Tweeked Query for JUICE: Revolution

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Michael Clutton
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Tweeked Query for JUICE: Revolution

Post by Michael Clutton » September 12th, 2010, 10:23 am

Getting everything you want dropped in your lap doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive the impact. For a lonely, overextended single parent like Doral “Dak” Kent, getting what he wants just means catching a break and with a little luck, finding a good woman.

Suddenly befriended by a foreign family is an odd upswing. And when its patriarch, Caleb Westland offers unexpected financing for his struggling businesses, it looks like Dak is getting the big break he needs. Thwarting sexual overtures from Caleb’s niece and trying to win the heart of her best friend while his daughter eggs him on is just complicated icing on Lady Luck’s cake.

In a stunning turn of fortune, his lab tech creates an impossible formula and Dak can only imagine the immense windfall it will generate. Anxious to protect his discovery’s secrecy until he can obtain patents, Dak forms a desperate partnership with Westland and finds himself at odds with strange family quirks. Treacherous leaks within the family bring grisly threats from a rival family and soon a trail of bodies send an overwhelmed Dak tumbling down a slippery slope of terror into the middle of a covert rebellion among factions with inexplicable motives.

Subtle, inconclusive clues to the true nature of the foreigners only serve to escalate the suspense. Are they criminals? Vampires? Aliens? Or, just some weird psycho cult? An inept Dak isn’t prepared to deal with forces willing to kill for control of his new Juice, a medical miracle that could save millions of lives. His sleepy little hometown of Murphy NC has become the epicenter of a macabre conflict and only one thing becomes certain. In the wrong hands, Juice could ignite bloody hostilities with global ramifications.

With his lover gone and his daughter kidnapped, Dak must risk losing Juice forever and take sides in a battle for control of humanity. This 139,000 word suspense thriller spirals out of control towards a startling climax with very plausible twists on familiar myths.

If you are adventurous enough to request it, I am prepared to provide a synopsis and/or the completed manuscript for your review.

(note: I know the word count is high and I'm working on that)

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Quill
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Re: Tweeked Query for JUICE: Revolution

Post by Quill » September 12th, 2010, 12:27 pm

Michael Clutton wrote:Getting everything you want dropped in your lap doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive the impact. For a lonely, overextended single parent like Doral “Dak” Kent, getting what he wants just means catching a break and with a little luck, finding a good woman.

Suddenly befriended by a foreign family is an odd upswing. And when its patriarch, Caleb Westland offers unexpected financing for his struggling businesses, it looks like Dak is getting the big break he needs. Thwarting sexual overtures from Caleb’s niece and trying to win the heart of her best friend while his daughter eggs him on is just complicated icing on Lady Luck’s cake.
Omit. Maybe rewrite into one sentence.
In a stunning turn of fortune, his lab tech creates an impossible formula
Illogical. It is not possible create what is impossible, by definition.
and Dak can only imagine the immense windfall it will generate.
Omit, as this imagining does not contribute.
Anxious to protect his discovery’s secrecy
"discovery's secrecy" is an awkward turn of phrase, and it seems to personify discovery.
until he can obtain patents,
Not sure we need this detail.
Dak forms a desperate partnership with Westland
Who or what is "Westland"? Also, what is a "desperate partnership"? Sounds like the Jesse James gang. Do mean "desperately forms a partnership"?
and finds himself at odds with strange family quirks.
"at odds with quirks" seems an awkward turn of phrase.
Treacherous leaks within the family bring grisly threats from a rival family and soon a trail of bodies send an overwhelmed Dak tumbling down a slippery slope of terror into the middle of a covert rebellion among factions with inexplicable motives.
This tells us precious little about that which we already know precious little about. What is this book about? A man, a partnership, and a formula. That's not much. Formula for what? Is this a corporate thriller? Where is it set? Who is this man, what drives him, what does he want? I feel like I'm starving for info amidst a banquet of words.
Subtle, inconclusive clues to the true nature of the foreigners only serve to escalate the suspense.
Telling us about the book isn't helping. Just tell us the story, or enough of it so that we want to read more. So far that hasn't occurred.

Are they criminals? Vampires? Aliens? Or, just some weird psycho cult?
We don't know, and so far we have little reason to wonder. Not even sure what genre we are reading about here, so throwing in those things seems like from out of the blue.

An inept Dak isn’t prepared to deal with forces willing to kill for control of his new Juice, a medical miracle that could save millions of lives.
Finally, way down here, we get an inkling of what the formula is for, apparently a product called "Juice". We still don't know what it does.
His sleepy little hometown of Murphy NC has become the epicenter of a macabre conflict and only one thing becomes certain. In the wrong hands, Juice could ignite bloody hostilities with global ramifications.
Much too broad, especially since we lack the detail to give it context.

What is "Murphy NC"? Do you mean "Murphy, NC"? How about spelling out "North Carolina" so we know it is not in some Canadian province or elsewhere.
With his lover gone and his daughter kidnapped, Dak must risk losing Juice forever and take sides in a battle for control of humanity.
With little previous mention of these characters, and no understanding of how he might be "losing Juice forever" as a result, this supposed battle for control of humanity, for which we also lack context, comes across as generic and flat.

You would do well to paint a more detailed picture throughout this query rather than laying on the broad strokes.

This 139,000 word suspense thriller
139,000-word (hyphenated)
spirals out of control towards a startling climax with very plausible twists on familiar myths.
Please don't tell us what it does.
If you are adventurous enough to request it, I am prepared to provide a synopsis and/or the completed manuscript for your review.
A query is a business letter of introduction as as such is no place to challenge your potential agent.
(note: I know the word count is high and I'm working on that)
Yes, 139,000 words will almost certainly not fly. Can you reduce it to 110,000 or less?

Michael Clutton
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Re: Tweeked Query for JUICE: Revolution

Post by Michael Clutton » September 12th, 2010, 1:51 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

Here's another revision:

Getting everything you want dropped in your lap doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive the impact. For a lonely, overextended single parent like Doral “Dak” Kent, getting what he wants just means catching a break and with a little luck, finding a good woman.

Things may improve when Dak is suddenly befriended by a foreign family. And when its patriarch, Caleb Westland offers unexpected financing for his struggling businesses, it seems like Dak is getting the big break he needs. Thwarting sexual overtures from Caleb’s niece and trying to win the heart of her best friend while his daughter eggs him on is just complicated icing on Lady Luck’s cake.

In a stunning turn of fortune, his lab tech creates an inconceivable blood simulation and Dak anticipates massive financial gains. Anxious to protect his new Juice until he can obtain patents, Dak desperately forms a partnership with Caleb. Treacherous leaks within the Westland family bring grisly threats from a rival family and soon a trail of bodies send an overwhelmed Dak tumbling down a slippery slope of terror into the middle of a covert conflict among factions with inhuman motives.

Unraveling the secretive origins of the evasive Westland family is a puzzle Dak must solve if he’s going to trust them with his life. Criminals? Vampires? Aliens? Or, just some weird psycho cult? Whatever the truth is, Dak just isn’t prepared to deal with forces willing to kill for control of Juice, a medical marvel that could save millions of lives.

His sleepy little hometown of Murphy, North Carolina has become the epicenter of a macabre conflict and only one thing becomes certain. In the wrong hands, Juice will ignite a bloody rebellion that’s been brewing for centuries. So, when his daughter is kidnapped by Westland’s enemies, Dak makes a stand and risks everything in a clash for control of humanity.

JUICE: Revolution is a 139,000-word suspense thriller. I am prepared to provide a synopsis and/or the completed manuscript for your review.

Thank you in advance for your valuable time and consideration,

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Melyn
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Re: Tweeked Query for JUICE: Revolution

Post by Melyn » September 12th, 2010, 2:52 pm

This is much, much better than the original query. I understand it, until the end of the 3rd paragraph:
Treacherous leaks within the Westland family bring grisly threats from a rival family and soon a trail of bodies send an overwhelmed Dak tumbling down a slippery slope of terror into the middle of a covert conflict among factions with inhuman motives.
I think you might have too much going on in this sentence, and it's all pretty vague. Do you mean that someone in the Westland family leaks to someone else about the Juice? Who is the killer, and why are they killing people? "Slippery slope of terror" and "covert conflict" are vague, and I don't think they're necessary.

Also,
And when its patriarch, Caleb Westland, offers unexpected financing for his struggling businesses, it seems like Dak is getting the big break he needs.
Just needed a comma there. Anyway, good job! :)
My blog, Hills and Corkscrews: http://www.hillsandcorkscrews.com/

Michael Clutton
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Re: Tweeked Query for JUICE: Revolution

Post by Michael Clutton » September 12th, 2010, 3:15 pm

awesome Melyn... thanks bunches!

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Quill
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Re: Tweeked Query for JUICE: Revolution

Post by Quill » September 12th, 2010, 3:38 pm

Michael Clutton wrote:
Getting everything you want dropped in your lap doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive the impact. For a lonely, overextended single parent like Doral “Dak” Kent, getting what he wants just means catching a break and with a little luck, finding a good woman.
"Getting doesn't mean surviving" is not a tagline that will set the world on fire. I would omit this sentence, especially since you repeat the idea almost verbatim in the next sentence.
Things may improve when Dak is suddenly befriended by a foreign family.
"Things" is a weak stand-in word for the actual items.

"may improve" sounds wishy-washy, and like you don't know.

"suddenly" is a weak word, especially for a query, and doesn't come off as accurate. Is the beginning of a friendship ever really sudden? Like, does it happen in a blinding flash?

"foreign" is an odd stand-in for their actual country or planet of origin.

"is befriended" sounds a bit passive. Having your main character act in these precious few query lines is really important. So far he has done nothing.

And when its patriarch, Caleb Westland offers unexpected financing
Omit "unexpected" as unneeded. (If a sudden friend offers something, stands to reason it would be unexpected.)
for his struggling businesses,

it seems like Dak is getting the big break he needs.
Omit "big" as adding nothing.

Consider omitting "he needs" as unexciting, and makes him sound passive, like, this main character is depending on breaks, is not proactive, and may not be dynamic enough to root for.
Thwarting sexual overtures from Caleb’s niece and trying to win the heart of her best friend while his daughter eggs him on is just complicated icing on Lady Luck’s cake.
Omit "complicated icing on Lady Luck's cake". "Complicated icing " doesn't work as a simile, and you've already said "luck" and emphasized his good fortune. You've done little else in this query so far, so let's move on.
What is his daughter egging him on to do, exactly?

Also, awkward phrasing, "while his daughter eggs", sounding at first like his daughter is throwing eggs at him.
In a stunning turn of fortune,
Find another way to say this. "Stunning" is an unneeded author's note, and we've already heard enough about fortune and luck.
his lab tech creates an inconceivable blood simulation
Not conceivable? You mean not able to be imagined? So this is a total accident, like post-it note glue? Then how about "accidentally creates" or "by chance creates"?

It is sounding like everything is happening to your protagonist and he is doing nothing himself. His financial problems, the sudden friendship by others and subsequent monies, being pursued by the niece, and now his lab tech strikes gold. Oh right, Dak is pursuing the niece's best friend. Which doesn't sound all that smart given his situation.
and Dak anticipates massive financial gains.
"Dak anticipates" is not enough to raise the action.
Anxious to protect his new Juice
What is "his new Juice"? This is an offhand way to introduce your book title subject and an apparently very important discovery, focusing on your main character's anxiety.
until he can obtain patents, Dak desperately forms a partnership with Caleb.
"Anxious, he desperately" makes him seem like a clueless wimp. Aren't their legal procedures like filing for the patent (patent pending) that would protect him? How would partnership do help??
Treacherous leaks within the Westland family bring grisly threats from a rival family and soon a trail of bodies send an overwhelmed Dak tumbling down a slippery slope of terror into the middle of a covert conflict among factions with inhuman motives.
Leaks bring grisly threats? Bodies send Dak tumbling down a slope? Among factions with inhuman motives? I'm afraid this comes across as both melodramatic and vague. I'd like to see this in plain English.
Unraveling the secretive origins of the evasive Westland family is a puzzle
"Unraveling is a puzzle" doesn't make sense to me.

Omit "evasive" as redundant to "secretive".
Dak must solve if he’s going to trust them with his life.
Wouldn't it be that he must solve if he's going to decide whether or not to trust them?

Also, it seems after the fact. He's already accepted lots of money from them, and he's legally formed a partnership with them? So he's coming off a little slow, and not too sympathetic. Again, a little too much like a victim of fate being blown hither and thither.
Criminals? Vampires? Aliens? Or, just some weird psycho cult? Whatever the truth is, Dak just isn’t prepared to deal with forces willing to kill for control of Juice,
He "just isn’t prepared to deal"? Oh, boo hoo.
a medical marvel that could save millions of lives.
This should be inserted further up and explained a little more. Here it seems like an afterthought.
His sleepy little hometown of Murphy, North Carolina has become the epicenter of a macabre conflict and only one thing becomes certain. In the wrong hands, Juice will ignite a bloody rebellion that’s been brewing for centuries.
How does this one "thing" become certain, presumably to Dak? What rebellion has been "brewing" for centuries? Is this an interplanetary thing? A Masonic conspiracy problem? How does this "Juice" product figure in? Clue us!
So, when his daughter is kidnapped by Westland’s enemies, Dak makes a stand and risks everything in a clash for control of humanity.
What does he do? "Makes a stand" is a stand-in for what he does. What does he risk? "Everything" is a stand-in for what he risks.

Omit "So" and "by Westland's enemies" as unneeded.
JUICE: Revolution is a 139,000-word suspense thriller.
JUICE: REVOLUTION
I am prepared to provide a synopsis and/or the completed manuscript for your review.
Omit, as of course you are prepared, by dint of you querying.

Also, it would not be for review, it would be to view (and read).
Thank you in advance for your valuable time and consideration,
Omit "valuable" as unneeded for this business letter and may come across as fawning.

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