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Machete - Return of the Celtic (crime/horror)

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#21 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 12:33 PM

This does have less superfluous stuff, but what's here is disjointed.

I have a new version coming, but I wanted to address one of your questions. " I don't get this -- why would the media, or the public, want the cops to stop someone killing this pop-up band of sexual predators? People are usually on board with that." This issue relates directly to a conflict the MC has to think about. One, no one gets to take the law into their own hands. That might fly in Arizona, but the NYPD would never put up with it. Two, what if the supposed vigilantes are mistaken? A parent hugging their child while out for a walk? Third, what if they don't stop at peds? Maybe crooked Wall Street execs are next? 

 

Thanks again for your appraisals. On another note, I floated the story concept at a Writer's Hotel session last night. The group was highly intrigued.



#22 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 12:56 PM

So, first off, this is loads better. You've actually got a query to work from now rather than what was basically a synopsis. Well done. But obviously still some heavy lifting to do. I'm not clear on how the two halves really connect. It seems we have these grisly vigilante murders, and then one clue leads to a completely different storyline about an evil cult, and the first plot is dropped. Either intertwine them better, or end the query at an earlier point in the book, where Mike starts to realize that the clues are leading to something far larger.

 

I might also recommend dropping Nick's name from the query. I'm guessing he's more prominent in the book proper, but for here he just feels tacked on, since he's only ever just doing what Mike does. Just referring to him as "Mike's partner" will help keep the focus on Mike. That will allow you to say stuff like "Mike learns" instead of "they learn", which again helps give Mike more agency.

 

Hope you're doing better health-wise, and good luck with the query.

I have a new version coming, but I wanted to directly address one of your questions, "Each of the children possesses a pectoral cross. Or they were marked with a cross by the vigilante? I'm not quite sure what you mean. Be clear. Tales surrounding the ancient symbol Is it a specific kind of cross? I'm just imagining a simple cross carved into the skin above their pectoral muscle, which, while the cross is technically an ancient symbol, doesn't really fit with the context of what you're saying."

 

A Pectoral Cross is a particular type of cross. There are hundreds of them all over Ireland, Scotland and Northern UK. It represents a conglomeration of the Celtic sun/Norse solar cross and the Christian cross. They typically appear in horror movies where a graveyard is involved. In this case, it's an object that is worn.

 

Thanks again for your advice.



#23 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 05:22 PM

Thanks once more for taking the time to look this query over. This version is tighter in its focus on the MC, his challenges and the tasks he faces. 

 

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because . . . . MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a horror/crime novel steeped in Gaelic mythical history (113,000 words).

 

Detective Mike Saunders has two choices – retire in a year with a full pension, or wait until his boss gets bumped downtown and take over as Precinct Captain. One word defines his tour on the Central Park beat – mundane. But one night in the early spring, Mike is called to a horrific murder scene at Umpire Rock. He’s now staring at the toughest case of his career.

 

The evidence reveals the dead man is a pedophile, ripped to shreds while attempting to rape a 10-year old girl who is left unharmed. More murders follow in the park and along the Upper East Side. Mike suspects a vigilante serial killer is hunting sexual predators and performing a grotesque mutilation ritual. The survivors claim a “monster” appeared from nowhere to rescue them, but Mike doesn’t believe in gods or ghosts. As the bodies pile up, the heat intensifies from the brass downtown. They want the butcher coined “Machete” by the local media caught before the city enters a panic state a la the Summer of Sam.

 

A single thread binds every case – all of the children wear a Pectoral Cross. Mike must figure out what the cross means and why the children are protected. His search uncovers long-hidden tales surrounding the ancient symbol that lead him to a 1400-year old cult. Their priestess has summoned an avenging Celtic spirit to cleanse evil from the world, beginning with pedophiles. Faced with battling a supernatural force, Mike risks his life to stop a purge that will rival the Apocalypse.

 

MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers of Richard Marcello’s THE MEDUSA AMULET and THE ROMANOV CROSS. [I have attached the first . . . [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES].

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and have spent my 25-year career practicing international securities law. I had the privilege of spending an entire day discussing Christian mythology with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese. I could not have written this book without his guidance.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Antoine Devine



#24 lnloft

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 07:53 PM

A Pectoral Cross is a particular type of cross. There are hundreds of them all over Ireland, Scotland and Northern UK. It represents a conglomeration of the Celtic sun/Norse solar cross and the Christian cross. They typically appear in horror movies where a graveyard is involved. In this case, it's an object that is worn.

Ah, I see. I just googled it and was like, "Oh, it's that cross." Things make more sense now.

 

The question now becomes whether it's worth leaving it as is. If I'm in the minority of not knowing it, then you're in the clear. But if more people don't know what that means than do, then you have a choice. Leaving it as is runs the risk of confusing an agent, who is unlikely to spend the time to google it, so you might be putting some off. But it could also specifically catch the attention of agents who do know what it is and see it as a nice detail. It sounds like you need to be specific that it's not just a generic cross, since it's a clue to the mystery. One thought is is it too inaccurate to call it something like a "Celtic cross"? Because that I wouldn't stop and wonder about. There's no right or wrong answer here, because either way it's a bit of a gamble (unless, again, I'm just in the minority who doesn't know), but I thought I'd offer the options.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#25 Quillaby

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 09:06 PM

First I want to say well done on your perseverance and improvement! Now onto the critique...

 



Thanks once more for taking the time to look this query over. This version is tighter in its focus on the MC, his challenges and the tasks he faces. 

 

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because . . . . MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a horror/crime novel steeped in Gaelic mythical history (113,000 words). Do you mean mythology?

 

Detective Mike Saunders has two choices – retire in a year with a full pension, or wait until his boss gets bumped downtown and take over as Precinct Captain. One word defines his tour on the Central Park beat – mundane. But one night in the early spring, Mike is called to a horrific murder scene at Umpire Rock. He’s now staring at the toughest case of his career.

 

You've got two separate ideas here: 1) Mike thinks he's got two clear paths ahead and this murder disrupts both of them. 2) His job is boring until the murders start. Pick one idea and run with it. 

 

Also, you'll want to use colons instead of dashes with these particular sentences.

 

The evidence reveals the dead man is a pedophile, ripped to shreds while attempting to rape a 10-year old girl who is left unharmed.

 

Unless it's absolutely essential, it's best to avoid such graphic imagery in a query. The average person recoils at a statement like this, and there's not enough time in a query to ease the reader into it or out of it. You don't want an agent recoiling from your query. Obviously it's important to mention the dead guy's a sexual predator, but I'd cut out the rape part. My personal style choice would also be to circumvent the cringiness as much as possible by saying "child sex offender" instead of "pedophile".

 

When More murders follow in the park and along the Upper East Side. Mike suspects a vigilante serial killer is hunting sexual predators and performing a grotesque mutilation ritual. Doesn't matter where they happen, just that they do. The survivors claim a “monster” appeared from nowhere to rescue them, but Mike doesn’t believe in gods or ghosts. As the bodies pile up, the heat intensifies from the brass downtown. They want the butcher coined “Machete” by the local media caught before the city enters a panic state a la the Summer of Sam**. Awkward phrasing. Chop it up and keep it simple. The media coins the killer "Machete". The brass want him caught before etc etc. 

 

Are all the survivors children? The below paragraph suggests so, but it's not clear. You can fix this simply by saying all the dead guys specifically prey on children.

 

**Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Summer of Sam is just the name of a movie made about Son of Sam, not an actual term coined by the media. Simply say Son of Sam.

 

A single thread binds every case – all of the children wear a Pectoral Cross. Mike must figure out what the cross means and why the children are protected. His search uncovers long-hidden tales surrounding the ancient symbol that lead him to a 1400-year old cult. Their priestess has summoned an avenging Celtic spirit to cleanse evil from the world, beginning with pedophiles. Faced with battling a supernatural force, Mike risks his life to stop a purge that will rival the Apocalypse.

 

This handwaves Mike's earlier reluctance to believe in monsters, which makes it irrelevant. 

 

Pectoral cross isn't a proper noun.

 

Risking his life isn't enough of a stake. Mike's a detective; risking his life comes with the job. Dig deeper. You've got a grounded detective who doesn't believe in the supernatural. He's also clearly respected and successful if he's next in line for Captain. But now he's chasing ancient cults and hunting Celtic spirits. Sounds like your stakes are in there

 

MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers of Richard Marcello’s THE MEDUSA AMULET and THE ROMANOV CROSS. [I have attached the first . . . [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES].

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and have spent my 25-year career practicing international securities law. I had the privilege of spending an entire day discussing Christian mythology with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese. I could not have written this book without his guidance.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Antoine Devine

 

Consider changing your title. 'Return of the Celtic' makes this sound like a sequel.



#26 Tanja

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 03:31 AM

Going to see if I can help you a bit

 



Thanks once more for taking the time to look this query over. This version is tighter in its focus on the MC, his challenges and the tasks he faces. 

 

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because . . . . MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC I assume it's aimed at adults. Don't forget to write the genre as well is a horror/crime novel not sure if you could even say it's a thriller steeped in Gaelic mythical history (113,000 words). very long. You should try staying under 100,000. It might sound impossible to eliminate so many words, but it's amazing how many just shed away when you delete any unnecessary words like: just, that, only etc. Plus I would put those details to the end of the query.

 

Detective Mike Saunders has two choices – retire in a year with a full pension, or wait until his boss gets bumped downtown and take over as Precinct Captain. One word defines his tour on the Central Park beat – mundane. But one night in the early spring, Mike is called to a horrific murder scene at Umpire Rock. He’s now staring at the toughest case of his career.

 

The evidence reveals the dead man is a pedophile, ripped to shreds while attempting to rape a 10-year old girl who is left unharmed. This is were your story is different to what's out there. Try wording a hook around it. Something like: Detective Mike Saunders is eying with the options of either retiring or taking over as Precinct Captain once his boss gets bumped downtown. That is until a 10-year-old girl escapes an attempted rape unharmed but the pedophile is found ripped to shred. Not perfect but you get the idea. / since you're writing a horror/crime novel agents are aware that words like rape and pedophile will be used. Same as ripped to shreds. 

 

When more murders follow in the park and along the Upper East Side. Mike suspects a vigilante serial killer is hunting sexual predators and performing a grotesque mutilation ritual. The survivors claim a “monster” appeared from nowhere to rescue them, but Mike doesn’t believe in gods or ghosts. As the bodies pile up, the heat intensifies from the brass downtown. They want the butcher coined “Machete” by the local media caught before the city enters a panic state a la the Summer of Sam. Try rewording this. Maybe even in two short sentences

 

A single thread binds every case: use colon here instead of em-dash – all of the children wear a Pectoral Cross. Mike must figure out what the cross means and why the children are protected. His search uncovers long-hidden tales surrounding the ancient symbol that lead him to a 1400-year old cult. Their priestess has summoned an avenging Celtic spirit to cleanse evil from the world, beginning with pedophiles. Faced with battling a supernatural force, Mike risks his life to stop a purge that will rival the Apocalypse. I would like to see a bigger obstacle here he's facing. If Mike can't blah blah, he'll blah blah.

 

MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers of Richard Marcello’s THE MEDUSA AMULET and THE ROMANOV CROSS. [I have attached the first . . . [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES].

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and have spent my 25-year career practicing international securities law. I had the privilege of spending an entire day discussing Christian mythology with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese. I could not have written this book without his guidance.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Antoine Devine

 

I  think you have a very interesting story here and your query is nearly there. The hook is very important and you got great material to amp it up. Work on the stakes and a bit more detail. Other than that, I like it.

 

good luck


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

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