Author Topic: METALHEAD - Adult Crime Thriller  (Read 69 times)

Offline msalem

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METALHEAD - Adult Crime Thriller
« on: December 01, 2019, 03:37:42 PM »
I have sent this out to 18 agents since the beginning of November, and have already gotten 7 rejects back. About half of them were query letter only without any sample material, and there have been no nibbles whatsoever. So I'm guessing the query just isn't working as is. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Dear Agent,

Jimmy is a loser and a bum. But working as a janitor at a police station, sometimes he hears things. Like a five million dollar drug deal masterminded by Larry Matthews, a tech wizkid he knew from high school. Sharing the only good idea he ever had with his buddy Paul, stealing the money could work with the right crew. Sara, an ex-MMA fighter, and Bill, an ex-SAS soldier, could bring the muscle and planning needed to get the job done. But when Mackie, one of Larry’s own men, pulls a double-cross to steal everything for himself, their plan falls apart.

Tracking Mackie to Larry’s hideout, Mackie’s betrayal is the distraction the crew needs for an ambush. Grabbing the drugs and money, they are chased and cornered at an abandoned warehouse. Found by the drug buyers Larry ripped off, an attempted escape through the crossfire is blocked by FBI swarming the warehouse. The drugs confiscated but the money missing, everyone thinks the crew has it. Running from the US to Canada to Cuba shuts out the FBI in Havana, but Larry has a new army to take back what is his. Now the crew must fight their way out without getting killed and without the FBI catching them.

METALHEAD is a crime Thriller complete at 77,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Author.

Online jcwrites

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Re: METALHEAD - Adult Crime Thriller
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2019, 05:31:30 PM »
Naming six characters in first few sentences is a deal breaker. You'd fare better if you hold it to two or three max. Remember, you're not trying to tell the whole story, just enough to prompt the agent to read your pages.

Queries should answer five questions: Who is the main character? What does the MC want? Who or what stands in the way? What must the MC do or plan to do about it? And what price does the MC pay if the plan fails (i.e., the stakes)?


Offline GlitterFox

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Re: METALHEAD - Adult Crime Thriller
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2019, 07:05:00 PM »
I agree with jcwrites. It's overwhelming to get so many characters in such rapid succession. It also seems misleading to start with Jimmy, because--if I'm reading this correctly--Larry is the main character.

I also feel like your second paragraph reads more like a synopsis than a query. A query should paint in broader strokes than a synopsis and not get bogged down in too many plot points. How can you distill the main character's goal and what's standing in their way?

Offline msalem

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Re: METALHEAD - Adult Crime Thriller
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 10:54:08 AM »
Thanks jcwrites and GlitterFox, appreciate the feedback.

Here's a second attempt:
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Dear Agent,

Tired of the grind of bad decisions and the endless garbage that life has thrown at them, Paul and his friends are looking for an out. Whether it was a handicapping MMA career, a tiring political military career, or just the miserable existence of being a janitor cleaning up everyone else’s crap, they want a quick win and don’t care what they have to do to get it. So stealing five million dollars from a drug deal seems like the perfect solution to solve all of their problems. But Larry Matthews, a criminal mastermind and tech wizkid Paul knew from high school, isn’t going to let his money be taken so easily. 

When Larry’s drug deal goes bad with the police crashing the exchange, and Paul’s attempt to take Larry’s money gets sideswiped in the aftermath, it takes a double-cross by one of Larry’s own men to give Paul another chance. But when Paul makes his move, the FBI and police join Larry in a chase from the US to Canada to Cuba to hunt down the stolen money. They’ll either go to jail or get killed, but they aren’t going down without a fight.

METALHEAD is a crime Thriller complete at 77,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Author.

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Update: I think I'm thinking too much about this now, as I came up with a different version:

Dear Agent,
Paul left the army and returned home to an empty house and a drunk friend. Except for the little money in the bank, the house was all Paul had left, and it was just enough to make him want to get out and start new somewhere else. But then the drunk came up with an idea: steal five million dollars from a drug deal. It sounded stupid until Paul heard the deal was secretly masterminded by Larry Matthews, someone they went to school with. The upside was the cops knew nothing about Larry. The downside was Larry had his own army.

With the help of old contacts, Paul put together a crew for the job. And after a month of planning and shadowing Larry, he thinks they have a way to take the money without ever being identified. But when the police crash the exchange site and kill the buyers, Paul’s plan and Larry’s deal both fall apart. A last minute and accidental bit of assistance from one of Larry’s own men gets Paul a second chance at the money, but now the police and FBI are involved and their identities aren’t secrets anymore. With the authorities trying to arrest them and Larry trying to kill them, Paul’s crew are on the run. A trail of dead bodies following them from the US to Canada to Cuba, with nothing left to lose, Paul’s crew won’t stop until they are free or Larry is dead.

METALHEAD is a crime Thriller complete at 77,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Author.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 04:30:46 PM by msalem »