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Tear Drinkers - Crime fiction / Psychological thriller

Fiction Crime Thrillers/Suspense

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#1 WillowSchafer

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 01:32 PM

I think this query might be a little long but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to shorten it without leaving out any important info. I'm also not sure whether to label this as crime fiction or as a psychological thriller since it kind of has elements of both, so I'd love if anyone could help out!

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

Lawrence Noon was a hopelessly unfortunate man for all the right reasons. Sure, his mother was murdered when he was a kid, his best friend was dying of cancer, he worked as a crime scene cleaner, and he developed early-onset glaucoma. Yet, it was all this that led him to the most influential man in his life: Jan Sigma, his ophthalmologist and a renowned serial killer.

 

 

A killer named Average Joe had slithered into Denver’s radar, but he was indeed very average compared to the elusive Monster of Tears who had unceremoniously stopped his ornate murders 12 years ago only to abruptly resume. Lawrence was accustomed to gore, but the Monster’s aesthetic crime scenes still left him as uneasy as they did over a decade ago. What he didn’t know was that the Monster was his befriended eye doctor, Jan Sigma. Jan graciously took the place of Lawrence’s dying friend and gave him someone to talk to about a subject most people loathed to discuss: murder. Murder had always been part of Lawrence’s life despite all his attempts to escape it. It was what Jan found most interesting about him and decided to use Lawrence not only as a muse but as a plaything to see if Lawrence was clever enough to peer between the brush strokes of the Monster’s scenes and spot a signature.

 

 

Lawrence’s glaucoma left him with tunnel vision, an unexpected boon as his vision had become hyper-sensitive, allowing him to see more details within crime scenes than ever before. Discovering that Jan was the killer he most despised, Lawrence became so distraught that the only way he thought he could solve anything was to kill Jan, but he couldn’t because Jan knew who and where Average Joe was. Desiring to do something righteous, Lawrence formulated a plan to corner and kill Average Joe with Jan’s help, and then Jan himself. But even if it was for all the right reasons, would it really be so easy for Lawrence to kill the only man he had ever admired, and even loved?

 

TEAR DRINKERS is adult crime fiction complete at 86,000 words inspired by Silence of the Lambs and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. I am a member of the Florida Writers Association and have been published in Elektraphrog Literary and Arts magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Quantum Muse, Uprising Review, and the public radio show and magazine of AntipodeanSF, among other venues.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


If you have any time, it would be great if you could review my query


#2 G A Johnson

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Posted 28 February 2019 - 03:56 PM

 Lawrence Noon was a hopelessly unfortunate man for all the right reasons. Sure, his mother was murdered when he was a kid, his best friend was dying of cancer, he worked as a crime scene cleaner, and he developed early-onset glaucoma. Yet, it was all this that led him to the most influential man in his life: Jan Sigma, his ophthalmologist and a renowned serial killer. 

 

I think the best place to begin is dumping a long list of backstory and moving up the dilemma you present in the third paragraph. To me, it's not necessary to mention his mother's murder or his dying friend. Introducing that his glaucoma has unexpectedly made him an expert in his field--crime scene investigation--is intriguing enough. Even though your backstory is meant to introduce Jan Sigma, it doesn't connect the dots as to the 'how'. We can accept on face value that Jan is important, then you can instantly raise the issue that Lawrence's idol is at odds with his career for A), B), C).

 

A killer named Average Joe had slithered into onto Denver’s radar (Denver Media? Denver Police? Specify otherwise you personify a city. My hometown BTW), but he was indeed very average compared to the elusive Monster of Tears who had unceremoniously stopped his ornate murders 12 years ago only to abruptly resume. (Huge sentence. Why do I care about Average Joe so much if Monster of Tears is the real badass? You could shorten by focusing on the Monster alone. Or break this up and give me more emphasis )  Lawrence was accustomed to gore, but the Monster’s aesthetic crime scenes still left him as uneasy as they did over a decade ago. What he didn’t know was that the Monster was his befriended eye doctor, Jan Sigma. Jan graciously took the place of Lawrence’s dying friend and gave him someone to talk to about a subject most people loathed to discuss: murder.  Murder had always been part of Lawrence’s life despite all his attempts to escape it,(Overkill. You've not mentioned any specific way he tried to escape murder, so it's just best left out.) It was what Jan found Lawrence's aversion to his chosen profession most interesting about him and decided to use Lawrence not only a(economy of words will help you strip off excess words) as a muse but AND as a plaything to see if Lawrence was clever enough to peer between the brush strokes of the Monster’s scenes and spot a signature.

 

Better clarify if Lawarence knows *at chapter 1* if Jan is Monster or not. If this is what he is going to find out, use that as a way to build tension. Instead of writing past tense, as if this is backstory, present an unknowing Lawerence being toyed with. If this is just backstory, dump it, and focus on the problem at hand.

 

 

Lawrence’s glaucoma left him with tunnel vision, an unexpected boon as his vision had become hyper-sensitive, allowing him to see more details within crime scenes than ever before. Discovering that Jan was the killer he most despised, Lawrence became so distraught that the only way he thought he could solve anything was to kill Jan, but he couldn’t because Jan knew who and where Average Joe was. Desiring to do something righteous, Lawrence formulated a plan to corner and kill Average Joe with Jan’s help, and then Jan himself. But even if it was for all the right reasons, would it really be so easy for Lawrence to kill the only man he had ever admired, and even loved? 

 

Again, switching to active-present tense, and painting the scene that may come about can be more exciting as a query. What you have so far operates well as a synopsis. You get to the heart of what's at stake best in this third section, but we need more up front too. You seem to balance amoral themes on the edge of an arbitrary moral caveat--love. I think elevating that disconnect will make this most appealing, like holding opposing thoughts in one's mind as a challenge. You have an elegant style and voracious vocabulary, and that's great. You should present your style in your query, but defy yourself and pick only a few places to showcase it in this small space. Like a diamond set on an unassuming band. Focus on functionality in the query and I believe it will lead agents to read your prose in requested sample chapters. 

 

I'm not nearly as published as you are, though,  so feel free to pick and choose from my suggestions. Perhaps they are unwarranted. 

 

Best of luck to you! 



#3 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 01:10 AM

I think this query might be a little long but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to shorten it without leaving out any important info. I'm also not sure whether to label this as crime fiction or as a psychological thriller since it kind of has elements of both, so I'd love if anyone could help out! Hi, mine is Soul Hosts, if you would be so kind as to return the crit.

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Lawrence Noon was a hopelessly unfortunate man for all the right reasons.Nice!  Sure, his mother was murdered when he was a kid, his best friend was dying either is dying, or dead of cancer, he worked as a crime scene cleaner, and he developed early-onset glaucoma no end mark the sentence is not complete, also crime scene cleaner doesn't fit with all the bad news, its just a job, unless he was forced into it. Yet, it was all this that led him to the most influential man in his life: Jan Sigma, his ophthalmologist and a renowned serial killer. ha ha love it!

 

 

A killer named Average Joe had slithered into Denver’s radar, but he was indeed very average compared to the elusive Monster of Tears who had unceremoniously stopped his ornate murders woah you lost me here completely too much and no explantion of any of it.  12 years ago only to abruptly resume. Lawrence was accustomed to gore, but the Monster’s aesthetic crime scenes still left him as uneasy as they did over a decade ago. What he didn’t know was that the Monster was his befriended eye doctor, Jan Sigma. Jan graciously took the place of Lawrence’s dying friend and gave him someone to talk to about a subject most people loathed to discuss: murder. Murder had always been part of Lawrence’s life despite all his attempts to escape it. It was what Jan found most interesting about him and decided to use Lawrence not only as a muse but as a plaything to see if Lawrence was clever enough to peer between the brush strokes of the Monster’s scenes and spot a signature.

 

 

Lawrence’s glaucoma left him with tunnel vision, very cool an unexpected boon as his vision had become hyper-sensitive, allowing him to see more details within crime scenes than ever before nice . Discovering that Jan was the killer he most despised, Lawrence became so distraught that the only way he thought he could solve anything was to kill Jan, but he couldn’t because Jan knew who and where Average Joe was. Desiring to do something righteous, Lawrence formulated a plan to corner and kill Average Joe with Jan’s help, and then Jan himself. But even if it was for all the right reasons, would it really be so easy for Lawrence to kill the only man he had ever admired, and even loved? nice

 

TEAR DRINKERS is adult crime fiction complete at 86,000 words inspired by Silence of the Lambs and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. I am a member of the Florida Writers Association and have been published in Elektraphrog Literary and Arts magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Quantum Muse, Uprising Review, and the public radio show and magazine of AntipodeanSF, among other venues.

Thank you for your time and consideration. overall pretty good! still needs some work but getting close!



#4 WillowSchafer

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 12:45 PM

So I've revised the query a bit and tried to make it more concise. Hopefully it's a bit of an improvement, but tell me what you guys think!

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

Crime scene cleaner Lawrence Noon hated his job, but early-onset glaucoma changed his mind. Leaving him with hyper-sensitive vision, a plethora of crime scene details exposed themselves. Overwhelmed with his novel vision, Lawrence found comfort from Jan Sigma, his ophthalmologist, best friend, and, unknown to Lawrence, an infamous serial killer.

 

An elusive killer named the Monster of Tears stopped his ornate murders 12 years ago only to abruptly resume with the advent of another Denver killer, Average Joe. Lawrence was accustomed to gore, but the Monster’s aesthetic crime scenes still left him as uneasy as they did over a decade ago. What he didn’t know was that the Monster was his beloved friend, Jan Sigma. Jan gave him someone to talk to about a subject most people loathed to discuss: murder. Jan found Lawrence’s distaste for his chosen profession interesting and decided to use Lawrence as a muse and a plaything to see if Lawrence was clever enough to peer between the brush strokes of the Monster’s scenes and spot a signature

 

Discovering that Jan was the killer he most despised, Lawrence, lost and distraught, believed the only way to solve anything was to kill Jan, but Jan knew who and where Average Joe was. Desiring to do something righteous, Lawrence formulated a plan to corner and kill Average Joe with Jan’s help, and then Jan himself. But even if it was for all the right reasons, would it really be so easy for Lawrence to kill the only man he had ever admired, and even loved?

 

TEAR DRINKERS is adult crime fiction complete at 86,000 words inspired by Silence of the Lambs and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. I am a member of the Florida Writers Association and have been published in Elektraphrog Literary and Arts magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Quantum Muse, Uprising Review, and the public radio show and magazine of AntipodeanSF, among other venues.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 


If you have any time, it would be great if you could review my query


#5 Derrick

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 01:09 PM

I have a quick moment, but I wanted to give feedback that I think your hook can be a bit punchier:

 

Crime scene cleaner Lawrence Noon hated his job, but when early-onset glaucoma leaves him with hyper-sensitive vision, a plethora of crime scene details expose themselves. But his novel vision can't help him see his new friend the ophthalmologist is the infamous serial killer he's hunting.

 

It's not perfect, but hopefully, you can see what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to bring what sets apart your novel from others closer to the top. I think the rest is good and explains a lot of what you were trying to explain in the original hook.


Would you do me the kindness of critiquing my query?


#6 booksbybrendan

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 01:31 PM

So I've revised the query a bit and tried to make it more concise. Hopefully it's a bit of an improvement, but tell me what you guys think!

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

Crime scene cleaner Lawrence Noon hated his job, but early-onset glaucoma changed his mind. Leaving him with hyper-sensitive vision, a plethora of crime scene details exposed themselves. Does glaucoma lead to better vision? I always thought it was the opposite. Also, I feel like you could easily combine these two sentences into a cleaner hook. Overwhelmed with his novel vision NOVEL vision? I wish I had novel vision, it would make writing a lot easier (novel may not be the best word here), Lawrence found comfort from Jan Sigma, his ophthalmologist, best friend, and, unknown to Lawrence, an infamous serial killer. Whoa. To me, this last sentence sounds a lot more interesting than glaucoma. Perhaps the best friend/serial killer and the crime scene cleaner dynamic (which sounds rife with possible conflict!) could be touched on earlier?

 

An elusive killer named the Monster of Tears stopped his ornate what is an ornate murder murders 12 years ago only to abruptly resume with the advent of another Denver killer, Average Joe. Lawrence was accustomed to gore, but the Monster’s aesthetic crime scenes still left him as uneasy as they did over a decade ago. What he didn’t know was that the Monster was his beloved friend, Jan Sigma. Jan gave him someone to talk to about a subject most people loathed to discuss: murder. Jan found Lawrence’s distaste for his chosen profession interesting and decided to use Lawrence as a muse and a plaything to see if Lawrence was clever enough to peer between the brush strokes of the Monster’s scenes and spot a signature. 

 

Discovering that Jan was the killer he most despised, Lawrence, lost and distraught, believed the only way to solve anything was to kill Jan, but Jan knew who and where Average Joe was. Desiring to do something righteous, Lawrence formulated a plan to corner and kill Average Joe with Jan’s help, and then Jan himself. But even if it was for all the right reasons, would it really be so easy for Lawrence to kill the only man he had ever admired, and even loved? This query is confusing to me. I had to re-read it twice to get Jan, the Monster of Tears (who're the same person), Average Joe, and Lawrence straight. You could simplify this massively. You've focused on the main conflict-- Jan versus Lawrence-- well, but the descriptions of their interactions are long and overly complicated. Read this aloud. Does it roll off the tongue? If it's hard to read aloud, it's usually difficult to read in the first place. I bet you could cut 50% of these words and retain the meaning, while actually improving your query. This sounds like a book I would read too; I love cat-and-mouse games. 

 

TEAR DRINKERS is adult crime fiction complete at 86,000 words inspired by Silence of the Lambs and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. I am a member of the Florida Writers Association and have been published in Elektraphrog Literary and Arts magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Quantum Muse, Uprising Review, and the public radio show and magazine of AntipodeanSF, among other venues.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Wow, you have a lot of publishing credit! 

 

I hope my thoughts are helpful. Good luck!



#7 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 07:30 PM

So I've revised the query a bit and tried to make it more concise. Hopefully it's a bit of an improvement, but tell me what you guys think!

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

Crime scene cleaner Lawrence Noon hated his job, but early-onset glaucoma changed his mind. Leaving him with hyper-sensitive vision, a plethora of crime scene details exposed themselves.can you reword this, awkward for me, I don't understand it clearly either-- I think you mean he has super vision? did his mind change as well as his vision? what does that mean expose themselves, the wording makes me think of flashers :-) Overwhelmed with his novel vision, Lawrence found comfort from Jan Sigma, his ophthalmologist, best friend, and, unknown to Lawrence, an infamous serial killer. It might be novel but it also has to make sense. I think what you mean is he has stronger intuition and keen vision like he can sort of look at things and see it like under a microscope? I think again give us a clearer sense of what this is, as this is your key concept, your heroes 'super power'

 

An elusive killer named by who?  the Monster of Tears stopped his ornate murders 12 years ago only to abruptly resume with the advent of another Denver killer, Average Joe.again this sentence was clunky and unclear. I think there is good stuff going on here, but these sentences need some editing. try to focus on clarity Lawrence was accustomed to gore, but the Monster’s aesthetic seems like the wrong word choice to me crime scenes still left him as uneasy as they did over a decade ago. What he didn’t know was that the Monster was his beloved friend, Jan Sigma spoilers, cut? or perhaps change to, he never would have guessed that the Monster was.... Jan gave him someone to talk to about a subject most people loathed to discuss: murder. Jan found Lawrence’s distaste for his chosen profession are you talking about being a murderer? does he get paid for it interesting and decided to use Lawrence as a muse and a plaything to see if Lawrence was clever enough to peer between the brush strokes of the Monster’s scenes and spot a signature missing an end mark

 

Discovering that Jan was the killer he most despised, Lawrence, lost and distraught, believed the only way to solve anything was to kill Jan, but Jan knew who and where Average Joe was. I am lost . who is average Joe? did something get cut that needs to be re-added? Desiring to do something righteous, Lawrence formulated a plan to corner and kill Average Joe with Jan’s help, and then Jan himself. But even if it was for all the right reasons, would it really be so easy for Lawrence to kill the only man he had ever admired, and even loved? mine is soul hosts if you would take a look please. Good luck with yours! Some interesting aspects to this and I hope you are able to revise it and get an agent soon.

 

TEAR DRINKERS is adult crime fiction complete at 86,000 words inspired by Silence of the Lambs and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. I am a member of the Florida Writers Association and have been published in Elektraphrog Literary and Arts magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Quantum Muse, Uprising Review, and the public radio show and magazine of AntipodeanSF, among other venues.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#8 Lindak

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 03:39 PM

I had a hard time with this query. Too many names. I think the hook needs reworking because glaucoma usually affects the ability to see clearly, so not sure how this improves his job. I'd be more willing to believe he feels a sudden urgency in his job before he loses his vision altogether or make it an unusual effect or misdiagnosis. Maybe the ophthalmologist was too arrogant to admit he wasn't able to diagnose his vision changes correctly and just told him he had glaucoma. Anyway, it seems rather odd. Example for an opening might take a different approach: For most people, glaucoma is a debilitating diagnosis, but for crime scene cleaner, Lawrence Noon, it saves his career. I would not get into all the confusing details of who is doing what to who and just reveal your protagonist's goals and obstacles, what stands in his way, what will happen if he fails, etc., the typical prompts for query writing. I'd limit names to two, three at the most, usually the main protagonist and antagonist. And if it is a psychological thriller, I'd like to see something in the query that lends to that genre and end with a hook on the protagonist's success. JMHO. 







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