Query: THE COLOR OF THE SOUL

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amirsdaddy
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Query: THE COLOR OF THE SOUL

Post by amirsdaddy » January 29th, 2012, 7:55 pm

Despite having only ever known life as a slave in the Civil War South, John is a gentle giant of a man. When Polly Ann is bought at auction and brought to the plantation, John is instantly drawn to her stubborn, rebellious side as much as her angelic voice and beauty. John is emboldened and invigorated by his forbidden night forays with Polly, their temporary escape from their permanently cruel and brutal existence. Motivated by his love for her and a vow to raise their children as 'free', an escape attempt is set in motion--with shattering results.

Now, John must endure the many faces of death--from dehydration and starvation to lynching--to find Polly again. Aided by conductors on the Underground Railroad, John and Polly reunite only to realize their freedom is contingent upon the color of their skin when John is falsely accused of a crime and lands in a prison chain gang building America's railroads. Finding himself once again separated from Polly Ann, John is promised his freedom and the chance to be with her again by accepting a challenge: beat the new steam drill in a race of strength and endurance... or die trying.

We've all read the poems, listened to the songs and heard the tall tales of John Henry's classic American folk lore of racing a machine and beating it with his hammer. Never has a version of the story exposed the depth of human emotion and the driving force behind the steel driving man like my 40,000 word historical novel THE COLOR OF THE SOUL.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Walker
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Re: Query: THE COLOR OF THE SOUL

Post by Walker » February 1st, 2012, 3:10 pm

Hi Amirsdaddy, I like the first two paragraphs of your query. You give us just enough info to be intrigued without telling too much of the story. I do think the third paragraph has a little too much hyperbole and could be reeled in a bit. Also, 40,000 words seems awfully short. Otherwise I thought it looked pretty good. Good luck!

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query: THE COLOR OF THE SOUL

Post by oldhousejunkie » February 1st, 2012, 4:20 pm

Cool premise.
amirsdaddy wrote:Despite having only ever known life as a slave in the Civil War South, John is a gentle giant of a man. I don't like the construction of this sentence for some reason. There are so many words before you even get to your character. Perhaps you should reverse them: John is a gentle giant of a man despite... When Polly Ann is bought at auction and brought to the plantation, John is instantly drawn to her stubborn, rebellious side as much as her angelic voice and beauty. John is emboldened and invigorated by his forbidden night forays with Polly, their temporary escape from their permanently cruel and brutal existence. Motivated by his love for her and a vow to raise their children as 'free', an escape attempt is set in motion--with shattering results.

Now, John must endure the many faces of death--from dehydration and starvation to lynching--to find Polly again. Aided by conductors on the Underground Railroad, John and Polly reunite only to realize their freedom is contingent upon the color of their skin when John is falsely accused of a crime and lands in a prison chain gang building America's railroads. That's really long sentence. Finding himself once again separated from Polly Ann, John is promised his freedom and the chance to be with her again by accepting a challenge: beat the new steam drill in a race of strength and endurance... or die trying.

We've all read the poems, listened to the songs and heard the tall tales of John Henry's classic American folk lore of racing a machine and beating it with his hammer. Never has a version of the story exposed the depth of human emotion and the driving force behind the steel driving man like my 40,000 word historical novel THE COLOR OF THE SOUL. Self-aggrandisement doesn't sit well with me or agents, for that matter. The "Slush Pile Hell" blog will give you an idea. Simple is always best. "Based on the tall tale of John Henry, blah, blah, THE COLOR OF THE SOUL is a historical novella* complete at 40,000 words."

Thank you for your time and consideration.
*I also agree that for a novel, your word count is off. I'm not sure if the count exceeds the definition of a novella, but if not, I'd definitely call it that.

Good luck.

amirsdaddy
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Re: Query: THE COLOR OF THE SOUL

Post by amirsdaddy » February 13th, 2012, 11:48 am

Thank you both for the feedback. I'll work on shortening the sentences and making them clearer.

And yes, 40,000 words is a bit short by adult novel standards. Something I need to work on if I plan to sell this. I'm already working on a rewrite that includes some other scenes but that may only take it up to 50,000 words.

Thanks again. I'll post a rewrite of this query soon.

D.T.Roberts
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Re: Query: THE COLOR OF THE SOUL

Post by D.T.Roberts » February 13th, 2012, 10:51 pm

I love the first two paragraphs. I agree with the comment on the first sentence. The flow is beautiful. It sets the tone of the story perfectly.
Again I must agree about the comments on the last paragraph. It's a little over the top. I know an agent wants the see a self confidence in your letter but this borders on a little too confident. Confidence should go hand in hand with humility.
Otherwise I love it.

Dale
It has been said that writing comes more easily if you have something to say.

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