Query for JUICE: Revolution - suspense/thriller

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Michael Clutton
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Query for JUICE: Revolution - suspense/thriller

Post by Michael Clutton » September 11th, 2010, 9:49 am

Thanks to the tremendous feedback I got on this board, I posted a revised version of this. Check the main thread list please.
Last edited by Michael Clutton on September 11th, 2010, 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Melyn
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Re: Query for JUICE: Revolution - suspense/thriller

Post by Melyn » September 11th, 2010, 10:11 am

Hi Michael-

I haven't critiqued a lot of queries, but I've read the archives of Query Shark, so I'm using what I've learned from there, and my own opinions.

Shocked when his stoner lab tech I'm not sure what stoner lab tech means, but maybe that's just me creates the impossible formula, Doral “Dak” Kent is anxious for the windfall it will generate. Desperate for money and help, he forms an unusual partnership with the foreign family he just met. Suspicious threats and a trail of bodies send an overwhelmed Dak tumbling down a slippery slope of terror into the middle of a covert rebellion among people who shouldn’t exist. An inept lifestyle hasn’t prepared Dak to deal with forces willing to kill for control of his new Juice. It’s a medical miracle that could save millions of lives. Or, it could ignite a bloody conflict between species for dominance of this planet. These last two sentences make me want to read more, but what comes before it is a bit confusing. Who is threatening who? Who killed the people that make up the trail of bodies? Why shouldn't the people in the rebellion exist? Why doesn't he just give the people the Juice? I think this first paragraph would be a lot better if you pared it down and then added the essential details so that the reader of the query can understand the story.

Also, the first two sentences start in pretty much the same way. "Shocked when... Desperate for... and then both are followed by something that Dak does. Maybe you could rephrase them to, "Doral "Dak" Kent is shocked when is stoner lab tech creates the impossible formula. He's anxious for the windfall it will generate. He desperately forms an unusual partnership with the foreign family he just met." Obviously that isn't polished, and you don't have to use it, it's just a suggestion.



Are they aliens? Vampires? Or, just some weird psycho cult? Amid the blundering and often hilarious situations, subtle clues about the true nature of the foreigners only serve to escalate the suspense. If juggling six businesses, two gorgeous women, a teenage daughter, a nine pound dog with a leg fetish and a genius slacker who thinks I Dream of Jeanie is real don’t push Dak over the edge, the phone calls from his Hen Pecking mother probably will.

This doesn't really seem related to the previous paragraph, and the tones don't match either. In the first paragraph, there are threats, trails of bodies, bloody conflict, and a formula that could save lives. Now there are blundering and hilarious situations, a dog with a leg fetish, and his Hen Pecking mother. Stick with one tone in your query, the one that matches the novel: dark and tense, or hilarious and light-hearted.

By the time he learns the truth, Dak’s daughter and lover are both gone. Getting them back means giving up Juice forever and taking sides in a revolution that can’t be won. Why can't it be won? There are two sides to the revolution, so won't one side win?JUICE: Revolution is a tasty tale of pulse pounding possibilities. A fun adventure that spirals out of control toward a plausible twist on a popular legend. Readers enjoy second guessing their own assumptions with every page turn. Excellent as a stand-alone story, JUICE builds to a breath-taking climax that leaves the door open just far enough to allow for additional juicy installments.

I don't mean to be rude, but it's a little bit annoying when you call your own novel, "a tasty tale" and "excellent" and "breath-taking". How can the agent belive you that your novel is all those things? Show that your novel is fun and all that stuff in the query letter. But I bet an agent reading this would be rolling his eyes at this paragraph. Again, I hope I'm not being rude.

This 139,000+ word quirky suspense thriller is laced with bumbling humor, propelled by an undertow of romantic entanglements and splattered with chin dropping gore. My compelling plot, set in the little town of Murphy, North Carolina is built on a present day platform of believability with a very unique take on familiar myths.

Once again, you're calling your own novel "laced with bumbling humor" and "compelling" and "very unique". How is the agent supposed to believe you?

Overall, I do think you have an exciting premise, and I think with some paring down to the essential details, and with a little clearing things up, this query could be a good one. And if you remove all the telling adjectives about your novel.
My blog, Hills and Corkscrews: http://www.hillsandcorkscrews.com/

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Quill
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Re: Query for JUICE: Revolution - suspense/thriller

Post by Quill » September 11th, 2010, 10:24 am

Indeed you are mostly telling us about the story, rather than giving us the setup in miniature. We need story details rather than, as the previous poster noted, your assessment of it.

Your word count is troublesome as well for marketing this, but you probably know that.

Michael Clutton
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Re: Query for JUICE: Revolution - suspense/thriller

Post by Michael Clutton » September 11th, 2010, 3:11 pm

Terrific and honest feedback... just what I wanted. Keep rippin' it up!

Although, there is a little confusion... and probably not just for me. Many suggest that the query should be styled after the attention-grabbing quips on the back cover of the average novel. So I assumed that including "tasty tale" and "fun adventure" type lines was along that theme and showed confidence in the end results... derived on my part from having over 50 people already read the entire story and proclaim such... but I'm happy to be corrected on this error.

My additional quandary is the blending of genres. Not planned when I sat down to write - but indeed the final result. Overall, the story is a suspenseful mystery. But it follows the activities of a guy who engages in witty reparte with other characters and there is an undercurrent of humor throughout. I have found it difficult to label or describe the novel without including both aspects. Everyone who has read the novel claims to have laughed out loud and yet couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end. All of these qualities are desirable (in my opinion), so I don't want to lose them. But it sure is hard to get the concept across in a few short paragraphs.

I'm open to more suggestions and feedback.

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Melyn
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Re: Query for JUICE: Revolution - suspense/thriller

Post by Melyn » September 11th, 2010, 3:27 pm

Many suggest that the query should be styled after the attention-grabbing quips on the back cover of the average novel.
I think they mean that the query should be styled after the pitch part of back cover copies. I don't think published writers actually write their back cover copies, and whoever writes them is the one who throws in "compelling" and "terrific" and "a story that will grab you and never let you go" and all that stuff. The author isn't the one who does that.

So they mean to style your pitch after a back cover copy, but leave out the marketing stuff like what I mentioned above.

As for the tone: I understand that your novel has humor in it, and that's good. Even the darkest novels need humor. Harry Potter is mostly a dark story, but there's humor.

But in one paragraph you're talking about a dark story, and in the next, it's as if you're trying to make it sound like a comedy. It sounds like the main story is a suspense story with a darker tone, so I would suggest sticking with that for the query.
derived on my part from having over 50 people already read the entire story and proclaim such
Unfortunately, I don't think that will impress agents much unless the 50 people included Stephen King, J.K Rowling, or Dan Brown, so I would suggest leaving that stuff out.
My blog, Hills and Corkscrews: http://www.hillsandcorkscrews.com/

Michael Clutton
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Re: Query for JUICE: Revolution - suspense/thriller

Post by Michael Clutton » September 11th, 2010, 5:58 pm

derived on my part from having over 50 people already read the entire story and proclaim such
Unfortunately, I don't think that will impress agents much unless the 50 people included Stephen King, J.K Rowling, or Dan Brown, so I would suggest leaving that stuff out.[/quote]

No Melyn, I just threw that in for you guys on here... I know the average public is receptive to my writing. Obviously, I don't include that type of info to agents. But I thank you whole heartedly for your comments. I'm going to repost a revised version shortly.

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