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Query: The Following

Posted: February 10th, 2012, 6:34 pm
by D.T.Roberts
Dear Agent:

I am a fictional character, a figment of the author’s imagination. I have gone by many names. In THE FOLLOWING, I play Tyson Palmer; a young journalist, eager to distinguish myself in a family whose name is held in high-esteem among the journalism community. I need a story.

My father, a war correspondent in Desert Storm, was killed when his vehicle was destroyed by a roadside bomb. I was twelve years old.
My mother, an accomplished journalist in her own right, won a Pulitzer Prize for an investigative report that exposed corruption in the Boston Police department and their connection to a Mexican drug cartel. The story resulted in the indictment and conviction of the police commissioner and two deputy chiefs.

So, when a historic downtown landmark burns in Crystal Bay, Florida, its big news. Discovering the motivation behind it is bigger. I’m determined to make it my story.

When the survivor of the blaze tells me a cult, posing as a self-help organization started the fire, I’m intrigued. When I’m able to connect the fire to another two weeks earlier, I believe him, but the only way to get the truth is to get it from the inside.
I’m about the break the story that will launch my career into the Journalism Hall of Fame… if I survive.

Weighing in at just over 93,000 words, The FOLLOWING is a psychological thriller that catapults me from reporting the news to being the news.

Thank you for your consideration,

Re: Query: The Following

Posted: February 10th, 2012, 8:11 pm
by CharleeVale
Typically, it's frowned upon to have queries written in the first person voice of a character.

It can work in rare situations, but here I feel like it doesn't because you don't tell us what happens.

The first three paragraphs are backstory. Things which the agent will find out when reading the MS if they request it.

I suggest starting again, and make the inciting incident the first paragraph.

Good luck!

CV

Re: Query: The Following

Posted: February 13th, 2012, 9:58 pm
by wilderness
D.T.Roberts wrote:Dear Agent:

I am a fictional character, a figment of the author’s imagination.Yes, all fictional characters are I have gone by many names.Not sure what this is implying In THE FOLLOWING, I play Tyson Palmer; a young journalist, eager to distinguish myself in a family whose name is held in high-esteem among the journalism community. I need a story. This feels gimmicky. I agree with Charlee that it would be better to write your character in third person. Also the "I need a a story" bit seems confusing because do you need a journalist's story or a story because you're a fictional character? Your gimmick is getting in the way of understanding the plot.

My father, a war correspondent in Desert Storm, was killed when his vehicle was destroyed by a roadside bomb. I was twelve years old.
My mother, an accomplished journalist in her own right, won a Pulitzer Prize for an investigative report that exposed corruption in the Boston Police department and their connection to a Mexican drug cartel. The story resulted in the indictment and conviction of the police commissioner and two deputy chiefs. I don't think we need so much backstory on Tyson's parents.

So, when a historic downtown landmark burns in Crystal Bay, Florida, its big news. Discovering the motivation behind it is bigger. I’m determined to make it my story. Why is this story different from any other? Who does Tyson think that this will help him win a Pulitzer?

When the survivor of the blaze tells me a cult, posing as a self-help organization(missing a comma here) started the fire, I’m intrigued. When I’m able to connect the fire to another two weeks earlier, I believe him, but the only way to get the truth is to get it from the inside.
I’m about the break the story that will launch my career into the Journalism Hall of Fame… if I survive. This is really vague. I would cut out the parents' backstory and expand on the details of this fire. How was Tyson able to connect the fire to another? What other clues does he come across? What makes this fire so interesting? Hope that helps!

Weighing in at just over 93,000 words, The FOLLOWING is a psychological thriller that catapults me from reporting the news to being the news.

Thank you for your consideration,

Re: Query: The Following

Posted: February 13th, 2012, 10:30 pm
by D.T.Roberts
Rewrite.
This is actually what I've got as the blur, but it might work as a query.

Dear Agent.

In search of a story to launch his career, young journalist Tyson Palmer
finds one in the ramblings of a homeless man who accuses a self-help
organization of setting fires to eliminate those who speak out against
them.

To find the truth Tyson must join the group and get the story from the
inside. Before he realizes it, he falls under the spell of a beautiful but
troubled woman and under the control of a charismatic leader with a dark
political agenda.

The Following is a 93,000 word psychological thriller that has been an absolute thrill to write.


Dale Roberts

Re: Query: The Following

Posted: February 13th, 2012, 10:53 pm
by wilderness
This is definitely a better starting point. Much more clear.
D.T.Roberts wrote:Rewrite.
This is actually what I've got as the blur, but it might work as a query.

Dear Agent.

In search of a story to launch his career, young journalist Tyson Palmer
finds one in the ramblings of a homeless man who accuses a self-help
organization of setting fires to eliminate those who speak out against
them. Good; we know immediately who Tyson is and how he gets involved with the fire. Maybe chop it up into two sentences for better flow.

To find the truth Tyson must join the group and get the story from the
inside. Good, I know what Tyson's plan of action is. Before he realizes it, he falls under the spell of a beautiful but
troubled woman and under the control of a charismatic leader with a dark
political agenda. This last part is where you should flesh out the plot. A troubled woman and a dark political agenda are both pretty vague. Who is this woman and how does he know she's troubled? Describe the charismatic leader and tell us what he wants. If you don't want to give that away, maybe just tell us what Tyson does know about the leader, and what seems fishy about him. Here is a great post of Nathan's on the importance of specificity. End with a specific conflict or element of danger. Good luck!

The Following is a 93,000 word psychological thriller that has been an absolute thrill to write. Not sure about repeating "thrill"


Dale Roberts