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Mark Doyle's Tragedies

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#1 b.katona

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:58 PM

Hey guys,

I tried my hand at QLs in the past but I was so bad I had to step away. I guess it's been 1 year or so now and this is just the not-personal part of it. I guess it's a rudimentary version, kind of trying to tick every box of "good QL" requirements but I need guidance. Desperately. Will pay back if I can :) Thanks in advance.

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A seasoned celebrity recounts how he extracted his success from the lives and deaths of a group of friends.

 

Mark Doyle escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. His relatives’ help turns his life around overnight: he gets a job and fits right in with the receptive crowd of the foreigner society. His ambitions are fulfilled too fast and too easily, as he fails to fully understand the new life that he is building.

 

He finds out too late and completely unprepared that his new friends are guarding dark secrets: Anne, his new girlfriend, is suffering from PTSD; his closest friends, the McCarrons are big-time identity thieves and criminal mediators. Even his recent boss is mostly involved with the underworld and Mark has been unknowingly posing as a front. He is both hurt by this revelation and sees that those close to him are trying to free themselves from their burdens, be it trauma or a connection with the underworld. He is torn, as he sees he could potentially be of help to these people in their search for catharsis but at the same time he could drop all the heavy challenges and live off of the capable self that he has fashioned for himself.



#2 IslaCaribbe

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:42 PM

Okay so right now you're recounting events. This happened, then this happened, then this happened. Meanwhile that's not what we need to know.

 

Try using this:

 

WHO: who is your character? All I know from what you've written is he sounds like a lazy guy who leeches off other people and finds it hard to choose between other people and himself. Not a great impression.

 

WANTS/NEEDS: No idea what he wants or needs. It sounds like he just spends the story getting help from other people, which is not interesting. 

 

BUT: We need a reason he can't get what he wants.

 

THEN: What does he do to overcome this problem?

 

 

Right now it sounds like your story has a lazy main character with no problem to solve other than his laziness. Try using the who, wants/needs, but, then, formula. That's a good place to start. If you can't fill in those four questions, you might just have a boring story on your hands/no story at all.


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#3 b.katona

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 04:04 AM

Hey Isla,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time and checking my QL!

 

I'm sure it's on me but I struggle to make very good use of your advice. Could you maybe specify or help me incorporate it? What gives me a hard time is that Mark's a narrator, not an archetypal hero. I was trying to decypher the WHO part in the light of this but I got only so far that he starts out as directionless (to me this doesn't equal lazy but it might be a character flaw in me not to know they're the same...) and he organizes a life for himself. He doesn't do it all alone, sure, but that's like the most ancient way to construct a story: a person goes from point A to B, and there's something inherently different between these two places. Here it manifests itself as opportunities, which he takes, ergo he finds direction. What he WANTS initially is actually omitted, I completely agree with your assessment there. As soon as he has this basic stability of a career, he starts to yearn for artistic achievement and by the end of the story he gets a chance to return to the States as an up-and-coming artist, only one problem: the whole story doesn't revolve around this. The focus is really around how he is charmed by a seductive and unpredictable woman, who turns out to have serious problems; and around how he befriends a rather cosmopolitan-looking couple, who obviously have a shtick and they really turn out to be trouble. He struggles with his own emotions, his perceived responsibility and his selfish-looking desires, as he really just wants to get to a good point in his life, as he feels he has already wasted too much of his time, not finding a good career. So it's an inner struggle for himself, a fight with PTSD for the romantic interest, and a criminal redemption story for the friends. Certainly, this story concerns almost all of its characters and it doesn't have that laser-beam focus on our hero--and he actually doesn't fit the role of the hero, as he fails morally, the whole network of his friends falls into chaos because of his turning his back on them but I feel that this sour end doesn't completely alienate everybody, especially since he's also not strictly-speaking an antihero. He's just a failed hero (the whole novel is the story of his chance to become a hero and his eventual failure at attaining this), his friends are also failed heroes, betrayed in a sort of moral gray.

 

I'm not sure I was entirely clear, sorry if that's the case. Could you maybe rethink your advice and help me better understand what's a more efficient way of going about this? I'd sure appreciate it.

 

Thanks a lot!



#4 smithgirl

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 02:48 PM

Hey b.Catona, the advice you got from Isla is actually the standard advice you would get for your query.  To help you get a better feel for queries you should read other people's queries, check out Query Shark. It's difficult to write a query for a more abstract novel, but still entirely possible. You have to start by narrowing your story down to its most basic elements, which you do by writing a query to address the questions indicated by Isla.

 

You need to answer these questions very specifically but also as simply as possible.

 

Who is your MC? Don't get into the nitty gritty. He's a is a lonely unemployed 27-year-old man. Then try and give us some idea of his feelings/who he is as a person, in the body of the query. Make us care about him.

What does he want? He wants to get a job and some new friends. ?

What obstacles does he face? His new friends are not really his friends. ?

What will happen if fails? I don't know. He'll be lonely again?

 

Right now the "stakes" at the end of your query seem minimal: he could help his friends or just move on and live his own life. I'm sure there's more to your book than this. They key is to start very basic and then expand again, and don't write your query the way you wrote your novel. They are completely different kinds of writing. Good luck!



#5 b.katona

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 01:29 PM

Hopefully I've made some progress in the above fields. Still, I feel like there's room for further development, only problem: I'm not the greatest sales mind of this generation... Will pay back further help if I can :)

smithgirl, is there any thread you'd like me to contribute? I checked your profile and didn't see ongoing topics, but it's possible I just missed the one...

#################################################################################################################

 

 

A seasoned celebrity recounts how he extracted his success from the lives and deaths of a group of friends.

 

Mark Doyle escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He is a self-professed grounded man but the receptive crowd of the foreigner society wakes up an ambitious curiosity in him. He delves into a chatoic relationship with a charming but edgy woman, takes the friendship of a sociable but conspicuously privy couple, and makes it his mission to become an artist.

 

He finds out too late and completely unprepared that his new friends' secrets are more than casual eccentricities: Anne, his new girlfriend, is suffering from PTSD; his closest friends, the McCarrons are big-time identity thieves and criminal mediators. Even his recent boss is mostly involved with the underworld and Mark has been unknowingly posing as a front. He is both hurt by these revelations and sees that those close to him are trying to free themselves from their burdens, be it trauma or a connection with the underworld. He is torn, as he sees he could potentially be of help to these people in their search for catharsis but at the same time he could drop all the heavy challenges and live off of a new opportunity he gets as an artist with his work, which is plagiaristic of the Strasbourg crooks' fake air.



#6 Ajax

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:55 PM

A seasoned celebrity recounts how he extracted his success from the lives and deaths of a group of friends. (I'm hooked! You can still paraphrase it though.)

 

Mark Doyle escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He is a self-professed grounded man but the receptive crowd of the foreigner society wakes up an ambitious curiosity in him. (I have no idea what this even means. Get right into the plot.) He delves into a chatoic relationship with a charming but edgy woman, takes the friendship of a sociable but conspicuously privy couple, and makes it his mission to become an artist. (This reads like a grocery list of events. What's his motive to do all of this? There's so much telling and it's getting mundane.) 

 

He finds out too late and completely unprepared that his new friends' secrets are more than casual eccentricities: Anne, his new girlfriend, is suffering from PTSD; his closest friends, the McCarrons are big-time identity thieves and criminal mediators. (This is your second grocery list.)  Even his recent boss is mostly involved with the underworld and Mark has been unknowingly posing as a front. He is both hurt by these revelations and sees that those close to him are trying to free themselves from their burdens, be it trauma or a connection with the underworld. (This is vague and doesn't scream conflict.) He is torn, as he sees he could potentially be of help to these people in their search for catharsis but at the same time he could drop all the heavy challenges and live off of a new opportunity he gets as an artist with his work, which is plagiaristic of the Strasbourg crooks' fake air. (Where are your stakes?!)

 

 

Where's the main plot? All I see are lists of unrelated events. You also need a strong and clear conflict and stakes. 

 

I'd suggest you to pick ONE event and derive the whole query from it. 



#7 Illumen

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:17 PM

To me the query made the other characters seem much more interesting than Mark. It felt like he was just along for the ride, until the end where he has to choose whether to help them or not? I like that it shows a change in his character, but there are so many seemingly disconnected storylines that it gets kinda confusing. Maybe just choose one of the relationships to focus on, or if they're all connected in a larger way, make the connection more clear.

#8 b.katona

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 01:31 PM

A seasoned celebrity recounts how he extracted his success from the lives and deaths of a group of friendsIf you guys think it should be rephrased, I'm very open to suggestions :) (might not even work with this version of the query)

 

Mark Doyle escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He is a self-professed grounded man but the receptive crowd of the foreigner society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. One of his new friends is a sociable but conspicuously privy couple, Leo and Hannah McCarron. Their worldly stories and large parties appeal to Mark, and he grows to genuinely like them. However, they are looking for a friend in Mark for the time after they escape their secrets.

 

Mark finds out on a trip with the McCarrons that his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricities: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organizations. Mark learns that they ran from their mediocre realities into criminality, where they hustled with the grand vision of civilizing the society. The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties and start over, confident they're not headed back to mediocrity. This romantic vision is shattered, when an elaborate rumor about Leo gets to Hannah, prompting her to run off. Leo falls into great despair, focusing only on his wife, letting his guard down, still being a target of criminals and victims of his own criminal activity. Mark finds himself being Leo's last link to reality but he's unsure whether he can help his friend pull himself together quite fast enough to avoid a violent death.

 

I'm not sure how I feel about it. I tried really hard to do exactly what you guys have advised: highlighted one relationship and derived the whole QL from one problem. But I just had no idea what I was doing while I was doing it. Still need help :) Thanks.



#9 smithgirl

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:21 PM

A seasoned celebrity, Mark Doyle, extracts recounts how he extracted his success from the lives and deaths of a group of friends. This is quite interesting, but you need to add a name and also remove the recounts so your statement is more active. I also think it needs to be a bit more specific. What kind of success? The success that led him to become a celebrity?

 

Mark Doyle extracts his own celebrity from the lives and deaths of a group of friends.

 

Maybe something more like the above sentence.

 

Mark Doyle escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He is a self-professed grounded man but the receptive crowd of the foreigner society wakes up an ambitious curiosity in him. What? This sentence is awkward and unclear. What is ambitious curiosity?  He delves into a chatoic relationship with a charming but edgy woman, takes the friendship of a sociable but conspicuously privy couple, The word privy doesn't make sense in this context  and makes it his mission to become an artist. This last sentence is too vague, just a list of events. 

 

He finds out too late and completely unprepared that his new friends' secrets are more than casual eccentricities: Anne, his new girlfriend, is suffering from PTSD; his closest friends, the McCarrons are big-time identity thieves and criminal mediators. Even his recent boss is mostly involved with the underworld and Mark has been unknowingly posing as a front. He is both hurt by these revelations and sees that those close to him are trying to free themselves from their burdens, be it trauma or a connection with the underworld. He is torn, as he sees he could potentially be of help to these people in their search for catharsis What's so special about Mark that he can help all these people with their diverse problems? And they want help? The McCarrons suddenly decided they don't want to be criminals anymore?  but at the same time he could drop all the heavy challenges and live off of a new opportunity he gets as an artist with his work, which is plagiaristic of the Strasbourg crooks' fake air. I don't understand what this means.

 

The second paragraph includes a lot of names and events, but which are crucial to the story? Your query should only include events and characters crucial to the story.  I also still don't understand the stakes. He's not sure he should help his friends or just leave them to fend for themselves. Those aren't really stakes. Really, it just sounds like your character is selfish.

 

The body of your query also doesn't seem to relate to your hook. How does he become a celebrity? What kind of celebrity? How does he exploit his friends? Where is/are the death/s?

 

I'm not seeing  the plot of your story.  A man moves to Strasbourg to live with his relatives. Then what? He meets some people. They have some problems. He's not sure if he should stick around and help them. This doesn't tell me anything about the specifics of the story, or who Mark is, or what he wants, or what his obstacles are. You need to go back to those basic questions:

 

1. Who is Mark?

2. What does he want?

3. What obstacles does he face?

4. What happens if he fails?

 

Try to write a one-sentence description of your book (a logline). Writing a query forces you to recognize the basic conflict of your story. See examples: http://www.filmdaily...ogline-examples.

 

I know this is hard because everything is clear to you, but for a person on the outside, I'm afraid your story is still very unclear. You need to reduce your story to the essentials, then flesh back out from there.

 

No,  I don't have a query posted right now.



#10 b.katona

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:57 AM

Hey there smithgirl, that's not the freshest version, find that under #8



#11 smithgirl

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:20 AM

Hey there smithgirl, that's not the freshest version, find that under #8

Oh, you should modify your thread title to indicate the post # with the latest query, so people know which one to critique. You can also strike through the text on the other (outdated) queries.



#12 b.katona

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:25 AM

Thanks for the suggestion smithgirl. 



#13 smithgirl

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 11:45 AM

A seasoned celebrity recounts how he extracted his success from the lives and deaths of a group of friends. If you guys think it should be rephrased, I'm very open to suggestions :) (might not even work with this version of the query)

 

My same recommendations as before for the hook.

 

Mark Doyle escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He is a self-professed grounded man comma This phrasing is awkward.but the receptive crowd of the local expat foreigner society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. Two One of his new friends are is a sociable but conspicuously private couple, Leo and Hannah McCarron. Their worldly stories and large parties appeal to Mark, and he grows to genuinely like them. However, they are looking for a friend in soon Mark learns they are looking for a friend for the time after they escape their secrets. This last sentence is unclear -- what does it mean for the time after...?

 

Mark finds out on a trip with the McCarrons that his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricities: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organizations. Mark learns that they ran from their mediocre realities into criminality, where they hustled with the grand vision of civilizing the society. How does criminal behavior civilize society?  The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties and start over, confident they're not headed back to mediocrity. But their plans are This romantic vision is shattered, when a elaborate rumor about Leo gets to Hannah, prompting her to run off. Leo falls into great despair, focusing only on his wife, letting his guard down, still being a target of criminals and victims of his own criminal activity. This is too much info about Leo. Mark finds himself being Leo's last link to reality but he's unsure whether he can help his friend pull himself together quite fast enough to avoid a violent death. Whose violent death? Mark's or Leo's?

 

So your query is definitely moving in the right direction -- I'm beginning to see the actual story. There are still some things I'm unclear about, marked in the query. I also don't see how the hook relates to the rest of the story. Your hook is quite interesting, but the rest of the query seems unrelated. You should changed your hook or else write the rest of query so that the hook is relevant.

 

You should watch out because your query tends to get a bit wordy. Try to keep it really tight. Also, what are the genre and word count? 

 

Good luck!



#14 b.katona

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:56 PM

Mark Doyle has one tormenting secret from his youth: he could have saved the most promising man he has known.

 

Mark escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He arrives, thinking he's a well-rounded, grounded person, but the receptive local expat society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. Two of his new friends are a sociable but conspicuously private couple, Leo and Hannah McCarron. Their worldly stories and large parties appeal to Mark, and he grows to genuinely like them. However, Mark sees they want him as a new friend to accompany the fresh start that they are trying to get, leaving their current life, obviously based around a secret.

 

 

Mark finds out on a trip with the McCarrons that his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricity: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organizations. Mark learns that they ran from their mediocre realities into criminality, where they hustled with the grand vision of civilizing the criminal society. The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties and start over, confident they're not headed back to mediocrity. But their plans are shattered, when a rumor about Leo gets to Hannah, prompting her to run off. Leo falls into great despair, focusing reclessly on his wife and exposing himself to his many enemies. Mark finds himself being Leo's last link to reality. He is considering, whether he's really equipped to help his friend escape vengeful enemies while it's becoming more and more a question for him, whether he should stay in the McCarrons' world anymore.

 

Thank you smithgirl for the sound advice. I've tried to clarify further and I'm thinking how I could tighten up the text. Any suggestions? Also: genre literary crime (I'm trying to force this aspect, as I feel "crime" is much more marketable than plain litfic...) word count: 63k



#15 anah+theshadowaccomplice

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 06:29 PM

Mark Doyle has one tormenting Dunno why I don't like the adjective here... secret from his youth: he could have saved the most promising man he has known Just to clear up tenses here, you could use "knew". Especially since it says he "could have saved" him, meaning we know that he didn't, so to say. Therefore, the promise could be considered gone. I get the feeling this is to say "he has ever known", but that may not be an important detail for the query.

 

Mark escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He arrives, thinking he's a well-rounded, grounded pick one adjective here, since they somewhat imply the same qualities person, but the receptive local expat society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. Two of his new friends are a sociable but conspicuously private I like the contradiction here couple, Leo and Hannah McCarron. Their worldly stories and large parties appeal to Mark, and he grows to genuinely like them. However, Mark sees they want him as a new friend to accompany the fresh start that they are trying to get, leaving their current life, obviously based around a secretThis sentence kinda lost me.... not quite sure what it's going for.

 

 

Mark finds out on a trip with the McCarrons, Mark discovers that his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricity: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organizations. This sentence is much more interesting than the last sentence above. It also gets across a lot of the same information. Maybe focus above on the fact that they want to be friends with him for selfish reasons, and why they've picked him. Mark learns that they ran from their mediocre realities into criminality, where they hustled with the grand vision of civilizing the criminal societyI'm not sure how helpful this information is to the query... The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties and start over, confident they're not headed back to mediocrity. But their plans are shattered, when a rumor about Leo gets to Hannah, prompting her to run off. Leo falls into great Adverb not needed, despair is already a pretty strong term without the modifier despair, focusing recklessly on his wife and exposing himself to his many enemies. Mark finds himself being as Leo's last link to reality. He is considering, whether he's really equipped to help his friend escape vengeful enemies while it's becoming more and more a question for him, whether he should stay in the McCarrons' world anymore. I'd suggest reorganizing this sentence. Start off with him considering the question about remaining in their world, and end the query with doubts on escaping vengeful enemies. The vengeful enemies are the most exciting thing this query puts forth, so slam it down on the table like a royal flush!

 

Okay, so this has some serious merit :) Not my usual type of book, but I'm this close to saying "I'd read that for fun for sure." Two things just to clarify a little, I mentioned focusing just a tiny bit on why this couple wants to be friends with him so badly. Why him? Why was he picked?  Why is he important? What makes him feel connected to them if they are just dragging him into a bad lifestyle? Get us invested in why he's invested. Secondly, the escape from mediocrity, which they seem to be afraid of returning to, is the useful part of the sentence I said wasn't really helping. See if you can't make that the focus of the sentence, because the rest of it seemed to repeat stuff we already know. 

 

Best of luck to you!


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#16 b.katona

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 06:05 AM

Getting there?

 

Mark Doyle is haunted by a secret from his youth: he could have saved the most promising man he has ever known.

 

Mark escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He arrives, thinking he's a well-rounded person, but the receptive local expat society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. Two of his new friends are a sociable but conspicuously private couple, Leo and Hannah McCarron. Their worldly stories and large parties appeal to Mark, and he grows to genuinely like them. The McCarrons are looking for a friend, who doesn't judge them by what they've done in the past and Mark is happy to have earned their friendship, since their vibrant world is a good trade for his former life.

 

On a trip with the McCarrons, Mark discovers his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricity: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organizations with the grand vision of civilizing the criminal society. Mark learns that they ran from their mediocre realities into criminality. The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties and start over, confident they're not headed back to mediocrity. But their plans are shattered, when a rumor about Leo gets to Hannah, prompting her to run off. Leo falls into despair, focusing recklessly on his wife and exposing himself to his many enemies. Mark finds himself as Leo's last link to reality. It's becoming more and more a question for him, whether he should stay in the McCarrons' world anymore, while he is considering, if he's really equipped to help his friend escape vengeful enemies.

 

Thank you anah+theshadowaccomplice for the detailed guidance, it was amazing! I'll try to pay you back because I think you've given more than you received... :)



#17 Illumen

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 06:45 PM

 

Getting there?

 

Mark Doyle is haunted by a secret from his youth: he could have saved the most promising man he has ever known.

 

Mark escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He arrives, (no comma, otherwise it's implied in this situation that what's between the commas could be taken out and the sentence would still make sense, which it doesn't) thinking he's a well-rounded this doesn't seem like the right word, I believe you're trying to say he's the opposite of a party person, but this just makes me think he can do a lot of different things. maybe level-headed individual? person, but the receptive local expat society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. Two of his new friends are a sociable but conspicuously private couple, Leo and Hannah McCarron. Their worldly stories and large parties appeal to Mark, and he grows to genuinely like them. The McCarrons are looking for a friend, (no comma) who doesn't judge them by for? what they've done in the past (comma) and Mark is happy to have earned their friendship, since their vibrant world is a good trade for this is a little weird, could say 'much better than', 'much more exciting than' his former life.

 

On a trip with the McCarrons, Mark discovers his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricity: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organizations with the grand vision of civilizing the criminal society. Mark learns that they ran from their mediocre realities into criminality. The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties i think this may need a small explanation, you just mentioned that they ran from their past lives into criminality, and right in the next sentence we find out they're going back. did they get bored? give up? and start over, confident they're not headed back to mediocrity kinda put me off to see this word again so soonBut their plans are shattered, (no comma) when a rumor this begs the question, but isn't that big of a deal about Leo gets to Hannah, prompting her to run off. Leo falls into despair, focusing recklessly on his wife and exposing himself to his many enemies. Mark finds himself as Leo's last link to reality. It's becoming more and more a question for him, whether he should stay in the McCarrons' world anymore, while he is considering, if and whether he's really equipped to help his friend Leo escape his vengeful enemiesthis last sentence is a little weird, i get the idea but i think you could find a better way to phrase it

 

Thank you anah+theshadowaccomplice for the detailed guidance, it was amazing! I'll try to pay you back because I think you've given more than you received... :)

 

This is much better imo! The mention of the rumor was the one vague part I kind of paused at while reading, I think it could be good if you stated what it is, but it also works the way it is. I like the way the end works cuz even though the stakes aren't spelled out, it ties back to the first sentence, which is kinda cool, but others may feel differently. My edits are just suggestions that made it read better to me, take 'em or leave 'em  :smile:



#18 smithgirl

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 09:42 PM

 

Mark Doyle is haunted by a secret from his youth: he could have saved the most promising man he has ever known. Oh, I like this, but I think you could rephrase "most promising" to something stronger, although I'm blanking on an alternate suggestion.

 

Mark flees escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. He arrives no comma thinking he's a quiet and responsible well-rounded person, well-rounded is not in opposition to being wild and wasteful but soon the receptive local expat society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. Two of his new friends, Leo and Hannah McCarron, are a sociable but conspicuously private couple.  Leo and Hannah McCarron. Their worldly stories and large parties appeal to Mark, and he grows to genuinely like them. The McCarrons are looking for a friend, who doesn't hold their past against them judge them by what they've done in the past and Mark is happy to have earned their friendship., since their vibrant world is a good trade for his former life. As I read the rest of the query, it seems like it's really their present that's the problem, right? Their past was boring.

 

On a trip with the McCarrons, Mark discovers his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricity: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organizations with the grand vision of civilizing the criminal society. Why would they want to civilize the criminal society? I still don't understand this.  Like Mark, they wanted to escape the mundane, but now it's gone too far and they want out. learns that they ran from their mediocre realities into criminality. The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties and start over, confident they're not headed back to mediocrity. But their plans are shattered no comma when a rumor about Leo prompts Hannah to leave him. gets to Hannah, prompting her to run off. Leo falls into despair, focusing recklessly on his wife and exposing himself to his many enemies. This could be tighter. Mark finds himself Passive. Change to an active statement  as Leo's last link to reality. It's becoming more and more a question for him, whether he should stay in the McCarrons' world anymore, while he is considering, if he's really equipped to help his friend escape vengeful enemies. This last sentence is awkward. You also need to watch out for commas; you tend to use them where they're not needed.

 

Your query is improving. I still have some comments in the text. You also still have too much info about Leo (second paragraph) and it reads like a universal POV, which is like a synopsis but not a query. Try to rewrite from Mark's POV:

 

Mark looks on helpless as Leo falls into despair...

 

 



#19 MimiJessie

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Posted Yesterday, 08:17 AM

My two cents... Or pennies, or whatever. 

 

Mark Doyle is haunted by a secret from his youth: he could have saved the most promising man he has ever known. I'm wondering whether maybe "by a secret he's kept for years" or "by a secret his kept since his youth" or something similar would read better. And promising... I agree - something stronger, but I too am drawing a total blank. Sorry!

 

Mark escapes his stagnant life as an unemployed 27-year-old by moving in with his aunt and uncle in Strasbourg, France. I don't think you need to point out where Strasbourg is. Or just say France. One or t'other. He arrives, thinking he's a well-rounded person, but the receptive local expat society draws him into a wild and wasteful party scene. I think you need a bigger juxtaposition here between what he thinks of himself and how he ends up. You can be well-rounded and a boozer. Maybe grounded, or down to earth, or feet on the ground? Two of his new friends are a sociable, but conspicuously private couple, Leo and Hannah McCarron. Do we need their names? Maybe The McCarrons, two of his new friends are a... Their worldly stories outlook and large grand/opulent parties appeal to Mark Why? Appeal to Mark's craving for excitement/change, and he grows to genuinely like them. The McCarrons are looking for a friend, (ditch the comma) who doesn't judge them by what they've done in the past, and Mark is happy to have earned their friendship, since their vibrant world is a good trade for his former life.

 

On a trip with the McCarrons, Mark discovers his new friends' strict privacy is more than casual eccentricity quirky eccentricity: they are big-time identity thieves and mediators among the fragmented European criminal organisations consider starting a new sentence. It's getting long and it would make their grand vision more punchy. Their grand vision is... with the grand vision of civilizing the criminal society. Why do they want to do this? Are they going to unite the criminals and lead them? Mark learns that they ran from their mediocre realities Maybe change this to "drab past" or "colourless existence" or similar since you use mediocrity later on into criminality. The McCarrons are working to get out from their current ties and start over, confident determined not to head back to they're not headed back to mediocrity. But their plans are shattered, remove comma when a rumor about Leo gets to reaches Hannah, prompting her to run off. I need a clue about what kind of rumour... A terrible, awful, terrifying, life/marriage-destroying? Leo falls into despair, focusing recklessly on his wife and exposing himself to his many enemies. Are these enemies he's made in the criminal world, or are the fuzz after him? Mark finds himself as Leo's last link to reality Is what's happened to his wife outside of reality?  It's becoming more and more a question for him, whether he should stay in the McCarrons' world anymore, while he is considering, if he's really equipped to help his friend escape vengeful enemies. This is a clunky, bitty sentence, I'm afraid. It reads poorly. Sorry! Maybe something like, "For Mark, it's become a choice between of loyalty and self-preservation. He's not really equipped to help the McCarrons escape their enemies, but they're the best friends he's ever had"... Or something.

 

I feel as though the stakes should be upped (which is what people keep telling me!). I want to know why the McCarrons are doing what they're doing and what Mark's motivation is to help them. Is it purely friendship and loyalty? Is there something in it for him? Is he in love with either of them? It sounds like a thriller, but it needs a little more oomph to make me feel the thrill of Mark's fear, or trepidation. I hope that makes some sense and helps a little. Good luck!







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