The Remnant: revised query

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elbowpatch
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The Remnant: revised query

Post by elbowpatch » July 20th, 2012, 8:09 am

Here's my latest version of the query letter. I thought I would start a new topic so readers will not have to go through all my earlier drafts. Thanks to RStearns, Cheeky, Lurking, Mark, and Hagen for their comments.

Overcome by a sense of the divine, Hoffman College student Jimmy Naylor steps out of the shower. Oblivious to his lack of clothes, Naylor climbs to the roof of his Strasbourg hotel and shouts prophecies at the tourists stumbling out of bars and bistros.

“Naked Prophecy in Strasbourg”

The headline rouses the Portly Man from his lethargy, for naked prophecy was a mark of the Anabaptists of Munster, a radical sect who seized control of the city and established community of property, forced polygamy, and a messianic monarchy bolstered by mystic rituals, theatrical executions, and, of course, naked prophecy. Historians claim that the Anabaptists of Munster were all killed in the 1530s, but the Portly Man knows that the myth that some Munsterites escaped and have been trying to provoke Armageddon is true. As a Seeker, he must find and stop them or else the world may witness another cataclysm like the Thirty Years War.

Since World War II, the Seekers have not found a trace of the Remnant, as the Munsterites call themselves. Now that he has a solid lead, the Portly Man uses every tool at his disposal to investigate Hoffman College, even when his fellow Seekers start to disappear.

One unwitting tool is Prof. Ben Israel, a freshly minted Ph. D. who studies the myth of the Remnant and who just began teaching, not so coincidentally, at Hoffman College. The strange goings on at Hoffman--which include cow kidnappings, group hallucinations, and the discovery of putrefying limbs--baffle the young academic until the Seekers try to recruit him.

Even after the Seekers approach him, Ben has trouble accepting that a small college in North Carolina is the secret hideout of the Remnant, if they even exist. Despite Ben’s disbelief and his self-realization that he would make an abysmal spy, he agrees to gather intelligence for the Seekers, but not without a dark foreboding that spying on the fanatics who had invented the firing squad will not end well.

THE REMNANT is an 82,000 word work of historical fiction that intertwines events in the 1530s and the recent present.

Mark.W.Carson
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Re: The Remnant: revised query

Post by Mark.W.Carson » July 20th, 2012, 1:35 pm

Elbow,

You're making this read too much like a page in your book. A query needs to be short, concise, give the pertinent facts and that's it. Who is this about, what is the topic and inciting incident/conflict, and the antagonist(s) should be the central focus. Don't get lost in too much detail.

This could be your first line:

Since World War II, the Seekers have not found a trace of the Remnant -- then go into what the Remnant is. You have to tease it in there and hook them with it. You're trying to catch a fish, not feed them.

chounzet
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Re: The Remnant: revised query

Post by chounzet » July 20th, 2012, 6:22 pm

I definitely want to read this! I agree with Mark, it is a little too long. His idea for a starting line is a great jumping off point.

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Shipple
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Re: The Remnant: revised query

Post by Shipple » July 23rd, 2012, 4:58 pm

I thought it was a pretty good query, but here are the things that struck me about it:

I completely agree that this could stand to be pared down more. Also, using phrases like "self-realization" and "dark foreboding" sound a bit melodramatic. Make the actions and story dramatic, not the word choice!

The newspaper headline really stands out all by itself and until you get to the next paragraph, it's actually a bit confusing. Obviously just reading on tells you what it is, but it does seem a bit odd out there all by itself.

I find it rather odd that you refer to one character just as the "Portly Man." The Fat Man's been done, and while I really enjoy some Hitchcock, he isn't exactly current. But that, of course, is entirely up to you.

You also throw in a LOT of terminology. I mean, you explain most of it pretty well, but it's a LOT and it can get a bit confusing, especially if you were an agent just skimming over the queries in your inbox. If there's any way you can not mention some of it in your query, I'd try to do that.

I like the way you introduce the person who is giving prophesies. I hope he's either a main character or one of them. If he isn't, you might wish to introduce the main character earlier.

Also, you might want to mention that your novel is "complete" at 82,000 words. Just a suggestion,
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
Me: http://sarahhipple.blogspot.com/ and http://shipple.tumblr.com/

hagenpiper
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Re: The Remnant: revised query

Post by hagenpiper » July 24th, 2012, 9:19 am

elbowpatch wrote:Here's my latest version of the query letter. I thought I would start a new topic so readers will not have to go through all my earlier drafts. Thanks to RStearns, Cheeky, Lurking, Mark, and Hagen for their comments.

Overcome by a sense of the divine, Hoffman College student Jimmy Naylor steps out of the shower. Oblivious to his lack of clothes, Naylor climbs to the roof of his Strasbourg hotel and shouts prophecies at the tourists stumbling out of bars and bistros.

“Naked Prophecy in Strasbourg”

The headline rouses the Portly Man from his lethargy, for naked prophecy was a mark of the Anabaptists of Munster, a radical sect who seized control of the city and established community of property, forced polygamy, and a messianic monarchy bolstered by mystic rituals, theatrical executions, and, of course, naked prophecy. Historians claim that the Anabaptists of Munster were all killed in the 1530s, but the Portly Man knows that the myth that some Munsterites escaped and have been trying to provoke Armageddon is true. As a Seeker, he must find and stop them or else the world may witness another cataclysm like the Thirty Years War.

Since World War II, the Seekers have not found a trace of the Remnant, as the Munsterites call themselves. Now that he has a solid lead, the Portly Man uses every tool at his disposal to investigate Hoffman College, even when his fellow Seekers start to disappear.

One unwitting tool is Prof. Ben Israel, a freshly minted Ph. D. who studies the myth of the Remnant and who just began teaching, not so coincidentally, at Hoffman College. The strange goings on at Hoffman--which include cow kidnappings, group hallucinations, and the discovery of putrefying limbs--baffle the young academic until the Seekers try to recruit him.

Even after the Seekers approach him, Ben has trouble accepting that a small college in North Carolina is the secret hideout of the Remnant, if they even exist. Despite Ben’s disbelief and his self-realization that he would make an abysmal spy, he agrees to gather intelligence for the Seekers, but not without a dark foreboding that spying on the fanatics who had invented the firing squad will not end well.

THE REMNANT is an 82,000 word work of historical fiction that intertwines events in the 1530s and the recent present.
Too much info. The agent might wonder if your novel reads the same way.
Try reducing this by 100 words. Give the agent just enough to get the idea.

elbowpatch
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Re: The Remnant: revised query

Post by elbowpatch » July 26th, 2012, 9:56 am

Thanks for the advice.

Mark.W.Carson
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Re: The Remnant: revised query

Post by Mark.W.Carson » July 26th, 2012, 10:07 am

Also, this is still reading a bit like a synopsis, rather than a brief description of the conflict and just a taste of the story.

suef
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Re: The Remnant: revised query

Post by suef » August 3rd, 2012, 10:42 pm

Hi! Let's take a look:
Overcome by a sense of the divine, Hoffman College student Jimmy Naylor steps out of the shower. Oblivious to his lack of clothes, Naylor climbs to the roof of his Strasbourg hotel and shouts prophecies at the tourists stumbling out of bars and bistros.

“Naked Prophecy in Strasbourg” The hook needs to be stronger-I personally like this line and think it could be combined with a shortened version of paragraph one.

The headline rouses the Portly Man from his lethargy, for naked prophecy was a mark of the Anabaptists of Munster, a radical sect who seized control of the city and established community of property, forced polygamy, and a messianic monarchy bolstered by mystic rituals, theatrical executions, and, of course, naked prophecy.Woa-heavy stuff. I like the words, but maybe too many m's? Historians claim that the Anabaptists of Munster were all killed in the 1530s, but the Portly Man knows that the myth that some Munsterites escaped and have been trying to provoke Armageddon is true. As a Seeker, he must find and stop them or else the world may witness another cataclysm like the Thirty Years War.Who is this portly man? Is he the main character or is the guy in paragraph one? I thought the guy in paragraph one since he is named...hmm...

Since World War II, the Seekers have not found a trace of the Remnant, as the Munsterites call themselves. Now that he has a solid lead, the Portly Man uses every tool at his disposal to investigate Hoffman College, even when his fellow Seekers start to disappear. What tools does he use? Maybe just say the tools like the next paragraph.

One unwitting tool is Prof. Ben Israel, a freshly minted Ph. D. who studies the myth of the Remnant and who just began teaching, not so coincidentally, at Hoffman College. The strange goings on at Hoffman--which include cow kidnappings, group hallucinations, and the discovery of putrefying limbs--baffle the young academic until the Seekers try to recruit him.

Even after the Seekers approach him, Ben has trouble accepting that a small college in North Carolina is the secret hideout of the Remnant, if they even exist. Despite Ben’s disbelief and his self-realization that he would make an abysmal spy, he agrees to gather intelligence for the Seekers, but not without a dark foreboding that spying on the fanatics who had invented the firing squad will not end well.Is Ben the main character?

THE REMNANT is an 82,000 word work of historical fiction that intertwines events in the 1530s and the recent present.elbowpatch

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Private message TopThe idea behind this story is fantastic, but I'm left a bit confused about who I should care about... Try thinking in terms of 250 words max, and hint at actions in the first 20 pages for your query. You have a good start here! Good luck!

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