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YA Psychological Thriller [Will return crit]


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#1 perpetual

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 01:58 PM

Hey guys! I'd love all thoughts on this query. Also, if you'd like me to return crit, a link to your post would be ever helpful ;)

 

THE QUERY:

 

For eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends, the perfect spring break awaits in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses. Upon arrival, they each receive an envelope on their beds. Inside, a note reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

That same night, another set of envelopes come. Not only does the note within reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. When the second note exposes who in the group deals hard drugs, it’s clear the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s darkest secrets. Rose’s encouragements to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the castle's walls. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years of friendship couldn’t ensure honesty. Trust deteriorates further as some display a sociopath’s conscience when confronted with the aftermath of their secret.

 

Then the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. When one in the group accuses Rose of killing said classmate after he confronted her about her secret, Rose knows how guilty she looks. With all eyes on her, being declared innocent means convincing friends that no longer trust her to believe her when she points the finger at someone else.

 

THORN IN THE ROSE, complete at 63,000 words, is a YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It’s Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets TV’s Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of Karen M. McManus’ One of Us is Lying who wanted something a bit darker. Thank you for your consideration.


Query: Click here.

 


#2 Aevin

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 03:10 PM

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive in a castle nestled in the French countryside, Should it be "arrive at"? Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but it sounds like they drove a castle here or something. far away from their NYC penthouses, they each get a welcome note on their respective beds: With "welcome note," it feels like "welcome" is an adjective, suggesting they were grateful to receive the notes. "They each get" feels weak. Perhaps something like "they receive notes". "Respective" feels unnecessary and slows things down. "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

If the threat turns viable, Rose is confident she can turn this minor wrench in plans to her advantage. She's determined to prove that having secrets out in the open will only solidify the group's friendships for life. It’s the ideal plan What is it that Rose wants, exactly? I'm having trouble feeling a strong sense of tension here. What drives her? Why does she feel the need to be so devious and plotting? What is her specific plan? Does she really just want to be good friends with everyone? What is her deep, strong, compelling desire here?—until each progressive secret reveals just how little the group know about each other. Despite this, the ten have no choice but to trust one another. Trust that the secrets will stay within the walls of the castle; if they don't, all ten stand to lose something, from their reputation, to their future or freedom, or all three in one pretty little package.

 

Panic and suspicion reach an all-time high when the notes reveal that the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. The group is hysterical and desperate as the clock ticks down the final hours until their flight, I feel this demonstrates the biggest overarching issue I see with the query. It's that old adage, "show, don't tell." You're telling us they're panicked, suspicious, hysterical and desperate, but I'm not feeling it. Without concrete details and concise, thrilling prose, I'm failing to connect with the characters and understand the stakes here.  all while the notes keep coming, one by one, ensuring that in the span of one week, the damage to their friendships is irreparable. And the closer the group gets to the reveal of the last secret, the more obvious it becomes that the biggest threat isn't even contained in the notes. But with all love lost and trust nonexistent, the threat may be too much to overcome—and the notes will have served their purpose.

 

I feel trying to convey the feelings of such large group is the wrong way to go for such a small space. Personally, I'd try to focus more sharply on Rose's feelings alone. What does she want? How do these events affect her? What are her stakes in all of this? We need an individual to connect with and feel for, not general feelings of a group. Also, why can they not just leave the castle?

 

What secrets? What friendships? It's hard to feel invested without having seen the depth of their relationships beforehand. Again, I'd focus on Rose. Does she have a best friend in the group she can't bear to lose? What's her secret that she's terrified of having revealed? What do these people really mean to her? How did she feel about the dead friend, and the prospect of finding her killer?

 

THORN IN THE ROSE, complete at 58,000 words, is a YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It’s Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets TV’s Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of Karen M. McManus’ One of Us is Lying who wanted something a bit darker. Thank you for your consideration.

 

------------------

 

I feel you're too focused on the "general" in trying to encompass the feelings for the full group of friends, and need to focus on the "specific" with Rose's feelings and motivations. The repeated use of the word "secrets" without delving into what kinds of secrets, or specific examples, or why Rose or her friends would be devastated by their reveal ... It seems like a big problem to me.

 

I also think you need to work on being more concise. Eliminate unnecessary words, and find powerful action verbs, focusing on making everything as tense and exciting as possible. "Rose is confident she can turn this minor wrench in plans to her advantage." -> "Rose fights to twist it to her advantage ..." for example.

 

I hope this criticism hits you well. I'm afraid I may have lost some sense of tact over the years. I hope that some of it is helpful, and you're free to disregard anything that isn't.



#3 galaxyspinner

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 06:48 PM

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, they each get a welcome note on their respective beds: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?" This is pretty good, though you could axe some superfluous words just to make it a little tighter.

 

If the threat turns viable, Rose is confident she can turn this minor wrench in plans to her advantage. She's determined to prove that having secrets out in the open will only solidify the group's friendships for life. These first two sentences could probably be turned into one shorter sentence. It’s the ideal plan—until each progressive secret reveals just how little the group know Verb agreement: "knows" about each other. Despite this, the ten have no choice but to trust one another. Trust that the secrets will stay within the walls of the castle; I'm not wild about the transition from the previous sentence into this one. It's a little jarring, particularly with the semicolon following it. if they don't, all ten stand to lose something, from their reputation, to their future or freedom, or all three in one pretty little package.

 

Panic and suspicion reach an all-time high when the notes reveal that the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident— The em dash is kind of risky. and that the ten know the murderer. The group is hysterical and desperate as the clock ticks down the final hours until their flight, all while the notes keep coming, one by one, ensuring that in the span of one week, the damage to their friendships is irreparable. And the closer the group gets to the reveal of the last secret, the more obvious it becomes that the biggest threat isn't even contained in the notes. But with all love lost and trust nonexistent, the threat may be too much to overcome—and the notes will have served their purpose.

These last few sentences don't have a lot of substance; obviously, the problem you're dealing with is that this is a mystery and you can't get too deep into the reveal here in the query, but you could probably do better than what you've got here. Maybe you could get into what the consequences might be; what, specifically, is on the line for Rose?


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#4 perpetual

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 10:51 AM

Thank you both for your thoughts!

 

Here's a completely rewritten query:

 

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, they each get a welcome note on their respective beds: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

That same night, the first secret comes out. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. By the time the second note exposes who in the group is a drug dealer, it’s obvious the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s worst secrets. Rose’s encouragements to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years couldn’t ensure honest friendships. Trust deteriorates further when some show no remorse over their uncovered actions.

 

Meanwhile, Rose is desperate to stay a step ahead and determine which secret of hers is at risk. Her panic reaches an all-time high when the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. There’s a bigger end-play, and if Rose can’t make it work to her advantage in time, there’s a good chance a murder would be pinned on one of her friends. Or worse, on her.


Query: Click here.

 


#5 MICRONESIA

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 01:31 PM

 

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, I think this clause slows things down. You want your hook to be punchy and quick. I'd suggest working in their "backgrounds" later. they each get a welcome note on their respective beds: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?" YES! I'm intrigued already!

 

That same night, the first secret comes out. HOW? What is the mechanism for this? Anonymous email? Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. By the time the second note exposes who in the group is a drug dealer, it’s obvious the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s worst secrets. If this is a group of friends, are these revelations ALL that terrible? If I found out a good friend ripped off some people on Wall Street or sold drugs, my responses would be: 1) Nice! and 2) Can I get a discount? See what I mean? These don't seem to be the type of terrible secrets that ruin friendships. What is at stake? Rose’s encouragements to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. Why are they turning on EACH OTHER and not the antagonist? Some information is missing here... It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years couldn’t ensure honest friendships. Clunky sentence. Trust deteriorates further when some show no remorse over their uncovered actions. I still don't see how any of this information is so terrible. It's not like they're banging one another's spouses or anything...

 

Meanwhile, Rose is desperate to stay a step ahead and determine which secret of hers is at risk. Her panic reaches an all-time high when the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. HERE is the hook. Work this in sooner! Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. There’s a bigger end-play, and if Rose can’t make it work to her advantage in time, there’s a good chance a murder would be pinned on one of her friends. Or worse, on her.

 

Overall, this does its job. I'm DEFINITELY intrigued to read further! Other than what I listed above, my main complaint is that we hardly have any characterization at all. We don't know much about Rose -- what drives her, how old she is, what she does for a living, etc. Mainly, we don't see any indication of how/why this group is so tightly-knit. In other words: invest in character a bit more -- because the plot is definitely here.



#6 perpetual

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 02:16 PM

Thanks so much for your insights Micronesia. They're very helpful. :)

 

To be clear... The reason they turn on each other is because they realize that they've all been lying about something this whole time. So they don't trust each other to keep quiet and essentially end up holding each other emotionally hostage: If you say something about my secret, I'll make sure yours gets exposed, too (Back in NYC.) Based on the two secrets I've revealed in the query, I feel the stakes for some are obvious: Jail time.

 

The novel is YA. Rose is 18 and everyone else is 17/18 so I feel like I can get away a bit with the "Whaaat? My friends lie to me?" Haha

 

But yes, regardless... I'd love thoughts on how exactly I can make the dynamics of the relationships after the secrets start coming out more clear.


Query: Click here.

 


#7 MICRONESIA

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 02:57 PM

The reason they turn on each other is because they realize that they've all been lying about something this whole time. So they don't trust each other to keep quiet and essentially end up holding each other emotionally hostage: If you say something about my secret, I'll make sure yours gets exposed, too

 

This is the "missing information" I was talking about. None of this is clear from the query -- so make it clear! I also don't see how one thing logically follows another. They've lied about their own shady dealings... so they'll obviously blackmail one another? Why would they hold one another "emotionally hostage?" I could see this if they were enemies or had wronged one another... but they're friends!

 

EDIT: Apologies for my previous comment. You DID mention her age.



#8 sereneew

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 02:14 AM

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, they each get a welcome note on their respective beds: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?" ( I think you should change your opening to grasp the reader. Like make them say, What? HOW? )

 

That same night, (everyone receives an anonymous text/email/letter/etccc... The text  reveals the first secret) the first secret comes out. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. By the time (When) the second note exposes who in the group is a drug dealer, it’s obvious the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s worst (darkest) secrets. Rose’s encouragements to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years (of friendship couldn’t ensure honesty.) couldn’t ensure honest friendships. Trust deteriorates further when some show no remorse over their uncovered actions. ( I’m not a big fan of this sentence)

 

Meanwhile, Rose is desperate  to stay a step ahead and determine which secret of hers is at risk. ( She becomes anxious when a note reveals the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident ) Her  panic reaches an all-time high when the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer ( maybe add; there is a murderer amongst them?? it'll create for more suspense.... something like that) . Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. There’s a bigger end-play, and if Rose can’t make it work to her advantage in time, there’s a good chance a murder would be pinned on one of her friends. Or worse, on her.

( This is a bit confusing. If one of the friends “killed” another student, then they are a murderer so nothing would be pinned on them. If no one did, then maybe specify it in the middle of the query... I’m not sure why you put that?)

 

 

HOPE THIS HELP!!! (: 


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#9 galaxyspinner

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:01 PM

Thanks so much for your insights Micronesia. They're very helpful. :)

 

To be clear... The reason they turn on each other is because they realize that they've all been lying about something this whole time. So they don't trust each other to keep quiet and essentially end up holding each other emotionally hostage: If you say something about my secret, I'll make sure yours gets exposed, too (Back in NYC.) Based on the two secrets I've revealed in the query, I feel the stakes for some are obvious: Jail time.

 

The novel is YA. Rose is 18 and everyone else is 17/18 so I feel like I can get away a bit with the "Whaaat? My friends lie to me?" Haha

 

But yes, regardless... I'd love thoughts on how exactly I can make the dynamics of the relationships after the secrets start coming out more clear.

 

Speaking for myself, I found it easy to assume this dynamic from what you had. Clearly this is a situation where the secrets coming out are of a dangerous nature, so a loss of trust is going to translate to fear. There's the understanding that somebody is a murderer, after all, and that's going to come between even close friends.


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#10 TheBest

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 06:12 PM

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, they each get a welcome note on their respective beds (This sentence is a little to wordy. It's interesting, but cut it down.): "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

That same night, the first secret comes out. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. By the time the second note exposes who in the group is a drug dealer, it’s obvious the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s worst secrets. Rose’s encouragements (Awk) to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another (Now I'm hooked), threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years couldn’t ensure honest friendships. Trust deteriorates further when some show no remorse over their uncovered actions.  (This paragraph is really interesting, but it's too long. Cut down some details.)

 

Meanwhile, Rose is desperate to stay a step ahead and determine which secret of hers (Awk) is at risk. Her panic reaches an all-time high when the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. There’s a bigger end-play, and if Rose can’t make it work to her advantage in time, there’s a good chance a murder would be pinned on one of her friends. Or worse, on her.

 

​This is a great premise, and your query certainly explains the book. I'd love to read it! Trouble is, it's too wordy. You should go through and cut the excess details, and the sentences that are just a few words too long. Cut the pulp, and you'll have a great query.



#11 perpetual

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 10:16 PM

Just a small comment in response to the above crits:

 

I used the wording "someone they know" to refer to the murderer because in the novel, it's clear that it's not necessarily one of them. It could be an outsider, but someone known to them. Hence with the pinning-the-murder on someone, it's either one of them trying to get away with murder by pinning it on a friend or an unknown third party with a lot of pull because they're able to get to the group while they're overseas.

 

Hard to condense all this in a couple of sentences so I welcome all suggestions to getting these thoughts across clearly! :)


Query: Click here.

 


#12 perpetual

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 10:29 PM

Here's a new version:

 

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive at a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, they each receive an envelope on their beds. Inside is a note that reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

That same night, another envelope comes. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. When the second note exposes who in the group deals hard drugs, it’s clear the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s darkest secrets. Rose’s encouragements to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years of friendship couldn’t ensure honesty. Trust deteriorates further when some display a sociopath’s conscience when confronted with the aftermath of their secret.

 

Meanwhile, Rose is desperate to stay a step ahead and determine which secret of hers is at risk. Then the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. There’s a bigger end-play, and Rose needs to make it work to her advantage in time because a murder is about to pinned on one of her friends. Or worse, on her.


Query: Click here.

 


#13 BadgerFox

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 02:59 PM

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive at a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, they each receive an envelope on their beds. Inside is a note that reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?" [This is not a bad opening and it gets straight to the point, but can you add a few words about why they were here in france in the first place? It's a great murder-mystery setup, but to avoid seeming implausible, it would help to have just a few words of context - that it's a birthday trip or a group holiday etc.]

 

That same night, another envelope comes. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading [not sure what this clause means. Insider trading? This makes more sense after the sentence about the hard drugs because right now there's been no mention so far about any economic arrangements, trading anything or making business deals. It feels a little confusing.] , but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. When the second note exposes who in the group deals hard drugs, it’s clear the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s darkest secrets. Rose’s encouragements to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years of friendship couldn’t ensure honesty [The tense of this sentence feels strange compared to the surrounding ones. Maybe more like 'When even ten years of friendship cannot ensure honesty, trusting one another feels difficult.']. Trust deteriorates further when some display a sociopath’s conscience when confronted with the aftermath of their secret. [This sentence is a bit awkward, can it be rephrased to go more smoothly? The two instances of 'when' don't seem to work that well Perhaps more like: 'Confronted with the aftermath of their secrets, some display all the conscience of a sociopath, which only destroys their trust in one another even further.']

 

Meanwhile, Rose is desperate to stay a step ahead and determine which secret of hers is at risk. Then the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. There’s a bigger end-play, and Rose needs to make it work to her advantage in time because a murder is about to pinned on one of her friends. Or worse, on her. [Neato ending :) ]

 

This is pretty cool! I see why you made the Agatha Christie 'And then There Were None' comparison in the first query. Just my opinion, but there are still a few points that could use a little more explanation and a few points that could be rephrased for smoothness. Right now the story feels interesting, and the stakes are nice and clear, but it's a bit of a stretch to see how Rose ended up in this situation. How often do you go on holiday with ten people you've been friends with for ten years, to a country on the other side of the world? We need to know a little more about how this occurred, maybe.


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

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#14 TClark

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 03:12 PM

Here's a new version:

 

When eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends arrive at a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses, they each receive an envelope on their beds. Inside is a note that reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

That same night, another envelope comes. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. When the second note exposes who in the group deals hard drugs, it’s clear the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s darkest secrets. Rose’s encouragements to stick together fall on deaf ears as the group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years of friendship couldn’t ensure honesty. Trust deteriorates further when some display a sociopath’s conscience when confronted with the aftermath of their secret.

 

Meanwhile, Rose is desperate to stay a step ahead and determine which secret of hers is at risk. Then the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. There’s a bigger end-play, and Rose needs to make it work to her advantage in time because a murder is about to pinned on one of her friends. Or worse, on her.

 

I don't have any particular line edits to address in query. The premise of your story is very interesting and I think you did a good job conveying the stakes behind your story. However, the part that intrigues me the most is the setting of the story. Why are they not in NYC anymore? How did they end up in the castle? Do they have the option to leave? In my mind its the setting that grabs my attention: a group of teenagers/young adults infighting against each other in a beautiful french castle. I would maybe include some more details or an extra sentence in your opening paragraph.



#15 perpetual

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 03:12 PM

Hey guys, thanks so much for your thoughts. They're super helpful.

 

I'm trying a different angle on the third paragraph. Please let me know if this one is better than the one I previously posted:

 

 

For eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends, the perfect spring break awaits in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses. Upon arrival, they each receive an envelope on their beds. Inside, a note reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

That same night, another envelope comes. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. When the second note exposes who in the group deals hard drugs, it’s clear the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s darkest secrets. The group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult to trust when even ten years of friendship couldn’t ensure honesty. Confronted with the aftermath of their secrets, some display a sociopath’s conscience, which only further deteriorates trust.

 

Then the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. When one in the group accuses Rose of killing the dead classmate after he confronted her about her secret, Rose knows how guilty she looks. With all eyes on her, being declared innocent means convincing friends that no longer trust her to believe her when she points the finger at someone else.


Query: Click here.

 


#16 LEEALLAN

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 05:12 PM

You've had some excellent suggestions for your query, which is itself very gripping. Here are some additional comments. Feel free to ignore them if you think they don't apply. I'm fairly new at agentqueryconnect.com

 

For eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends, the perfect spring break awaits in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses. Upon arrival, they each receive an envelope on their beds.(how is the note placed on their beds? Is it taped to a bedpost? Or is it just laid on top of the bed?) Inside, a note reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

That same night, another envelope comes. Not only does i It reveals who’s an accomplice of insider trading, but it and also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. When the second note (do you mean the third note? Or does the second note reveal both those secrets?) exposes who in the group deals hard drugs, it’s clear the mastermind behind the notes is after want to expose the group’s darkest secrets. The group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle. It’s so difficult for them to trust each other when even ten years of friendship couldn’t (can't?) ensure honesty. Confronted with the aftermath of their secrets, some display a sociopath’s conscience, which only further deteriorates trust.

 

Then the Then next notes reveals that the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the all ten know the murderer. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. When one in the group accuses Rose of killing the dead classmate after he confronted her about her secret, (which note number is this?) Rose knows how guilty she looks. With all eyes on her, being declared innocent means convincing friends that no longer trust her to believe her when she points the finger at someone else.

 

I read a query on QueryShark that listed in order what happens. I think your query would be an excellent candidate for this technique. For example:

 

This first note reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?"

 

The second note reveals who’s an accomplice of insider trading, and exposes who in the group deals hard drugs.

 

The third note reveals that the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the all ten know the murderer. 

 

Suddenly, this isn't ...etc.

 

Good luck with your query writing! I'd be very grateful if you'd critique the 4th edit of my query (the last posting) on:

 

http://agentquerycon...-other-queries/



#17 BadgerFox

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:55 AM



Hey guys, thanks so much for your thoughts. They're super helpful.

 

 

For eighteen-year-old Rose Morton and nine of her friends, the perfect spring break awaits in a castle nestled in the French countryside, far away from their NYC penthouses [Perfect! This opener gives us everything we need to know not to be confused by the subsequent details. I think the careful choice of language here gives just enough detail - illuminating but not surplus]. But Uupon arrival, they each receive an envelope on their beds. Inside, a note reads: "Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?" [just tossing the idea in here but italics to denote reported text might be good. Just a small formatting tweak, though, and not essential :) ]

 

That same night, another envelope comes. Not only does it reveal who’s an accomplice of insider trading [I'm going to assume this is a phrase I'm not familiar with, and roll with it. I still don't understand what it refers to, but then I don't have a penthouse in NYC and understand the financial backgrounds of folks like Rose, so...eh, it's probably me.] , but it also proves that even the most clandestine secrets can be dug up. When the second note exposes who in the group deals hard drugs, it’s clear the mastermind behind the notes is after the group’s darkest secrets. The group turns on one another, threatening to broadcast revealed secrets outside the walls of the castle [I like how this quickly invokes the pressure-cooker setting. The tension sounds like it's really going to be amped up, with everyone trapped in a small space and getting wound up] . It’s so difficult to trust, when if even ten years of friendship couldn’t cannot ensure honesty. Confronted with the aftermath of their secrets, some display a sociopath’s conscience, which only further deteriorates trust.

 

Then the notes reveal the recent drowning of their classmate was no accident—and that the ten know the murderer [GASP! :) ]. Suddenly, this isn’t just about causing misery and tearing apart friendships. When one in the group accuses Rose of killing the dead classmate after he confronted her about her secret, Rose knows how guilty she looks. With all eyes on her, being declared innocent means convincing friends that no longer trust her to believe her, [comma] when she points the finger at someone else.

 

This is looking really sharp! The language is spare but appropriately descriptive, the intense setting comes across very well, and the plot description is not only clear but genuinely intriguing. I think an agent really should give this a look. The Agatha Christie vibe is gripping.

 

Still seeking a little final feedback on my two Alt-History chapter openings, if anyone has a moment, to see if they're polished enough yet :) : http://agentquerycon...native-history/


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!





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