Third Query try for Devin Briar

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hulbertsfriend
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Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by hulbertsfriend » August 20th, 2010, 8:28 pm

Dear Agent,

He was chosen, for a reason that he can’t fathom, by mysterious people that lurk in the shadows of his life. They have to get him ready to stand in front of a runaway political freight train. To do that, they have to transform him into a powerful political voice. The problem is, the person they want knows nothing about politics, let alone the insider ways of Washington D.C.

Devin Briar can’t seem to imagine a peaceful life. His best friend and roommate, Robin Denton, a world renowned Physicist, can’t imagine life without Devin and her Bugs Bunny slippers.

No move in Devin’s life is his choosing, from the simple government job he starts out with, to his climb to power by sheer innuendo and circumstance. Who is behind his rise to power and why him? Is it the powerful Senator, he’s related to, or the five influential members of the media that constantly cross his path?

Helping him avoid the many potential pitfalls before him, Robin calls on her technological wizardry. Together they are asked to stop a private financial giant from bankrupting Social Security and rescue a scandal riddled Administration from collapse.

Devin Briar is a 157,000 word, character driven, work of fiction that follows Devin’s path to do the best he can during extraordinary events. Through it all, it’s the laughter and friendship of Devin and Robin that conquers all before them.
Thank you,
DougM
"All it takes to fly is to hurl yourself at the ground... and miss." Douglas Adams

gsfields2004
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Re: Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by gsfields2004 » August 21st, 2010, 9:50 am

I really like the elements of the first paragraph, but the way it's broken up is a bit awkward. I think if you play around with it and flip some sentences and combine others, it would be really powerful. For example, instead of:
hulbertsfriend wrote:He was chosen, for a reason that he can’t fathom, by mysterious people that lurk in the shadows of his life. They have to get him ready to stand in front of a runaway political freight train. To do that, they have to transform him into a powerful political voice. The problem is, the person they want knows nothing about politics, let alone the insider ways of Washington D.C.
Try something like:

Transformed into a powerful political voice by people lurking in the shadows of his life, Devin Briar finds himself standing in front of a runaway political freight train and has no idea how to stop it. He might stand a chance if he were a Washington insider or smooth political operator, but he's still trying to figure out how he ended up one of the newest and most influential figures in the administration.

The next sentence needs some sor of transition because it doesn't tie in well with the existing first paragraph.
hulbertsfriend wrote:Devin Briar can’t seem to imagine a peaceful life. His best friend and roommate, Robin Denton, a world renowned Physicist, can’t imagine life without Devin and her Bugs Bunny slippers
Having only read the first chapter, I don't know the character well enough to know his motivatiosn and life desires, but you front the sentence with a transition like:

All Devin ever wanted was (insert his goal-normal life, house in the subburbs, etc), but he can't imagine how to get a peaceful life like that. And his best friend and roommate, Robin Denton, a world renowned Physicist, can’t imagine life without Devin or her Bugs Bunny slippers.

The next paragraph is good. You're setting up hurdles and conflict he will face. However, I don't think you need the first sentence, because you already established it in the first paragraph with the "people in the shadows" statement and you already established that he was thrust up into power. I would recommend combining this paragraph with the next paragraph for a nice, clean story synopsis:

This unlikely pair set out to uncover who is behind Devin's unexpected and unwilling rise to power, but first they must stop a private financial giant from bankrupting Social Security and rescue a scandal riddled Administration from collapse.

Preacher
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Re: Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by Preacher » August 21st, 2010, 11:58 pm

i actually like the first paragraph also, and found it very interesting. The one thing i would do there is maybe add the main character's name there and say Devin Briar was selected for a special purpose, by mysterious people who lurk in the shadows of his life. Well maybe something like that LOL.

Then you can tell us how they need to prepare him but he doesn't have the knowledge necessary. Then, from there, i would get into the major conflict, or is it that since he doesn;t have knowledge that he'll be hard to prepare for the purpose he was selected. And it also makes me wonder why this shadow conspiracy would select someone who may not be up to snuff, intellectually at least.

i still think that this reads well and has the necessary elements. Play with it a bit and see if you can maybe streamline this a little and move a few wonky sentences around to get the necessary punch the agent needs.

Good luck

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sarahdee
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Re: Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by sarahdee » August 22nd, 2010, 4:14 am

This is so much better, it really reads much more like a query and not a synopsis and by simplifying it to a basic plot outline, its much easier to read. I made a few comments but its a much better version than before :)

I like GS Fields rewrite of the first para - says exactly the same but runs more fluidly and has Devin's first name in full.

Not sure about the line about him not being able to imagine a peaceful life...from what I read he doesn't seem to want a peaceful life so its irrelevant...
Devin Briar is a 157,000 word, character driven, work of fiction that follows Devin’s path to do the best he can during extraordinary events. Through it all, it’s the laughter and friendship of Devin and Robin that conquers all before them.
What genre? Is character driven a genre? Also, not sure on the last line...that could be further up in the query and this last para just left for the practical stuff e.g. word count, genre, target audience.

DEVIN BRIAR is a political comedy of 157,000 words which will appeal to [readers of XXX, men in their 30's, little old ladies]

Good rewrite though. Sarah

clara_w
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Re: Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by clara_w » August 22nd, 2010, 5:24 am

This new version is good, but the beginning is a tad complicate. The second paragraphs just doesnt match the first, I got the feeling we were talking about different characters. Could you say its devin you refer to on the first paragraph?
Actually, I`d put the first paragraph after the third, because the way it is, it just seems like a back-in-time, confusing thing.

All the rest is tip top! =)

elfspirit
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Re: Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by elfspirit » August 22nd, 2010, 7:51 pm

hulbertsfriend wrote:Dear Agent,

He was chosen, for a reason that he can’t fathom, by mysterious people that lurk in the shadows of his life. They have to get him ready to stand in front of a runaway political freight train. To do that, they have to transform him into a powerful political voice. The problem is, the person they want knows nothing about politics, let alone the insider ways of Washington D.C.

Devin Briar can’t seem to imagine a peaceful life. His best friend and roommate, Robin Denton, a world renowned Physicist, can’t imagine life without Devin and her Bugs Bunny slippers.

No move in Devin’s life is his choosing, from the simple government job he starts out with, to his climb to power by sheer innuendo and circumstance. Who is behind his rise to power and why him? Is it the powerful Senator, he’s related to, or the five influential members of the media that constantly cross his path?

Helping him avoid the many potential pitfalls before him, Robin calls on her technological wizardry. Together they are asked to stop a private financial giant from bankrupting Social Security and rescue a scandal riddled Administration from collapse.

Devin Briar is a 157,000 word, character driven, work of fiction that follows Devin’s path to do the best he can during extraordinary events. Through it all, it’s the laughter and friendship of Devin and Robin that conquers all before them.
Thank you,
DougM
I like the suggestion to begin with the third paragraph, followed by the first.

Can you find another way to emphasize the strength of the friendship between Devin and Briar?

I think you need to be specific about how a physicist can help accomplish the goals described. And who is asking them?

Also, watch out for the passive voice here, as in "they are being asked . . ."

Overall, I think the query needs some specifics to give it more color. The great danger in a query (at least for me) is to slip into showing rather than telling, but the query needs to be not only a sales letter but a writing sample. And that's why we love them.

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a3writer
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Re: Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by a3writer » August 23rd, 2010, 5:58 am

Dear Agent,

He was chosen, for a reason that he can’t fathom, by mysterious people that lurk in the shadows of his life. They have to get him ready to stand in front of a runaway political freight train. To do that, they have to transform him into a powerful political voice. The problem is, the person they want knows nothing about politics, let alone the insider ways of Washington D.C. Use par. 3

Devin Briar can’t seem to imagine a peaceful life. Why not? no imagination? His best friend and roommate, Robin Denton, a world renowned Physicist, can’t imagine life without Devin and her Bugs Bunny slippers. I really don't get why this sentence is here.

This should probably be your starting paragraph. No move in Devin’s life is his choosing, from the simple government job he starts out with, to his climb to power What kind of power? How much? Senator? Mailman? President? by sheer innuendo and circumstance. Who is behind his rise to power and why him? Is it the powerful Ssenator, he’s related to, or the five influential members of the media that constantly cross his path?

Helping him avoid the many potential pitfalls like what? before him, Robin calls on her technological wizardry very vague. Together they are asked by whom? to stop a private financial giant from bankrupting Social Security Um, okay, I have a problem with this. The only people allowed to touch Social Security are the government. Period. No one else can touch it. To bankrupt it they would have to have access, and because it's the federal government, there's no kind of bank if you actually meant rob. It just can't happen that a "private financial giant" can bankrupt Social Security. More than that, I don't know how that would be interesting, especially since Social Security is already on the verge of bankruptcy. and rescue a scandal-riddled Administration from collapse. Why do Devin and Robin care?

Devin Briar is a 157,000 word Whoa! There are a lot, and I mean a lot of agents that won't touch anything over 100,000 for a first-time author., character driven Not a genre. Generally all novels are character-driven, work of fiction novelthat follows Devin’s path to do the best he can during extraordinary events. Through it all, it’s the laughter and friendship of Devin and Robin that conquers all before them. You strayed into theme. The theme comes through the story, but it won't compel an agent to read the story.
Thank you,
DougM

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Beethovenfan
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Re: Third Query try for Devin Briar

Post by Beethovenfan » August 27th, 2010, 4:02 am

I have a bit of advice that an agent told me in a rejection. She said that she automatically rejected mine because it was 150,000 words long. For a debut author that's just too much and no publisher would take the risk. She said to edit the heck out of it and whittle it down to 130,000 or less and try again. Perhaps that is the problem for you?
Hope that was helpful. :)
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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