Author Topic: Agent Responses  (Read 25570 times)

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2008, 05:54:07 PM »
I think you are right. I will give it thought. In TAKEN she is kidnapped in the middle of a DEA investigation. The DEA holds back the local police to save their ongoing case, to hell with the girl so to speak.
As you know, you are ask to reduce something you have spent the better part of a year and sometimes longer that runs thousands of words, to ten or fifteen words. There lies the rub now isn’t it. If only there was someone who could read your ms and say to a publisher hey this is really good. Oh but that’s an agent isn’t it?
But for now it is almost 6:00 EST on the coast of Georgia, on a Saturday evening and its Jack Daniels time. I will work on it tomorrow
Have a great week-end Cathy C.
JH  ;D ;D ;D    


Offline Cathy C

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2008, 06:06:23 PM »
Quote
In TAKEN she is kidnapped in the middle of a DEA investigation. The DEA holds back the local police to save their ongoing case, to hell with the girl so to speak.

That, is important, JH - and could turn out to be quite a hook - get it in.

Quote
Have a great week-end Cathy C.

Week! a WEEK of rain, mud and two stubborn, mule-headed males - JOY! ;D

I can't wait. ;)

Good luck - I expect to see a finished, polished query by the time I come back. (So, no pressure then. ;))
Novel: Where There’s Smoke. Published by Fireborn publishing http://amzn.to/2tZKNCn

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

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2008, 06:21:05 PM »
C.C.
Take lots of single malt and some sherry and some port but leave the warm beer home.
JH ;D ;D ;)

Offline Cathy C

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2008, 06:31:57 PM »
Sherry! *puke*

The single malt... maybe, under sufferance, but the beer... ah, warm or not, that's coming with me. ;D

Now, get back to the query. Remember, I want a polished, pristine piece by the time I return. (Or it will be a hundred lines on the board. ;D)
Novel: Where There’s Smoke. Published by Fireborn publishing http://amzn.to/2tZKNCn

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

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2008, 12:02:18 PM »
Is this getting better or am I going backwards?
JH
[Letterhead]

Dear [Agent]:

Every year over a million children vanish in the United States— many are kidnapped. Last July they took the wrong girl—the fifteen year old daughter of Jack Lane, a newly retired CIA field agent.  He learns from the sheriff that his daughter’s kidnapping happened in the middle of a DEA investigation and the DEA is stonewalling. Jack Lane takes matters into his own hands tracking the kidnappers through Georgia to the Caribbean where he 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 Demille’s 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.



Wolfe

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2008, 01:28:20 PM »
Every year over a million children vanish in the United States— many are kidnapped.  (This is information used to begin a nonfiction textbook, not a fictional hook) Last July (repetition from the last sentence in the second paragraph) they took the wrong girl—the fifteen year old daughter of Jack Lane, a newly retired CIA field agent (wordy - consider:  former CIA agent Jack Lane's daughter.)  He learns from the sheriff that (consider a comma here) his daughter’s kidnapping happened (passive gerund modifier) in the middle (wordy - consider: during) of a (wordy - consider:  a) DEA (Careful with abbreviations.  You might want to list this out first.  Not all people will know it's Drug Enforcement Administration) investigation and the DEA (they are) is stonewalling (potential cliché). (too wordy, passive, and seems pointless) Jack Lane takes matters into his own hands (cliché) tracking (and tracks) the kidnappers through (from) Georgia to the Caribbean where he mounts a rescue (cliché)(telling and also boring)

(Review:  I'm really not liking this change, but I think the second sentence's potential hook power shines)

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller. I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency.  Reminiscent of (Vogue word - Consider:  Similar to) Nelson Demille’s Spencerville (italics this title), it takes place over a two (hyphen needed here) week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia. (excellent overall)

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

Thank you for your time.

First part still needs massive work.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 01:49:21 PM by Wolfe »

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2008, 02:05:36 PM »
wolfe,
 I am using italics and hyphens when I paste they are being dropped. I wanted to see how the theme of TAKEN would work. I think the hook lies with her kidnapping if you had a chance to look at chapter 1 you see what I mean. Give me 30.
JH

Wolfe

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2008, 02:36:29 PM »
I'm curious why you don't add them back in?  I do when I critique, so I'm curious why you don't on your query.  I'm going the extra step just on the editing...

Something to consider.

On a side note, I shouldn't need to look at any chapter to 'get' a query letter.  If you feel the need to explain it, it means the query isn't working.  No agent is going to go the extra mile to approve something that otherwise doesn't work.  I shouldn't need to look at anything else save your query.

Sorry, but if it doesn't work ... it doesn't work no matter the attempt to justify otherwise.  Of course, that's just my opinion.  Others may think differently.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 02:44:15 PM by Wolfe »

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2008, 03:21:51 PM »
Wolfe,
I realize the query must stand on its own. I thought if you knew my first chapter you would have a better understanding of where I am coming from and what I am trying to say. What about this?
JH

[Letterhead]

Dear [Agent]:

Samantha Lin, snatched off her bicycle into a moving van, is not the first girl kidnapped by the sex slavery ring.  But this time they took the wrong girl–former CIA field agent, Jack Lane’s daughter.  He learns from the sympathetic sheriff that the DEA will not take any rescue action that risks their active investigation.  Jack Lane tells the sheriff to stay out of his way and moves on his own, tracking his daughter from Georgia to the Caribbean.

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller. I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency.  Similar to Nelson Demille’s 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 nonfiction articles.

Thank you for your time.

« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 03:24:04 PM by JHMull »

Wolfe

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2008, 10:34:54 PM »
Samantha Lin, snatched off her bicycle into a moving van, is (passive) not the first girl kidnapped by (passive) the sex slavery ring (you told too much - all intrigue dies when you tell something like this)(this hook isn't working for me)  But this time (as opposed to next time?  Delete this) they took the wrong girl–former CIA field agent, Jack Lane’s daughter  (something strange about this sentence - it has potential as a hook, but something's off...).  He learns from the sympathetic (telling) sheriff that (wordy) the DEA (watch the abbreviations) will not (won't) take any rescue (wordy) action(s) that risks their active (wordy) investigation.  Jack Lane tells the sheriff to stay out of his way and moves on his own, (begins to) tracking his daughter from Georgia to the Caribbean (on his own).

(Review:  I'm not excited about this first paragraph.  Something's missing.  It lacks a strong drive for a thriller.  I find myself not wanting to know what happens next.  Can you make it stronger or more exciting?)

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller. I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency.  Similar to Nelson Demille’s Spencerville, it takes place over a two(hyphen still needed here)week period in July 2007 on St. Simons Island, Georgia. (overall excellent)

I am a member of the Georgia Association of Writers.  Stocks and Commodities published my nonfiction articles.  (overall excellent)

Thank you for your time. (good)

The first paragraph needs more power and focus.  Maybe you should take a break from the query and refocus your efforts.  I think you're trying too hard now.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 11:07:49 PM by Wolfe »

Offline Alex44k

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2008, 07:30:34 AM »
That link to the free agent query book is well worth it...I downloaded the book, and will be pouring over it for sure when the time comes. 

Thanks wolfe!

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2008, 02:45:00 PM »



Wolfe, I realize that the first paragraph must sell. I feel the key is her kidnapping, his back ground and the involvement of the DEA. But how to put it together is the question. You are right I need to set it aside for a week. Thanks for all your help. Here is one last try. ???
JH

[Letterhead]
Dear [Agent]:

The daughter of Jack Lane, a retired CIA field agent, is kidnapped. The kidnappers are the subject of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation. ‘My hands are tied and the DEA won’t do anything to jeopardize their investigation,’ the sheriff tells him. Jack Lane realizes his daughter’s life depends on him. He uses codes and his password to access the DEA computers long enough to locate his daughter, Samantha Lin, only to arrive the day after she is taken to the Caribbean.

TAKEN is an 83,000-word thriller. I wrote TAKEN based on my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency.  Reminiscent of Nelson Demille’s 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 nonfiction articles.

Thank you for your time.



Wolfe

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2008, 06:13:09 PM »
Ask yourself this:  Is your story about a kidnapping or about a man trying to rescue his daughter?  The answer is your hook.  You can combine both into a short and powerful statement.

Here's a technique that might help you:  Open your query letter like the preview for a movie.  The short sentences glow on the screen and open your query letter with dramatic or stylish music.  Seriously, close your eyes and picture it.  If it helps, put on exciting music in the background.  Play the music and watch your query letter play in your head.  When you see it, write it down.  Don't think about trying to tell everything, just get the viewers to want to see your movie.

Don't get frustrated.  Remember:  bam, bam, BAM!

When you have it, let's see that.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 06:16:05 PM by Wolfe »

Offline Swampfox one

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2008, 07:02:05 PM »
Thanks wolfe, I will try that. I have aways liked movies. but first I am going to have four fingers of Jack Daniels poured over ice. then I will try it.
JH

Offline david13

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Re: Agent Responses
« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2008, 01:59:40 PM »
This thread is fascinating and instructive, esp. thanks to Wolfe.

Howell, I went to the link in your OP
http://www.jhowellmull.com/mywriting.htm
and immediately spotted several booboos (Howellers?)

famililarity
60's
vetern

locations that are are central to TAKEN

When (not if) your query gets agents looking at your website, this page needs to be immaculate!

Good luck.

David