Author Topic: Agent Responses  (Read 19410 times)

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2008, 06:36:36 PM »
Once more into the breach. Will I ever get this right? :'(
JH

[Letterhead]


Dear [agent]:


A searing pain hits Samantha Lin when she sails through the air off her bicycle and into the back of the van.  The kidnappers, Potts and Dee, do not know that the teenagerís father is a very dangerous man.  Jack Lane gives the authorities one chance to rescue his daughter before he goes after her with a team of professional soldiers. 

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller.  It takes place over a two week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency and it is for every man who has found himself in a situation where he feels helpless.
 
I am a member of the Georgia Association of Writers.  Stocks and Commodities published my non-fiction articles.

Thank you for your time.
 

Wolfe

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2008, 09:10:36 PM »
A searing pain hits Samantha Lin when she sails through the air off her bicycle and into the back of the van. (I'm not crazy about this hook.  It doesn't excite or raise questions the way a good hook should)  The kidnappers, Potts and Dee, do not know that (wordy) the teenagerís father is (passive) a very (wordy) dangerous man (telling again - you also introduce the antagonists first, once more).  Jack Lane gives the authorities one chance to rescue his daughter before he goes after her with a team of professional soldiers (wordy and a bit over-the-top)(that's nice, but offers nothing as far as resolution, conflict, or reason to see more) 

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller. (good)  It takes place over a two week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia (excellent).  I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency (excellent) (comma here)and it is for every man who has found himself in a situation where he feels helpless (Nope, telling.  Please target a specific audience or use a comparison).
 
I am a member of the Georgia Association of Writers. (good) Stocks and Commodities (add magazine and magazine names are italics) published my non-fiction (nonfiction is one word) articles.

Thank you for your time. (good)


Almost there.  Needs more conflict and hooking interest.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: July 31, 2008, 09:12:12 PM by Wolfe »

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2008, 10:23:19 PM »
Thanks Wolfe. I will keep trying as long as your patience last. I will work on it and post again tomorrow. :'(
JH

Offline Symphony

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2008, 07:08:04 AM »
Hi there,

I'm completely useless at writing query letters but the one thing I DO know is that the first sentence is all-important. This one is not a good hook, mainly because it's clunky:

Quote
A searing pain hits Samantha Lin when she sails through the air off her bicycle and into the back of the van.

1.  I have problems with pain hitting people - it's ambiguous, bringing pain to life. You can get away with it in the middle of a story, but as a first sentence it's rather weak.
2.  The word 'when' instantly weakens the sentence. You need strong, action verbs all the way through.
3.  'through the air off her bicycle' is very awkward - feels like far too many words.

I'd be more inclined to go with 'Samantha Lin lands in the back of van with a thump. Ouch!' - or something (preferably far stronger than that LOL)  In fact, what type of van is it? Why is it important in the first sentence that she's landed in a van? Or is it more important that she's hurt? Why? Remember, your whole story (in this instance) hangs on the words you put in this one sentence. Choose them carefully and make every one count.

Hope this helps. I think that once you have the first sentence down the rest will come a lot more easily.

You're nearly there! Keep at it!

Symphony
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Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2008, 07:42:25 AM »
Thanks Symphony,
believe me I am working on it. I find this as hard if not harder than writing the Novel. You are right the idea is not to cause her pain. She is kidnapped because she is young, pretty, and is what the client wants. Why a van? A paneled van with no windows in the back is the best vehicle to use to snatch someone off streets. Most vans have an overhead beam you can hold onto with one hand while grabbing the person with the other. Most peopleís reaction time is slow and you have a few second to get them in the van. I have seen it used more than once. The trick is to neutralize the person as quickly as possible. A chloroform patch is quite quick.
 I am searching for the right first sentence sooner or later it will be here! :'( I hope. I am also trying to get a better handle on showing or action virus telling, this too will come. I am beginning to understand there are some words you do not want to use 'when' being one. Let me know what you think of my next try later today.
Thanks again
JH

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2008, 07:54:47 AM »
Just a suggestion...


Snatched from her bicycle and into the back of a van Samantha Lin can't even react before the door slams shut.

Gyppo
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Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2008, 10:49:00 AM »
Gyppo,Gyppo, Gyppo you are here you read my mind. The new sentence is: Snatched off her bicycle into a moving van, Lin fights....
Great minds ;D I will post it shortly please take a look.
JH

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2008, 11:44:39 AM »
Once again into the valley rode the brave 600 hundred!
what do you think?
JH

[Letterhead]
Dear [Agent]:

Snatched off her bicycle into a passing van, Lin fights.  Held from behind, she drives her left heel into the bridge of her assailantís foot.  Desperately, she lowers her head and slams backwards but misses his chin, harmlessly hitting his chest.  The air being forced out of her lungs burns.  She jasp for air, but fills her lungs with chloroform.  Jack Lane gives the authorities one chance to rescue his daughter before he goes after her.

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller.  It takes place over a two week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency.  Reminiscent of Nelson Demilleís Spencerville, it takes place over a two week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

I am a member of the Georgia Association of Writers.  Stocks and Commodities published my non-fiction articles.

Thank you for your time.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2008, 11:49:26 AM by JHMull »

Wolfe

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2008, 12:53:42 PM »
Uh oh.

Snatched off her bicycle into a passing van, Lin fights.  (I'm not crazy about this hook either - it sounds strange) (Reversed, due to the comma allowance, the sentence reads Lin fights snatched off her bicycle into a passing van.  She's fights someone named Snatched off her bicycle?  Indirectly, this is what the sentence says and the fight continues into a passing van.  Sounds humorous and rather messy) Held from behind, she drives her left heel into the bridge of her assailantís foot.  Desperately, she lowers her head and slams backwards but misses his chin, harmlessly hitting his chest.  The air being forced out of her lungs burns.  (This is more story telling than query letter.  Doesn't help) She jasp (you mean gasps?) for air, but fills her lungs with chloroform (sounds passive)(Ironically, you have more of a hook here.  If you change it a bit, potential comes through)(Watch:  Jack Lane's daughter gasps for air, but chloroform fills her lungs.  Don't know if I'm keen on this either, but it introduces the protagonist, conflict, and hook all at once.  Try something like that) Jack Lane gives the authorities one chance to rescue his daughter before he goes after her. (It's like this sentence dropped from nowhere and doesn't connect to the query at all)

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller. (good)  It takes place over a two week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia. (good)  I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency. (excellent)  Reminiscent of Nelson Demilleís Spencerville, it takes place over a two week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  (Hello?  You repeated this last part in the second sentence above.  Delete the first one.  This sounds much better and offers varied sentence length as well)

I am a member of the Georgia Association of Writers. (good) Stocks and Commodities published my non-fiction (nonfiction is still one word)articles.

Thank you for your time. (good)

Getting closer, but that first paragraph needs attention.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: August 01, 2008, 12:59:24 PM by Wolfe »

Offline Symphony

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2008, 01:26:16 PM »
I agree with Wolfe. Why not make this your hook? Forget the bicycle and the van ...

Quote
She jasp for air, but fills her lungs with chloroform.  Jack Lane gives the authorities one chance to rescue his daughter before he goes after her.

Lyn gasps for air; her lungs fill with chloroform. Jack Lane ...     Far more exciting. No more explanation needed.

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Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2008, 01:36:11 PM »
Thanks guys, I think I am trying to hard. I will work on it over the week-end and post sunday or Monday.
You guy are a big help.
jh

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2008, 03:55:42 PM »
Ok, I am going to use the theme of the novel in this query. what do you guys think about this one.
JH

[Letterhead]
Dear [Agent]:

Every year over a million children vanish in the United Statesó many are kidnapped. Last July they took the wrong girlóthe fifteen year old daughter of Jack Lane, a newly retired CIA field agent.  He soon realizes the authorities wonít do anything about his daughter disappearance and takes matters into his own hands. He tracks the kidnappers through Georgia to the Caribbean and mounts a rescue.

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller. I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency.  Reminiscent of Nelson Demilleís Spencerville, it takes place over a two week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

I am a member of the Georgia Association of Writers.  Stocks and Commodities published my non-fiction articles.

Thank you for your time.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2008, 04:52:29 PM by JHMull »

Offline Cathy C

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2008, 04:22:20 PM »
I haven't commented on this before, JH, but I have followed your posts with interest because query letters are the bane of my life. :'(

I am amazed at how far you have come with this - it really is shaping up - but two things jump out at me and both of them are in this line:

Quote
Last July they took the wrong teenage girlóthe fifteen year old daughter of Jack Lane, a newly retired field agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.


Why use teenage when you are going to say fifteen year old? I think it would have more punch if you drop the 'teenage.'

Last July they took the wrong girlóthe fifteen year old daughter of Jack Lane, a newly retired field agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The second thing is: Central Intelligence Agency. I don't know, it just grates. Most people are familar with abbreviations (blame CSI. ;D)

I would be inclined to cut it right down and say: newly retired CIA agent.

So, your sentence would read:

Last July they took the wrong girlóthe fifteen year old daughter of Jack Lane - newly retired CIA agent.


Ok, I'll butt out now. :-[


 





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Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2008, 05:03:39 PM »
Cathy C,
Thanks for commenting - I have come to value your words of wisdom. This query has come a long way, much to the credit of people like you.

You are absolutely right about the use of 'teenage girl'.  It has been corrected.

As for 'newly retired field agent of the Central Intelligence Agency', you are right again, except for one thing. Whether it is the CIA, MI-5 or ISI, there is a big difference in the capability of a field agent and an agent.  I have modified it - now what do you think?
JH

Offline Cathy C

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2008, 05:14:01 PM »
Quote
I have modified it - now what do you think?

Oh yes, that works.

I was a bit worried about taking out 'field' - but you have eased it in superbly.

Now, seeing as that has gone down so well... ::)

Quote
He soon realizes the authorities wonít do anything about his daughter disappearance and takes matters into his own hands.

This could be so much stronger. Play on his expertise, his knowledge of how these 'investigations' are treated... but keep it short, snappy - you have the 'in' words at your disposal - use them, that is what a publisher will pay for.

Other than that - I like it, just wish my own query were as good.
 :-*
Novel: Where Thereís Smoke. Published by Fireborn publishing http://amzn.to/2tZKNCn

Short Story: A Killer Week Published by Bridge House http://amzn.to/2rhLVAX