The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

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Tycoon
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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 2nd try

Post by Tycoon » February 4th, 2010, 11:51 am

Let me take a stab at it!

Ghost in the Machine wrote:Hi All,

Yoshima and Justine: Thank you for your insightful comments. I used every one and polished off the 2nd version to my satisfaction.

However, version two is almost 300 words long and for some agents, that won’t work. Below is a shorter version (238 words) in which I considered Kirril’s observations. On one hand, I would like to ditch the anthrax part, but on the other, it contains multipurpose information: First, it establishes Jodie’s ESP. That’s big. Second, it illustrates why the FBI would bother to watch Jodie. A major event, like the anthrax incident, gives credence to her surveillance. Third, it illustrates how Jodie’s ability works—she does something criminal and a life is saved. This puts more weight behind my ending line so I can finish with a stronger punch.

Note: I am hesitant to put Melody's name in the first paragraph, especially now that the FBI agent is named. I don't want to give the literary agent 'name overload' in the first two sentences.

Dear Agent X,

When twenty-year-old college student Jodie Belay kidnaps three-year-old Melody Millera young girl, FBI agent Joel DeAngelis lets allows it to happen. He believesbelieving Jodie is saving the three-year-old’s child's life.

Jodie possesses an odd form of ESP. Her FBI surveillance started two years ago, after she purposefully smashed into another car at the post office. The other driver fled, abandoning several anthrax-laden envelopes on his passenger seat. For Jodie, misbehavior comes with a life-saving reward.

The kidnapping of young Melody Miller isn’t the only concern for DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—the agents who a clandestine FBI sub-division that secretly monitor people with agents who possess the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. Upon discovering several hundred pounds of a potent explosive has vanished from the chemical company where Melody’s father works, the Guardian Project takes notice. But after Melody’s father dies in a suspicious car bombing - the same car that Jodie kidnapped Melody from - DeAngelis expects Jodie to take return Melody the child home. Melody’s kidnapping kept the child out of her father’s car the day it exploded; Jodie’s duty is fulfilled. Jodie however, doesn't do what DeAngelis expects.

With Jodie’s failure to return Melody, her decision polarizes the Guardian Project. DeAngelis begs Begging his superiors for patience, DeAngelis believing believes Jodie’s ESP will lead them to the missing explosives. DeAngelis’s opinion has clout. Before he joined the FBI, he was the first extraordinary person watched under the Guardian Project. His However, DeAngelis' long-time rival nemesis within the Guardian Project thinks otherwise and demands that Jodie be arrested. with the sobering His compelling argument: If it takes a kidnapping to save a child, what crime will Jodie commit to stop a major bombing?

The thriller, A GLASS HALF FULL, is complete at 106,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

And thanks to you, fab forum friends. GIT'M

My opinions:
paragraph 1: I think you are safe with 3 names in your hook as long as its very concise.
Paragraph 2: I think its good.
paragraph 3: I think you need to better tie in that the Guardian Project is connected to the FBI- hence my suggestion. Also, I knew you were trying to say that Jodie saved the child from her fathers car before it exploded, but your wording was confusing to me, I think I made it more lucid for you.
Paragraph 4: took out some stuff in the middle that I felt was back story and irrelevent to the query and Made a few suggestions.

I really think your last sentence is awesome.

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JustineDell
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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 2nd try

Post by JustineDell » February 4th, 2010, 12:53 pm

Ghost in the Machine wrote:Hi All,

Dear Agent X,

When twenty-year-old college student Jodie Belay kidnaps a young girl, FBI agent Joel DeAngelis lets it happen. He believes Jodie is saving the three-year-old’s life. I think you could go either way with the girls name. It looks fine this way and you fit it in nicely below. I also like that you added her age.

Jodie possesses an odd form of ESP. Her FBI surveillance started two years ago, after she purposefully smashed into another car at the post office. The other driver fled, abandoning several anthrax-laden envelopes on his passenger seat. For Jodie, misbehavior comes with a life-saving reward.

The kidnapping of young Melody Miller isn’t the only concern for DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—the agents who secretly monitor people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. Several hundred pounds of a potent explosive have vanished from the chemical company where Melody’s father works. After Melody’s father dies in a suspicious car bombing, DeAngelis expects Jodie to take Melody home. Melody’s kidnapping kept the child out of her father’s car the day it exploded; Jodie’s duty is fulfilled. Hmmm...this paragraph had me scrunching my nose. I can't quite pinpoint where it went wacky for me...oh wait...yes I can ;-) I think I liked it better before you tweaked it like this. Now it's like a blur of info that, if I hadn't read the original, I would have a hard time fitting everything together. Does that make sense?

Here's my go at it:

DeAngelis's Guardian Project, agents who secretly monitor people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters, takes notice of Jodie's kidnapping of Melody Miller. It's discovered that several hundred pounds of potent explosives have vanished from the chemical company where Melody's father worked before he died in a car bomb. The same car bomb that Jodie rescued Melody from. Now, Jodie refuses to return Melody home, eventhough her duty has been filled. Crappy? You can do better than me! ;-)


Jodie’s failure to return Melody polarizes the Guardian Project. DeAngelis begs for patience, believing Jodie’s ESP will lead them to the missing explosives. DeAngelis’s opinion has clout. Before he joined the FBI, he was the first extraordinary person watched under the Guardian Project. His long-time rival demands Jodie’s arrest with the sobering argument: If it takes a kidnapping to save a child, what crime will Jodie commit to stop a major bombing?

The thriller, A GLASS HALF FULL, is complete at 106,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

And thanks to you, fab forum friends. GIT'M
LOVE LOVE LOVE everything but that third paragraph. It just doesn't pull me in like the others do. It's not as smooth and capturing like that others are. You have a wonderful way with words Ghost and if you can tweek this one paragraph...I think you have a winner!!!

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 8th, 2010, 11:19 am

Hi guys,

Thanks for all the input. That third paragraph was rough, especially the last lines. Here's my latest effort:

When college student Jodie Belay kidnaps a young girl, FBI agent Joel DeAngelis lets it happen. He believes Jodie is saving the three-year-old’s life.

Jodie possesses an odd form of ESP. Her FBI surveillance started two years ago, after she purposefully smashed into another car at the post office. The other driver fled, abandoning several anthrax-laden envelopes on his passenger seat. For Jodie, misbehavior precedes a life-saving event.

Jodie’s surveillance falls under the jurisdiction of DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—a FBI subdivision secretly monitoring people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. The kidnapping of young Melody Miller is not their only concern. Several hundred pounds of a potent explosive have vanished from the chemical company that employs Melody’s father. Melody’s kidnapping keeps the child from dying alongside her father in a horrific car bombing. Jodie’s duty is fulfilled; DeAngelis expects her to take the little girl home.

Instead, Jodie’s failure to return Melody polarizes the Guardian Project. DeAngelis begs his superiors for patience, believing Jodie’s ESP will lead them to the missing explosives. But his long-time nemesis demands Jodie’s arrest with the compelling argument: If it takes a kidnapping to save a child, what crime will Jodie commit to stop a major bombing?

The thriller, A GLASS HALF FULL, is complete at 106,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Ghost in the Machine

Now back to your queries! Evil cackling.

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Tycoon
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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by Tycoon » February 8th, 2010, 3:07 pm

I really like this query alot... only 1 thing confuses me and I hope to show you what I mean. This line...

Jodie’s surveillance falls under the jurisdiction of DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—a FBI subdivision secretly monitoring people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters.

is confusing so let me give you two examples to see if I can find which one you really mean.


Jodie’s surveillance falls under the jurisdiction of DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—a FBI subdivision secretly monitoring people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. This version I read as the FBI monitoring people... do the people they monitor have the uncanny ability to prevent disasters... or is it people who work within the agency that has the ability.. aka the agents?

Jodie’s surveillance falls under the jurisdiction of DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—a secret FBI subdivision that monitors people who possess the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. If you remember the Highlander TV program with Adrian Paul I compare your group to the Watchers in the show.

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 8th, 2010, 4:15 pm

Hi Tycoon,

Excellent question! The answer is yes to both in a funny way. DeAngelis was the first person to be watched by the Guardian Project before he joined the FBI. But I don't think I'll put that little nugget in the query since backstory is discouraged. So I need to clarify it is the people who are being watched by the FBI that are extraordinary.

Great pick-up. Thanks, Ghost

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by Tycoon » February 8th, 2010, 5:05 pm

Ghost in the Machine wrote:Hi Tycoon,

Excellent question! The answer is yes to both in a funny way. DeAngelis was the first person to be watched by the Guardian Project before he joined the FBI. But I don't think I'll put that little nugget in the query since backstory is discouraged. So I need to clarify it is the people who are being watched by the FBI that are extraordinary.

Great pick-up. Thanks, Ghost
One other little thing I caught on a second read I would change would be this line... Jodie’s duty is fulfilled; DeAngelis expects her to take the little girl home.

to the following...

With Jodie’s duty fulfilled; DeAngelis expects her to take the little girl home.

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by Serzen » February 8th, 2010, 6:42 pm

Ghost in the Machine wrote: When college student Jodie Belay kidnaps a young girl, FBI agent Joel DeAngelis lets it happen. He believes Jodie is saving the three-year-old’s life.

Jodie possesses an odd form of ESP. Her FBI surveillance started two years ago, after she purposefully purposely smashed into another car at the post office. The other driver fled, abandoning several anthrax-laden envelopes on his passenger seat. For Jodie, misbehavior precedes a life-saving event.

Jodie’s surveillance falls under the jurisdiction of DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—an FBI subdivision that secretly monitorings people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. The kidnapping of young Melody Miller is not their only concern. One might consider a colon here instead of a full stop. You're demonstrating a point. Several hundred pounds of a potent explosives have vanished from the chemical company that employs Melody’s father. Melody’s kidnapping keeps the child from dying alongside her father in a horrific car bombing. With Jodie’s duty is fulfilled;, DeAngelis expects her to take the little girl home.

Instead, Jodie’s failure to return Melody polarizes the Guardian Project. DeAngelis begs his superiors for patience, believing Jodie’s ESP will lead them to the missing explosives. But his long-time nemesis demands Jodie’s arrest with the Unsure whether I prefer 'this' to 'the' here. compelling argument: if it takes a kidnapping to save a child, what crime will Jodie commit to stop a major bombing?

The thriller, A GLASS HALF FULL, is complete at 106,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Good work, Ghost. Now the nitpicking. ;)

Unless you meant to say that her driving was 'full of determination', you probably want purposely, 'intentional'. Both words can MEAN the same thing, but they don't imply the same thing to the reader.

FBI is pronounced "eff-bee-eye", you need 'an' because it starts with a vowel sound. Monitors is less passive than monitoring. The bit about the colon in the middle can be a personal style choice. Up to you; it needs to fit your voice. All explosives are potent, no need to belabor the point. The Baddies aren't likely to steal the weak stuff. I prefer the way the final sentence reads with the 'with', especially since we're discussing DeAngelis' expectations. A semi-colon is for two independent clauses that are connected but may not be strong enough to stand on their own. You don't have that in this case, so a comma is appropriate.

Re: 'this' or 'the'...it depends on what reads best to you. After a colon you continue with lowercase (or uppercase if for a proper noun).

Hope you find something useful in this. Good work, again.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by JustineDell » February 8th, 2010, 7:15 pm

Alrighty Ghost, you asked for it. Long dramatic pause..................................
..................................................................................................
..................................................................................................
Ghost in the Machine wrote:
When college student Jodie Belay kidnaps a young girl, FBI agent Joel DeAngelis lets it happen. He believes Jodie is saving the three-year-old’s life. I know you left the girls name out in the this paragraph because you didn't want to name-drop so much at the beginning, but I just wanted to point out - I would like it better here.

Jodie possesses an odd form of ESP. Her FBI surveillance started two years ago, after she purposefully smashed into another car at the post office. The other driver fled, abandoning several anthrax-laden envelopes on his passenger seat. For Jodie, misbehavior precedes a life-saving event.

Jodie’s surveillance falls under the jurisdiction of DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—a FBI subdivision secretly monitoring people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. The kidnapping of young Melody Miller is not their only concern. Several hundred pounds of a potent explosive have vanished from the chemical company that employs Melody’s father. Melody’s kidnapping keeps the child from dying alongside her father in a horrific car bombing. Jodie’s duty is fulfilled; DeAngelis expects her to take the little girl home. I'm not crazy about this last sentence, it's a little jarring to me.

With Melody safe, DeAngleis expects Jodie to return her home.

Instead, Jodie’s failure to return Melody polarizes the Guardian Project. DeAngelis begs his superiors for patience, believing Jodie’s ESP will lead them to the missing explosives. But his long-time nemesis demands Jodie’s arrest with the compelling argument: If it takes a kidnapping to save a child, what crime will Jodie commit to stop a major bombing?

The thriller, A GLASS HALF FULL, is complete at 106,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I think you've just about nailed it. I like how you interlaced Jodie's ESP with the anthrax, the project, Melodies kidnapping and the missing explosives. I remember the disconjointed first one where all the pieces didn't quite fit but you've have pulled it all together very well! And yes, I like the question at the end....it gives you dunnn dunnn dunnn type feeling. ;-)

Ofcourse, I added my own tid-bits in *big smile* but I know you'll do what's best for you. I don't know how much I actually helped (probably very little...I'm not the greatest at this query biz) but you've gotten it down to the important jaz and that's what matters. I don't think you should be concerned with the length - it's really not that long.

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 9th, 2010, 1:26 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments. I cleaned up the errors per your instructions. Serzen, you have a keen eye. I wanted "an FBI" but couldn't justify it - thanks for settling that internal argument.

I smiled with all the suggestions for that devilish last sentence of paragraph 3. "With" was my first choice as well, but I used "with" four times in the query. I settled on "Now that Jodie’s duty is fulfilled, DeAngelis expects her to take the little girl home."

I'm going to have to wean myself from this site and get back to researching agents and researching the next book. But if anyone wants a query critique from me, feel free to email. I'll also be keeping an eye on the query's in progress, especially those I've commented on before.

Ghost in the Machine

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by kaykaybe » February 15th, 2010, 6:59 pm

Dear Agent X,

When twenty-year-old Jodie Belay kidnaps a young girl, she believes she is saving the child’s life. So does the FBI agent watching Jodie.

Jodie possesses an odd form of ESP(isn't all esp odd? I'm just saying...). An eerie hum fills Jodie's ears and she is overcome by criminal urges. Two years ago, she smashed into another car at the post office. The other driver fled, abandoning several anthrax-laden envelopes on his passenger seat. (insert kidnapping of Melody- when she gets the urge to steal a young girl, she doesn't stop to wonder why. Her ability has never mislead her before, however you want to word it.)For Jodie, misbehavior comes with a life-saving reward.

This brush with bio-terrorism gets the attention of the FBI’s Guardian Project—a group that secretly monitors people with the uncanny ability to prevent large-scale disasters. Jodie’s inclusion into the project sets off a power struggle between two agents with a twenty-year history of mutual hatred. One looks at Jodie’s past and sees a hero. The other declares her a menace after she kidnaps Melody Miller (this is too late. we need to know what she did before we find out anbout the agents' reaction to it.).
Melody isn’t the only thing missing. Several hundred pounds of a potent explosive have vanished from the chemical company where her father works. The thieves try to frame Melody’s father before eliminating him with a car bomb. Jodie knows she saved Melody from dying with her father. She doesn’t understand her reluctance to take the child home. (I read this wrong, thinking she didn't want to take Melody to Janie's home)

Jodie’s failure to return Melody polarizes the Guardian Project. One agent begs for patience, believing Jodie will lead them to the missing explosives. His rival insists they take Jodie into custody with the sobering argument: If it takes a kidnapping to save a child, what crime will Jodie commit to stop a major bombing?

The thriller, A GLASS HALF FULL, is complete at 106,000 words. I would be happy to provide further information from a synopsis to the full manuscript. Thank you for your time.

Ghost in the Machine

A note: I read Nathan’s blogs about STARTING queries with rhetorical questions and how much he detests this practice. Does my ending fall into that offensive category because I pose it as a question? I think you'd do better to pose it as a choice for Janie-something like- If she trusts her intuition will Melody be saved or will Janie prove herself a criminal?
I hope the following points from my critiques have been resolved:

1. Jodie does not know the FBI is watching her. Jodie does not know exactly why she is afraid to take Melody home. Jodie is all about following her intuitions. Each criminal act she commits is done as a ‘leap of faith’. So far, the outcome has been greater than the crime. This came across.

2. Main Character/Point of View. This is tricky—like watching The Big Chill and trying to pick out the main character. I chose to center the query around Jodie because she is the catalyst behind the major events in the book. But the police and FBI characters have just as many chapters as Jodie. This query seems to bounce the POV between Jodie (1st line of 1st paragraph, 2nd and 4th paragraphs) and the FBI (2nd line of 1st paragraph, 3rd and 5th paragraph). Still too confusing? I had to do the same thing. What you've presented makes sense.

3. I added more info connecting Jodie, Melody’s kidnapping, and the missing explosives. Hopefully the right amount.

Ghost- I hope this is helpful and I would love it if you would take a look at my query. Thanks- Kelly
www.bookreadress.blogspot.com

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query - 4th try

Post by benwhiting » February 16th, 2010, 11:20 am

This query looks really good. I'm not sure I have much left to say--Serzen said most of it.

I think the third paragraph is probably the biggest place where you could still improve a little.
Jodie’s surveillance I think these two words throw me off, because she could be the one watched or she could be doing the surveillance--could you reword the sentence? You seem to be trying to keep the project at the end of the sentence while avoiding passive tense. I think you might be better off with something like: "DeAngelis's Guardian Project monitors people who have the uncanny ability to prevent disasters--including Jodie." falls under the jurisdiction of DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—a FBI subdivision secretly monitoring people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. The kidnapping of young Melody Miller is not their only concern. Several hundred pounds of a potent explosive have vanished from the chemical company that employs Melody’s father. Melody’s kidnapping keeps the child from dying alongside her father in a horrific car bombing. Jodie’s duty is fulfilled; DeAngelis expects her to take the little girl home.This construction is a little awkward. The "With Jodie's duty fulfilled..." or "With Melody safe..." versions work better, I think.
On the whole, very good. If you don't mind, I'd appreciate it if you could take a look at my query, which is here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=825

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Re: The Ghost Posts a Query

Post by bcomet » February 16th, 2010, 4:00 pm

Dear Agent X,

When twenty-year-old college student Jodie Belay kidnaps a young girl, FBI agent Joel DeAngelis lets it happen. He believes Jodie is saving the three-year-old’s life.

Jodie possesses an odd form of ESP. Her FBI surveillance started two years ago, after she purposefully smashed into another car at the post office. The other driver fled, abandoning several anthrax-laden envelopes on his passenger seat. For Jodie, misbehavior comes with a life-saving reward.

The kidnapping of young Melody Miller isn’t the only concern for DeAngelis’s Guardian Project—the agents who secretly monitor people with the uncanny ability to prevent disasters. Several hundred pounds of a potent explosive have vanished from the chemical company where Melody’s father works. After Melody’s father dies in a suspicious car bombing, DeAngelis expects Jodie to take Melody home. Melody’s kidnapping kept the child out of her father’s car the day it exploded; Jodie’s duty is fulfilled.

Jodie’s failure to return Melody polarizes the Guardian Project. DeAngelis begs for patience, believing Jodie’s ESP will lead them to the missing explosives. DeAngelis’s opinion has clout. Before he joined the FBI, he was the first extraordinary person watched under the Guardian Project. His long-time rival demands Jodie’s arrest with the sobering argument: If it takes a kidnapping to save a child, what crime will Jodie commit to stop a major bombing?

The thriller, A GLASS HALF FULL, is complete at 106,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

well done

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