Revised Turning Red Query up for critique

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WriterKitty
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Revised Turning Red Query up for critique

Post by WriterKitty » February 12th, 2010, 2:55 am

Hey all!

I deleted the old query, so the only one here is the revised version. I need all the help I can get.

Dear Agent:



Rights-to-life activist Betty B. sees herself as the soil that lies unnoticed beneath the beauty of flowers. Her hair is the color of compost. Her eyes are the color of mud. Her life is monotonous until she moves to the rural mountains of North Idaho to look for her missing Uncle Frank. Her search for Frank leads her into the hub of a world-encompassing secret society descended from the Picts of Caledonia. Pictish blood isn't the only thing bonding the society's members, but also the ancient doctrines by which their ancestors lived. Not unlike a mafia, they adhere to their own rules.

They mistake Betty for one of them and initiate her into the fold. While her time with them inadvertently teaches her to appreciate her understated qualities, it also leaves her with an unbearable choice. When they discover she isn't from their line, the only way she can save herself is to defy her most revered beliefs against the death penalty and execute an evildoer who wronged the society.

A large part of her would rather die than kill, but she needs breath in her lungs to follow the clues she finds in the society's compound. She's certain they'll lead to Frank, and from what she's gathered, time is running out for him.
Last edited by WriterKitty on February 15th, 2010, 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

JL Hartfield
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Re: Query up for critique

Post by JL Hartfield » February 12th, 2010, 3:12 am

WriterKitty wrote:Rights-to-life activist and florist Betty Brown sees herself as the soil that lies unnoticed beneath the beauty of flowers. Her life is humdrum until she moves to the rural mountains of North Idaho, where her Uncle Frank disappeared. This is confusing to me. You made it seem like her uncle disappeared a long time ago, and she just happens to move there. In the next sentence, she's looking for him. You need to make it clear one way or another.Her search for Frank leads her into the hub of an ancient secret society bonded by the MC1R gene mutation—or redhead gene. They mistake Betty's dyed red hair as real and initiate her into the fold. And? What's so special about them? Who are they? What do they do? You make it seem like all they have in common is red hair...a lot of people have red hair.While her time with them inadvertently teaches her to appreciate her understated qualities, it also earns her an impossible choice between murder and death.I don't sense any kind of urgency or danger from what you've written. There is no suspense.
You need to both tighten and expand this. There isn't enough meat for the reader to sink their teeth into. There is no sense of danger or urgency. Why does she have to make a choice between murder and death? What happens to her at this place? What's so special about these people? Make the reader care about your character. It's a bit too wishy-washy and vague for me.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Poisonguy
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Re: Query up for critique

Post by Poisonguy » February 12th, 2010, 4:09 am

You need to expand on this. It is too short, IMO, and therefore feels rushed. This is the most important part, so shorten everything else you have in the query that didn't appear here and use the word count to give the agent more to judge your story.

Make us care about the protagonist. Why is it important for her to find Uncle Frank's killer? Why are these redheads so dangerous? etc.

Also, if you are going to mention her pro-life activism and love of flowers or botany, you probably need to weave these themes into the fabric of the query, or else they have no context (you almost did it with the last sentence and her choice of murder or death).

Good luck.

WriterKitty
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Re: Query up for critique

Post by WriterKitty » February 12th, 2010, 8:42 pm

Thanks you so much for helping. :)

snlemon
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Re: Query up for critique

Post by snlemon » February 12th, 2010, 11:24 pm

you need to show us what Betty wants, what is preventing her from getting and it, what is at stake if she doesn't manage to get it...

Right now you're dropping a lot of loose ends into our laps....florist? right to life? missing uncle? red headed legion? None of those are connecting. I'm assuming the uncle is found in the red head groupie club but you have not connected that at all for us.
There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing.

WriterKitty
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Re: Revised Turning Red Query up for critique

Post by WriterKitty » February 13th, 2010, 9:26 pm

Thanks snlemon! That's very helpful.

Yoshima
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Re: Revised Turning Red Query up for critique

Post by Yoshima » February 14th, 2010, 2:04 pm

WriterKitty wrote:Hey all!

I deleted the old query, so the only one here is the revised version. I need all the help I can get.

Dear Agent:



Rights-to-life activist Betty B. sees herself as the soil that lies unnoticed beneath the beauty of flowers (I know what you mean here, but I'm wondering why. Activists are well...active, aren't they? Is there a more specific reason why she's like this?). Her life is humdrum until she moves to the rural mountains of North Idaho to look for her missing Uncle Frank. Her search for Frank leads her into the hub of a world-encompassing secret society descended from the Picts of Caledonia (...sorry, I don't know what that is...). Pictish blood isn't the only thing bonding the society's members, but also (I'm not a grammar expert, but I think if you're going to use "but also" you need "not only" first. rephrase?) the ancient doctrines by which their ancestors lived. Not unlike a (the?) mafia, they adhere to their own rules. (I'm really interested to know why Frank is linked with these dudes, so I'm reading on!)

They mistake Betty for one of them and initiate her into the fold. While her time with them inadvertently teaches her to appreciate her understated qualities (like what?), it also leaves her with an impossible choice (impossible choice is a bit overused, me thinks. Is there another way to say it?). When they discover she isn't from their line, the only way she can save herself is to go against her most revered beliefs against (two "against"'s too close together. Rephrase?) the death penalty and execute an evildoer who wronged the society.

A large part of her would rather die than kill, but she needs breath in her lungs to follow the clues (maybe specify that the clues are to Frank's disappearance) she finds in the society's compound. She's certain they'll lead to Frank, and from what she's gathered, time is running out for him.
Hope that helps you a bit! Good luck in your revisions!

WriterKitty
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Re: Revised Turning Red Query up for critique

Post by WriterKitty » February 14th, 2010, 11:37 pm

Many thanks Yoshima!

WriterKitty
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Re: Revised Turning Red Query up for critique

Post by WriterKitty » February 15th, 2010, 9:24 pm

Changes made.

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