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Ravenwood; Commercial FictionDon't be gentle! See post #10


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#1 Coauthors

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:42 PM

New version in post #10! :)

Looking for any and all feedback. Thanks!

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

Their crimes don’t matter to her. Amelia isn’t afraid of having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t even care what they will force her to do for her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore.

Then she finds out how wrong she is.

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader.

She realizes she can’t run, and it’s not enough to just clear her name. She needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking. The only way to do it is with the help of two people: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world.

Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD is the story of a damaged young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, to learn to trust again.

Best regards,
[Name]


#2 ColoRODo Character

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:04 PM

Amelia Rowe is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

Their crimes don’t matter to her. Amelia isn’t afraid of having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t even care what they will force her to do for her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore. I think you should state Amelia's state of mind first: " Amelia isn't afraid of having..." and "She doesn't care what their crimes are or what they will force her to do for initiation.

Then she finds out how wrong she is.

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader. Then I'd do: "The police don't think she's just a gang member, they think she's their leader." Maybe 'head honcho'...??? Could their be another word for "leader"...???


She realizes she can’t run, and it’s not enough to just clear her name. She needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking. The only way to do it is with the help of two people: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world. Here's another way I'd do this line: "She realizes she can’t run, she needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking and clear her name.. The only way to do it is with the help of two people: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world. I kinda figure clearing her name would be her top priority, second only to exposing the bad guys...



Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD is the story of a damaged young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, to learn to trust again.

Hope this helps...and remember, this is just my simple opinion...

R-

My query- Arsenal Code R.E.D. needs a couple more eyeballs on it and suggestions...if you've got a minnit...!!!

#3 Diana O.

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:07 PM

I like this. Here are a few comments/suggestions.

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

Their crimes don’t matter to her. Amelia isn’t afraid of having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t even care what they will force her to do for her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore.

Then she finds out how wrong she is.

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader. (Why? I'd explain briefly why they think this)

She realizes she can’t run, and it’s not enough to just clear her name. She needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking. The only way to do it is with the help of two people: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world. (seems like she wouldn't be too keen on her brother, so this other man must have done something really bad--I'd identify him a little, either by saying something about what he did, or identifying who he is)

Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD is the story of a damaged young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, to learn to trust again (Here you just want to say what genre it fits under--we need to have hopefully gotten this overarching theme from the query. This is telling, not showing, which you've done a pretty good job of in the query already).

Best regards,
[Name]


Hope this helps!
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#4 RuffCrowd

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:16 PM

Looking for any and all feedback. Thanks!

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

Their crimes don’t matter to her. Amelia isn’t afraid of having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t even care what they will force her to do for her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore. I need more here. There are tons of alternatives to joining a dangerous gang if you're alone. What's enticing about the gang, specifically?

Then she finds out how wrong she is.

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. You just said their crimes don't matter to her? She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader.

She realizes she can’t run, and it’s not enough to just clear her name. She needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking - before she winds up in jail, or even dead. Mention the stakes. The only way to do it is with the help of two people: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world. How do these two guys fit in? What's special about them that wil help her catch the villains?

Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD is a (genre), complete at 105,000 words. is the story of a damaged young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, to learn to trust again. <-Show this, dont tell it.

Best regards,
[Name]


Sounds like exciting stuff! Good luck with it.
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#5 Christina B.

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:29 PM

I am still a newbie and learning about queries but I think that this sounds like a really interesting story. Best of luck!

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#6 The Storyteller

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:02 PM

Looking for any and all feedback. Thanks!

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

Their crimes don’t matter to her. Amelia isn’t afraid of having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t even care what they will force her to do for her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore. Perhaps just taking the crossthrough words out? "All that matters is she won't be alone anymore."

Then she finds out how wrong she is. I'm a little bit confused. I mean I get the idea, but I don't think this sentence makes sense in relation to what comes before it. State it a different way maybe?

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader.

She realizes she can’t just run away, and it’s not enough to just simply clear her name. She needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking. The only way to do it accomplish this is with the help of the two people she hates more than anybody: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man who (insert a hint of what he did to make her hate him, for example "and the man who killed her dog") she hates most in the entire world.

Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD is the story of a damaged young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, to learn to trust again.

Best regards, Thank you for your time and consideration. The full manuscript is available per request.
[Name]


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#7 nicki

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:21 PM

First of all, I would definitely read this book. I am interested in human trafficking and this is a really interesting concept to explore. I think that will be a differentiator for you. Hope this help!

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

Their crimes don’t matter to her. She doesn’t care about their crimes. She doesn’t care about having gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t even care what they will force her to do for her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore. (SEE HOW THE ALLITERATIVE NATURE OF THE “SHE DOESN’T CARE” PHRASE ADDS RESONANCE? AGENTS LOOK FOR THAT TYPE OF WRITING IN QUERIES, AS IT INDICATES THAT THE STORY FLOWS IN THE SAME MANNER)

Then she finds out how wrong she is.

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. (IS IT JUST KIDS OR ADULTS? YOU NEED TO MAKE THAT CLEAR IN THIS SENTENCE) She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member; they think she's their leader. (MIGHT WANT TO PUT IN A LINE ABOUT JUST WHY THEY THINK THIS)

She realizes she can’t run, and it’s not enough to just clear her name. She needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking. The only way to do it is with the help of two people But in order to bring the trafficking ring down, she needs the help of two men she hates most: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world. (IN ORDER TO DESCRIBE HIM, I SUGGEST PUTTING IN A LINE ABOUT WHY SHE HATES HIM. FOR INSTANCE, DID HE RAPE HER OR HURT HER IN SOME OTHER HORRIBLE WAY?)

Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD is complete at 105,000 words. I would be happy to send additional material at your request. the story of a damaged young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, to learn to trust again. (A LITTLE ON THE GIMMICKY SIDE, AND IT DETRACTS FROM SUCH A STRONG NARRATIVE)

Best regards,
[Name]

#8 stokes

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:27 PM

Great concept. Really interesting. See below for some thoughts.


Amelia Rowe is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York. I think this might be more powerful if you told it in past tense - Amelia Rowe joined the most dangerous street racing gang in New York. It makes it sound more action-filled, instead of "is about to join" which makes it sound more like back story.

Their crimes don’t matter to her. Amelia isn’t afraid of having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t even care what they will force her to do for her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore.
I like the image of her getting the face tattoo - it feels very extreme, and helps demonstrate just how far she will go to avoid loneliness.

Then she finds out how wrong she is. I'd reco saying: Then she learns how wrong she is. Reads a little tighter than "finds out"

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader. Interesting.

She realizes she can’t run (why?), and it’s not enough to just clear her name. (why?) She needs to catch the people responsible and stop the trafficking. The only way to do it is with the help of two people: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world. Why does she hate him? I'm torn here, because I want to know how her brother betrayed her and who the man is she hates most in the world (and why). I think this is a great place you can expand, but it also peaks my interest enough to make me think that leaving it out could work to your advantage. The one thing I would recommend elaborating on is why it is that these are the only two people that can help her. I think it probably links to why it is she can't run, but I need more information to get a clearer picture of what her challenges are.

You have quite a few "she discovers", "She finds out", "She realizes" at the start of your paragraphs. I'd consider jumping right into the action.

Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD is the story of a damaged young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, to learn to trust again. I'm not sure that I got this from your query. I feel like you gave me a good sense of her battle with the gang, but not her internal struggle or what it is that makes her damaged. Since you mention this in your closing, I think you should give us more information about it in your query.

Overall, great concept. Hope my comments help, and best of luck with the query!


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#9 Jessie Lee

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:35 PM

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe (how old is she?) is about to join the most dangerous street racing gang in New York. Amelia Rowe has just become the newest member of the ______ (Ravenwood?) Gang. (I personally like to know the name of the gang. If they have a threatening name, then the agent will be hooked as well.)

Amelai doesn't care about the gang's crime history. She doesn't care that she now bears their symbol, a ______(what is it???) tattooed on her face. She doesn't even care what she must do during her initiation. All that matters is that joining the gang means she won’t be alone anymore.

Then she finds out how wrong she is.

Amelia discovers that the gang is trafficking human beings, and selling children to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but is horrified to discover that there are warrants for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader. Leader, boss, organizer, chief. Play around with these words. And what does the real leader of the gang think of all this?

She can’t run. It’s not enough to clear her name (of any particular crime? What has she done in her initiation that already warrants her arrest?). She needs to catch the people responsible and end the trafficking. The only way to do it is with the help of two people: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and the man she hates most in the entire world.

Complete at 105,000 words, RAVENWOOD (what is Ravenwood? Place? Person? Gang title?) is the story of a damaged (how is she damaged? What about Amelia separates her from other lonely young women?) young woman’s struggle to do the right thing, to escape the darkness that threatens to swallow her, and most of all, learn to trust again. (Before, she was alone. Now she has trust issues. I think it would be veru imperative that we know why she was alone and mistrusting from the start. The agent doesn't want to play a guessing game, she wants to know if she should be requesting a partial or full from you. Of course you'll need a synopisis to detail the entire story, but this query is your introduction to your story, your characters. We want to know why this group of characters is important. I do love that you are using human trafficking as the main conflict, becuase it's a scary subject that needs to be addressed more.

Sincerely,

Your Name Here

I want to read this. For real. I think you have an important story here, you just need to work out the kinks. Good luck!!

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#10 Coauthors

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:03 AM

We thank you all so much for your help. It's very kind of you all! Here is the new draft. Still not sure if/how to get the age in there. Thanks again for any and all advice or comments!

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe just joined the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

She doesn’t care about having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t care about their crimes. She doesn’t even care what she’s being forced to do for her initiation. All that matters is she won’t be alone anymore.

Then she learns the depths of the gang’s depravity.

The gang is trafficking children, selling them to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but there are warrants for her arrest. She’s been framed. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their boss.

She could easily flee the city. Running away is what she’s always done. But the injustice of it is too much. For the first time in her life, Amelia decides to hold her ground. She goes into hiding at the Ravenwood hotel, knowing she can’t stop the trafficking alone.

Amelia turns to the only two people who believe in her innocence: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and his former partner in crime, the man she hates most in the world.

But her newfound allies have troubling secrets of their own.

RAVENWOOD is a commercial fiction novel, complete at 105,000 words. I would be happy to send additional material at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
[Name]

#11 Diana O.

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:44 AM

Definitely improved over the first query. Here are some further thoughts..

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe just joined the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

She doesn’t care about having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t care about their crimes. She doesn’t even care what she’s being forced to do for her initiation. All that matters is she won’t be alone anymore. (This reads much better now)

But then she learns the depths of the gang’s depravity.

The gang is trafficking children, selling them to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but there are warrants for her arrest. She’s been framed. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their boss. (I might reword this a little, something like "She flees her initiation but she's too late. She's been framed and there are warrants out for her arrest. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their leader.")

She could easily flee the city. Running away is what she’s always done. But the injustice of it is too much. (Describe what "it" is--it could either be the injustice of her being framed, or it could be the injustice of what the gang is doing. I'm sure it is the latter, but you want to make sure you are clear here. Maybe something like "But the injustice of the gang's activity is too much, and for the first time in her life, Amelia decides to hold her ground.") For the first time in her life, Amelia decides to hold her ground. She goes into hiding at the Ravenwood hotel, knowing she can’t stop the trafficking alone.

Amelia turns to the only two people who believe in her innocence: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and his former partner in crime, the man she hates most in the world.

But her newfound allies have troubling secrets of their own. (I don't know if I'd end with this, because it takes the focus away from Amelia, who has been the main character throughout. How do their troubling secrets affect her? If you can add that in to this, I think it will make the sentence and ending stronger)

RAVENWOOD is a commercial fiction novel, complete at 105,000 words. I would be happy to send additional material at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
[Name]


Hope some of my suggestions help!
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#12 Jessie Lee

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:57 PM

Amelia Rowe has just joined the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

She doesn’t care about having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face (what is the tattoo? This would create an intriguing image for the agent). She doesn’t care about their crimes. She doesn’t even care what she’s being forced to do for her initiation. All that matters is that she will never be alone again. Life suddenly seems so inviting and worth living, until she learns the depths of the gang’s depravity. (I think you should play up the relief Amelia feels now that she has soemthing to belong to and people to feel close to. That way, when you deliver the blow of trafficking, the agent feels just as betrayed as Amelia.

The gang is trafficking children, selling them to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but there are warrants for her arrest. She’s been framed (for what? What terrible, horrendous, awful thing has she been framed for? Kidnapping? Murder? Stealing?). The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their boss.

Fleeing the city is easy enough—Amelia has run away from her problems before. But the injustice of it what she’s been accused of, the horror of her new family’s trafficking habits is too much to simply walk away. For the first time in her life, Amelia decides to hold her ground. She finds refuge at the Ravenwood hotel, more than aware she can’t stop the trafficking herself.


As the battle to end the horror begins, Amelia turns to the only two people who believe in her innocence: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and his former partner in crime, the man she hates most in the world. But her newfound allies have troubling secrets of their own. Are these secrets going to give her away? Will they topple the city and the trafficking?

RAVENWOOD is a commercial fiction novel, complete at 105,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


So now I want to know what the gang's trafficking has to do with their street racing. What is the name of the gang? And how does Amelia, barely into her initiation, manage to be framed as the gang's leader? Was her acceptance into the gang a part of their own plan? I feel this would make the query more interesting if we knew what was what.

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#13 Grace Campbell

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 07:17 PM

We thank you all so much for your help. It's very kind of you all! Here is the new draft. Still not sure if/how to get the age in there. Thanks again for any and all advice or comments!

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe has just joined the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

She doesn’t care about having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t care about their crimes. She doesn’t even care what she’s being forced to do for her initiation. All that matters is she won’t be alone anymore. I like this sentence. It's catchy and we know what Amelia wants.

Then she learns the depths of the gang’s depravity. Here's where I have a problem. She knows this gang's bad, but not how bad. maybe--Then she discovers the gang is trafficking children, selling them to the highest bidder.

The gang is trafficking children, selling them to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but there are warrants for her arrest. She’s been framed. For?The police don't think she's a gang member, but the leader. They think she's their boss.

She could easily flee the city. Running away is what she’s always done. But the injustice of what the gang is doing stops her, and Amelia decides to hold her ground. it is too much. For the first time in her life, Amelia decides to hold her ground. She goes into hiding at the Ravenwood hotel, knowing she can’t stop the trafficking alone. Why the Ravenwood hotel?

Amelia turns to the only two people who believe in her innocence: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and his former partner in crime, the man she hates most in the world. Not sure I understand this sentence. If her brother betrayed her, why does he believe in her innocence. From the context, I think they haven't seen each other in ten years. And how does this former partner in crime fit into all of this?

But her newfound allies have troubling secrets of their own. I don't think you need this. Try and focus on Amelia. This sentence just complicates things.

RAVENWOOD is a commercial fiction novel, complete at 105,000 words. I would be happy to send additional material at your request. OMG! DO NOT SAY FICTION NOVEL. It is redundant and will give you instant rejection. How do I know this? A literary agent said so in her blog. Please, for your own sake, don't say that!

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
[Name]


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#14 mcorse01

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 01:10 PM

Dear [Agent],

Amelia Rowe just joined the most dangerous street racing gang in New York.

She doesn’t care about having the gang’s symbol tattooed on her face. She doesn’t care about their crimes. She doesn’t even care what she’s being forced to do for her initiation. All that matters is she won’t be alone anymore.

Then she learns the depths of the gang’s depravity. I think it would be better just to begin illustrating how depraved the gang is, as you do in the next sentence.

The gang is trafficking children, selling them to the highest bidder. She flees her initiation but there are warrants for her arrest. She’s been framed. The police don't think she's a gang member. They think she's their boss. This section is a bit choppy, and for this reason I think it makes it hard to see what's happening here. I would recommend using less words to get this plot point across.

She could easily flee the city. Running away is what she’s always done. But the injustice of it is too much. For the first time in her life, Amelia decides to hold her ground. She goes into hiding at the Ravenwood hotel, knowing she can’t stop the trafficking alone. Is the Ravenwood Hotel an important place in the novel? Otherwise, it might be a detail that confuses rather than explains.

Amelia turns to the only two people who believe in her innocence: the brother who betrayed and abandoned her ten years ago, and his former partner in crime, the man she hates most in the world. I would probably end this here; the next sentence suddenly opens up another angle that you don't want to go into in a short query letter.

But her newfound allies have troubling secrets of their own.

RAVENWOOD is a commercial fiction novel, complete at 105,000 words. I would be happy to send additional material at your request. I would recommend putting in something about why you've chosen to contact the agent with your work.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
[Name]


Good luck!




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