Query for Debut novel

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
casnow
Posts: 159
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 1:51 pm
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Contact:

HEADING SOUTH - Revised Query

Post by casnow » December 27th, 2009, 2:09 pm

Hey forum groupies, I've tried to slim this down a bit while still maintaining the essence of the story... any and all feedback is appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
******************************************

Dear [agent],

Facing seemingly inescapable legal problems and disappearing options, best friends James and Derek have to decide between fighting for their futures and running for their lives.

After accidentally killing a girl while driving home late one night, James Cohen feels like he is being railroaded into a guilty verdict by a district attorney with political aspirations and a tough-on-crime judge. Feeling trapped and drowning in guilt over the girl’s death, James sees his life slipping away.

Derek’s world is shaken when his grandfather dies and leaves him an inheritance of several million dollars – much of which he uses to help his family. While reading his grandfather’s journals Derek discovers a mistress and three illegitimate children who claim to have a copy of the will entitling them to his grandfather’s fortune. Willing to do anything to get the inheritance they sue Derek for the money - unfortunately it’s money Derek no longer has.

With their lives in chaos and their once bright futures rapidly dimming, the two friends decide to make an impromptu run for the border; however, their troubles follow in the form of a ruthless bail bondsman determined to get his money.

Complete at 74,700 words, HEADING SOUTH is a suspense/thriller focused on guilt and grief. Although this is my first fictional work, I have authored several academic articles for scholarly journals, field guides, and academic publications. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Cameron A. Snow
[contact info here]

Dakota388
Posts: 55
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Contact:

Re: HEADING SOUTH - Revised Query

Post by Dakota388 » December 27th, 2009, 9:50 pm

casnow wrote:Hey forum groupies, I've tried to slim this down a bit while still maintaining the essence of the story... any and all feedback is appreciated. I haven't read your previous attempts but here it goes.
Thanks in advance!
******************************************

Dear [agent],

Facing seemingly inescapable legal problems and disappearing options, best friends James and Derek have to decide between fighting for their futures and running for their lives. I'm big on showing instead of telling and I think your first sentence could do that a little better. Something like, "Best friends James and Derek fight for their future after being falsely accused of their grandmother's murder." or whatever but the point is a small detail here will make your opening less vague.

After accidentally killing a girl while driving home late one night, James Cohen feels like he is being railroaded into a guilty verdict by a district attorney with political aspirations and a tough-on-crime judge. Feeling trapped and drowning in guilt over the girl’s death, James sees his life slipping away. This paragraph is what I meant by the above statement. It's a great paragraph. I could see your query starting with this paragraph. But if you do that, your next paragraph might have to start with, "his best friend Derek's world is..."

Derek’s world is shaken when his grandfather dies and leaves him an inheritance of several million dollars –much of which he uses to help his family. While reading his grandfather’s journals Derek discovers a mistress and three illegitimate children who claim to have a copy of the will entitling them to his grandfather’s fortune. Willing to do anything to get the inheritance they sue Derek for the money - unfortunately it’s money Derek no longer has.

With their lives in chaos and their once bright why bright? futures rapidly dimming, the two friends decide to make an impromptu run for the border; Maybe a period instead. Just a thought. However, their troubles follow in the form of a ruthless bail bondsman determined to get his money.

Complete at 74,700 words, HEADING SOUTH is a suspense/thriller focused on guilt and grief. Although this is my first fictional work, I have authored several academic articles for scholarly journals, field guides, and academic publications. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Cameron A. Snow
[contact info here]
Just my amateur opinion. Use at your own peril. Good luck.
"The Light of Epertase"-A fantasy novel coming August 1st from Rhemalda Publishing

User avatar
MHubbs
Posts: 9
Joined: December 19th, 2009, 11:19 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL
Contact:

Re: Query for Debut novel

Post by MHubbs » December 28th, 2009, 10:53 am

OK here is my take. I'm new at this too, so take it for what it is worth!

Dear ---,

Facing seemingly inescapable legal problems and disappearing options two(delete) best friends, James Cohen and Derek Janson, must decide between fighting for their future and running for their freedom.

After accidentally killing a girl while driving home late one night, James Cohen feels like he is being railroaded into a guilty verdict by a district attorney with political aspirations and a tough-on-crime judge. Feeling trapped by a ruthless bail bondsman (how is one trapped by a bailbondsman?) and drowning in guilt over the girl’s death, James sees his life slipping away from him.

Derek Janson’s world is shaken when his grandfather dies and leaves him an inheritance of several million dollars – far more than anyone imagined the old man had. To ease tensions created by the inheritance, he gives much of it to his family who waste no time spending it. While reading his grandfather’s journals Derek discovers a mistress and three illegitimate children who claim to have a copy of the will naming them as the heirs to his grandfather’s fortune. Does thier will post date the will that Derek has? Willing to do anything to get the inheritance they sue Derek for the money - unfortunately for Derek, it’s money he no longer has.

HEADING SOUTH, complete at 81,500 words, is a work of contemporary literary fiction that explores family relationships, friendship, and loss. Although this is my first fictional work, I have authored several academic articles for scholarly journals, field guides, and academic publications. Thank you for your time and consideration.

I'm having trouble feeling any empathy for James Cohen. Regardless of the motivations of the DA and Judge, he is essentially jumping bail and fleeing prosecution. I also don't understand how fleeing to Mexico will help Derek's case. His estate is not safe from litigation by heading south. I guess I need more to make me sympathetic to the pair and want to read more.
"Archaeology is the science of digging a square hole, and the art of spinning a yarn from it."

Clio
Posts: 8
Joined: December 23rd, 2009, 11:53 am
Location: England.
Contact:

Re: Query for Debut novel

Post by Clio » December 29th, 2009, 12:53 pm

Hi,
A very concise Query. Well done on that! (Think I need to cut mine down now!)

My only thought after reading is...
unfortunately it’s money Derek no longer has.


Why does the MC no longer have the money? Would the reader/agent benefit from a little expansion here?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests