Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

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Preacher
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Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Preacher » August 19th, 2010, 10:52 am

I've tried, and tried, and tried. I am going to post this to see what comes back.

Dear Agent:

Detective Ethan Moon is hunting a killer he knows, and loves, and misses. Someone he also thought was dead -his brother; the subject of an experimental therapy that uses his hate for his family to mold him into a killer at the beck and call of a corrupt Senator.

Moon's strong sense of duty and justice clashes with his family when he draws his brother into a potentially deadly confrontation. His duty is to catch the killer, which would destroy any chance at putting a broken family back together. His need for reconciliation is stronger, and will let a killer go free.

I think this has some of the necessary elements; i am not sure if it has all the necessary ones. I am curious to see what you guys think.

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Multimedia » August 19th, 2010, 3:27 pm

A few thoughts / questions:

-The first sentence confused me a bit, as I inferred from the connotation--that the killer was a lover, not as it turns out, a brother.

-There are a lot of corrupt senators. Why does this senator have to train people to kill on his behalf? Is this important to know?

-'broken family'--I'm confused by this phrasing, as it seems to imply there's a much larger struggle of kin than between just the detective and the killer / brother. Is there?

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by elfspirit » August 19th, 2010, 5:16 pm

I think this query needs more information, and I agree with the previous comment that the information given is confusing. It might help to add some perspective. What is the corrupt Senator trying to accomplish? Is a national issue at stake?

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by J. T. SHEA » August 19th, 2010, 5:38 pm

Sounds a bit like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, Preacher, which is not necessarily a problem. Unlike Multimedia and Elfspirit, I did not find your query confusing, but, like them, I would like a little more information.

'His need for reconciliation is stronger, and will let a killer go free.' That suggests a fait accompli, a foregone conclusion, rather than a choice.

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by D.S. Deshaw » August 19th, 2010, 10:38 pm

Hi!

I have just one simple suggestion: start with the event that launches your plot. How did he come to hunt his brother? What did his brother do? Why is their family broken? Why doesn't his family want their murdering son in jail?

Definitely put in more information, but don't tell us everything. We don't need every gritty detail, but we need enough to be interested :)
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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by RebeccaB » August 20th, 2010, 1:28 am

Firstly, This is too short!

Detective Ethan Moon is hunting a killer he knows, and loves, and misses. Too many this and this and this. Possibly; Detective Ethan Moon is hunting a killer. But this killer is no stranger, it is his brother. Someone he also thought was dead -his brother; the subject of an experimental therapy Name of brother, has his hate for his family used to mould him into the perfect weapon, a weapon that is now being weilded by a corrupt Senator. Not perfect, but you get the idea. that uses his hate for his family to mold him into a killer at the beck and call of a corrupt Senator.

Moon's Would prefer the use of his first name here. I understand alot of detectives go by their last name but i think for the query you should keep it as his first name. strong sense of duty and justice clashes with his family when he draws his brother into a potentially deadly confrontation. This does not really make sense. Is it his duty and justice that clashes with his family or the confrontation he gets him into? Also wouldnt his duty to justice clash with his duty to his family. His duty is to catch the killer, which would destroy any chance at putting a broken family back together. His need for reconciliation is stronger, and will let a killer go free. You don't say why his family is broken or how it could be put back togeather, if his brother is a killer he will go to jail or be on the run, so there seems to be no way for this family to reconcile. Think your main plot through a bit more before you start again.

I hope this helps.

Happy Inking
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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Preacher » August 20th, 2010, 1:48 pm

Thank you guys, for all your help. This process is really kicking my butt inside out. I think i am going to try and scale back, start from the beginning. I need to take my story and boil it down to those elements that are essential, the mai thing that DIE AGAIN is about.

So, with that in mind, i am going to just say what this darn story is about and see what you guys think.

Its's simple, an Assistant D.A. is murdered and Detectice Ethan Moon investigates, hunts the killer. He followed leads, talks to witnesses, and goes where the case takes him. At an upscale treatment facility, Ethan finds a videotape that shows his brother is alive, and the serial killer he's hunting. His brother is the victim of an experimental therapy that used his hate for his family to mold him into a weapon. See, the hate comes from the fact the brother was adopted and the father treated the new child like garbage, causing him to hate the father and the brother (Ethan) who got all the attention.

Now, it's not just a normal case, not cut and dry. Ethan loves his brother (jake), even if Jake still resents him. Moon has to choose between duty and family. If duty, Jake goes to jail and their is no chance at reconciliation. If he chooses family, a killer goes free and the brothers can reconcile. Ethan chooses family.

That is really what the story is about. It's a choice between duty and family. The love of a family member is powerful enough to upheave any normal, rational impulses, even if it means a killer goes free.

I think the idea is good, many others have agreed, but what elements can i focus on in here to get a query together?

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by sammyig » August 20th, 2010, 1:58 pm

I find myself wanting to know more about your plot here. It feels like I know more about your characters than your plot. I would try expanding each paragraph into three sentences at least and see what you come up with from there. This just feels too short to me

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Joel Q » August 20th, 2010, 2:10 pm

Preacher wrote: Its's simple, an Assistant D.A. is murdered and Detectice Ethan Moon investigates, hunts the killer. He followed leads, talks to witnesses, and goes where the case takes him. At an upscale treatment facility, Ethan finds a videotape that shows his brother is alive, and the serial killer he's hunting. His brother is the victim of an experimental therapy that used his hate for his family to mold him into a weapon. See, the hate comes from the fact the brother was adopted and the father treated the new child like garbage, causing him to hate the father and the brother (Ethan) who got all the attention.
?
Detectice Ethan Moon investigates the murder of assist DA. He followed leads to an upscale treatment facility and finds a videotape that shows his brother is alive, and the serial killer he's hunting.

A victim of an experimental therapy (the "hate" part needs to be left out, too much to explain.) Jake is totally crazy and listens to frogs or something.
Preacher wrote: Now, it's not just a normal case, not cut and dry. Ethan loves his brother (jake), even if Jake still resents him. Moon has to choose between duty and family. If duty, Jake goes to jail and their is no chance at reconciliation. If he chooses family, a killer goes free and the brothers can reconcile. Ethan chooses family. ?
Now, it's not just a normal case, not cut and dry to Ethan. He loves his adopted brother. Moon has to choose between duty and family. (This is what were missing, why does he have to make that choice? Right now we doen't care. Give us a reason to care.)
Preacher wrote: That is really what the story is about. It's a choice between duty and family. The love of a family member is powerful enough to upheave any normal, rational impulses, even if it means a killer goes free.
But won't Moon think getting his brother help would be the best thing for him? So, letting him go free, I don't get. Agian, you have to give the reader something to make him/her understand and accept Moon's reasonings for his choices.

Do we need to know anything about the people who did the treatment, a mad doctor, or something? Is Moon going after them?

Is the dark moment, just will Moon shot Jake or not? Give us more.


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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Preacher » August 20th, 2010, 2:29 pm

I see what you are saying, JQ. I think the family pull should be strong enough. But, what happens, is that Ethan and Jake have a confrontation and Ethan almost dies. During that burtal fight, Ethan sees glimpses of the real, tame Jake, and cuts through the anger. Jake reveals that he has a son, who is being held captive by the mastermind as a means to keep him under control and doing what he is told. Ethan agrees to help his brother rescue his son and Jake agrees to turn himself in when the mission is accomplished. So, Ethan helps his brother because he learns about family, a nephew, that he never even knew about.

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Joel Q » August 20th, 2010, 2:51 pm

How about something along these lines...
(I'm sorry I'm kind of rewriting you stuff, that really bugs me when people do it to me, but I don't how else to help with this one..)

Detectice Ethan Moon investigates the murder of assist DA. He followed leads to an upscale treatment facility and finds a videotape that shows his brother is alive, and the serial killer he's hunting.

Moon corners Jake, almost killing him. Moon discovers, he is a victim of an experimental therapy and is under the control of Mr X, killing for the him. B/c Mr. X has Jake's son.

BUT... here's the plot question time... does moon trust jake, is moon worried he might have to shoot Jake later,
Moon must decide if family is more important to duty, etc...

Does that help? We have the basic story, now we need the question in Moon's head of what is he going to do about it.

JQ

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Preacher » August 21st, 2010, 11:47 pm

ok, here's a new shot

well, do not ever worry about the re-writing thing. I, for one, need all the help i can get. And with that in mind, let's see if i can get this closer. I am not even sure if this is q query yet, but i am trying to narrow this damn thing down and see what i get out of it. and if you follow the interesting formula set forth, it might work. So, here goes.

i think i am going to try this, and then see how it works and what i can add from there.

Detective Ethan Moon doesn't know the killer he's hunting is his brother, who is supposed to be dead.

When an Assistant D.A. is murdered, Ethan expected a normal case, gather evidence, talk to witnesses, follow leads and catch the killer; until a videotape found at a treatment center shows his brother is alive, and the killer he's hunting. A radical therapy program has turned Ethan's brother into a weapon, wielded by a corrupt Senator at the head of a human trafficking ring.

Ethan forces a deadly confrontation with his brother, leaving him to choose between his duty and his family. The Senator has leverage on Ethan's brother: his son is being held prisoner, and if he gets caught or doesn't do what he's told, his son dies. Ethan chooses family and helps his brother on a mission to rescue the nephew he never knew he had.Preacher

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by clara_w » August 22nd, 2010, 5:27 am

Oh HAIL YEAH! This query you´ve just posted on comments (I think its right above my comment) KICKS LE ASS my friend. Seriously! Its way clearer and it pulled me right in, I really liked it!

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Preacher » August 22nd, 2010, 12:29 pm

i have to say thank you, a great deal. You know, it is funny because i have posted this version in a few places and it got torn to shreds in those other places, mostly for clarity issues and saying that the build -up needs to be steady and i cant just drop this treatment center without describing it and yadda, yadda, yadda. I need to introduce the video then the project in steps, but the problem is the tape is found at the treatment center which is why i did it that way in the query. It gets so confusing, which advice do you take, which do you set aside. How do you know when it is ready? I know not everyone will be pleased as taste is different everywhere, but , really, how do you decide or know when the letter is ready for the world

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Re: Query attempt for DIE AGAIN.

Post by Quill » August 22nd, 2010, 1:43 pm

Preacher wrote:ok, here's a new shot
Detective Ethan Moon doesn't know the killer he's hunting is his brother, who is supposed to be dead.
Good.
When an Assistant D.A. is murdered, Ethan expected a normal case, gather evidence, talk to witnesses, follow leads and catch the killer
Punctuation: colon instead of comma after "case".

Question: is catching the killer "normal"? What percentage of murders each year get solved? It sounds a bit pat, like this is what usually happens, no problem, it's almost routine.
; until a videotape found at a treatment center shows his brother is alive, and the killer he's hunting.
Omit semi-colon. Begin new sentence. Otherwise you are tacking plotline onto a list.

Find another way of describing the revelation about his brother, one that doesn't re-use so soon the words "killer" and "hunting". Also maybe substitute the brother's name for "brother" to avoid using that word again so soon.
A radical therapy program has turned Ethan's brother into a weapon, wielded by a corrupt Senator at the head of a human trafficking ring.
Avoid using the word "brother" a third time in three sentences, maybe by switching again to the brother's name.

"Senator at the head of" is awkward wording.
Ethan forces a deadly confrontation with his brother,
Why? Couldn't he force an arrest instead, since you imply he has a choice about it.

The word "brother" is definitely being overused in this query. Six times including below in a very short blurb.
leaving him to choose between his duty and his family.
Unclear. Leaving whom? Ethan, or the brother? Logically Ethan, but why leave us to puzzle it out?
The Senator has leverage on Ethan's brother:
Awkward wording, "has leverage".

Omit colon, substitute semi-colon or begin new sentence.

Not sure senator needs to be capitalized?
his son is being held prisoner,
Whose son? The senator's or the brother's?
and if he gets caught or doesn't do what he's told, his son dies.
Oh, the brother's?

Seems a little arbitrary. I can see this grief being visited on him if he doesn't do as ordered, but if he gets arrested? Could happen to anyone.
Ethan chooses family and helps his brother on a mission to rescue the nephew he never knew he had.
This is probably too much info, in that it doesn't put us on the edge of our seats, crying for more. Save it for the synopsis and leave us instead in suspense. Not sure we need this nephew introduced at the end like this. As written, sounds like another book.

And what happened to the "deadly confrontation"? I thought "deadly" meant that one of them dies!

How many words is this, and what genre?

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