Query: The Enemy Within - Final Take, Page 3

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Brendanjparedes
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within (Take 2 or maybe 3)

Post by Brendanjparedes » August 29th, 2010, 3:22 pm

Better. I must have missed the part about marrying Caufield before. That makes the rest of it much clearer. "Hiding" - yes. Changes at the end also work better. The first sentence or two still have my sleep addled brain a little twitchy, but that might be due more to forgetting to pick up coffee at the store last night.

mfreivald
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within (Take 2 or maybe 3)

Post by mfreivald » August 29th, 2010, 3:50 pm

I think you're on the right track, but you need to focus the tension some.

My perception is that your story's tension follows this line:

Julienne is a motivated spy.
She is discovered and in danger of capture, so she returns to safety. (tension lowers)
A man marries her to expose her to capture.
She escapes to another place of safety. (tension falls)
She falls in love.
Husband finds her and tries to woo her for real this time?
There's some kind of deadly choice. (false tension--I am not hooked into anything deadly at this point).

Looking at it this way, I think you should focus on minimizing the places where the tension is deflated, and maximizing the collision of tension between spy, new lover, and false husband at the end.

Here's my shot at it:
Nineteen-year-old Julienne Dalton goes from southern belle to Confederate spy to avenge her father’s murder by Union soldiers. A daring escapade forces her to flee from the Union Secret Service to the protection of her horse farm in Frankfort, Kentucky. Alexander Caulfield, a Union spy, pursues her, seduces her, and goes so far as to marry her to lure her away and into the hands of the Union.

Julienne barely escapes and finds peace in a small village in England, where she tries to rebuild her life. Her attempts to find a normal life are disrupted by a complicated relationship with and English lord and by the appearance again of Alex, who now swears his love for her has changed his intentions. Longing for home, captivated by aristocracy, and lovesick for the man who betrayed her, Julienne’s decision will lead to mortal consequences.


Obviously still needs work, and there are probably a number of misperceptions to be corrected. I still think the danger/death thing at the end is too vague. (Due to my ignorance, I was unable to maximize that collision of spy, new love, and false husband.) It's leaves with a sense of trumped up warnings of danger rather than real danger, so I would add something specific and tangible there.

Best of luck.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within (Take 2 or maybe 3)

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 29th, 2010, 4:06 pm

Wow that's really good! I like!

You're very right...there are a lot of misperceptions that I need to focus on. It is a very layered story that could easily blow the query out of the water. For one, Alex doesn't know that he's marrying his target. Julienne has been masquerading as a man, and so Alex thinks he's after a guy. Julienne's "handler" ends up betraying her to the Union, but not before warning her that Alex is on the hunt for her (or rather her alias). They are genuinely in love when they marry, despite the hastiness.

The other guy comes on the scene later in the novel. And while Julienne loves him as a friend, she's still in love with Alex. I was prepared to let the guy off the hook gently, but then decided to rachet up the suspense by making him have a few loose screws. Thus when Alex returns, he doesn't exactly like having his "territory" poached. Thus the deadly consequences. :-)

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Re: Query: The Enemy Within (Take 2 or maybe 3)

Post by Write2Me » August 29th, 2010, 6:02 pm

this query definitely sparks interest, but as a caveat, I do like history. I'll add my two cents.


Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:

Para 1: maybe link sentence one and two, for flow purposes. Maybe it''s just me but it seems a bit banal that goal is to restore the farmhouse, only b/c there's no emotional tug to it. Maybe instead she's gathering intel b/c she wants to preserve the southern way of life, restoring her father's honor, etc, since this is set during the civil war. I think emotionally she would be very invested in seeing the south secede, so why not use what history has already given you? Besides that i like it.

Para 2: Forced into retirement makes it less exciting. As previous poster said, used hiding. Spies on the run or hiding is always cool. Maybe instead of 'he isnt what he claimed to be,' b/c its used a lot...why not something like "Julienne's attraction to Alex is instant and undeniable. After a hasty marriage, she discovers that underneath the veneer of a sophisticated businessman, he's an entirely different person. Alex works for the union (union spy? like spy vs. spy?) and he's been sent to capture her.

Para 3. Few suggestions. I just think you could make it sound more like a historical jason bourne with a female protagonist. "On the run, Julienne seeks refuge from the war in a small English village. She tries to forget about the husband who betrayed her, hoping to settle into a life of obscurity, where she will never be found. Things become complicated when a friendly relationship with an English lord becomes serious, and Julienne must choose between joining England's aristocracy, and her dream of one day returning to Kentucky. When Alex finally tracks her down, her decision will spark deadly consequences."

just some suggestions. I like the concept, and i think your present query is something you have to modify, but not tear down and start over.

mfreivald
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within (Take 2 or maybe 3)

Post by mfreivald » August 29th, 2010, 7:45 pm

Ah. The spy unknowingly falling in love with his target does make it more challenging, but it certainly makes it more interesting.

Nineteen-year-old Julienne Dalton goes from southern belle to Confederate spy to avenge her father’s murder by Union soldiers. Her exploits become legendary--as a man, her preferred disguise. A daring escapade forces her to flee from the Union Secret Service to the protection of her horse farm in Frankfort, Kentucky. Alexander Caulfield, a Union spy, pursues the notorious spy with the intention of capturing the man.

Julienne meets him, and they fall in love, neither knowing the other's secret vocations. After they marry, Julienne learns he is a Union spy assigned to capture her. She is shattered and escapes to a small village in England, where she tries to rebuild her life. Her attempts to find a normal life are disrupted by a complicated relationship with an English lord. Her worlds clash when Alex finds her and swears his love supersedes his commitments to the Union, and he is determined to have her.


It's a lot more clunky now since I'm trying to stitch things together (polish and massage; massage and polish; polish and massage; massage and polish), but I think it's a start. I think it needs to have a specific and tangible issue that shows us there is a collision between lord and Union man coming, so you can leave off with good solid punch of tension.

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Re: Query: The Enemy Within (Take 2 or maybe 3)

Post by Jaligard » September 7th, 2010, 5:54 pm

You're getting great comments that I cannot really add much to. I do like your original opening sentence better.

Something struck me in the opening query that makes me wonder at your novel. If it begins in 1863, does it reach 1865 before the Union Secret Service is interested in your heroine? That's when the Secret Service was formed (five days after the war officially ended).

The query, in my opinion, is looking good. I want to read the book.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within (Take 2 or maybe 3)

Post by oldhousejunkie » September 8th, 2010, 3:07 pm

Jaligard,

I actually use the term "war department" in the novel. I guess I was using "Union Secret Service" as a way to not confuse a reader who didn't know the ins and outs of Civil War history. I might end up changing it though, before I send it out.

Thanks for your encouragement.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within - Final Take

Post by oldhousejunkie » September 8th, 2010, 3:13 pm

After hashing this out off the board, I think I've got my final edit. I just thought I would update everyone---you have all been so kind with comments. I certainly appreciate the help!


Dear Agent:

When her father is murdered by Union soldiers in 1862 Kentucky, nineteen-year-old Julienne Dalton is left with a ruined horse farm and a heart for vengeance. Disguising herself as a man, she joins a ring of Confederate agents bent on ousting Union forces from the state. Her daring forays slake her thirst for revenge, but her main consolation remains her dream of restoring the family's thoroughbred business.

The Union Secret Service places a price on her head, and Julienne's contacts order her to the safety of Frankfort, where she finds city life tedious. Until she meets charming stranger Alexander Caulfield. She is instantly drawn to him, not realizing that he has been charged with apprehending her alias.

Julienne consents to marry Alex after a whirlwind courtship. Then she discovers that her husband is in the employ of the Union government. She flees the country, eventually settling in a small English village. There Julienne lays plans to rebuild her family’s breeding stock, and with the help of a local English lord, begins to assemble a stable of fine horses. Friendship turns to romance. Julienne is torn by thoughts of letting her love for Alex die and giving up her dream of returning to her beloved home. But Alex unexpectedly arrives in the village and a battle for Julienne’s affections ensues. When the dust clears, someone will be dead.

THE ENEMY WITHIN is a historical fiction and is complete at 100,000 words. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

OHJ
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chris13
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within - Final Take, Page 3

Post by chris13 » September 8th, 2010, 4:56 pm

Loving it. Great improvements.

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Quill
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within - Final Take, Page 3

Post by Quill » September 8th, 2010, 10:05 pm

I'm almost thinking the last line "When the dust clears..." should have its own paragraph. Being in a different tense, and helping balance the long with the short paragraphs.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query: The Enemy Within - Final Take, Page 3

Post by oldhousejunkie » September 9th, 2010, 10:10 am

Quill wrote:I'm almost thinking the last line "When the dust clears..." should have its own paragraph. Being in a different tense, and helping balance the long with the short paragraphs.
I agree. It adds a lovely sense of occasion.... :-)

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