Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

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atdeluca
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Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by atdeluca » July 22nd, 2010, 8:52 am

UPDATE: NEW EDITS

Hey gang! Take a look :) PS: Former marketing student here so the end bit might be a little unconventional but in the 2010 market I thought it would be relevant. I mean agent's are looking for someone who can help them make money, right?


----
[AGENT],

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.

For reasons unknown, his early childhood is inexplicably forgotten. Thankfully, his rest of his life has been completely satisfactory. His obsessive compulsive disorder is in check, his job is adequate, and his adoptive family is loving.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking on the door. Nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery as a mistake or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.

Driven by an unsatisfied curiosity, Nicholas decides to hit the road with little more than an atlas to show him the way.

Without a car of his own, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can speak to animals (he cannot). Together they set off on what unexpectedly evolves into a cross country search for answers, crossing paths with a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they search for answers about his mysterious past.

The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words.

My previous independent novel, [TITLE] (PUBLISHER 2009), is a 2010 New England Book Award nominee and I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig as well as numerous blogs. Additionally I am 21, ambitious, online, and marketable. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at www.WEBSITE.com. Upon request, I am prepared to provide the complete manuscript.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.
Last edited by atdeluca on July 22nd, 2010, 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by thewhipslip » July 22nd, 2010, 9:43 am

atdeluca wrote:----

Dear [AGENT],

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life. Great hook.

Thankfully, the rest of his life is completely satisfactory. Now you lost me. Explain that he can't remember five years of his life, and what five years. Childhood? Adulthood?His obsessive compulsive disorder is in check, his job is adequate, and his family is supportive. Yes, for Nicholas Pierce, life is just fine, thank you very much. I would cut this last sentence to help your word count.

Fate, however, doesn't think he should get off so easily. Cut. Doesn't add anything. Keep the word count as low as possible.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking on the door Did someone actually knock when they left the package?. Nothing but a locked box and cryptic note, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery as a mistake or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void. What's in the cryptic note? Be specific there. Make me care too. I can assume it's about his other family - but what about them?

In a most uncharacteristic turn of events, Nicholas decides to hit the road with little more than an iPod and atlas to show him the way. Again, WHY? What's in that note? What's compelling him to do this if it's "uncharacteristic"?

Without a car of his own, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can speak to animals (he cannot) If he's got a supportive family, why does he have to borrow his friend's car?. Together they set off on what unexpectedly evolves into a cross country search for answers, crossing paths with a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they search for answers about his mysterious past.

The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words.

My debut novel, [PREVIOUS NOVEL], is a 2010 [REGION OF US] Book Award nominee and I have written for [MAGAZINE] as well as numerous blogs Agents will want to know who published your first book.. Additionally I am 21, ambitious, online, and marketable I don't think they care. Stick with the query.. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at www.[WEBSITE].com. Upon request, I am prepared to provide the complete manuscript. For word count's sake, you could cut this last sentence. They know (and hope) that it's a complete novel, and obviously you want to send it to them.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

I've read a couple of agents who don't like the "I look forward to hearing from you". It sets a precedent that they have a time limit and assumes that they will want to contact you, so you might want to cut.


'life can be ordinary. blogs don't have to be.'

check it out:
elenasolodow.blogspot.com
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by atdeluca » July 22nd, 2010, 10:42 am

OK, I've made some edits you can see above.

Some notes / questions

My last book was published by a company I'm involved with that actually does online content primarily but we delved into print for my book. So it's not Lulu self published, but not traditionally published either. I wouldn't include it, but is it okay since it was nominated for an award and received some press? Is the way I described it acceptable?

I'm including the marketability thing because, well, it counts in 2010. Yeah, I know it might piss of some agents, but an all American good looking 21 year old guy who is writing (instead of doing keg stands) and has a good online presence does actually sell better (and the agent wants to make money right?). I don't say this just out of my own assumption, I've actually done case studies on it.

That being said, is there a way to say "I can handle on camera interviews, have people who follow me online, and am not-bad-looking" without sounding like a d-bag? I don't want to sound like a d-bag.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by Quill » July 22nd, 2010, 11:11 am

atdeluca wrote:
Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.

For reasons unknown, his early childhood is inexplicably forgotten. Thankfully, his rest of his life has been completely satisfactory. His obsessive compulsive disorder is in check, his job is adequate, and his adoptive family is loving.
All of this can probably be cut. If kept, omit "inexplicably" as redundant to "for reasons unknown", and omit "Thankfully" and "completely" as these two adverbs are doing little work and aren't putting your best literary foot forward so early in the query.
When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking on the door. Nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery as a mistake or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.
This is a pretty good beginning. You might need to work in a word or two from the above omitted section to clarify, but possibly not.
Driven by an unsatisfied curiosity, Nicholas decides to hit the road with little more than an atlas to show him the way.
Omit "unsatisfied" as largely redundant to "curiosity".

"Hit the road" is such a cliche, but it kinda works, with "Driven" heading the sentence, and the car issue following.

Also, omit "decides to" which is undramatic. Skip the deciding and have him just "hit the road".

Without a car of his own,
Omit "of his own" as redundant to "without a car".
Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can speak to animals (he cannot).
Normally this sort of aside "(he cannot)" doesn't work but here I think it lends color and charm. Only thing is, anyone can speak to animals. Don't you mean converse with animals?
Together they set off on what unexpectedly evolves
Omit "unexpectantly" as it does little lifting and would appear to be part and parcel with "evolves" and "hits the road"
into a cross country search for answers, crossing paths with a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way.
This sort of summary seems bland. Terms like "search for answers" "crossing paths" and "diverse collection of individuals" slow the road trip to a crawl.
From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they search for answers about his mysterious past.
This sentence contains more color, but doesn't give us much of a glimpse into your book. Better would be to give one or two specific examples of what happens.

Also, best not to repeat the uneventful phrase "search for answers".
The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words.
This is short for a mainstream novel.
My previous independent novel, [TITLE] (PUBLISHER 2009), is a 2010 New England Book Award nominee and I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig
Don't know what the Weekly Dig is, (If it is circulation under 5,000, don't mention it) but this sounds pretty good.
as well as numerous blogs. Additionally I am 21, ambitious, online, and marketable. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at http://www.WEBSITE.com. Upon request, I am prepared to provide the complete manuscript.
Omit all of this, as it will hurt rather than help your chances. List your website in your contact info (btw the link doesn't seem to work). Do not state that you are prepared to send ms. as this is understood by dint of you querying.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by Quill » July 22nd, 2010, 11:15 am

Also, please don't re-edit your original in this thread. Simply post a new one in line.

I'm not sure whether I responded to your original or to the edited. Besides, it's good to be able to follow the progression linearly.

Thanks!

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by Emily J » July 22nd, 2010, 11:20 am

atdeluca wrote:UPDATE: NEW EDITS

Hey gang! Take a look :) PS: Former marketing student here so the end bit might be a little unconventional but in the 2010 market I thought it would be relevant. I mean agent's are looking for someone who can help them make money, right?


----
[AGENT],

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life. i like this opening line, it's a good hook, even though I must admit that amnesia irks me as being a much abused and overused plot contrivance, but that's not to say new & unique things can't be written about it

For reasons unknown, his early childhood is inexplicably forgotten. not bad but it feels a bit redundant, if it's inexplicable, well then of course the reasons are unknown, i would say one or the other but not both Thankfully, his "the" here would read betterrest of his life has been completely satisfactory. His obsessive compulsive disorder is in check, his job is adequate, and his adoptive family is loving.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking on the door. Nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, i think these two clauses could be linked better, feels a bit awkward Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery as a mistake or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void. "mind's void" feels too writerly sometimes it's better to repeat a word than sound forced

Driven by an unsatisfied unsatisfied feels unnecessary curiosity, Nicholas decides to hit the road with little more than an atlas to show him the way.

Without a car of his own, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can speak to animals (he cannot). Together they set off on what unexpectedly why unexpectedly? he brings an atlas not a road map and is looking for his biological family? seems he was expecting this after all evolves into a cross country cross-country maybe? search for answers, crossing paths with a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they search for answers about his mysterious past.

The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce generally I believe the practice is to capitalize the title is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words. don't know too much about mainstream novels but 60,000 seems a bit short

My previous independent novel, [TITLE] (PUBLISHER 2009), is a 2010 New England Book Award nominee and I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig as well as numerous blogs. Additionally I am 21, ambitious, online, and marketable. i might rephrase this to say that you have an online presence, and leave out age and ambitiousness, also, if you have a degree in marketing i think that could be mentioned, generally it's wise to leave out unnecessary info but the marketing degree could be helpful and show you are market savy in a more factual understated way You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at http://www.WEBSITE.com. Upon request, I am prepared to provide the complete manuscript.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.
This reads pretty well. I had a few minor edits/suggestions. However, I don't think you should mention anything about being "camera ready" or a physical description or anything like that. You asked if there was a way to imply that without sounding like a d-bag and I guess my answer is no, there isn't a way. I think it would come across as pushy and could potentially put off agents. The goal here is just to get an agent to ask for pages, then, since the pages will be so well polished and perfect in every way (hint: editing is tres important) they will leap at the chance to offer rep. After that, once you have secured an agent you can mention any marketing ideas and being camera ready and all that. But it feels like jumping the gun in the query, like declaring your undying love for someone on a first date over coffee. No one wants mace to the face.
Of course, I am no expert, this is just a suggestion, feel free to take it or leave it.
Best of luck-

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by atdeluca » July 22nd, 2010, 11:39 am

WOW Quill & Emily, thanks for all the great advice. :)
Emily, your comments about the marketability are superb! I think I'll take your advice :) :) :)

As for 60,000 words: I know it is on the short side, but The 25th Hour by David Benioff was just barely over 57,000 and it was made into a movie!

NEW VERSION

---

Dear AGENT,

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking at the door. Nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery as a mistake or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.

Driven by curiosity, Nicholas decides to hit the road with little more than an atlas to show him the way.

Without a car, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can converse with animals (he cannot). Together they set off on what evolves into a cross country search for his biological parents, stumbling upon a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen that leave them with little more than the clothes on their backs, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they journey to uncover his mysterious past.

THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF NICHOLAS PIERCE is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words.

My previous independent novel, TITLE (PUBLISHER 2009), is a 2010 New England Book Award nominee and I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig as well as numerous blogs. I am a candidate for a 2011 B.S. in Marketing from Northeastern University. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at WEBSITE.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by Penang » July 22nd, 2010, 1:41 pm

atdeluca wrote:Dear AGENT,

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.nice hook

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking at the doorwhere else would they knock?. With nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery as a mistakeWhy would he think it's a mistake? Was it not addressesed to him? I could see if he dismissed it out of distrust or lack of interest or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.

Driven by curiosity, Nicholas decides to hit the road with little more than an atlas to show him the way.Not exactly with just an atlas because in the next paragraph you say he brings his friend

Without a car, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can converse with animals (he cannot). Together they set off on what evolves into a cross country search for his biological parents, stumbling upon a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen that leave them with little more than the clothes on their backs, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they journey to uncover his mysterious past.

THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF NICHOLAS PIERCE is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words.This is a bit short for mainstream. It's fine to say there's work out there that is of similar length, but they are an exception not a rule. I don't think an agent would reject based on a slightly low word count but be prepared to have an agent suggest filling it out a bit more.

My previous independent novel, TITLE (PUBLISHER 2009), is a 2010 New England Book Award nominee Anyone can be nominated and anyone can nominate in this contest. It ONLY matters if you were a finalist or won. It's like saying you were a semi-finalist in the ABNA so were tons of other books and it doesn't mean anything unless you make it to the final round I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig as well as numerous blogsEveryone is a blogger now. Did you contribute once or are you a regular contributor? Is the Boston Weekly Dig a prestigious website or e-zine? Who exactly is reading it? Having looked at the site I'd hesitate to put it in a business letter to an agent. . I am a candidate for a 2011 B.S. in Marketing from Northeastern University.saying candidate makes it sound as if you've been selected and are going to win it. You are working towards your B.S in marketing at the Northeastern University. I can see including this because an agent would want to know that you are prepared to market yourself. That said your website better be really good if you're claiming to have knowledge of marketing. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at WEBSITE.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by atdeluca » July 22nd, 2010, 8:17 pm

New version!!!

Note: I left "candidate for B.S. in Marketing" because this is the academic and proper business term to use in professional communication (well at least according to the classes I've taken on resume writing and business communication).

--

Dear AGENT,

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking. With nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery out of distrust or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.

Driven by curiosity, Nicholas decides to hit the road.

Without a car, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can converse with animals (he cannot). Together they set off on what evolves into a cross country search for his biological parents, stumbling upon a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen that leave them with little more than the clothes on their backs, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they journey to uncover his mysterious past.

THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF NICHOLAS PIERCE is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words.

I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig and have contributed regularly to several high-traffic blogs. I am a candidate for a 2011 B.S. in Marketing from Northeastern University. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at WEBSITE.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by John Dillon » July 22nd, 2010, 8:40 pm

----
[AGENT],

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his childhood.

Thankfully, the rest of his life is complete. He has his obsessive compulsive disorder in check, he likes his job, and his adoptive family loves him.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, however, Nicholas' forgotten childhood begs him to answer the door. The package contains only two items: a locked box and a cryptic note. The note instructs Nicholas to ask his biological parents for the key to the box. Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery as a mistake or pursue his forgotten biological family and the mysterious cause of the hole in his mind.

Driven by curiosity, Nicholas hits the road with little more than an atlas to show him the way.


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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by John Dillon » July 23rd, 2010, 1:37 pm

atdeluca wrote:What John?!
I took a stab at rewriting the first half of your query, but then I ran out of steam. Sorry if it wasn't more helpful. I'm still pretty new at this.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by BRSloan » July 23rd, 2010, 2:35 pm

atdeluca wrote:New version!!!
Dear AGENT,

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' I know this is technically correct for the possessive, but you might consider "Nicholas's". I honestly don't know which agents would prefer, but it is easier to read with the "s", and they usually like easy. Also, that is what Strunk & White recommend, but I don't know if they've been deposed as gods yet or not.forgotten childhood comes knocking. With nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery out of distrust or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.

Driven by curiosity, Nicholas decides to hit the road. It seems unclear to me why this would necessitate a road trip. Did the box come from some far off place, or did he just grow up somewhere else?

Without a car, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local cafe who claims he can converse with animals (he cannot). Haha, I like this. Together they set off on what evolves into a cross country search for his biological parents, stumbling upon a diverse collection of individuals that lead them along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a devout voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen that leave them with little more than the clothes on their backs, Nicholas and company get a glimpse of America normally left unseen as they journey to uncover his mysterious past.

THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF NICHOLAS PIERCE is a mainstream novel of 60,000 words.

I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig and have contributed regularly to several high-traffic blogs. I am a candidate for a 2011 B.S. in Marketing from Northeastern University. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at WEBSITE.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.
Over all, it seems pretty good. I'd like some more information about his predicament (missing five years from his childhood? That's a pretty small gap to cast doubt on who your parents are.) but it is intriguing and sounds like a fun story.
-Ben (http://www.benthewriter.com)
Check out my blog/website. It has words...and pictures! Trust me, it's awesome.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by atdeluca » July 26th, 2010, 9:40 am

NEW VERSION!

Dear AGENT,

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step, Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking. With nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery out of distrust or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.

Driven by curiosity, Nicholas decides to drive to his birthplace in order to shed light on the life he can't remember.

Without a car, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local café who claims he can converse with animals (he cannot). Together they set off on what evolves into a cross country search for his biological parents, with Nicholas struggling to manage his obsessive compulsive disorder along the way. From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen that leave them with little more than the shirts on their backs, each new encounter brings the unusual companions one step closer to uncovering Nicholas' mysterious past.

THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF NICHOLAS PIERCE is a commercial novel of 60,000 words.

I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig (circulation: 40,000) and have contributed regularly to several high-traffic entertainment and corporate blogs. I am a candidate for a 2011 B.S. in Marketing from Northeastern University. You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at WEBSITE.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

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Re: Query - The Extraordinary Tale of Nicholas Pierce - Mainstrm

Post by Quill » July 26th, 2010, 10:59 am

atdeluca wrote:NEW VERSION!

Dear AGENT,

Nicholas Pierce is missing five years of his life.
I'm missing five of mine, too. I have very few memories of my first five years. Is there any way to make this special?

When an unexplained package shows up on his front step,
Are any packages ever explained? How about "a package with no return address" or something.

Nicholas' forgotten childhood comes knocking.
Good line.
With nothing but a locked box and cryptic note that suggests he ask his true parents for the key, Nicholas must decide whether to dismiss the delivery out of distrust or pursue his forgotten biological family and the unknown cause of his mind's void.
Seems convoluted. With nothing but a delivery he must decide whether to dismiss the delivery?

"With nothing but a locked box and cryptic note" seems awkward. Presumably he has clothes, a toothbrush, a bit of money in the bank... Not nothing.

The ideas, which are good, could be more smoothly presented here. The phrase "whether to dismiss out of distrust" especially sticks out. Also, "the unknown cause of his mind's void." A little too cerebral.
Driven by curiosity, Nicholas decides to drive to his birthplace in order to shed light on the life he can't remember.
Also awkward: Driven, he decides to drive.

Also, "in order to shed light" needs to be punched up. "In order to" is considered by some a junk phrase.

"Drive to his birthplace to shed light" seems a bit clunky, driving to shed light; I think you can write this more elegantly.
Without a car, Nicholas turns to his only friend, an eccentric barista at the local café who claims he can converse with animals (he cannot). Together they set off on what evolves into a cross country search for his biological parents,
Omit "biological" to avoid repeating this word, and because we already know which parents he seeks.
with Nicholas struggling to manage his obsessive compulsive disorder along the way.
Right where you need some punch we read "manage his obsessive compulsive disorder" which is too clinical to give us the info we need to color this journey. I, for one, cannot put an image to this, and I want/need to do that.
From the cat lady with an unfortunate allergy, to a voodoo practitioner, to surprisingly holy highwaymen that leave them with little more than the shirts on their backs,
Highwaymen seems an anachronistic term for a contemporary-set novel.
each new encounter brings the unusual companions one step closer to uncovering Nicholas' mysterious past.
Okay, you tell us that each of the above encounters brings them closer, but your descriptions do not allude to this. The highwaymen incident would even seem to lead them away from it. So there's a disconnect for me.

It would be like saying a bickering family on a road trip visited Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone Park, and the Grand Canyon, and each stop brought them closer together as a family; there's nothing intrinsic in those places to lead me to that, hence to believe what you say. It skips over info that seems vital, to me.

Is there any way to show it, by giving us a bit more detail?
THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF NICHOLAS PIERCE is a commercial novel of 60,000 words.

I have written for Boston's Weekly Dig (circulation: 40,000) and have contributed regularly to several high-traffic entertainment and corporate blogs. I am a candidate for a 2011 B.S. in Marketing from Northeastern University.
A marketing B.S. is not criteria for writing a novel, so I would omit that.
You can read about my adventures delving into the world of writing at WEBSITE.
It is not a good idea within the body of a query to direct an agent to another site, and this one isn't even linked. Is it your blog? Best to attach resume-type links to your boilerplate of contact info.
Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.
Good.

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