The Following: psychological thriller

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D.T.Roberts
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The Following: psychological thriller

Post by D.T.Roberts » September 8th, 2011, 6:29 pm

This is my second draft query for my new novel, The Following. Please feel free to rip it apart.

Dear (agent):

In his quest to break a big story, young journalist Tyson Palmer infiltrates a mind controlling cult, but soon falls under their control becoming an unwitting soldier in the army of a charismatic leader with a dark political agenda and no qualms about eliminating those who speak out against him.

When three seemingly unrelated fires are ruled to be arson, Tyson looks for a connection. He finds it in the crazed ramblings of a man obsessed with a self help organization that he insists is behind the fires. Tyson decides to infiltrate the group to get the story from the inside. The initial training is uplifting. Tyson becomes one of them, playing the part to perfection until he encounters the one thing he never bargained for; Krista. As this intriguing new woman pulls him deeper under her spell, the group's teachings take on a more sinister air. Tyson begins to fall under the control of the organization. When he learns the true purpose of the group, domestic terrorism, he realizes he is in over his head. He tries to leave the group, but knows too much for them to let him walk away. When the leader uses Krista as a pawn in a battle of wills, Tyson must risk both their lives in a fight to the death if either is to survive.

The Following is an 88,000 word psychological thriller that challenges the notion that only misfits and the weak are susceptible to the thought control techniques of destructive cults.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
It has been said that writing comes more easily if you have something to say.

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GingerWrite
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Re: The Following: psychological thriller

Post by GingerWrite » September 8th, 2011, 7:06 pm

Dear (agent):

In his quest to break a big story awkward phrasing, young journalist Tyson Palmer infiltrates a mind controlling cult, but soon falls under their control insert comma becoming an unwitting soldier in the army of with(?) a charismatic leader with a dark political agenda and no qualms about eliminating those who speak out against him.

When three seemingly unrelated fires are ruled to be arson, Tyson looks for a connection. He finds it in the crazed ramblings of a man obsessed with a self help organization that he insists is behind the fires. Tyson decides to infiltrate the group to get the story from the inside. The initial training is uplifting. Tyson becomes one of them, playing the part to perfection until he encounters the one thing he never bargained for; Krista. As this intriguing new woman pulls him deeper under her spell, the group's teachings take on a more sinister air. Tyson begins to fall under the control of the organization. When he learns the true purpose of the group, domestic terrorism, he realizes he is in over his head. He tries to leave the group, but knows too much for them to let him walk away. When the leader uses Krista as a pawn in a battle of wills, Tyson must risk both their lives in a fight to the death if either is to survive. Most of this reads like a synopsis, not a query, IMO.

The Following is an 88,000 word psychological thriller that challenges the notion that only misfits and the weak are susceptible to the thought control techniques of destructive cults. This sounds similar to the thing agents say to never put in their queries - phrases like "makes people think" and "will challenge the widely held notion"

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sounds like an interesting story :)
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MattLarkin
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Re: The Following: psychological thriller

Post by MattLarkin » September 9th, 2011, 10:35 am

GingerWrite wrote:Dear (agent):

In his quest to break a big story awkward phrasing, young journalist Tyson Palmer infiltrates a mind controlling cult, but soon falls under their control insert comma becoming an unwitting soldier in the army of with(?) a charismatic leader with a dark political agenda and no qualms about eliminating those who speak out against him.
As a dissenting opinion, I think "break a big story" is an expression I've heard for journalists before. The original phrasing "of a charismatic leader" makes more sense. However, this sentence is probably too long with too many clauses. I'd split it into two sentences for clarity.
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D.T.Roberts
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Re: The Following: psychological thriller

Post by D.T.Roberts » September 13th, 2011, 4:45 pm

Here is my revised query. Thanks for your input.

Dear (agent):
Tyson Palmer is a risk taker, and as a young journalist who would do anything to break his first big story, he is about to take the biggest risk of his life.

When three seemingly unrelated fires within two weeks are ruled to be arson, Tyson looks for a connection. He finds it in the crazed ramblings of a man who insists that a respected self help organization is behind them. Against the advice of his editor, Tyson decides to infiltrate the group to find proof. He becomes one of them, playing the part to perfection until he encounters something he never bargained for: Krista. As this intriguing new woman pulls him deeper under her spell, the group’s teachings take on a more sinister air. Tyson begins to lose sight of his original mission and falls under the control of a charismatic leader with a dark political agenda: domestic terrorism. By the time he learns the group’s true purpose, he is in over his head, but he knows too much for them to let him walk away. When the leader uses Krista as a pawn in a battle of wills, Tyson realizes he must risk both their lives in a desperate fight to destroy the group if either is to survive.

The Following is an 88,000 word character driven psychological thriller that examines the techniques of cult indoctrination and the ever present threat of domestic terrorism.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Best regards
It has been said that writing comes more easily if you have something to say.

Emily J
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Re: The Following: psychological thriller

Post by Emily J » September 13th, 2011, 11:41 pm

D.T.Roberts wrote:Here is my revised query. Thanks for your input.

Dear (agent):
Tyson Palmer is a risk taker, and as a young journalist who would do anything to break his first big story, he is about to take the biggest risk of his life. <-- just my opinion, but I would cut this paragraph completely and start with your second paragraph below. This feels like telling, and is a bit generic.

When three seemingly unrelated fires within two weeks are ruled to be arson, Tyson you could insert character info here, something like "eager young journalist Tyson Palmer smells a story among the ashes" <-- something like that, only better lol looks for a connection. He finds it in the crazed ramblings of a man who insists that a respected self hyphen? help organization is behind them <-- "them might be the fires, the arson, something more concrete . Against the advice of his editor, Tyson decides to infiltrate the group to find proof. He becomes one of them, playing the part to perfection until he encounters something he never bargained for: Krista. As this intriguing i wouldn't mind a bit more explanation of how she is intriguing, but I might just be a demanding reader :) new woman pulls him deeper under her spell, the group’s teachings take on a more sinister air. Tyson begins to lose sight of his original mission and falls under the control of a charismatic leader with a dark political agenda: domestic terrorism. By the time he learns the group’s true purpose, he is in over his head, but he knows too much for them to let him walk away. When the leader uses Krista as a pawn in a battle of wills, Tyson realizes he must risk both their lives in a desperate fight to destroy the group if either is to survive.

The Following i have always heard you should put the title in all caps is an 88,000 hyphen word comma character hyphen driven comma psychological thriller maybe one too many modifiers for thriller here? You could say, "At 88,000 words, the Following is a blah blah" and cut out some of that from in front of that much weighed down noun that examines the techniques of cult indoctrination and the ever present threat of domestic terrorism.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Best regards
Overall, I think you do a good job of setting up the stakes. You have wisely avoided name soup and just stuck to the important characters. My only suggestion (aside from cutting that first paragraph, which I really recommend), is that we could get a few more specifics maybe? What type of cult, what domestic terrorism? Does he have to save the Willis Tower in Chicago? Is the Statue Liberty going to be painted pink? Maybe one or two concrete details will make the cult threat feel more credible and less nebulous. But I'm nit picking. I thought this was pretty good.

AllieS
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Re: The Following: psychological thriller

Post by AllieS » September 16th, 2011, 4:35 pm

Tyson Palmer is a risk taker, and as a young journalist who would do anything to break his first big story, he is about to take the biggest risk of his life. I agree with Emily J. Cut this.

When three seemingly unrelated fires within two weeks are ruled to be arson, I like Emily's eager young journalist part for this too Tyson looks for a connection. He finds it one in the crazed ramblings of a man who insists that a respected self help organization is behind them the fires. Against the advice of his editor, Tyson decides to infiltrate the group to find proof. He becomes one of them, playing the part to perfection until he encounters something he never bargained for: Krista a little too cliched. As this intriguing new woman pulls him deeper under her spell, too vague the group’s teachings take on a more sinister air. Tyson begins to lose sight of his original mission and falls under the control of a charismatic leader with a dark political agenda: domestic terrorism. What kind? I'd like more concrete details about what's happenings By the time he Tyson learns the group’s true purpose, he is in over his head, but he knows too much for them to let him walk away. When the leader uses Krista as a pawn in a battle of wills, So does the leader know what Tyson's really doing?Tyson realizes he must risk both their lives in a desperate fight to destroy the group if either is to survive.

The Following is an 88,000 word character driven psychological thriller that examines the techniques of cult indoctrination and the ever present threat of domestic terrorism.

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