Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense(Revision # 2)

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ReginaZ
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Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense(Revision # 2)

Post by ReginaZ » June 12th, 2011, 10:51 am

REVISED VERSION @ POST # 9

Dear Agent,

Fiona Corolla screams when she opens the door to face her husband she killed one year ago.

When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart.

After her interview airs, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne-stick with him and record his murky existence. Publicity-seeking Wayne brings beautiful Fiona into his secret island. The charity-loving Wayne attracts Fiona. Love conquers common sense as the undercover operation becomes romance. Fiona is certain her intense affection will reform Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side.

Wary of living a high voltage gangster life, Wayne finds solace in Fiona’s love and plans to surrender to DEA. The lovers secretly marry as the DEA is fast approaching the island. Meanwhile, a syndicate comes forward to help Wayne and his cartel but on one condition, send away Fiona. Romance is not for the drug lords. Wayne ditches Fiona and starts a war on DEA. Dejected Fiona agrees to kill Wayne to save the innocent civilians and DEA agents. She plants a bomb supplied by DEA in Wayne’s villa and ends his life.

Now, Wayne is back and Fiona knows well the punishment for traitors is torture and murder.

HEROIN HEROINE is a romantic suspense novel complete at 75k words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Regina.

STORY IDEAS
http://storyideasforu.wordpress.com/
Last edited by ReginaZ on June 15th, 2011, 9:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.

saraflower
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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by saraflower » June 12th, 2011, 11:13 am

Wow! What a premise. I am no expert on queries, but yours hooked me in the first sentence. It looks like you have an interesting, fast paced story with a lot of emotion.

The one thing I did notice was when you said that Fiona was `Dejected" and then she agrees to kill Wayne. I think a stronger word would work better. Since someone who just felt a little dejected probably wouldn`t plant a bomb to kill the person they used to love. Just a thought.

Overall, good work. :)

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wilderness
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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by wilderness » June 12th, 2011, 5:08 pm

Hi Regina,
I like the over-all concept but there are a few problems. 1) The frame structure doesn't work very well in a query. 2) Your query is getting weighed down with cliches. See if you can replace them with more unique phrases. Show us your voice. 3) Wayne's change of heart comes out of nowhere.
Good luck!
ReginaZ wrote:Dear Agent,

Fiona Corolla screams when she opens the door to face her husband she killed one year ago. Even if the structure of your novel starts with this as a frame, I don't think it makes sense to tell the story in any way except chronologically in the query.

When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart.

After her interview airs, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne-(should be an m-dash) stick with him and record his murky existence. Publicity-seeking Wayne brings beautiful Fiona into his secret island. The charity-loving Wayne attracts Fiona. You're starting two sentences with the same structure "Publicity-seeking Wayne", "Charity-loving Wayne". It feels repetitive. Also this is very indirect. Fiona falls for him because he loves charity? If so, be more direct. Love conquers common sense as the undercover operation becomes romance. Fiona is certain her intense affection will reform Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side. So far this query is riddled with cliches (in blue). You need to cut those and replace with unique details about your story.

Wary of living a high voltage gangster life, Wayne finds solace in Fiona’s love and plans to surrender to DEA. The lovers secretly marry as the DEA is fast approaching the island. If he's planning to surrender to the DEA, why does it matter that they are fast approaching? Meanwhile, a syndicate comes forward to help Wayne and his cartel but on one condition,(this should be a colon or m-dash not a comma) send away Fiona. Romance is not for the drug lords. Says who? Wayne ditches Fiona and starts a war on DEA. One second he's marrying her and planning to surrender, the next he's done a 180? His motivations need to be explained better. Dejected Fiona agrees to kill Wayne to save the innocent civilians and DEA agents. She plants a bomb supplied by DEA in Wayne’s villa and ends his life.

Now, Wayne is back and Fiona knows well the punishment for traitors is torture and murder. I think you need a better transition to Wayne coming back.

HEROIN HEROINE is a romantic suspense novel complete at 75k words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Regina.

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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by AllieS » June 13th, 2011, 12:18 am

Fiona Corolla screams when she opens the door to face her husband she killed one year ago. I agree with wilderness on this. It doesn't work for me since it throws off the order of events. Also, of course she's going to scream. Who wouldn't scream if they saw their husband who's somehow come back from the dead?

When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart. I actually love this line, and I think the cliche works in this case.

After her interview airs, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne- make this an m-dash or colon. Colon would work better in my opinion.stick with him "Stick with him" seems a little bland to me. You could spice that up. and record his murky existence. Publicity-seeking Wayne brings beautiful Fiona into his secret island. The charity-loving Wayne attracts Fiona. Love conquers common sense as the undercover operation becomes romance. Agree with wilderness' comments Fiona is certain her intense affection will reform Wayne, a good man living on the wrong side.

Wary of living a high voltage gangster life, Wayne finds solace in Fiona’s love and plans to surrender to DEA. The lovers secretly marry as the DEA is fast approaching the island. Meanwhile, a syndicate comes forward to help Wayne and his cartel but on one condition, colon send away Fiona. Romance is not for the drug lords. Wayne ditches Fiona and starts a war on DEA. Yeah, I don't understand Wayne's 180 at all. One minute he's finding solace in Fiona's love, then he's ditching her and starting a war. Dejected Devastated might be a better word Fiona agrees to kill Wayne to save the innocent civilians and DEA agents. She plants a bomb supplied by DEA in Wayne’s villa and ends his life.

Now, Wayne is back and Fiona knows well the punishment for traitors is torture and murder. Then bring some bits of that first line back here. I think it sounds like a cool story!

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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by Sleeping Beauty » June 13th, 2011, 5:16 am

Overall, this left me confused, and I agree with what the other posters have already said, especially in regards to Wayne's behaviour.
And I don't even know what the DEA is.

I agree that you can ditch the hook line, and start with this, which I do like a lot:

'When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart.'

Interesting premise, but in the main body of the query, the sentences read like dot-points. It feels almost like a synopsis, like you've given away far too much of the story - although, I'm sure there's plenty more coming, seeing as her husband's not quite as dead as she thought. ;)

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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by michelleimason » June 13th, 2011, 4:20 pm

I agree with the others about dropping that first line. You want to leave them with the hook of her husband coming back from the dead, not start with it. In addition to ditching some of the cliches, I also think you use too many adverbs/adjectives instead of showing the emotion. Some that stood out: murky, intense, dejected.

I think you need to set up the romance a little better. What makes them fall for each other? He doesn't seem very appealing when the first introduction is in a blood-stained cellar and then you call him "publicity-seeking." And is romance really the reason the syndicate (not sure what that is) wants him to send her away or is it because she's a documentary film maker? That seems more threatening to a cartel. I also find it a little hard to believe that the DEA would enlist a civilian to actually kill someone. To capture them? Sure. But murder? Assuming that gets explained, I think you can drop the part where it says "end his life' since she obviously didn't. Maybe something more distant like "She plants a bomb ... and starts over as a widow." Basically, make it obvious she thinks he's dead but leave it open. Then have the hook about her husband being back from the dead.

I love a good romantic suspense and think the premise sounds interesting. Good luck!

ReginaZ
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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by ReginaZ » June 14th, 2011, 12:00 pm

:D Thank you guys, thank you so much saraflower, wilderness, AllieS, Sleeping Beauty, michelleimason :D

Noted down all the points, the frame, punctuation,reason for Wayne's 180,cliches, weak words

As for the frame, I don't want to kill Wayne in one sentence and make him alive in the next sentence.

Latest Revision @ Post # 9

Dear Agent,

One rainy afternoon, Fiona Corolla opens the door to face her husband she killed one year ago.

When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart. After her interview airs, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne—document his murky existence. Publicity-seeking Wayne brings the beautiful Fiona into his secret island where she catches glimpses of his humane character. The undercover operation becomes romance and Fiona is certain her intense affection will reform Wayne.

Tired of living a high voltage gangster life, Wayne plans to surrender to DEA. The lovers secretly marry as the DEA is approaching the island. Meanwhile, a syndicate comes forward to help Wayne and his cartel but on one condition: send away Fiona. With the backing of the syndicate, Wayne’s drug cartel is more grounded and his safety is guaranteed. Wayne ditches Fiona and starts a war on DEA. Devastated Fiona agrees to kill Wayne to save the innocent civilians and DEA agents. She plants a bomb supplied by DEA in Wayne’s villa and ends his life.

Wayne is back and the punishment for traitors is torture and murder. Fiona has only one wish: less painful death.

HEROIN HEROINE is a romantic suspense novel complete at 75k words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Regina.
Last edited by ReginaZ on June 14th, 2011, 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

michelleimason
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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by michelleimason » June 14th, 2011, 12:25 pm

Dear Agent,

One rainy afternoon, Fiona Corolla opens the door to face her husband she killed one year ago. I can understand your hesitancy to change the frame, but the problem I see is that by doing it this way, the next part becomes backstory. Does your actual story start with this and then go into flashback? If so, I think you need to show that somehow in the query. Right now I feel like what's below this should be in past tense, which you obviously don't want to do in a query.

When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart. After her interview airs, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne by documenting his murky (Can you show "murky" instead of telling?) existence. Publicity-seeking Wayne brings the beautiful Fiona into his secret island, where she catches glimpses of his humane character. Instead of "humane character," can you show what she sees? "...she catches glimpses of a man who ..." does what? You mentioned charity in the previous version. You could mention he's a man who sponsors orphans or rescues strays or whatever it is to make him appealing. The undercover operation becomes romance and Fiona is certain her intense affection (could just say "love") will reform Wayne.

Tired of living a high voltage gangster life, Wayne plans to surrender to DEA. The lovers secretly marry as the DEA isapproachinges the island. Meanwhile, a syndicate comes forward to help Wayne and his cartel but on one condition: send away Fiona. With the backing of the syndicate, Wayne’s drug cartel is more grounded and his safety is guaranteed. Is that why he was going to give it up? Because he felt unsafe? Wayne ditches Fiona and starts a war on DEA. Devastated, Fiona agrees to kill Wayne to save the innocent civilians and DEA agents. If he ditched her, how does she still have access to him? I think the earlier version phrased this differently and it made more sense then. She plants a bomb supplied by DEA in Wayne’s villa andto ends his life.

Now Wayne is back and the punishment for traitors is torture and murder. Fiona has only one wish: less painful death. She doesn't want to live?

HEROIN HEROINE is a romantic suspense novel complete at 75k words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Regina.

I'm struggling with labeling this as a romance. If it is, I expect the two characters to end up together at the end, but how could she end up with an unapologetic drug lord? If, on the other hand, it's straight suspense, I wouldn't label it as romance. The way the story is currently laid out, I don't have any sympathy for Wayne. Of course you don't want to give away your ending, but if something's going to come out to redeem him later, you should at least hint at it.

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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense

Post by ReginaZ » June 14th, 2011, 9:27 pm

:D Thank you so much michelleimason. :D

:roll: Revision # 2 :roll:

Dear Agent,

One rainy afternoon, Fiona Corolla opens the door to face her husband she killed one year ago.

When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart. After her interview airs, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne—document his murky existence. Publicity-seeking Wayne brings the beautiful Fiona to his secret island where she catches glimpses of his benevolent dictatorship. The islanders worship him. The undercover operation becomes romance and Fiona is certain her love will reform Wayne.

Tired of living a high voltage gangster life, Wayne plans to surrender to DEA. The lovers secretly marry as the DEA is approaches the island. Meanwhile, a syndicate comes forward to help Wayne and his cartel but on one condition: send away Fiona. With the backing of the syndicate, Wayne’s drug cartel is more grounded and his safety is guaranteed. Wayne ditches Fiona and starts a war on DEA. Devastated Fiona agrees to kill Wayne to save the innocent civilians and DEA agents. She plants a bomb supplied by DEA in Wayne’s villa and ends his life.

Now, Wayne is back. What is his intention, to revenge Fiona or to renew his love for her?

HEROIN HEROINE is a romantic suspense novel complete at 75k words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Regina.

michelleimason
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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense(Revision # 2)

Post by michelleimason » June 16th, 2011, 9:51 am

Definitely getting closer, Regina. Here are some additional comments.

Dear Agent,

One rainy afternoon, Fiona Corolla opens the door to face herthe husband she killed one year ago.

When documentary film maker Fiona Corolla interviews drug lord Wayne Vanderputt in a blood-stained cellar in suburban New York, she doesn't see Cupid's arrow aiming at her heart. After her interview airs, the DEA approaches Fiona with a scheme to capture Wayne—document (instead you might do "by documenting") his murky existence. Publicity-seeking Wayne brings the beautiful Fiona to his secret island, where she catches glimpses of his benevolent dictatorship. The islanders worship him. The undercover operation becomes romance and Fiona is certain her love will reform Wayne. Words like "dictatorship" and "worship" give me pause. Even if the dictatorship is benevolent, it still means one person controlling everyone else. And worship is a very strong word, almost like he's a god. But I think I get what you're trying to say - that he takes care of the islanders. And maybe even give one example of that to make him seem lovable.

Tired of living a high voltage gangster life, Wayne plans to surrender to DEA. The lovers secretly marry as the DEA isapproaches the island. Meanwhile, a syndicate comes forward to help Wayne and his cartel but on one condition: send away Fiona. With the backing of the syndicate, Wayne’s drug cartel is more grounded and his safety is guaranteed. Wayne ditches Fiona and starts a war on DEA. Devastated Fiona agrees to kill Wayne to save the innocent civilians and DEA agents. She plants a bomb supplied by DEA in Wayne’s villa and ends his life.

Now, Wayne is back. What is his intention, to get revenge on Fiona or to renew his love for her?

HEROIN HEROINE is a romantic suspense novel complete at 75k words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Regina.

This new line at the end is good. I'm hoping that this whole drug cartel thing is some kind of undercover operation and he's really a good guy. Can you give me a hint? :D

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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense(Revision # 2)

Post by oldhousejunkie » June 16th, 2011, 12:16 pm

The latest revision is better. But...

I see some issues with the novel as a whole and I can't help but wonder if agents will see it too. It may be just how the query is written, and if so, you'll probably need to tackle them.

1. Islander worship aside, I'm not seeing Wayne's redeeming qualities. If, as Michelle suggested, Wayne is deep undercover, you will probably want to hint at that.
2. Wayne seems wishy washy. One minute he's a drug lord, the next he wants to be reformed, and then finally he takes the bait from the mysterious drug syndicate. Why? Do they threaten Fiona? If so, you should mention it. That he wants to protect her is a redeeming quality. As it stands, he just sounds like an selfish a-hole.
3. What could possibly induce you to kill someone that you love? I don't care what is at stake, but I sure as heck am not going to plant a bomb to kill my husband (even when he really makes me mad). I think this is real problem. Romance readers are going to have a hard time with this.
4. Since this is a romance, I would suggest doing a multi-POV query. Usually romance queries can have a paragraph from the girl's POV and a paragraph from the guy's POV.

I think this story has real potential, but I also think it is getting clouded by the query. I would suggest looking up some romance queries as research. Jessica Faust at Bookends LLC has a blog with several romantic queries up for review.

Good luck!

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Anna Geletka
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Re: Query-HEROIN HEROINE- Romantic Suspense(Revision # 2)

Post by Anna Geletka » June 16th, 2011, 4:58 pm

The premise seems interesting. One comment I have is that you're generally not supposed to load the query with backstory. Where does the story actually begin? With Wayne coming back from the dead, or with them falling in love?

If the story actually begins with Fiona opening the door and seeing Wayne, then you shouldn't include the backstory. I do love that first line, though I would change her husband to the husband, as Michelle suggested. Then move forward, not backward. What happens in the action of the book should be the focus of the query. That's how I understand it, at least.

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