which threaten the fabric of Deleuze. The final straw comes when he pushes the boundary to the limit in releasing a positive biased report on the PAK, an organization that operates fully independent of the city, and in this he realizes the true horror that lies as a result of the whirling machinations of the city. He resolves after his revelations on how the city functions, to see the dark force of why it functions the way he knows it does, and in a last gasp effort to gain some solidarity in a life he can't understand anymore, will attempt to pay the ultimate price.

 

And Nature Must Obey is a 102,000-word novel that is ready to submit upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

(Question: Testome proposed that I should ditch a character from a query, but the character is just as important to the novel as the other one I proposed in the query (i.e. there are two main characters). With this known, would is still be prudent as not to put the character in the query? Thank you.)

 

(P.s. thank you and if you want advice I'd be happy to provide.)



#8 Testome

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 05:57 PM



Dear [EDITOR]

 

Fastow exited his domicile/office at the D.D. in a panic--he's hyperventilating and orthotropic-hung--partly due to his long-standing condition. That being cyclic episodes of expressive acute stress (insofar he refers to as his 'moments' when he's alone) of which he's been afflicted with and partly due to the feeling of complete and utter dread that accompanied him as he realized one thing. He was being followed. I would avoid doing this in the voice of your mc. The hook still isn't there yet. And you never get back to the being followed part. 

 

Charles Boñeyt has found one last-gasp attempt to keep himself from his own person hell. He has found it in the form of an errant advertisement from a relatively unknown state-mandated organization in Deleuze. But this initiative, home to outcasts and errata of the world, operates above Deleuze to the point where they know more than any other statutory or administrative body. Its one reason for existence is to document the minutiae and banalities of Deleuzean life in an attempt not to lose anything. It reads like too much setup.Charles finds himself adapting to his life easily and enjoys the meticulous grind of work. But as he lives in Deleuze the culture shock this is vague.of the city leads him to documenting outside the bounds of what the Big O allows. Those boundaries are?

 

He experiments in documenting Observers, Cartesian principles, and dangerous self-destructive individuals of which threaten the fabric of Deleuze. How do they threaten it? this is vague.The final straw where were the others? comes when he pushes the boundary to the limit in releasing a positive biased report on the PAK, an organization that operates fully independent of the city, and in this he realizes the true horror that lies as a result of the whirling machinations of the city. The ending is vague. This is also a fifty word sentence. Far too long.He resolves after his revelations This is vague.on how the city functions, to see the dark force of why it functions the way he knows it does, and in a last gasp effort This is vague. to gain some solidarity in a life he can't understand anymore, will attempt to pay the ultimate price. This is vague. Another fifty word sentence.

 

And Nature Must Obey is a 102,000-word novel that is ready to submit upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

(Question: Testome proposed that I should ditch a character from a query, but the character is just as important to the novel as the other one I proposed in the query (i.e. there are two main characters). With this known, would is still be prudent as not to put the character in the query? Thank you.) Usually even if they're for example several mcs is still isn't reccommended in a query, but instead, to keep to one pov. But in your last query the other character didn't really feel connected to anything. It felt like a random subplot. While I've seen well done multiple character queries your other character just didn't fell relevent the way you represented it.

 

(P.s. thank you and if you want advice I'd be happy to provide.)

 

I do think you're leaving out too much of the details. We don't need everything, but the conflict is still vague.



#9 Félix

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 06:36 PM

Dear [EDITOR]

 

Fastow exits his domicile/office at the D.D. in a panic--he's hyperventilating and orthotropic-hung--partly due to his long-standing condition. That being cyclic episodes of expressive acute stress (insofar he refers to as his 'moments' when he's alone) of which he's been afflicted with and partly due to the feeling of complete and utter dread that accompanied him as he realized one thing. He was being followed.

 

Charles Boñeyt has found one last-gasp attempt to keep himself from his own person hell. He has found it in the form of an errant advertisement from a relatively unknown state-mandated organization in Deleuze. Its one reason for existence is to document the minutiae and banalities of Deleuzean life in an attempt not to lose anything. Charles finds himself adapting to his life easily and enjoys the meticulous grind of work. But as he lives in Deleuze, the ruthless bureaucracy and erudite labyrinths of the administration piques his curiosity.

 

He focuses on documenting dangerous self-destructive individuals of which threaten the fabric of Deleuze through their flagrant disregard of Deleuzean need for order and structure. The final straw comes when he pushes the Deleuzean people to the limit in releasing a positive biased report on the PAK, an organization that operates fully independent of the city. And in this he realizes the true horror that lies as a result of the whirling machinations of the city. That in reality the people of Deleuze are unique in their unified emptiness, and lack of humanity. And that this is a fault that lies squarely on Deleuze. He resolves after his revelations on how the city functions to see the dark force of why it functions the way he knows it does. And so, in a last gasp effort to gain some solidarity in a life he can't understand anymore. Charles takes the final step in alienating himself from Deleuze by taking Fastow--the supposed head of Deleuze--hostage and forcing him to reveal the why to Deleuze's how.

 

And Nature Must Obey is a 102,000-word novel that is ready to submit upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

[MY NAME]

 

(Question2: Thank you for your critiques Testome, they're really helpful. My only question is asking in a hook, what do you mean by not in the voice of the main character? isn't the purpose of a hook to entice a reader? How would you do that without using an exciting voice? Also, when you say 'don't tell us everything' well in this one I did. The novel despite having a main character is not focused on him and that's his full story. Him taking Fastow is the end of it, more-or-less, or the climax of it. So is that still ok? Is that what they want? One final thing, what about the hook puts you off? What doesn't hook you? If you can say specifics.)

 

(P.s. thank you and if you want advice I'd be happy to provide.)






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