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Samurai Gold

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#1 cdpiper

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 06:26 AM

In September 1941 the New York Times described “a fantastic treasure” that was supposedly buried in Japan in 1868. Historians dismissed the story as a fanciful myth, but in my 127,500 word “history mystery”, Samurai Gold, the reader learns that the treasure amounting to roughly $30 million was indeed buried—-not in Japan, but in Rhode Island.

 

Samurai Gold chronicles a desperate effort to put down the rebellion threatening the 250-year-old rule of the Tokugawa Shōguns by sending two unlikely heroes to America on a secret mission: Tomita Yuki, an English speaking samurai, and a hard drinking, former Union Army officer who is accompanied by his daughter Mary. Or is she?

 

An attempted robbery, murder, and the bankruptcy of the Spencer Repeating Rifle Company forces Tomita to return to Japan for help. He buries the gold in Rhode Island and unwillingly leaves Mary who is pregnant with their love child. But in Japan he is mortally wounded and commits suicide. Thus, the whereabouts of the gold is lost, or so it would seem.

 

One hundred and fifty years later, Parker West, the latter-day hero discovers a clue to the treasure. He sets out to find it with the help of an aging Japanese historian and his twenty-something niece. All the while, a psychopathic criminal stalks them. Somehow he knows about the gold too. In an ancient Buddhist temple, Parker discovers a critical clue and is stunned by an unexpected revelation. In the riveting climax, West unravels the final clue, and he and his nemesis face off in a life-or-death struggle in a Rhode Island cemetery.

 

Samurai Gold is not merely about samurai, swords, greed and murder. Love, Japanese culture, history, and written Japanese are all integral to the plot. I carefully researched the story on location, interviewing several historians along with the fourth generation descendant of a pivotal Japanese character in the novel. (I speak Japanese.) I would be pleased to send you a copy of the novel, and have enclosed an SASE, should you decide to request one.

 

Best Regards,



#2 lnloft

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 07:19 AM

In September 1941 the New York Times described “a fantastic treasure” that was supposedly buried in Japan in 1868. Historians dismissed the story as a fanciful myth, but in my 127,500 word “history mystery”, Samurai Gold, the reader learns that the treasure amounting to roughly $30 million was indeed buried—-not in Japan, but in Rhode Island. Start with a hook that introduces your main character, not a real-world explanation of your book where you tell us what your book is about. Also, 127,5000 words is a bit of a monster for a first time author. Going to be really hard to get that one sold.

 

Samurai Gold chronicles a desperate effort to put down the rebellion threatening the 250-year-old rule of the Tokugawa Shōguns by sending two unlikely heroes to America on a secret mission: Tomita Yuki, an English speaking samurai, and a hard drinking, former Union Army officer who is accompanied by his daughter Mary. Or is she? Is she what? I don't know what you're asking here. General advise is to avoid rhetorical questions in queries. And if Mary is accompanying her father, then aren't they sending three people? Plus, this sentence starts off as very tell-y versus showing us what the book is about.

 

An attempted robbery, murder, and the bankruptcy of the Spencer Repeating Rifle Company forces Tomita to return to Japan for help. This sound like exciting things, but you just brush over them He buries the gold  Wait, he has the gold? Then what was their mission, even? in Rhode Island and unwillingly leaves Mary who is pregnant with their love child. But in Japan he is mortally wounded and commits suicide. Thus, the whereabouts of the gold is lost, or so it would seem. This is all just telling and not showing.

 

One hundred and fifty years later, So, now we've jumped to the future, so why do we even care about those characters earlier? Parker West, the latter-day hero discovers a clue to the treasure What kind of clue?. He sets out to find it with the help of an aging Japanese historian and his twenty-something niece. All the while, a psychopathic criminal stalks them. Somehow he knows about the gold too. In an ancient Buddhist temple, Parker discovers a critical clue and is stunned by an unexpected revelation. In the riveting climax, West unravels the final clue, and he and his nemesis face off in a life-or-death struggle in a Rhode Island cemetery. Again, all of this is vague about what happens. He finds generic clues and finds a generic revelation. We don't know what they are. But you also shouldn't come all the way to the climax. Queries generally cover the first quarter to third of the book, laying out the initial stakes.

 

Samurai Gold is a 127,500-word history mystery [this is where you include this information. Also, "history mystery" isn't really a thing.]  not merely about samurai, swords, greed and murder. Love, Japanese culture, history, and written Japanese are all integral to the plot. I carefully researched the story on location, interviewing several historians along with the fourth generation descendant of a pivotal Japanese character in the novel. (I speak Japanese.) I would be pleased to send you a copy of the novel, and have enclosed an SASE, should you decide to request one. This is obvious, or else you wouldn't be querying.

 

Best Regards,

Oof, sorry, but this needs a ton of work. The biggest issue is that you are telling us everything and not showing us anything. You just state things that happen. Instead, focus on the main character. I don't really know who it is, but I'm assuming it's Parker West. So start with his inciting incident as your hook. What sets him off on his adventure? Does a stranger force a mysterious treasure map in his hands? Start there, then. And show us what he does to follow up. Also, let us know your main character more. I don't know anything about any of these characters, other than very superficial details. You don't have a lot of space, but you need to show us why we should care about them. Good luck.


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I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#3 Author CJ Black

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:46 AM

In September 1941 the New York Times described “a fantastic treasure” that was supposedly buried in Japan in 1868. Historians dismissed the story as a fanciful myth, but in my 127,500 word “history mystery”, Samurai Gold, the reader learns that the treasure amounting to roughly $30 million was indeed buried—-not in Japan, but in Rhode Island.   I agree with the previous commenter. This does not belong here like this. Also, history mystery is not a genre. Try historical mystery or suspense. And yes, if this is your first work it will be a difficult sell.  Do some serious editing or perhaps break this up into additional books.  

 

Samurai Gold chronicles a desperate effort to put down the rebellion threatening the 250-year-old rule of the Tokugawa Shōguns by sending two unlikely heroes to America on a secret mission: Tomita Yuki, an English speaking samurai, and a hard drinking, former Union Army officer

  Is this historically accurate? I did some quick research the Tokugawa Shogunate (aka the Edo Period)  was from 1603-1867. We know The Civil War was from 1861-1865. Also as unfortunate as it is, there's no indication of Japanese soldiers fighting on either side. Unless this is alternate history? Then you have a bit of leeway. When did he go to America to fight? Was he called back by someone in Japan?

 

who is accompanied by his daughter Mary. Or is she? Is this implying she's not his daughter? Either way, rhetorical questions are a big no-no in queries.  

 

An attempted robbery, murder, and the bankruptcy of the Spencer Repeating Rifle Company forces Tomita to return to Japan for help - Why and help from whom? What does this have to do to the story? He buries the gold in Rhode Island -so he stole the treasure? and unwillingly leaves Mary who is pregnant with their love child -How was he unwillingly made to leave her? There had better be a good reason otherwise he's going to be a very unlikable character. Really all of this isn't needed if he isn't going to be the main character. Just a brief mention of him. But in Japan he is mortally wounded and commits suicide. Thus, the whereabouts of the gold is lost, or so it would seem.

 

One hundred and fifty years later, Parker West, the latter-day hero discovers a clue to the treasure. Parker West needs to be mentioned first. And is he a historian or just a fortune-seeker? He sets out to find it with the help of an aging Japanese historian and his twenty-something niece. All the while, a psychopathic criminal stalks them. Somehow he knows about the gold too. In an ancient Buddhist temple, Parker discovers a critical clue and is stunned by an unexpected revelation. In the riveting climax, West unravels the final clue, and he and his nemesis face off in a life-or-death struggle in a Rhode Island cemetery. -No, information such as this all belongs in a synopsis.  Also stunned by a revelation and riveting climax are not phrases you want to use. It just sounds cliche.

 

Samurai Gold is not merely about samurai, swords, greed and murder. Love, Japanese culture, history, and written Japanese are all integral to the plot. I carefully researched the story on location, interviewing several historians along with the fourth generation descendant of a pivotal Japanese character in the novel. (I speak Japanese.) I would be pleased to send you a copy of the novel, and have enclosed an SASE, should you decide to request one.

 

 

 

Having seen that you researched this with several historians, I may be completely wrong about a Japanese man in the Union Army. I just did some very basic research.  Please ignore those comments if that is the case. I agree with everything else @LNLOFT said in the closing comments.  There is a lot of telling in your query.  Work on this! I like the plot myself and hope to see it on the shelves someday. Good luck!


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#4 JRUET

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 05:19 PM

In September 1941 the New York Times described “a fantastic treasure” that was supposedly buried in Japan in 1868. Historians dismissed the story as a fanciful myth, but in my 127,500 word “history mystery”, Samurai Gold, the reader learns that the treasure amounting to roughly $30 million was indeed buried—-not in Japan, but in Rhode Island.  As stated, this is not a super interesting beginning, and although "history mystery" is hilarious, it's not a genre. Not sure where you are in the revision process, but I started around 130k and eliminated 20k just in unnecessary wording. This helped me a lot: https://www.helpingw...oks-word-count/

 

Samurai Gold chronicles a desperate something about the wording here slows everything down for me, instead of being placed in the action you're telling me about it second hand effort to put down the rebellion threatening the 250-year-old rule of the Tokugawa Shōguns by sending two unlikely heroes to America on a secret mission: Tomita Yuki, an English speaking samurai, and a hard drinking, former Union Army officer who is accompanied by his daughter Mary. Or is she? I like your samurai, but the daughter line throws me, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to wonder if he's her "daughter" or if she actually came with him...

 

An attempted robbery, murder, and the bankruptcy of the Spencer Repeating Rifle Company forces Tomita to return to Japan for help why? I fail to see how this connects to him. He buries the gold in Rhode Island and unwillingly leaves Mary who is pregnant with their love child Ah, got it. I'd clear this up in the first paragraph- refer to her as a mistress disguised as his daughter, or something. But in Japan he is mortally wounded and commits suicide Wait, so the story isn't about this guy?. Thus, the whereabouts of the gold is lost, or so it would seem Wouldn't knocked-up Mary know where the gold is? And if he left it to her why wouldn't she go get it?.

 

One hundred and fifty years later, Parker West, the latter-day hero we need to get to Parker sooner if he's your main guy discovers a clue to the treasure. He sets out to find it with the help of an aging Japanese historian and his twenty-something niece You've mentioned five characters now (six if you count the unborn child) and typically you want to keep your query focused on just the main one or two characters. All the while, a psychopathic criminal stalks them Whoa, what? I thought I was reading about treasure hunters, not crazy murderers. Somehow he knows about the gold too Per your prior intro, doesn't everyone "know" about the gold? Does he know it's in RH instead of Japan, that it's real, etc. Be more specific or remove him. In an ancient Buddhist temple, Parker discovers a critical clue and is stunned by an unexpected revelation. In the riveting climax, West unravels the final clue, and he and his nemesis face off in a life-or-death struggle in a Rhode Island cemetery. Don't tells us how it ends, (or how we should feel during the end, let us get there ourselves), or you risk ruining it. This is your novel's "movie trailer" not the spoiler alert rotten tomato review :)

 

Samurai Gold is not merely about samurai, swords, greed and murder. Love, Japanese culture, history, and written Japanese are all integral to the plot.It's never just about the obvious, or it shouldn't be. You need to trust the reader to figure out the themes I carefully researched the story on location I would hope so! :) , interviewing several historians along with the fourth generation descendant of a pivotal Japanese character in the novel. (I speak Japanese.) I would be pleased to send you a copy of the novel, and have enclosed an SASE, should you decide to request one.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

You've got a super interesting concept here, but I think there are certain things you're belaboring that as a reader I would be insulted by. Your readers aren't idiots, they'll be able to get your themes if you've written them into the story. Your story reminds me of something Clive Cussler-esque, I'd hit the bookstore (or amazon) and read some of his cover flaps for inspiration. Good Luck!

 

I'd love feedback on my inquiry if you are able, thanks! http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/38524-agents-of-balance-ya-fantasy-1st-revision/#entry353277



#5 Kelz1990

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 07:21 PM

In September 1941, the New York Times described “a fantastic treasure” that was supposedly buried in Japan in 1868. Historians dismissed the story as a fanciful myth, but in my 127,500 word “history mystery”, Samurai Gold, the reader learns that the treasure amounting to roughly $30 million was indeed buried—-not in Japan, but in Rhode Island. (see bottom for a revised version of this)

 

Samurai Gold chronicles a desperate effort to put down the rebellion threatening the 250-year-old rule of the Tokugawa Shōguns by sending two unlikely heroes to America on a secret mission: Tomita Yuki, an English speaking samurai, and a hard drinking, former Union Army officer who is accompanied by his daughter Mary. Or is she? (you should start with your story)

 

An attempted robbery, murder, and the bankruptcy of the Spencer Repeating Rifle Company forces Tomita Yuki, an English speaking samurai and a former Union Army officer, to return to Japan for help. He buries the gold in Rhode Island, and unwillingly leaves his daughter Mary who is pregnant with their love child. But in Japan, he is mortally wounded and commits suicide. Thus, the whereabouts of the gold is lost, or so it would seem.

 

One hundred and fifty years later, Parker West, the latter-day hero, discovers a clue to the treasure. He sets out to find it with the help of an aging Japanese historian and his twenty-something niece. (show me, don't tell me) All the while, a psychopathic criminal stalks them. Somehow he knows about the gold too. In an ancient Buddhist temple, Parker discovers a critical clue and is stunned by an unexpected revelation. In the riveting climax, West unravels the final clue, and he and his nemesis face off in a life-or-death struggle in a Rhode Island cemetery. (scrap and redo)

 

Completed at 127,000 words, Samurai Gold is a historical mystery not merely about samurai, swords, greed and murder. Love, Japanese culture, history, and written Japanese are all integral to the plot. I carefully researched the story on location, interviewing several historians along with the fourth generation descendant of a pivotal Japanese character in the novel. (I speak Japanese.) I would be pleased to send you a copy of the novel, and have enclosed an SASE, should you decide to request one. (once again, scrap and redo)

 

Best Regards,

 

Yes, I know my critique is kind of crappy, but in all honesty, so is this query. I have to agree with the above comments, and I believe most of this should be redone. 



#6 cdpiper

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:29 PM

Folks, thank you for the feed back!  Here's something I don't quite get...A couple of you said, "show, don't tell".  I understand the concept, but how do you "show" when you are limited to a 300 word QL?  

 

PS: CJ, I think you may have read my QL too quickly. You misunderstood a couple of things.  Nevertheless, the fact that there was a misunderstanding is a red flag to me to be more explicit.

 

Thanks Everyone!~



#7 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:51 PM

Folks, thank you for the feed back!  Here's something I don't quite get...A couple of you said, "show, don't tell".  I understand the concept, but how do you "show" when you are limited to a 300 word QL?  

 

 

From my experience, the best way is to read other successful queries on the internet that shows what happens.  It's tricky, but after a while see a pattern and voice, which you then can apply to your query.



#8 lnloft

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 06:01 PM

RE: Show, don't tell... Yes, you're limited in what you can do in your query versus your manuscript, but there are ways to still work within the confines. Think about what's more interesting: "Jim is brave and kind-hearted," or, "When Jim witnesses a car wreck, he immediately leaps into action to save the victims." One is telling us qualities about Jim, the other one is showing us something he does that highlights these qualities. Using that second line in a query is a lot better than using the first one.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#9 Author CJ Black

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:01 PM

Folks, thank you for the feed back!  Here's something I don't quite get...A couple of you said, "show, don't tell".  I understand the concept, but how do you "show" when you are limited to a 300 word QL?  

 

PS: CJ, I think you may have read my QL too quickly. You misunderstood a couple of things.  Nevertheless, the fact that there was a misunderstanding is a red flag to me to be more explicit.

 

Thanks Everyone!~

 

Sorry, cdpiper! I thought I may have misunderstood a bit. I'm looking forward to the rewrite. Have a good evening!


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#10 Tiffany

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:13 PM

There's not much I can add, you've had very good advice given to you by all the other posters that I completely agree with. I might advise looking at and reading my thread because I had a lot of the same issues(which I'm still working through I'm definitely not done) but it might give you an idea of how to correct. The best advice I can give you, that I've been told a lot myself, is try to remember this is not a synopsis. It should be about the first quarter of your book and a handful of sentences long. Don't tell us everything that happens, set a scene with a couple characters and make us want the rest. (Without being too vague) good luck!
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