Query, let me know

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Hayden 10
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Query, let me know

Post by Hayden 10 » March 27th, 2013, 4:17 pm

Dear (agent), of (agent’s agency)

I am currently seeking representation for my completed manuscript entitled “The Survivors of The Saint Augustine’s Six. Because of your enthusiasm for(blank commercial and literary fiction) well as your interest in(blank memoirs..) believe you may want to see my work.

When William Chenette and Bradley Pinard are killed in a drunk driving accident after their high school graduation, the small town of Lafayette, Vermont is left reeling. Especially devastated are their four closest childhood friends, Dan Cody, Jeffrey Marineau, Benjamin Larivee and Aaron Foley. Together the boys formed a tight circle of friends who called themselves The Saint Augustine’s Six, an homage to the catholic elementary school where they first met. They believed they knew everything and could handle anything, yet in a single instant their fragile worldview is utterly shattered. Neither the strict upbringing they received in catholic school, nor the worldliness they had gained at Lafayette High could prepare Dan, Jeff, Ben and Aaron for the sense of emptiness and loss the tragedy left inside of them.
After the funerals the four remaining friends go their separate ways. Dan leaves for college and medical school, Jeff becomes a firefighter, Ben enlists as a medic in the Army and Aaron works with at risk youths. However, no matter where life takes them they are always haunted by the memories and anger over what happened during that fateful summer’s night.

A decade later The Survivors of The Saint Augustine’s Six run into each other during their high school reunion. At the party they decide to ditch the crowd and catch up with one another at Dan’s house. Once alone, Dan, Jeff, Ben and Aaron talk about what they have been doing in their various professions. They trade stories about the dreadful things they have seen in emergency rooms, wars, blazing infernos and drug dens, and in the process begin healing the emotional scars left from the accident ten years ago.

My name is Gregory William Hayden from Montpelier, Vermont. In September of 2001 I joined the local fire department after the terrorist attacks against our nation. After a year I decided to join the Army as a medic in the 3-172nd Infantry (Mountain) Battalion. In October of 2004 I deployed to Kuwait where I searched for weapons and explosives at the entrance of my base and provided medical support for convoys going into Iraq. Much of the novel is based upon my own experiences as a firefighter, soldier, student and laborer.

Thank you so much for your time. Your consideration is very much appreciated.
Sincerely,

jacksonbaer
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by jacksonbaer » March 27th, 2013, 5:42 pm

Hi,

I think I would cut down on listing all the names of the characters, especially each time you mention them. For a short query, it comes off as a bit redundant...

Hayden 10
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by Hayden 10 » March 27th, 2013, 6:02 pm

[quote="jacksonbaer" Yeah, you're right bro. I need to work that out. Trying to cut things down, but in the end just repeating names again and again. Will fix it. Thanks for your input dude!

I think I would cut down on listing all the names of the characters, especially each time you mention them. For a short query, it comes off as a bit redundant...[/quote]

Hayden 10
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by Hayden 10 » March 27th, 2013, 6:09 pm

jacksonbaer wrote:Hi,
Besides the obvious mistakes, what do you think about the basic premise of the story?

I think I would cut down on listing all the names of the characters, especially each time you mention them. For a short query, it comes off as a bit redundant...

jacksonbaer
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by jacksonbaer » March 27th, 2013, 6:26 pm

I think the story has a lot of potential and sounds very interesting. What is the main conflict? Is it the accident at the beginning or what happens after they go to Dan's house after the reunion? If they are just telling stories, I think it lacks what I would want to keep my attention.

Hayden 10
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by Hayden 10 » March 27th, 2013, 7:22 pm

jacksonbaer wrote:I think the story has a lot of potential and sounds very interesting. What is the main conflict? Is it the accident at the beginning or what happens after they go to Dan's house after the reunion? If they are just telling stories, I think it lacks what I would want to keep my attention.
Shoot. The Main Conflict is the question of "Why do bad things happen to good people, and how can a God who is supposedly all knowing and all loving and all powerful let this happen to us? They ruminate over these questions when they describe their first person experiences of the Iraq war and so forth.

jacksonbaer
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by jacksonbaer » March 27th, 2013, 7:27 pm

I actually like that... Work that into the query because right now I'm not sure what happens after they reunite.

Hayden 10
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by Hayden 10 » March 27th, 2013, 7:36 pm

jacksonbaer wrote:I actually like that... Work that into the query because right now I'm not sure what happens after they reunite.
Dude, I love your feedback!! But in the the first draft of my query, I worked that in but it was over 1000 words. trying to find a happy medium, and I think you might be the key. What do I do to describe my book without going overboard bro?

jacksonbaer
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by jacksonbaer » March 27th, 2013, 7:37 pm

I will look at it later tonight and give you more specific advice, though it's just my opinion :) If you get a chance, check out the query I posted too.

jacksonbaer
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by jacksonbaer » March 29th, 2013, 1:40 am

Here's the direction I would head, though keep in mind I'm a better writer than query writing :)

Dear Mrs. x,

When William and Bradley are killed in a drunk driving accident, their small town in Vermont is left reeling.

The boys four closest childhood friends are hit especially hard, happening days after their high school graduation. Together, the boys formed a tight circle of friends who called themselves The Saint Augustine’s Six. They believed they could handle anything, yet in a single instant, their fragile worldview is utterly shattered. The strict upbringing they received in Catholic school and the worldliness they gained at Lafayette High failed to prepare them for the sense of emptiness and loss the tragedy left inside of them.

After the funerals, the four remaining friends go their separate ways. No matter where life takes them, they are always haunted by the memories and anger over what happened during that fateful summer’s night. A decade later, the Survivors of The Saint Augustine’s Six run into each other during their high school reunion. At the party, they decide to ditch the crowd and catch up with one another. Once alone, they talk about what they have been doing in their various professions. They trade stories about the dreadful things they have seen in emergency rooms, wars, blazing infernos, and drug dens. During their time of reuniting, they begin to heal from the emotional scars still remaining after ten years.

Complete at xxx words, THE SURVIVORS OF THE SAINT AUGUSTINE'S SIX is similar to XXX by John Doe.

I hold a B.A. in xxx from xxx and have published xxx in xxx (if it applies).

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Gregory William Hayden

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Quill
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by Quill » April 3rd, 2013, 10:08 am

Hayden 10 wrote:
When William Chenette and Bradley Pinard are killed in a drunk driving accident after their high school graduation, the small town of Lafayette, Vermont is left reeling. Especially devastated are their four closest childhood friends, Dan Cody, Jeffrey Marineau, Benjamin Larivee and Aaron Foley.
This part is fine, although to make the timeframe and relationships clearer I would reword to: "Especially devastated are their four closest friends since childhood ..." or some such.
Together the boys formed a tight circle of friends who called themselves
Had formed, since this happened long ago.
The Saint Augustine’s Six, an homage to the catholic elementary school where they first met.
1. The Saint Augustine’s Six: a mouthful. Any way to drop the "'s"?
2. Catholic would be capitalized, I believe.
3. I'd drop "first" as it is redundant to "met". You only meet once.
They believed they knew everything and could handle anything, yet in a single instant their fragile worldview is utterly shattered.
Awkward and trite. Rewrite or omit. Doesn't tell us enough and contains cliches. Although the sentiment is fine, this setup paragraph is too long. Streamline.
Neither the strict upbringing they received in catholic school, nor the worldliness they had gained at Lafayette High could prepare Dan, Jeff, Ben and Aaron for the sense of emptiness and loss the tragedy left inside of them.
Another sentence containing no tension and very little info. Compress these two sentences into shorter sentiments.
After the funerals the four remaining friends go their separate ways. Dan leaves for college and medical school, Jeff becomes a firefighter, Ben enlists as a medic in the Army and Aaron works with at risk youths.
I'd cut the underlined part.
However, no matter where life takes them they are always haunted by the memories and anger over what happened during that fateful summer’s night.
Again, I'd tighten. Haunted by anger? Always haunted? Also, it was an accident. Why are they haunted? Were they responsible? I don't think it should be a given that they are haunted.
A decade later The Survivors of The Saint Augustine’s Six run into each other during their high school reunion.
I wouldn't capitalize "The Survivors". It doesn't work for me that you're working the book title into this sentence.
At the party they decide to ditch the crowd and catch up with one another at Dan’s house.
"Ditch the crowd" seems a bit informal for this business letter and doesn't fit the voice you've used up to now.
Once alone, Dan, Jeff, Ben and Aaron talk about what they have been doing in their various professions.
Seems dry and not literary when I think you're trying to sell a literary novel. I'd revise. Too expositional.
They trade stories about the dreadful things they have seen in emergency rooms, wars, blazing infernos and drug dens, and in the process begin healing the emotional scars left from the accident ten years ago.
Apparently this is the meat of your book, these recountings, and yet we have no flavor of them. I think we need this. The entire query seems to be set up for this and then we're left with no feeling for the book or the characters. We don't know them at all. We don't know what sort of book this is. We don't have a feeling for what we will get out of it.
My name is Gregory William Hayden
I wouldn't say this, as it's obvious from your email address and signature.
from Montpelier, Vermont. In September of 2001 I joined the local fire department after the terrorist attacks against our nation. After a year I decided to join the Army as a medic in the 3-172nd Infantry (Mountain) Battalion. In October of 2004 I deployed to Kuwait where I searched for weapons and explosives at the entrance of my base and provided medical support for convoys going into Iraq. Much of the novel is based upon my own experiences as a firefighter, soldier, student and laborer.
I'd omit the underlined part, and otherwise this seems fairly appropriate for the letter. One thing you should mention is your title again along with word count and genre: .....is a work of literary fiction complete at .....words (or some such).
Thank you so much for your time. Your consideration is very much appreciated.
I'd simply say "Thank you for your time and consideration,"

PerryStroika
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by PerryStroika » April 21st, 2013, 10:41 pm

In my humble opinion this could be considerably slimmed down.
When William Chenette and Bradley Pinard are killed in a drunk driving accident after their high school graduation, the small town of Lafayette, Vermont is left reeling. Especially devastated are their four closest childhood friends, Dan Cody, Jeffrey Marineau, Benjamin Larivee and Aaron Foley. Together the boys formed a tight circle of friends who called themselves The Saint Augustine’s Six, an homage to the catholic elementary school where they first met. They believed they knew everything and could handle anything, yet in a single instant their fragile worldview is utterly shattered. Neither the strict upbringing they received in catholic school, nor the worldliness they had gained at Lafayette High could prepare Dan, Jeff, Ben and Aaron for the sense of emptiness and loss the tragedy left inside of them.
This could become: When William Chenette and Bradley Pinard are killed in a drunk driving accident after their high school graduation, shattering the idyllic life of the small town of Lafayette, Vermont, their four closest childhood friends are devastated. Together the boys had formed a tight circle of friends who called themselves The Saint Augustine’s Six, an homage to the catholic elementary school where they first met. After the funerals the four remaining survivors of the Six go their separate ways, though they are always haunted by the memories of what happened during that fateful summer’s night.

Theresa_B
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Re: Query, let me know

Post by Theresa_B » April 24th, 2013, 5:46 pm

I would slim down the background info and bulk up what happens when they get together at the reunion. Also, as others said, using all four characters full names is a bit much. Maybe just use their first names. I think it's a very solid start, just needs a bit of tweeking. I like a lot of the re-writes I've seen other people post.

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