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Revised query for Paranormal thriller/romance-I will reciprocate feedback


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#1 jamills08

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:54 PM

Edited Version

 

Dear Agent,
 

Kenzie believes her marriage to Trent is as perfect and positive as the pregnancy test in her pocket, but her dreams of a happy family crumble after Trent’s car plows into a rock face. Someone cut his brake lines, and no one knows why.

 

Trent’s murder leads Kenzie to discover he’d deposited over a million dollars into his insurance policy with his gambling winnings. Only the money is tied up in a restaurant and beach house Trent purchased in the small bay community of Cove Water, Florida with his family.

 

Desperate for answers about Trent’s behavior and desire to be near his relatives, Kenzie and her daughter move into the property so precious to him. In Cove Water, Kenzie meets Austin, Trent’s childhood friend. Austin is Kenzie’s best source of information, and when he tells Kenzie Trent nearly had a child with another woman, Trent lets Kenzie know his spirit remains with her. A touch from Trent here and a whisper there, urge Kenzie to stop digging into his past. But Kenzie doesn’t understand why Trent’s past isn’t important until someone breaks into her house and threatens to kill her and take everything Trent worked so hard to provide his family.

 

With the help of Trent’s spiritual ability to see virtue, Kenzie must bring him justice in death by uncovering his family’s motivations to acquire his policy so she and her daughter may live without fear. If not, Kenzie risks burying herself with Trent and all his secrets.

 

WITHIN THE CLEANSING FIRE is a paranormal thriller written in alternating POV. The manuscript is complete at 91,000 words and appeals to readers of stories such as I LIKED MY LIFE and THE SLOW BURN OF SILENCE.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,



#2 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 07:32 PM

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I'd like to cut this down to around 300 words. So 50ish words need to go. I'm stuck on what to take out. From other feedback I'm getting it just raises more questions they say I need to answer in the query, but I don't need to add to it, I need to delete stuff. I have answered who the characters are, what they want, what the stakes are, what gets in their way. I know it should only convey 1 pov, however the plot is tricky and I'm stuck on how to do that. I've written queries for both and then one that included both, neither of which have been a success.

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Agent,

​Hello Jamills

 

Watching your ​(2nd POV might work in this case. Sounds good to me.) wife slip away and belong to another is hell on earth. Unless you are Trent Allen, then it’s just purgatory. ​I separated your hook from the large paragraph. It's more clear.

 

Trent and Kenzie Allen have it all ​(If you drop the, "have it all" cliché, and use specifics, it will be more clear. Say, "Mansions, Money, Murder, etc.) plus a little more, thanks to Trent’s ​secret obsession with stashing money in places Kenzie has no idea about. A year after Trent is murdered, Kenzie and the couple's child move into the Cove Water, Florida estate bought with Trent’s black jack winnings. Despite Kenzie’s grief, she is resolute to take full advantage of the estate and restaurant that could make her millions ​(I am curious how one makes millions of dollars from a restaurant? Over 40 year? Let alone an estate? An estate is a liability, pretty much ) and provide refuge from Trent’s murderers. But Kenzie has no idea Trent has a front row seat to her life, nor that he refuses to let go of her until he knows she’s safe. ​I want to make sure I understand. In my head, he's faked his death and she's living in protective custody, possibly with a new identity.

I like it though. Sounds like a cool twist.

 

Trent’s brother and grandma  ​(ok, lol, so I guess she's not in any kind of protective custody, or her family would have no idea about her whereabouts, unless this hiding out is not government involved. If it's not, tell us sooner, like she's hiding out on her own, so we know for sure.) offer to help Kenzie get back on her feet ​(get back on her feet how? She has a restaurant and land she thinks will make her millions? Is she a drug addict? Or emotionally destroyed from the death of hubby?) in Cove Water, which is all the help she thinks she needs.

 

Until she meets Austin, Trent's estranged childhood friend who manages the ​(what's a dive? say cruddy bar, if that's what it is? It's more clear) dive Trent bought. Kenzie can’t resist Austin’s soulful passion, and once she starts asking questions about his past, she can’t stop. Austin’s honest to a fault and only shares one trait with Kenzie’s dead husband – they have the same taste in women. Trent never told Kenzie he had an affair with Austin’s girlfriend in college resulting in pregnancy, and watching his wife desire the man he stole love from makes him want to die all over again.  ​I hate to scratch this out, but it was so slow and does not contribute to your plot well. Keep in my, it's my opinion, but I think others who are familiar with queries will say the same. 

 

After Trent’s brother develops a ​(ok, so this query is getting really confusing. Too many characters. Too many plot points. For clarity, since her husband dies so quick and you want to enter a love triangle--just say in one sentence,"her husband dies and she meets Austin, etc. You waste a whole paragraph above on hubby and he dies. Focus on the living characters we want to know. I mean you mention like 7 characters in a query, and it can work, but it's confusing here. Now I can tell you have a well-thought out bad ass book because of twists and turns and betrayals, but this is way too dense with characters. Focus on 2, maybe 3 at most, only if the third is like an additive. You need a protagonist. You need an antagonist. keep it simple, and your query will shine a thousand times better relationship with Austin’s ex under Kenzie’s nose, Kenzie’s not sure the girl didn’t have something to do with Trent’s death. Driven by the fear of Trent’s murder being unsolved and uncovering a different side of her husband, Kenzie and Austin share one goal with Trent – to discover who and why Trent was murdered and find peace to let go of it all.

WITHIN THE CLEANSING FIRE is a ? written in alternating POV. The manuscript is complete at 85,000 words and appeals to readers of stories such as I LIKED MY LIFE and SAFE HAVEN.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

​I hope what I said will help you limit your character usage, for clarity purposes. I know it's tough, but that's where your skill is required to develop yourself better at this skill.

Please reciprocate at http://agentquerycon...-book/?p=345334

 

 

​Good luck, 


Preston Copeland

Website: prestoncopeland.biz

Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#3 jamills08

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:44 PM

Thank you! I have revised and appreciate any comments.



#4 dragoness

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 06:39 AM

The story seems fascinating  :smile: .

 

The query is also written well, IMO, but I think it's not clear enough yet:

 

Kenzie and Trent are newly married and content as June bugs, but their fairytale comes to a screeching halt when Trent dies in a crash.  because Then Kenzie  finds that someone cut the brakes in Trent's car. (Great hook! the murder should come on new sentence.)

 

Trent’s death  murder leads Kenzie to their financial advisor, where she discovers Trent stashed away a million dollars in his whole life insurance policy and purchased (if the money was into insurance how could he use it? or was it someone else's insurance?) a restaurant and beach house in the small bay community of Cove Water, Florida.

 

Driven by the danger of a killer wanting what’s left of Trent’s money, Kenzie moves into the beach house to find out what Trent’s motives were behind the purchase and if anyone in Cove Water can provide clues into Trent’s life. At the restaurant, Kenzie meets Austin, Trent’s childhood friend, who is a passionate musician and honest to a fault. Kenzie seeks out Austin’s company daily, eager to learn more about her husband’s early life (why?) . She learns the men only shared one trait – their taste in women (so how a liar and a honest man became friends?). Their friendship had ended in college after Trent slept with Austin’s girlfriend.

 

Motivated by the hunger to expose why Trent kept his money and early life hidden, Kenzie must find who her husband washelp bring Trent justice in death to move on with her life (why? aren't she angry at him?) . If not, Kenzie risks joining her husband and losing the love she built on truth with Austin.

 

WITHIN THE CLEANSING FIRE is a paranormal (there's no hint of paranormal in the query, and is should be clear what is paranormal about the story if this is the genre) thriller written in alternating POV. The manuscript is complete at 86,000 words and will appeals to readers of stories such as I LIKED MY LIFE and ANY DREAM WILL DO.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

 

Good luck   :smile: ,

and let me know when you have another version...

 

Thanks for commenting on my query. Would you like to see if my new version is okay too? http://agentquerycon...eturn-critique/



#5 jayperin

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:10 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Kenzie and Trent are newly married and content as June bugs, but their fairytale comes to a screeching halt when Trent dies in a crash because someone cut the brakes in his car. Trent’s death leads Kenzie to their financial advisor, where she discovers Trent stashed away a million dollars in his whole life insurance policy and purchased a restaurant and beach house in the small bay community of Cove Water, Florida.

 

Driven by the danger of a killer wanting what’s left of Trent’s money, Kenzie moves into the beach house to find out what Trent’s motives were behind the purchase and if anyone in Cove Water can provide clues into Trent’s life. At the restaurant, Kenzie meets Austin, Trent’s childhood friend, who is a passionate musician and honest to a fault. Kenzie seeks out Austin’s company daily, eager to learn more about her husband’s early life. She learns the men only shared one trait – their taste in women. Their friendship had ended in college after Trent slept with Austin’s girlfriend.

 

Motivated by the hunger to expose why Trent kept his money and early life hidden, Kenzie must help bring Trent justice in death to move on with her life. If not, Kenzie risks joining her husband and losing the love she built on truth with Austin.

 

WITHIN THE CLEANSING FIRE is a paranormal thriller written in alternating POV. The manuscript is complete at 86,000 words and appeals to readers of stories such as I LIKED MY LIFE and ANY DREAM WILL DO.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

 

Agree with the poster who said the brake part should come in a new sentence. 

 

Trent’s death leads Kenzie to their financial advisor, where she discovers Trent stashed away had a million dollars she knew nothing about and property in his whole life insurance policy and purchased a restaurant and beach house in the small bay community of Cove Water, Florida.

 

Driven by the danger of a killer wanting what’s left of Trent’s money, - How does she know this? Suggest delete. The previous info is enough to make her want to check out the place.

 

Kenzie moves into the beach house to see if  find out what Trent’s motives were behind the purchase and if anyone in Cove Water can provide clues into Trent’s life. At the restaurant, Kenzie She meets Austin, Trent’s childhood friend, who Trent is a passionate musician and honest to a fault. Kenzie seeks out Austin’s company daily, eager to learn more about her husband’s early life. She learns the men only shared one trait – their taste in women. Their friendship had ended in college after Trent slept with Austin’s girlfriend.

 

 

Motivated by the hunger to expose why Trent kept his money and early life hidden, Kenzie must help bring Trent justice in death to move on with her life. If not, Kenzie risks joining her husband and losing the love she built on truth with Austin. This part is already understood. I suggest you put in more info why this is a PARANORMAL THRILLER. Right now it seems more romance with a dash of suspense.



#6 jamills08

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 01:49 PM

This is version 36..lol any feedback is appreciated!

 



#7 lsprochnow

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 09:16 PM

Edited Version

 

Dear Agent,
 

Kenzie believes her marriage to Trent is as perfect and positive as the pregnancy test in her pocket I like this intro to the query, but her dreams of a happy family crumble after Trent’s car plows into a rock face Plows into a rock face is a little vague. Was he on one of those curving mountain roads? Was he headed somewhere suspicious? Someone cut his brake lines, and no one knows why.

 

Trent’s murder leads Kenzie to discover he’d deposited over a million dollars into his insurance policy with his gambling winnings I'm assuming this is a life insurance policy but it's not clear here. I'd make sure to clarify exactly what you mean. Also, I'm not a financial wiz or anything, but I don't think you deposit money into an insurance policy. In my experience you choose a policy and pay monthly for it. Only the money is tied up in a restaurant and beach house Trent purchased in the small bay community of Cove Water, Florida with his family.

 

Desperate for answers about Trent’s behavior and desire to be near his relatives , Kenzie and her daughter move into the property so precious to him. In Cove Water, Kenzie meets Austin, Trent’s childhood friend. Austin is Kenzie’s best source of information, and when he tells Kenzie Trent nearly had a child with another woman, Trent lets Kenzie know his spirit remains with her I'm getting Trent and Austin's names mixed up here. I would try to reword these sentences so they read a little simpler. A touch from Trent here and a whisper there, urge Kenzie to stop digging into his past. But Kenzie doesn’t understand why Trent’s past isn’t important until someone breaks into her house and threatens to kill her and take everything Trent worked so hard to provide his family. This last sentence is actually pretty confusing. Shouldn't it be "Kenzie doesn't understand why Trent's past is important until someone..." I'm just having a hard time following here. 

 

With the help of Trent’s spiritual ability to see virtue, Kenzie must bring him justice in death by uncovering his family’s motivations to acquire his policy so she and her daughter may live without fear. This is really the first time that his family has been mentioned as big players in the story. It sounds like they have a pretty massive role to play in the story if they orchestrated his death. I would consider bringing up their more sinister role earlier on in the query If not, Kenzie risks burying herself with Trent and all his secrets.

 

WITHIN THE CLEANSING FIRE is a paranormal thriller written in alternating POV. The manuscript is complete at 91,000 words and appeals to readers of stories such as I LIKED MY LIFE and THE SLOW BURN OF SILENCE.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

 

I think you've got a good base to your query here but it needs some tightening up. I'm not exactly sure why Kenzie's life is being threatened. Trent's family does not seem very threatening either, since they aren't mentioned often enough in the query. I also don't get the sense from the query that this is a paranormal thriller. The sentence about Trent visiting Kenzie seems tossed in and not absolutely crucial to the story. Does he help her solve his murder?



#8 smithgirl

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 10:15 AM


 

Dear Agent,
 

Kenzie believes her marriage to Trent is as perfect and positive as the pregnancy test in her pocket, but her dreams of a happy family shatter crumble after Trent’s car plows into a rock face. Someone cut his brake lines, and no one knows why. Good hook!

 

Just my personal choice that you could use a stronger word than crumble, which is a slow, sometimes gentle process.

 

Trent’s murder leads Kenzie to discover he’d deposited over a million dollars into his insurance policy with his gambling winnings. But Only the money is tied up in a restaurant and beach house Trent purchased in the small bay community of Cove Water, Florida with his family.

 

 

This is a technical question, but do you mean he created some kind of fund? With insurance you just pay in monthly -- no up-front million dollar pay-in. And if it was a fund, how could he withdraw the money to buy stuff?

 

Desperate for answers about Trent’s behavior and desire to be near his relatives, Kenzie and her new baby daughter move into the property so precious to him. Is this the daughter she was pregnant with when he died?  In Cove Water, Kenzie meets Austin, Trent’s childhood friend. Austin is Kenzie’s best source of information, and when he tells Kenzie Trent nearly had a child with another woman, Austin lets Kenzie know his Trent's? Austin's? spirit remains with her. What? A touch from Trent here and a whisper there, urge Kenzie to stop digging into his past. But Kenzie doesn’t understand why Trent’s past isn’t important until someone breaks into her house and threatens to kill her and take everything Trent worked so hard to provide his family. I'm confused here.

 

With the help of Trent’s spiritual ability to see virtue,What? Isn't Trent dead?  Kenzie must bring him justice in death by uncovering his family’s motivations to acquire his policy so she and her daughter may live without fear. This seems like something we should know earlier. If not, Kenzie risks burying herself with Trent and all his secrets. What?

 

WITHIN THE CLEANSING FIRE is a paranormal thriller written in alternating POV. The manuscript is complete at 91,000 words and appeals to readers of stories such as I LIKED MY LIFE and THE SLOW BURN OF SILENCE.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

 

 

Hey Jamills,

 

I get the gist of your story, but as you can see I had a lot of questions. I also didn't start getting a hint that there might be something paranormal until the very last paragraph  -- the "knows his spirit is with her" part could just be that he's sad for her. I initially thought it meant that Austin liked Kenzie.

 

You need to go back and focus on making your query very clear, especially elements that are important: there is paranormal stuff going on, Trent's family wants the inheritance. And what about the murder? Your hook makes us think we'll get more information about that but we never do.

 

When you write a query, it's easy to include too many elements of the story. Then,  because  you have so little space, many of those elements are left hanging. Introduce only the most vital information, and then pursue it fully.

 

Good luck.



#9 jaustail

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 11:06 AM

JMO:

 

 

Dear Agent,
 

Kenzie believes her marriage to Trent is as perfect and positive as the pregnancy test in her pocket, but her dreams of a happy family crumble after Trent’s car plows into a rock face. Someone cut his brake lines, and no one knows why.

 

Trent’s murder leads Kenzie to discover he’d deposited over a million dollars into his insurance policy with his gambling winnings. Only the money is tied up in a restaurant and beach house Trent purchased in the small bay community of Cove Water, Florida with his family.

 

Desperate for answers about Trent’s behavior and desire to be near his relatives(For a second i thought this had some typo and Kenzie wanted to be near Trent's relatives. maybe reword and simplify), Kenzie and her daughter move into the property so precious to him(i'm not sure she'd move into the property right away. that too with her daughter. maybe make Kenzie first check out the place and see if it's a nice neighborhood). In Cove Water, Kenzie meets Austin, Trent’s childhood friend. Austin is Kenzie’s best source of information, and when he tells Kenzie Trent nearly had a child with another woman, Trent lets Kenzie know his spirit remains with her(why does trent wait for kenzie to find out about the other woman before he returns in spirit form? does he actually return as a ghost or is this just wishful thinking on kenzie's part?). A touch from Trent here and a whisper there, urge Kenzie to stop digging into his past. But Kenzie doesn’t understand why Trent’s past isn’t important until someone breaks into her house and threatens to kill her and take everything Trent worked so hard to provide his family(maybe add: with).

 

With the help of Trent’s spiritual ability to see virtue, Kenzie must bring him justice in death by uncovering his family’s motivations to acquire his policy so she and her daughter may live without fear(this sentence is very long. i suggest breaking this up). If not, Kenzie risks burying herself with Trent and all his secrets.

 

WITHIN THE CLEANSING FIRE is a paranormal thriller written in alternating POV. The manuscript is complete at 91,000 words and appeals to readers of stories such as I LIKED MY LIFE and THE SLOW BURN OF SILENCE.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

 

 

I think it's an interesting story. Ghost returns and helps solve his crime. Maybe simplify the query a bit more. Just reduce length of some sentences.

 

Link to my revised query is in my signature in case you want to have a look.






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