Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

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itobias
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Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

Post by itobias » March 27th, 2011, 11:04 am

Is it too long? What else is wrong?

In 1665 London, Brimley Tinderbuss after escaping three marriages falls in love with writing. The political times lure him to seditious prose, as King Charles II's tax heavy rule, makes a great target for Brimley's treasonous words. Unfortunately it does not pay and the cost could be his head.

Having come on financial hard times he writes prolifically in – a behind the rent attic – avoiding being tossed to the harsh winter streets by flirtations with his attractive landlord. He has high hopes for prestige and finance for his new book, “Orphans of the Night”. An unkind view of the children who muck the streets of the plague and impoverished city.

His view of the world and orphans is suddenly changed when on his way home from a night of libations and ladies he sees the ghostly pair of feet of a little girl lying in a moonlit alley. A tiny pink ribbon around the ankle pulls at his heart. Ignoring the plague that sweeps the city, he takes the orphan girl Josie home and nurses her to health, falling in love for the first time in his life.

His treasonous words catch up to him late one night when he is caught posting words in rebuttal to the new “chicken tax”. It breaks his heart to leave the adopted girl and his comfortable attic but his head is sought. London is a big city but not so as to hide him from the kings men. He lucks into a job in Salisbury, teaching the Royal Bastard Society – the King's twelve illegitimate children he tutors right under the nose of the lion.

This dangerous employment and his philandering ways have repercussions when he recites his rebellious prose to ears too close to the king. His life in jeopardy he takes Josie intent on fleeing the city when suddenly the Great Fire turns the city of London into a chaos of hell. Brimley and Josie’s heroics in the catastrophe earn them a captured meeting with the King, who now holds their heads in his decisions.

THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERBUSS is work of historical fiction complete at 92,000 words.

fishfood
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Re: Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

Post by fishfood » March 27th, 2011, 6:04 pm

itobias wrote:Is it too long? What else is wrong?

In 1665 London, Brimley Tinderbuss after escaping three marriages falls in love with writing. This is a somewhat odd opening, I don't think it's particularly relevent to the query and only leaves us scratching our head. "escaping three marriage?" The political times lure him to seditious prose, as King Charles II's tax heavy rule, makes a great target for Brimley's treasonous words. Unfortunately it does not pay and the cost could be his head. I think this would be a better opening, but I would streamline it.

So you could try: In 1665 London, Brimley openly criticizes King Charle's II's heavy tax rule in public writings. Though his treasonous words make him popular among the masses, it doesn't pay well and may cost him his head.


Having come on financial hard times he writes prolifically in – a behind the rent attic – avoiding being tossed to the harsh winter streets by flirtations with his attractive landlord. This is worded funny and repeats that he's in financial trouble. You could tie it into the previous sentences. Try: To avoid being homeless in the harsh winter, he flirts with this landlady (unless he does flrit with a male landlord...). He has high hopes for prestige and finance for his new book, “Orphans of the Night”. An unkind view of the children who muck the streets of the plague and impoverished city. "Plague and impoverished city sounds awkward and doesn't exactly tie in with the opening. I'd try: Brimley continues writing despite the threat and has high hopes for prestige and financial gain with his new book...His view of the world and orphans is suddenly changed when on his way home from a night of libations and ladies (I get that Brimley is a womanizer, but you only need to show an example of his womanizing once, otherwise it's excessive.)he sees the ghostly pair of feet of a little girl lying in a moonlit alley. A tiny pink ribbon around the ankle pulls at his heart. Ignoring the plague that sweeps the city, he takes the orphan girl Josie home and nurses her to health, falling in love for the first time in his life. Again this was wordy and also...creepy? I take falling in love to be almost pedophilic even though I'm sure it's more of a fatherly love. Or maybe I'm just messed up because how I first read it! Maybe try: All of Brimley's words are dashed when he finds a young orphan dying in the streets. Ignoring the plague that sweeps the city...

Also, maybe saying "Josie steals his heart" is more innocent. Plus what is it about her that makes him "fall in love?" I also wouldn't repeat that phrase because you use it in the opening line with "falls in love with writing."


His treasonous words writings catch up to him late one night when he is caught posting words in rebuttal to the new “chicken tax”. It breaks his heart to leave the adopted girl and his comfortable attic but his head is sought. "Breaks his heart" almost seems too syrupy, as if I don't really believe it does break his heart. Try: Brimley flees in panic, unable to return to Josie who is left alone in his attic. London is a big city but not so as to hide him from the kings men. He lucks into a job in Salisbury, teaching the Royal Bastard Society – the King's twelve illegitimate children he tutors right under the nose of the lion.

This dangerous employment and his philandering ways have repercussions when he recites his rebellious prose to ears too close to the king. His life in jeopardy he takes Josie intent on fleeing the city when suddenly the Great Fire turns the city of London into a chaos of hell. This sentence is a bit convoluted and suddenly brings Josie back into the picture when I thought it was impossible for them to reunite. Brimley and Josie’s heroics in the catastrophe (what heroics?) earn them a captured meeting with the King, who now holds their heads in his decisions. ("Head(s)" is repeated a lot.)
THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERBUSS is work of historical fiction complete at 92,000 words.
I get the overall story which I think sounds great. Make the query a bit tighter and I think you'll get there. Hope my suggestions at least gave you some ideas.

itobias
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Re: Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

Post by itobias » March 28th, 2011, 11:16 am

New version:

In 1665 London, Brimley openly criticizes King Charle's II's heavy tax rule with his public writings. Though his treasonous words make him popular among the masses, it doesn't pay well and may cost him his head.

Brimley continues writing despite the threat and has high hopes for prestige and financial gain with his new book. “Orphans of the Night”. An unkind view of the children who muck the streets of London.

His view of the world and orphans is suddenly changed when on his way home from a night of wine and ladies he sees the ghostly pair of feet of a little girl lying in a moonlit alley. A tiny pink ribbon around the ankle pulls at his heart. Ignoring the plague that sweeps the city, he takes the orphan girl Josie home and nurses her to health, her humor and intelligence slowly stealing his heart.

Brimley's treasonous writings catch up to him late one night when he is caught posting words in rebuttal to the new “chicken tax”. Brimley is forced to run, unable to return to Josie who is left alone in his attic. London is a big city but not so as to hide him from the kings men. He lucks into a job in Salisbury, teaching the Royal Bastard Society – the King's twelve illegitimate children he tutors right under the nose of the lion.

This dangerous employment and his philandering ways have repercussions when he recites his rebellious prose to ears too close to the king. His life in jeopardy, he takes great risks returning to London when suddenly the Great Fire turns the city of London into a chaos of hell. Brimley's heroics in the catastrophe earn him a captured meeting with the King, who now holds his neck in his decisions.

THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERBUSS is work of historical fiction complete at 92,000 words.

longknife

Re: Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

Post by longknife » March 28th, 2011, 9:21 pm

Oops! Didn't read down far enough through the forum.

PM me and we'll see what we can work out.

fishfood
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Re: Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

Post by fishfood » March 30th, 2011, 3:26 pm

Hey again,
I think the first thing I'd try to do is get it under 250 words. Preferably the actual summary closer to 200 words. So I'll try to suggest some cuts and tightening up to give you some ideas.
itobias wrote:New version:

In 1665 London, Brimley openly criticizes King Charle's II's heavy tax rule with his public writings. Though his treasonous words make him popular among the masses, it doesn't pay well and may cost him his head.

Brimley continues writing despite the threat and has high hopes for prestige and financial gain with his new book. “Orphans of the Night”. An unkind view of the children who muck the streets of London.

His view of the world and orphans is suddenly changed when on his way home from a night of wine and ladies he sees the ghostly pair of feet of a little girl lying in a moonlit alley. A tiny pink ribbon around the ankle pulls at his heart. Ignoring the plague that sweeps the city, he takes the orphan girl Josie home and nurses her to health, her humor and intelligence slowly stealing his heart. I think this can be trimmed, try summarizing the bare bones: This world view is turned upside down on his way home from a night of libations and ladies. (I actually liked libations and ladies as a one time description of his character from your first version!) Brimly encounters a dying orphan girl in the streets and his conscience gets the better of him. He nurses the __-year-old Josie back to health and her humor and wit slowly steal his heart.

Brimley's treasonous writings catch up to him late one night when he is caught posting words in rebuttal to the new “chicken tax”. Brimley is forced to run, unable to return to Josie who is left alone in his attic. London is a big city but not so as to hide him from the kings men. He lucks into a job in Salisbury, teaching the Royal Bastard Society – the King's twelve illegitimate children he tutors right under the nose of the lion. Hmm, I'd tighten this up and clarify. Try: He lucks into hiding his identity under the guise of a tutor. Or so he thinks. Turns out he's teaching right under the nose of the lion. His pupils belong to the Royal Bastard Society--the King's twleve illegitimate children.

This dangerous employment and his philandering ways have repercussions when he recites his rebellious prose to ears too close to the king. I'd make this even more specific. Try: And Brimley just can't keep his disdain for the [insert derisive adjective here] ruler under wraps. He's found out when he recites his rebellious prose to ears too close to the King. His life in jeopardy, he takes great risks returning to London when suddenly the Great Fire turns the city of Londoninto a chaos of hell. Brimley's heroics in the catastrophe earn him a captured meeting with the King, who now holds his neck in his decisions. I'd make this last line more dramatic since it's kind of ironic: Try: Brimley's heroics (doing what--it's obviously significant enough for the King to notice.) earn him a spot right in the very hot seat he's been trying to run from: A personal meeting with the King. Will he be given the axe or the accolade? (I don't know, something cheesy like that...).

THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERBUSS is work of historical fiction complete at 92,000 words.
I think what you have to decide is how central Josie is to the plot, you introduce her as a main character, but then she's never mentioned again. So I'd either cut her out completely or find a way to include her in the central thrust of the query.

itobias
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Re: Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

Post by itobias » March 31st, 2011, 12:53 pm

Better??

In 1665 London, Brimley openly criticizes King Charles II's heavy tax rule with his public writings. Though his treasonous words make him popular among the masses, it doesn't pay well and may cost him his head. He continues writing despite the threat and has high hopes for prestige and financial gain with his new book. “Orphans of the Night”. An unkind view of the children who muck the streets of London.

His view of the world view is turned upside down on his way home from a night of libations and ladies. Brimly encounters a dying orphan girl in the streets and his conscience gets the better of him. He nurses the eleven-year-old Josie back to health and her humor and wit slowly steal his heart.

Brimley's treasonous writings catch up to him late one night when he is caught posting words in rebuttal to the new “chicken tax”. Brimley is forced to run, unable to fetch Josie who is left alone in his attic. He lucks into hiding his identity under the guise of a tutor. Or so he thinks. Turns out he's teaching right under the nose of the lion. His pupils belong to the Royal Bastard Society – the King's twelve illegitimate children.

Brimley just can't keep his disdain for the King under wraps. He's found out when he recites his rebellious prose to ears too close to the King. His life in jeopardy, he takes great risks returning to London and finding Joise when suddenly the Great Fire turns the city into a chaos of hell. Brimley and Joise's heroics save – most – of the bastards and earn him a spot right in the very hot seat he's been trying to run from: A personal meeting with the King, who now holds both their heads in his decisions.

THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERBUSS is work of historical fiction complete at 92,000 words.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query-THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERB

Post by oldhousejunkie » April 6th, 2011, 5:21 pm

Hello fellow historical fiction writer! I love the concept of this novel, and snaps to you for writing a Restoration Era novel. It doesn't get a lot of play now, unfortunately.
itobias wrote:Better??

In 1665 London, Brimley openly criticizes King Charles II's heavy tax rule with his public writings. Though his treasonous words make him popular among the masses, it doesn't pay well and may cost him his head. He continues writing despite the threat and has high hopes for prestige and financial gain with his new book. “Orphans of the Night”. An unkind view of the children who muck the streets of London. I think I would say (or something similar): Though threatened, he continues writing, hoping that his new book exposing the thieving ways of street urchins will be bring him prestige and money.

His view of the world view is turned upside down on his way home from a night of libations and ladies. Brimlywhen he encounters a dying orphan girl in the streets. and Brimly's conscience gets the better of him and he nurses the eleven-year-old Josie back to health and her humor and wit slowly steal his heart.

Josie's tenacity and wit steals Brimly's heart but when hisBrimley's treasonous writings catch up to him late one night when he is caught posting words in rebuttal to the new “chicken tax”. Brimley he is forced to run, unable to fetchabandon Josie who is left alone in his attic.and London. He lucks into hiding his identity Under the guise of a tutor, Brimley thinks he is safe until he discovers that Or so he thinks. Turns out he's teaching right under the nose of the lion. his pupils belong to the Royal Bastard Society – the King's twelve illegitimate children.

Brimley just can't keep his disdain for the King under wraps. Unable to keep his disdain for the king under wraps,He's Brimly is found out when he recites his rebellious prose to ears too close to the King. His life in jeopardy, he takes great risks returning to London and finding Josie (why?)when suddenly the Great Fire turns the city into a chaos of hell. But when the Great Fire turns the city into the chaos of hell, Brimley and Josie's heroics save-–most-–of the bastards. This act will lead him to and earn him a spot right in the very hot seat he's been trying to run from: a personal meeting with the King, who now holds both their heads in his decisionshands.

THE GREAT TURBULENCE AND MALCONTENT OF BRIMLEY TINDERBUSS is work of historical fiction complete at 92,000 words.
OK, a few questions:

1. In your original query, you mention that Brimly takes the tutoring job in Salisbury. And then goes back to London. And then saves the bastards from the fire. How did they get to London? Perhaps the best way to deal with is to just say that Brimley and Josie perform heroic acts that land them in front of the king.
2. Why does Brimly go back to London in the first place? An attack of conscience? Does someone send him word of Josie?

As I said before, this is a great premise. I will admit that I am slightly concerned about the wording/formatting/flow of the query. You need to remember that your ability to write an effective query will be the agent's first glance at your writing style and abilities. In short--I've read that some agents will look at queries and say, "Interesting premise, but the query is poorly written which must mean the novel is too." Not fair, of course. It's harrowing to an author to know that they are being evaluated on 250 words or less! It can make even the best writers freeze up. But you've got one thing on your side--you posted your query in the forums and the folks here are amazing. So keep on writing and best of luck to you!

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