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Query Review / Re: Updated Ashes of a new Dawn, query 4.2
« Last post by paddler on Today at 10:12:09 PM »
Query 4.4

Dear Prudence,

Justin Thomas promises a new dawn for transportation with his company’s wormhole. The grand opening of the first two connected stations looks to be a huge success, but Amanda Frost, Justin’s bright, young employee, has a confession. She has received messages while passing through the wormhole, maybe for an Alien Civilization.

The upshot of the messages wholly upsets Justin’s theories on wormholes. Version 2.0 of the wormhole is a thing of awesome power. It could be life-saving or world-changing, depending on who wielded it. He tries to sweep it under the rug.

A terrorist attack with global implications forces Justin to use Version 2.0 on the public stage. It sets of an arms race to acquire it. Nations and terrorists are all after it and all stops are removed. Justin, Amanda and his employees manage to stay a step ahead, but Amanda receives another message.

Ashes of a New Dawn is a completed 97,000 word, stand alone, work of science fiction

Thank you for your time and consideration
Query Review / Re: Alsace, Armagh - Historical Fiction Query in reply #6
« Last post by paddler on Today at 10:07:53 PM »
I think you can flesh it out a bit with a few examples to show more of why they think Dennis really is a double agent. The way it is written slips by too quickly.

A query is just a sales pitch, write it so it flows by. It feels like it has speed bumps and you have to stop and check things that didn't fit right the first time around.

I also have a question about Giada, the Girl Who Killed One Hundred Nazis. Where did she find Nazis at? In Italy Mussolini led Fascists

Since you do not have to world build, I think 50k might work.
If this was a regular query, I would say it goes too far into the story. It is a non-fiction query, though, and I can find little about them. All the info I can glean about non-fiction talks of platform and marketing plans.

It runs smoothly and is compelling. I still feel a gap between the second and third paragraphs. She is poor in one and chasing leads in the next, but that is just me.

I think you give it a spin, if you have the rest of the package (platform and such) ready.
Query Review / Re: Query for REASONS - Women's Fiction/Magical Realism
« Last post by paddler on Today at 09:44:50 PM »
A query is just a stylized sales pitch. It usually only covers the first 1/3 of your book, so that would be the first iteration of Reason.

The emphasis will be on creating a story arc. Define your character, then the world that leads to an inciting incident. The follow through, in this place, will be her escape to a magical realm.

Hope that helps.
Query Review / Re: Adult Historical - V3.0
« Last post by paddler on Today at 09:29:25 PM »
It doesn't read like a query. They are strange animals that emphasize the story arc, or plot arc, if you wish. This almost reads like a condensed book.

First, cut those unnecessary words and tighten up the phrasing. I think part of it that you define your inciting incident as the learning to read. If you slide that over to the books you can ramp up the tension by bringing up the point that the gifting of the books might be a set-up by Elizabeth. The creation of a scapegoat for something she did.

The thing that turned me from a truly sh**ty query writer to just a crappy one is <a href="">here</a>
Query Review / Re: Adult Historical - V3.0
« Last post by JL on Today at 06:24:33 PM »
Great suggestions!! Thank you so much!
Query Review / Re: Crystal Palace Academy - YA contemporary adventure
« Last post by JayS on Today at 06:22:16 PM »
Thank you so much, TigerAsh!  Great comments.
Query Review / Re: Crystal Palace Academy - YA contemporary adventure
« Last post by TigerAsh on Today at 05:53:55 PM »
3rd time is a charm!  Reduced to about 280 words.  Brutal honesty still appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

Dear Agent's Full Name

CRYSTAL PALACE ACADEMY is a 69,000 word young adult historical adventure. [Since you have a good hook, I think this would be better at the end of the query letter.]

At fifteen years old, Amela, Jake, Sergio, Curtis, and Indy did not plan on becoming killers.

When they were recruited into the clandestine U.S. government-funded Crystal Place Academy at eight-years-old, they were only told that they would be given the opportunity to go to the best school in America.  After years of intense training, they become inseparable during their development from orphaned kids to deadly American assets. [Much cleaner start!]

As teenagers they survive a failed plot by Russian mercenaries hired to learn about the Academy’s clandestine training methods.[Since this isn't elaborated on, I don't think this is necessary to say in your query letter. I think focusing on their first mission is enough.] Subsequently, As teenagers, they take on their first mission to thwart an imminent attack by befriending youths in a suburb of Paris, France to help the CIA identify members of a youth terror cell.[This sentence seems longwinded. See if you can cut it down.]

Switching perspectives,[Not sure what this means. Are talking about switching perspectives in the book, or in their lives?] a group of Muslim youths in France become radicalized off the internet which leads to the confrontation of their mission to defend Islam with the Academy’s mission to fight terrorism.[Again, this sentence is kinda long. I think if you break up some of your sentences so you have some longer ones and some shorter ones, it'll read better.] During the mission Jake questions America’s moral compass after seeing a video of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison being maltreated by U.S. soldiers.  He eventually goes rogue and joins the radicalized youths.  His friendss effort to find him brings them to the center of the terrorist plot and tests all of their skills as well as their loyalty to each other, the Academy, and America.

CRYSTAL PALACE ACADEMY is a 69,000-word young adult historical adventure. It will appeal to fans of [Add two comp titles here]. Aside from a brief career as a professional baseball player, my background is in hiring, training, and managing a diverse workforce from all over the world.  I strive to emphasize the strength of diversity in my writing.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I definitely see an improvement with this version!

My biggest recommendation would be to now go back through your query letter and see where you can break up some of your sentences. Currently, most/all of your sentences read the same way (i.e. long). I think if you can mix up the length of some of your sentences, it will help with the flow of your query letter, make some of your sentences less confusing, and ultimately lower the chance of an agent getting confused/losing interest while reading.

Good luck! :)
Query Review / Query for REASONS - Women's Fiction/Magical Realism
« Last post by HolyMac007 on Today at 05:40:46 PM »
Man oh man... there exist so many tips on writing a query letter... some of them contradictory... well, here's the current state of mine. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks and Cheers.

Dear Agent:

I am looking for representation for my 104,000-word transcendent adventure novel, REASONS, which might appeal to fans of The Shack and The Alchemist – novels that mix magic with realism, and take the protagonist on a magnificent journey of self-discovery.

I am querying you because you are seeking_________________– genres into which REASONS fits nicely.

REASONS follows the heroine, REASON, through three stages of life. As a young woman, REASON becomes entangled with a man who turns out to be a violent criminal who beats and rapes her. As a troubled thirty-five-year-old, REASON follows a raven into a magical world. There, while encountering both guides and deadly enemies, she must tell the story of, and confront, her violent past. And, fighting pain as she approaches the end of a life lived in shame, an elderly REASON witnesses a life-changing journey.

In the magical world, thirty-five-year-old REASON learns to rise above shame and conquer fear. Then, in an extraordinary turn of events, she is able to meet with the younger and older versions of herself and give them the gifts they need to live with confidence and to die contently.

As a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault, I bring personal experience to the topic and the story of REASONS. I have been writing since I was old enough to hold a fat pencil, though more seriously in recent years. I’ve worked earnestly on honing my craft. I’m a member of the Canadian Authors Association – Peterborough Chapter, and I regularly participate in various writer’s groups. Among other things, writing and refining REASONS took tenacity and dedication. I look forward to applying these same attributes to the book’s promotion.

All the best,
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