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THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA (Commercial/Suspense Fiction)


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#1 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:32 PM

Hey Guys,


I would like to submit my Query for THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA for review. Any and all comments will be appreciated.


Dear Agent,

To own a piece of history some men would pay any price…

Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have risked their lives to secretly breech the United States Navy’s most sacred of war graves, the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, and recovered a gold watch, its hands frozen at the infamous moment of the ship’s destruction on December 7th, 1941. Stolen before it can fetch a small fortune on the antiquities black market, the brother’s will stop at nothing, even murder, to get the watch back before their financial backer Cyrano Kriege seals their fate.

Collector Thomas Snow, an honest man who knows both financial good fortune and soul crushing heartbreak, has innocently come into possession of the watch. From the Phoenix convention center to a thousand feet below the waves of Hawaii to the dense jungle of Papua New Guinea, Snow is in a race to unravel the mystery of the watch’s origins before the brother’s plan for retribution not only engulfs him, but also those that he cares about.

Striving for accuracy, I have consulted with experts from the National Park Service, the Chief Curator of the USS Arizona Memorial, and the FBI. At 114,300 words, THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is my first completed manuscript. A Synopsis and chapters are available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

#2 EddieTol

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:58 AM

Hey Guys,


I would like to submit my Query for THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA for review. Any and all comments will be appreciated.


Dear Agent,

To own a piece of history some men would pay any price…

Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have risked their lives to secretly breech the United States Navy’s most sacred of war graves, the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, and recovered a gold watch, its hands frozen at the infamous moment of the ship’s destruction on December 7th, 1941. Stolen before it can fetch a small fortune on the antiquities black market, the brother’s will stop at nothing, even murder, to get the watch back before their financial backer Cyrano Kriege seals their fate.

Collector Thomas Snow, an honest man who knows both financial good fortune and soul crushing heartbreak, has innocently come into possession of the watch. (How? I mean, if it was stolen then why does he, an honest man, have it?) From the Phoenix convention center to a thousand feet below the waves of Hawaii to the dense jungle of Papua New Guinea, Snow is in a race to unravel the mystery (Why?) of the watch’s origins before the brother’s plan for retribution not only engulfs him, but also those that he cares about.

Striving for accuracy, I have consulted with experts from the National Park Service, the Chief Curator of the USS Arizona Memorial, and the FBI. At 114,300 words, THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is my first completed manuscript. A Synopsis and chapters are available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


First of all, I'm not fond of the title, but titles don't last long in the editing phase anyway so it's not an issue. I had several questions. First, who is your main character? Is it Snow or the brothers? If it's Snow then start with him and stick with him. If I'm reading this right, the brothers were just thieves so I would just refer to them as such and leave it at that. Secondly, How Snow is involved is vague. How did he get the watch and why is it so important to him to unravel the mystery? He seems to lack motivation. Why risk his life and chase the answer around the globe? For a watch? Sorry, I'm sure this watch is priceless but you fail to convey this. To me, it's nothing more than a curiosity and not worth risking life and limb (let alone murder) for. For someone to take on the level of involvement you are suggesting, he needs a compelling enough reason and you've failed to detail it for us.

Hope this helps.

ET -
In the real world, as in dreams, nothing is quite as it seems.

- The Book of Counted Sorrows

#3 Al N

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:23 AM

Hi Mike,

Is this fiction or nonfiction? Your closing paragraph doesn’t say – word count and genre. The agent wants to know where you envision you book belongs on a store shelf. 114,000 words is too long. Most publishers don’t want to risk the cost of publishing that length on a fires-time author.

The advisories on queries say one character -- what he / she wants to accomplish (in terms the reader can understand) what is in the way, cousequences of failure, and so forth.

Check out:

http://agentquery.com/ -- the companion to this website and
http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ -- an advisory site maintained by an active agent.

Good skill – it isn’t luck.


Al N

#4 Dan

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

Mike,

I agree with the previous comments. Also, the ship wasn't destroyed since it is still there. It was sunk or bombed . . . something like that.

Did the watch have a year and month feature? I picture that it does since that would completely capture that fateful moment. If it does not, then it's only capturing the time that the watched stopped. And, assuming it was worn by a sailor it may be water proof (or at leats resistent) and so it really might show a time from hours or days or months later . . . thinking out loud here. Hope it helps you hone your query.

Sounds good, though.

Just curious, did you tell the experts that your character was going to steal something from the Arizona? That probably made the curator a little uneasy. ;)

#5 JayMG

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 03:39 PM

Hi Mike,

For a first attempt, I found this pretty interesting actually. I agree with the points above, however, and think some tweakage could help. Here are some thoughts.

To own a piece of history some men would pay any price…


Hmm, yeah, ok, but more of a movie tagline than an actual hook. A bit too generic to really grab the reader, and I can't help but hear that gruff-voiced movie voiceover guy in my head, which is a bit annoying.

Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have risked their lives to secretly breech the United States Navy’s most sacred of war graves, the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, and recovered a gold watch, its hands frozen at the infamous moment of the ship’s destruction on December 7th, 1941.


I do like this, though it should be in the present tense (I KNOW it's already happened but that's just how it is): Erik and Markus Beckett risk their lives... and so on. Also, I really need to know why they stole it - simply for money? Why is it worth so much - sure it's interesting but it must have more significance than just being on a famously sunken ship. Hate to generalise but isn't America more impressed by its victories than its defeats? <ducks under bombardment from across the pond> Follow this up, or interweave some other aspect that shows us why it is worth going to all that trouble.

Stolen before it can fetch a small fortune on the antiquities black market, the brother’s will stop at nothing, even murder, to get the watch back before their financial backer Cyrano Kriege seals their fate.


Careful with your grammar. Rogue apostrophe in 'brothers'. And the focus of your paragraph (the watch) is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over almost at the end of the sentence (see how far apart the underlined sections are, separated by the brothers' actions?) which makes for muddy reading. Plus, we're jumping all over the place. They stole it, now it's been stolen from them, it's worth a small fortune (which is apparently worth killing for - I'd hope it was a MASSIVE fortune in that case), and we're introduced offhand to some financial backer guy. I'm looking for a little more darkness and uniqueness - what will Kriege do to them if they don't find it?

Collector Thomas Snow, an honest man who knows both financial good fortune and soul crushing heartbreak


Repetition of 'financial' in close proximity. It's a good word, but not so good you can get away with it twice. I'm not sure Snow's description does him justice, or is really required - honest, rich and heartbroken - either get specific or cut it.

has innocently come into possession of the watch.


HOW. It got stolen from the thieves, and now he has it. Too big a jump.

From the Phoenix convention center to a thousand feet below the waves of Hawaii to the dense jungle of Papua New Guinea, Snow is in a race to unravel the mystery of the watch’s origins before the brother’s plan for retribution not only engulfs him, but also those that he cares about.


Geography doesn't matter if you're going to be this vague. I want to know how he got the watch, what he plans on doing with it, and if he's so honest, innocent and rich, why he doesn't just cut a deal with the thieves and walk away happy...

Striving for accuracy, I have consulted with experts from the National Park Service, the Chief Curator of the USS Arizona Memorial, and the FBI. At 114,300 words, THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is my first completed manuscript. A Synopsis and chapters are available upon request.


Cut all this. This sentence needs to include your title, your genre and your wordcount (which needs to lose about 20-30,000 words). Agents will assume you've done your research, and since you don't put any publishing credits, they'll guess it's your first novel.

Sorry for tearing this apart. I genuinely like the story. I think these are the points you need to focus around:

1) Watch stolen by the brothers (who are bullied/bribed/forced by antagonist Krieg). Watch is significant and highly sought after because...?
2) Watch ends up in possession of Snow, who ends up entangled (HOW) in a naughty little world he doesn't belong.
3) Snow steps up and uses his collectory skillz to stay alive and find out the origins of the watch (again, WHY is this so important? Worth his life?)

Interested to see a second try.

Oh and yeah, I think the title needs changing too.

Sorry. You must hate me. ;)

#6 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:14 PM

Hey Guys,


Thanks for the replies. The only way to get any serious unbiased (non-family) feedback is to put the query out there and let everyone offer their two cents. I can't know what to fix if I don't have an idea of what's broken...so even for the unflattering words, I am grateful for your time.


A bit of back story… Much like September 11th, 2001 and November 22, 1963, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a defining point in the 20th century. Of the 2402 Americans killed, 1177 were onboard the USS Arizona. Struck by a single bomb, the vessel was so devastated that recovery efforts were deemed to be too dangerous and to this day, nearly 1000 bodies remained entombed inside the Arizona’s wreckage.


I'll try to touch on a few things that were pointed out.

Regarding the TAGLINE...I'll agree that it feels iffy, at best

Thomas Snow is the hero of the story.

The word count is something that I’ve been desperately trying to work on.


As much as I’ve been struggling with every word of the novel, the Query is what I’m finding the hardest thing to get right.

When I get a little time, I’ll resubmit a revised Query.


I can’t thank everyone enough for their time and comments.

#7 sbw2263

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:27 AM

Hey Mike-

Great story concept!

JayMG really summed it up nicely.

Not to be a redundant bore... give us more on the watch. With it at the center of everything, I'd give the agent a little 'meat,' so to speak, and not leave them hanging as to what the watch is, why it is so singular?? and valuable, etc.

#8 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:59 PM

Hey Guys,

After taking in the notes that I have been fortunate to get so far, I have a revised Query to offer.


Dear Agent,

From deep within the wreckage of one of the most devastating surprise attacks in history, a simple gold watch is recovered, its hands frozen at the infamous moment when a foreign enemy reached halfway around the world and catapulted the United States into world war. A priceless collectable looks destined for the antiquity black market, but fate has other plans.

Haunted the past four years by the death of his wife and son, Collector Thomas Snow has thrown himself into his work, praying only to forget the past when the watch blindly comes into his possession. A man of principal and honestly, Snow only has a mysterious broken-up voice mail message and his quick wit to use to unravel the mystery of the watch before it not only costs him his life, but the lives of those around him.

Hired by European billionaire Cyrano Kriege to add another item to his collection, Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have risk their lives to initially recover the watch, but before they can fulfill their promise of delivery it is stolen from them. With the lingering dread of brutal repercussions for failure hanging over their heads, the brothers will stop at nothing, even murder, to get the watch back before their Kriege seals their fate.

At 114,300 words, the Commercial/Suspense fiction THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is my first completed manuscript. A Synopsis and chapters are available upon request.



Yeah, I know I need to work on the word count...I'm working on it (lol)

Once again, any and all feedback is appreciated. I got tough skin, I can take the bad with the good. Hopefully I'm heading in the right direction.

Thank you again.

#9 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 05:32 AM

Bump

#10 Kristina

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:42 AM

Hey Guys,

After taking in the notes that I have been fortunate to get so far, I have a revised Query to offer.


Dear Agent,

From deep within the wreckage of one of the most devastating surprise attacks in history, a simple gold watch is recovered, its hands frozen at the infamous moment when a foreign enemy reached halfway around the world and catapulted the United States into world war. This sentence is 45 words long, which is at least 15 words too long. 45 words takes one fifth of a regular query, so you may rethink if you want to spend one fifth of your query on one sentence. Then, this hook doesn't work in slightest, and not only because of the length. It is vague(although my firs guess is Pearl Harbor), says nothing about the main character, and makes me think about historical fiction rather than commercial. The sentence has a passive structure, which is something you definitely want to avoid both in the query and manuscript. In other words - a perfect turn-off. A priceless collectable looks destined for the antiquity black market, but fate has other plans. This sentence is not much better either. The first part of the sentence is awkwardly structured. I suppose you want to say A priceless collection looks destined for the black market of antiquities, but fate has other plans. This sentence is still bad, because it is still too vague and I still get no sense of the main character.

Haunted You mean for the past four years? the past four years by the death of his wife and son How did they die?, Collector Thomas Snow has thrown Present tense - always! throws himself into his work, praying only to forget the past This is repetitive. when the watch blindly comes into his possession. I finally get to know something about the character, but you buried everything under more passive structures(which are absolutely forbidden), repetition, and more vague facts. A man of principal You mean principles? Principal means 'headmaster'; principle means 'belief that influences your life'. and honestly You mean honesty?, Snow only has a mysterious broken-up voice mail message Huh? and his quick wit to use to unravel the mystery I'm tired of your repetitions of words mystery, mysterious etc. of the watch before it not only costs him his life, but the lives of those around him. By this time, you have broken almost every query-law, and I still don't know what is going on here. Vague phrases and telling lead you nowhere.

Hired by European billionaire Cyrano Kriege to add another item to his collection Of what?, Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett Hey, what's happened to Snow? You can't shift POVs just like that. have risk You mean have risked? Present perfect tense is built this way - have/has + past participle(not infinitive). And I've already said that you had better avoid using anything but present simple. their lives to initially recover the watch And what is so important about that watch? You didn't mention a single juicy detail. , but before they can fulfill their promise of delivery it is stolen from them. More passive forms. This is turning into a lullaby. With the lingering dread of brutal repercussions for failure hanging over their heads, the brothers will stop at nothing, even murder, to get the watch back before their Kriege seals their fate.

At 114,300 words Round the number - you don't have to be so accurate. And for a debut novel, this is high. , the Commercial/Suspense fiction novel THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is my first completed manuscript. Don't say it's your first. Unless you specify you have already been published, it's self-explanatory. A Synopsis Synopsis is not a proper noun. Why did you capitalize it? and chapters are available upon request. Of course they are. Don't waste your words on something like that. Instead say Thank you for your time and consideration.



Yeah, I know I need to work on the word count...I'm working on it Good.(lol)

Once again, any and all feedback is appreciated. I got tough skin, I can take the bad with the good. Hopefully I'm heading in the right direction. Sorry, but you're not.

Thank you again.


Scratch this and start anew. I feel there's a good story under this pile of query/spelling/grammar mistakes, but passive voice, constant mistakes, vagueness, telling instead of showing, wordiness, and awkward structuring do their utmost to hide that potential. So, back to work, and come soon with the next revision.
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#11 JayMG

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:26 AM

From deep within the wreckage of one of the most devastating surprise attacks in history, a simple gold watch is recovered, its hands frozen at the infamous moment when a foreign enemy reached halfway around the world and catapulted the United States into world war. A priceless collectable looks destined for the antiquity black market, but fate has other plans.


Ok, your first version was just as waffly, but at least it gave us more detail about the wreckage. Definitely mention Pearl Harbour, as it sparks interest, but you still need something, well, hooky (technical term) to draw the reader in. Most of the paragraph above is redundant if you add the words 'Pearl Harbour'. Everyone knows what that is, what went down there, when it happened. All you have to expand on is why the watch is important and what chaos it causes. Also, one query 'rule' of sorts is to lead with your protagonist. The watch isn't it. Open with Snow, and how a grieving and reclusive collector is suddenly thrown into a world of black market murder and international fraud etc...

Haunted the past four years by the death of his wife and son, Collector Thomas Snow has thrown himself into his work, praying only to forget the past when the watch blindly comes into his possession. A man of principal and honestly, Snow only has a mysterious broken-up voice mail message and his quick wit to use to unravel the mystery of the watch before it not only costs him his life, but the lives of those around him.


Awkward sentence structure here, and I still don't quite understand WHY Snow is bothering to get involved, or how he becomes a part of the action. How does he come across the watch? Why does he feel the need to unravel the mystery? If he's a man of principal an honesty, why doesn't he just hand it in to the police? And whose lives does he care about? I thought he had pretty much cut himself off from everyone after his family dies... If there's a special someone, we should know about them.

Hired by European billionaire Cyrano Kriege to add another item to his collection, Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have risk their lives to initially recover the watch, but before they can fulfill their promise of delivery it is stolen from them. With the lingering dread of brutal repercussions for failure hanging over their heads, the brothers will stop at nothing, even murder, to get the watch back before their Kriege seals their fate.


Are we meant to feel sympathy for the brothers? If so, we need to see why we should root for them. Most people would see murderous thieves as getting their comeuppance, and not be rooting for them as underdogs. If we're supposed to follow their story and care what happens to them, give us a reason to like them.

At 114,300 words, the Commercial/Suspense fiction THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is my first completed manuscript. A Synopsis and chapters are available upon request.


Basically what Kristina said, and your genre/s don't need to be capitalised.

So, I would suggest opening with Snow and his predicament - telling us WHY he is involved or why he can't escape the sequence of events, and WHY the watch is so bloody important/valuable/intriguing. Then throw the brothers into the mix - do they meet Snow at some point? Perhaps give us a little taste of what happens when they do, or whether they chase him across the globe/capture and torture him/go skydiving naked... SOMETHING unique and interesting that will make the agent smile/gasp. Finish up with the "oh shit, it's the point of no return!" moment, where it looks as if Snow/the brothers will fail miserably and the world is going to explode. Or something.

Keep going, the story's there, it's just getting around how to put the most useful parts of it in your query.

#12 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:59 AM

If I learn nothing else, NEVER post anything when you are tired. You just end up looking foolish (which won't be my last time, I'm sure). But you know what, I beleve in my story so I'm going to dust off my pride and pay a lot more attention before I hit the post button.

That being said, I am grateful for any and all comments and are taking them to heart. Hopefully I'll get my head out of my----well you know, and get a proper revision posted later today.

#13 JayMG

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:30 AM

Don't beat yourself up. Every revision is one more step along the way. Some of my query attempts seriously suck, but the (constructive) criticism chips away bit by bit until you have something workable. You don't look foolish, and you definitely have a story to work with. Take a break if you're feeling overwhelmed/dejected. Sometimes time can help you be more objective - we get so close to our stories it's hard to look at them with fresh eyes.

#14 NavyDave

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

I'm not an expert on querys so i will not comment as i'm still working on mine. However as an avid reader and Navy guy, i would be very interested in reading this book. As far as titles go, i've changed my title 3 times before i decided on one. Good Luck, i look forward to more.
dp

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#15 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:57 AM

Writing the novel was the easiest part, probably because it was a labor of love. Trying to gauge how much info to let loose in the query while trying to hold enough back to build suspense is the part I'm having an issue. I'm determined to get there. I just have to find the right voice and tone.

#16 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:31 AM

Alright, I'm back for round #3. Sorry about the delay since my last revisions, I've been dealing with stuff at home more important (I took the wife on vacation to Vegas and while I was there, work called me to tell me I was furloughed for 6-months...kind of made it hard to enjoy the rest of my time there).

Regardless, I'm here to post my re-worked query for my completed novel THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA, this is my third attempt. Like I said before, I believe in my story so no matter how many verbal bumps and bruises I get, I'm just going to make my changes and dust my feelings off and try again until I get it right.

I have absorbed everyone's comments from before and hope that this query is more direct and to the point. Yes, I'm still trying to get the novel's word count down, so the 114,000 count is current total, but not a final one.

Once again, I look forward to everyone's comments (both good and bad). I can't know what to fix if I don't know what's wrong.

Thank you again.



Dear Agent,

The United States most solemn of war graves is breached. The fight for an artifact from one of the most infamous days in history has three men on a deadly collision course from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Thomas Snow is skilled at identifying and collecting objects from the past, but the past is the one thing he prays to forget. Haunted by the kidnap and murder of his son and the grieving suicide of his wife years ago, he has finally allowed his frozen heart to melt. Snow is oblivious that his most recent acquision, a simple gold watch, hides a mystery dangerous enough that it might not only cost him his life, but also the life of his new love.

Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have penetrated the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and recovered a watch; its hands frozen at the infamous moment of the ship's destruction on December 7th, 1941. Destined to sell for a fortune on the antiquity black market, the brothers are unprepared when the watch is stolen from them and mailed to an unsuspecting Thomas Snow.

From the winding highways of Hawaii, to a thousand feet below the ocean surface, to the thick rain forest of New Guinea, the borther will go anywhere and stop at nothing, including torture and murder, to get the watch back.

At 114,000 words, THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is a completed work of commercial/suspense fiction.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

#17 MikeAlbaugh

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 05:29 AM

bump

#18 buttercup1387

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:39 PM

Alright, I'm back for round #3. Sorry about the delay since my last revisions, I've been dealing with stuff at home more important (I took the wife on vacation to Vegas and while I was there, work called me to tell me I was furloughed for 6-months...kind of made it hard to enjoy the rest of my time there).

Regardless, I'm here to post my re-worked query for my completed novel THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA, this is my third attempt. Like I said before, I believe in my story so no matter how many verbal bumps and bruises I get, I'm just going to make my changes and dust my feelings off and try again until I get it right.

I have absorbed everyone's comments from before and hope that this query is more direct and to the point. Yes, I'm still trying to get the novel's word count down, so the 114,000 count is current total, but not a final one.

Once again, I look forward to everyone's comments (both good and bad). I can't know what to fix if I don't know what's wrong.

Thank you again.



Dear Agent,

The United States most solemn of war graves is breached. The fight for an artifact from one of the most infamous days in history has three men on a deadly collision course from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Thomas Snow is skilled at identifying and collecting objects from the past, but the past is the one thing he prays to forget. Haunted by the kidnap (Should be kidnapping) and murder of his son and the grieving suicide of his wife years ago, he has finally allowed his frozen heart to melt. Snow is oblivious that his most recent acquision, a simple gold watch, hides a mystery dangerous enough that it might not only cost him his life, but also the life of his new love.

Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have penetrated the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and recovered a watch; its hands frozen at the infamous moment of the ship's destruction on December 7th, 1941. Destined to sell for a fortune on the antiquity black market, the brothers are unprepared when the watch is stolen from them and mailed to an unsuspecting Thomas Snow (This sentence may need some more condensing. Grammatically, there may need to be a semicolon to separate the thoughts.)

From the winding highways of Hawaii, to a thousand feet below the ocean surface, to the thick rain forest of New Guinea, the borther ( brothers)will go anywhere and stop at nothing, including torture and murder, to get the watch back. (Same thing here. Semi-colon inserted here to separate and condense the thoughts.)

At 114,000 words, THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA is a completed work of commercial/suspense fiction.

I thank you for your time and consideration.


Hello there! I really love the premise of your book and I am interested to read more. Good job on the hard work. Your tagline is a lot better! Queries are not the easiest thing in the world to master. I to am still working the ins and outs of my letter. I feel that you have come a long way with your work! I will check back again for any future revisions! Keep up the good work!!! :biggrin:
If you want to make God laugh, just tell him YOUR plans.

#19 Tom Bradley

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:30 PM

This isn't so much a crit of the query as it is of the premise -- which is to say, even though this sounds like a cool story and one I might in fact read (being a former Navy guy and a history nerd), I have to question the plausibility of your main plot.

For example, how do the brothers know about this watch? and why this particular timepiece? There must be all kinds of watches and similar loot entombed in the Arizona -- were they tipped off about its existence somehow? Who wore it on 12/7/41? An ancestor? Also, because Pearl Harbor is an active USN base and therefore is under exceedingly tight security, how do the brothers manage to get in the water in the first place without being detected? By regulation, only National Park Service personnel are permitted to dive on the wreck and even then, their primary job is to ensure the structural integrity of the hull. Also, because the ship is considered a war grave, no one is permitted to dive inside the wreck. It also would be quite dangerous; as well, visibility in the water around the ship is awful, as little as 10 to 15 feet.

Some interesting links:

http://www.scottfreu...atergallery.htm
http://www.pastfound...m#CanAnyoneDive

#20 S Jenan

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:30 PM

Dear Agent,

The United States most solemn of war graves is breached. The fight for an artifact from one of the most infamous days in history has three men on a deadly collision course from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Thomas Snow is skilled at identifying and collecting objects from the past (is this his occupation?, his hobby?, knowing this will help me form a picture of Thomas, and why he is to receive the watch) but the past is the one thing he prays to forget (I hope it's his job, because a man who wants to forget the past but whose expertise forces him to be immersed in it is interesting and full of drama) Haunted by the kidnap and murder of his son and the grieving suicide of his wife years ago, he has finally allowed his frozen heart to melt. (this isn't the psychological time/place I'm looking to meet your MC--in the midst of his healing process. I want him good and screwed up, so that the events force him to melt. If you must present his 'new love', show the relationship as flawed and full of conflict {guilt, hesitance, whatever}, instead of impending resolution.) Snow is oblivious that his most recent acquision (sp), a simple gold watch, hides a mystery dangerous enough that (instead of 'hides...that' just tell me what it is {which is how you bring in the crossed out stuff from above, or maybe the brothers from below}). it might not only cost him his life, but also the life of his new love.

Brothers Erik and Markus Beckett have penetrated the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and recovered a watch; its hands frozen at the infamous moment of the ship's destruction on December 7th, 1941. Destined to sell for a fortune on the antiquity black market, the brothers are unprepared when the watch is stolen from them and mailed to an unsuspecting Thomas Snow. (The mechanics of all this aren't nearly as compelling as Thomas's story. All I really need to know is: 1) why did Thomas in particular get sent the watch? 2) who sent it? and, finally 3) 'the bad guys who originally stole it want it back')

From the winding highways of Hawaii, to a thousand feet below the ocean surface, to the thick rain forest of New Guinea, the borther (sp) will go anywhere and stop at nothing, including torture and murder, to get the watch back. (This is too broad to get me excited. In the book, it's probably just what I want to read; in the query... meh. I want you to tell me specifically what Thomas will risk, what he might lose, and more importantly what does he hope to gain? That's what will transform him from a damsel in distress, which doesn't interest me at all, into a dynamic proactive character, which does. What does he want?)

At 114,000 words, THEFT FROM THE ARIZONA (is there a play on the word 'watch' you could incorporate into the title? Since there is always someone standing fire watch on a ship, and the Arizona memorial stands perpetual watch over the wreckage, and your story is about a watch, and maybe your MC is in a way standing watch, an honor guard over the memory of his lost family, it seems like a natural fit... FIRE WATCH; STANDING WATCH; SILENT WATCH; COMPLICATION; idk, just some ideas) is a completed work of commercial/suspense fiction.

I thank you for your time and consideration.


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