Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Query Letter Part 2...


After listening to your advice, I decided to give it another try. I know many of you said you liked the first query letter I drafted. However, a few made suggestions that I thought were very good. In view of the suggestions made, I put together this new query. Please go over it and see if there is anything I've missed. I want to know which you think is better the first one or this new draft. The details I mentioned in the previous query will be in the synopsis which I will share once I nail down the query. So here goes:

Tilva is now alone. His father has been bombed in his jet. His youngest brother shot to death in a hotel room with his wife. And Sanaido, the second brother, escapes in a ship. They later found the ship with his brother's wife and children hacked with a sword, bludgeoned to death, and Sanaido shot.

Tilva is next and he knows it. He must disclose the murderer to prevent being killed. Suspicion has ensnared his advisors into believing Tilva killed his own family to become the sole ruler of the planet. The woman he loves warned him of the attack, but he questions how she knew. Being the secretary of state makes her next in line to seize power.

Tilva now faces a brutal world war. If he doesn't learn to trust someone, his fears and insecurities will be the cause of his own demise. In a final quest of trust, he may end this trauma, solidify his love, and reunite his planet - or betrayed by the one person he never dreamed possible step right into his killer's trap.

Please, leave me your comments telling me which you think is better and why.

And remember… Always stay in your write mind.

7 comments:

  1. Okay, last time, I was one of the early commenters, and I responded simply that I liked your query. I didn't feel that it was my place to take over and offer a detailed re-write, haha. However, since several subsequent commenters did just that and you didn't take offense, I'll give a little more feedback this time. However, I still won't "tell" you how to write your query. I'll handle it more like I would if I were the editor entrusted with helping you whip it into shape for eventual use as a blurb for your dust jacket, or the back cover of the paperback edition.

    Paragraph one: I'd suggest changing "His youngest brother shot to death in a hotel room with his wife." to "His youngest brother has been shot to death in a hotel room with his wife." to avoid a sentence fragment.

    I'd also suggest changing "They later found the ship" to "They later find the ship" to avoid a conflict of tenses with the rest of the query.

    Paragraph two: Perhaps a different verb than "disclose" would be preferable? True, it can mean "uncover," but most readers would probably infer that Tilva already knows who the killer(s) is or are -- does he? -- and needs merely to tell those who are pursuing him.

    I'd probably simplify "Suspicion has ensnared his advisors into believing Tilva killed his own family" into something like "Tilva's advisors suspect [or believe] that he killed his own family" perhaps?

    I'd give the name of "the woman he loves," since you gave us all the names of his family members earlier, and she's obviously a major character here. I might also change "Being the secretary of state" to "Plus, being the secretary of state" to drive home that her actions and motives may be suspect.

    Paragraph three needs some work. It's not clear whether Tilva needs to find someone on whom he can rely, or if he merely needs to find out whether his lover herself is trustworthy. (Or both.)

    Hope I haven't stepped on your literary toes, as it were, haha.

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  2. @Silver Fox: Awesome critique. I made all those changes as they were very good. Now on the 3rd paragraph, I see what you mean. Where it begins with, "In a final quest..." Tell me how this sounds;

    He makes one final quest to end this trauma, solidify his love, and reunite his planet. However, will this attempt achieve his goal, or betrayed by the one person he never dreamed possible step right into his killer's trap.

    If you think the beginning of the paragraph also needs change, let me know.

    Thanks again. Oh and being a writer, you have to learn to take the well meaning critique of other writers. I learn and grow from it.

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  3. Hm. The wording of the second sentence makes it sound like "attempt" is the subject, "However, will this attempt.... step right into his killer's trap." Also, the person or people attempting to murder Tilva haven't succeeded (well, not yet, haha), so maybe something like "Will Tilva achieve his goal, or, betrayed by the one person he never dreamed possible, step right into his ["pursuer's," "enemy's," etc.] trap?"

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  4. Tilva is now alone. His father has been bombed in his jet. His youngest brother shot to death in a hotel room with his wife. And Sanaido, the second brother, escapes in a ship. [They later found the ship with his brother's wife and children hacked with a sword, bludgeoned to death, and Sanaido shot.] **I like the style, but I think it’s too many names and details without context to really hook (you want to be vareful about too many names in a query). Perhaps cut the bracketed part and tie it all together as to why this matters to Tilva? Maybe something about how someone is making a play for the throne? That might transition nicely into the next para. **

    Tilva is next and he knows it. **I really like this line. [He must disclose the murderer to prevent being killed.] **This feels a bit flat, but maybe if you elaborated here about who he is and why feels he’s next it might flow nicely.** Suspicion has ensnared his advisors into believing Tilva killed his own family to become the sole ruler of the planet. The woman he loves warned him of the attack, but he questions how she knew. Being the secretary of state makes her next in line to seize power.

    Tilva now faces a brutal world war. If he doesn't [learn to trust] **Is it learning to trust or finding someone he CAN trust?** someone, his fears and insecurities will be the cause of his own demise. [In a final quest of trust he may end this trauma, solidify his love, and reunite his planet - or betrayed by the one person he never dreamed possible step right into his killer's trap.]**awkward sentence. Perhaps state more clearly what it is he needs to do or has to overcome? I know his family was killed and he’s probably next, and that there’s a war, but I really don’t have a clear sense of what the book is about yet. It’s better, and closer, but still a little ambiguous. **

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  6. A clinical review from a total stranger. Please take it any way you like I mean no disrespect.

    You have no hook. I read beyond the first paragraph because you asked someone to. Not because it seemed interesting to me.
    You seem to be confused between a query and a synopsis. I can understand that; I hate them both equally. I have a great story that I am proud of yet can't make it pop in three paragraphs.
    All three of your paragraphs start with "Talva" and all of them are telling me things that happened. You aren't showing me. It seems cold. He is alone, everyone in his family is gone yet there is no emotion attached to it. Does he even care? Your query seems to be dragging me on a trip of viewpoints. This happened. Then this. So on and so forth. I won't rewrite it for you with minor tips here and there it is your work and you need to find the happy medium. If it were my work the first bit might sound like this.

    "Tilva didn’t think it could happen but he is now alone. All of his family were taken from him in violence, from a bomb in a plane to a single bullet. Even his youngest brother who thought to avoid their fate was found bludgeoned to death."

    If it is any help to you I am on my 20th rewrite of my own query and I still don't think it is as good as it could be.
    Sorry if I seem harsh but if someone had been that way to me when I started out it might have saved me a ton of rewrites.

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  7. @Janice: Once again you've been a great help. I see exactly what you mean. I will look to make those corrections.

    @Jamie: Welcome, and thank you. Your suggestions seem to flow right along with Janice. There's no emotion to catch the attention. This is exactly what I need real honest critique. I don't have a chip on my shoulder and so I take these with gratitude, not remorse. Thank you!

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