Author Topic: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique  (Read 15263 times)

Wolfe

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2008, 06:09:53 PM »
Cool, cool.   :D

Wolfe

Offline musicbaby01

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2008, 06:14:58 PM »
My brain is dry of creativity. blah.


Name of Agent
Address
City/State/Zip
Phone/Fax/Email

Dear Agent:

Kyrie Cintrell has laughed in the face of Death. But when schizophrenic Toren convinces the town she’s a murderer, she struggles to separate reality from his delusions and finds herself waiting on Death's doorstep. Kyrie fights to silence the voices—permanently.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months during 1994 in the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws which make us human.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2008, 07:45:36 PM »
Music, you've worked hard on your query and I think you've come a long way.

But I have to ask a question.

ignites the flaws which make us human

What are you trying to say with "ignites the flaws"?

The phrase has a nice sound rolling off the tongue, but what does it mean to you?

Maybe it bothers me because I tend to take some things too literally, but for me it doesn't seem to fit.
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Wolfe

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2008, 01:51:22 PM »
Dear Agent: (good)

Kyrie Cintrell has laughed (passive) in the face of Death (cliché). But when schizophrenic (telling) Toren convinces the town she’s a murderer, she struggles to separate reality from his (losing this pronoun makes the sentence stronger) delusions and finds herself (beware reflective pronouns) waiting on Death's doorstep (cliché). Kyrie fights to silence the voices—permanently. (This has possibilities, but it feels disconnected from the rest of the plot paragraph)

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months during (consider: in) 1994 in (consider: at) the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws which (recommend: that - otherwise, a comma is needed.  Also, the word 'which' is going out of style) make us human. (I love the lyrical beauty of this sentence.  Excellent verb choices that raise questions and curiosity - well done!)

Thank you for your time. (good)

Sincerely, (excellent)

Overall, the biggest issue remains your plot paragraph.  You still need to give something as far as your biography paragraph.  As far as the plot paragraph, again consider focusing on your universal themes.  You want to connect a premise that captures the agents instantly.  You have it in the query, but you need to focus.  What's ironic is you touch on this premise in your summary paragraph ... and damn well.  Consider using this without telling in the plot one, watch the cliché use, and you'll have it.

It's coming along well!  :D

Wolfe
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 02:08:23 PM by Wolfe »

Offline musicbaby01

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2008, 06:52:32 PM »
I think I got a little too wordy (maybe vague, as well), but  :) here it is:


Dear Agent:

Kyrie is the socialite's Anti-Christ, preaching solitary accountability and trust. But when Toren convinces the town she’s a murderer, she struggles to separate reality from delusion and must embrace the marriage of rage and disbelief to be saved from Toren's vengeance. The drought of sanity craves Kyrie to silence the voices—permanently.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


Wolfe

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #50 on: October 09, 2008, 04:21:47 PM »
Dear Agent: (good)

Kyrie is the socialite's Anti-Christ (wow), preaching solitary accountability and trust (not crazy about this part). But when Toren convinces the town she’s a murderer (this is worse than being an Anti-Christ?), she struggles to separate reality from delusion and must embrace the marriage of rage and disbelief to be saved from Toren's vengeance (This is harsh, but I found this part boring compared to that opening!). The drought of sanity craves Kyrie to silence the voices—permanently. (too purple prose or artsy)

Observation:  That opening was something else!  But, because of it, the other sentences lack that standard or follow-up.  If you call someone an Anti-Christ, actions like murder and the need for redemption takes second place.  Might want to work the other sentences around this hook for better flow.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. (excellent) It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. (excellent) It might benefit you to add one more sentence here.  Consider a comparison, marketing, or something business savvy.  Have a ready-made website or blog?  Just some thoughts to consider.

Still nothing about you?

Thank you for your time. (good)

Sincerely, (excellent)


Yes, that opening line made me pay attention.  Now, the hard part is to work that instant attention into the remaining parts of your plot paragraph.  Good stuff.   ;D

Wolfe

Offline musicbaby01

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #51 on: October 09, 2008, 06:24:27 PM »
Dear Agent: 

Kyrie is the socialite's anti-christ, a narcissistic recluse with flare in being dictator of death. When Toren convinces the town she’s a murderer, it is clear she has met her equal. Toren’s demented plan threatens Kyrie’s life as she craves to silence the voices—permanently.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. (still working on something here)

Thank you for your time.
 
Sincerely, 


Wolfe

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #52 on: October 10, 2008, 02:26:23 AM »
I notice some minor changes, but others I'm worried why you continue to keep them.  Granted, if you feel they work, say so.  But I'm going to be a lot clearer why they don't.  Okay?

Dear Agent: (good)

Kyrie is the socialite's anti-christ (This is capitalized like you had originally: anti-Christ or Antichrist), a narcissistic recluse with flare (flair not flare which means a bright light or fire) in being dictator of death (Telling - The first part of the sentence says it all.  It's like you are trying to define what socialite's anti-Christ is.  The first part stand strong on its own and lets the readers draw their own conclusions.  It also raises questions, but the second part explains them away.). When Toren convinces the town she’s a murderer, it is clear she has met her equal. (Again, telling.  How does he convince them she's a murderer?  How does this harm her if she already what the first sentence describes?  This needs to produce a much stronger conflict than 'a vicious rumor hurts her reputation' or words to that effect.  After all, it's not like her reputation could be worse.  Correct?) Toren’s demented (telling) plan threatens Kyrie’s life as she craves to silence the voices—permanently(This makes no sense.  There's no connection to the other sentences.  What's the problem she must overcome?  Also, you must ask if this ender makes agents or readers yearn to hear more.  Right now, it's not working.  It has possibilities, but the premises nullify each other.)

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. (excellent) It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. (excellent) (still working on something here) (Let's see it soon)

Observation:  Make up your potential credits at this point.  What you hope to do in the next six months.  If you don't have goals for this period get them now.  You'll have time, trust me.  Publishing moves slow.

Thank you for your time. (good)
 
Sincerely,  (excellent)

I know I've asked this before, so please don't think me so deranged parrot  ;D, but what's the universal theme or driving conflict?  With a thriller, it better be more than what you've shown so far.  I hope that's not too harsh, but you’ve told the readers:  Girl must restore sanity and reputation because bad boy bad-mouthed her.

Not exactly the plot you want to display as a mainstream thriller to agents.  If this is the actual plot, you need to retool the novel with a stronger (read: life and death) conflict.  You've hinted this, but agents don't want hints.  They want delivery.

You have talents.  Don't stifle it with dry telling.  Anyone who delivers a brow-raising hook like that should breeze through this.  ;)

So ... sell your query with the feel of an outstanding thriller.   :D

Wolfe
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 02:32:01 AM by Wolfe »

Offline musicbaby01

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2008, 11:28:21 PM »
Sound advice :) I'm going out of town tomorrow, but I hope to do some re-finishing on Sunday.

This is the main plot I'm working with... I'll find better words for real-real on Sunday. This is just stream of conscious, play no mind....:

Girl is reclusive/blunt/anti-lots'o'things. You get that part. So Toren (a schizo) plans revenge against her because his father killed himself. Why revenge? Well, his father killed Kyrie's brother when they were little kids. Finally his (you guessed it) schizo father finally listened to the voices and felt so guilty for killing the boy, so guilty indeed that he felt compelled to kill himself to make it right. Sidenote: Kyrie blames her brother for his own death - he was one one that put them in the wrong place/wrong time scheme of things.

So on to the revenge... in true "eye for an eye" fashion, Toren tries to mess with Kyrie's head so much that he wants to drive her to suicide. Kyrie could care less about her reputation, but she cares about controlling her mind and fate. He plays such a good role of convincing her she's a whole other type of crazy, she begins to doubt the only thing she's ever trusted: her self -- AND doubts the only thing that has kept her (somewhat) sane: the ability to control fate. She is faced with choosing giving herself in and accepting her new (dull and ridiculous) life, or to die at her own hands (again, she has control issues). But every step of the way, Toren has Plan B... if she won't kill herself, he'll just have to do it. Ironically, Kyrie is straight on the path to choosing suicide, but Toren misreads her and traps her in the house and attempts to kill her by burning it down. Kyrie's pissed -- she just HAS to control her death, so she fights to stay alive just in utter stubborness.

I left out the sub-plots with Toren's brother, etc for focus sake. Well, off to the drawing board again!

Offline musicbaby01

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #54 on: October 12, 2008, 10:13:23 PM »
I'm back... sunburned, but it one piece!

I'm having issues with the 'about me' paragraph. Everything I've done in the past (schooling, work, etc) doesn't seem to fit into this paragraph, as far as credibility, writing credits, blahblahblah. I don't want to ramble on about me and things that have nothing to do with writing, nor the theme of the book. For instance, I went to college for Graphic Design & Digital Video Production, I own a music video production company.. I've toured with many bands filming for dvd's and live videos... I am a singer, songwriter, and musician... I am a director at a dance studio where I excell in choreography, technique, and studio management -- I won an Outstanding Choreography Award last year. I sew and design clothes in my spare time. I like to mix all of the creative outlets into one... Writing is like narrating or describing a movie to me. Dance is emboding the emotion of the story. I use my love/knowledge of music (as well as my choreographical timing) to help me edit music videos, etc...

And none of that should go in the paragraph, right? arg. Well, here is my next attempt at the query:



Name of Agent
Address
City, State, Zip
Phone:
Fax:
Email:

Dear Agent: 

Kyrie is the socialite's Antichrist. She is the product of cynicism; the sole witness to her brother’s homicide. Toren is the schizophrenic’s savior. He will avenge his father – the victim to suicide, guilty for killing a little boy. When Kyrie and Toren’s paths collide, they struggle for the power over fate. He fights to silence Kyrie as she battles to stay alive to die on her own terms.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. CLARITY embodies themes comparable to Vengeance in Death by Nora Roberts and Lisey’s Story by Stephen King.

Thank you for your time.
 
Sincerely,
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 12:29:52 AM by musicbaby01 »

Wolfe

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #55 on: October 15, 2008, 08:24:18 PM »
Sorry for the delay.  God, I HATE finding a character in my own work that reads like cardboard.  Romance and love is not my genre ... Nick can have it all.  And mad congrats on your newest #1 if you read this ... bastard.

Anyway ... on with the show and back to my own editing and rewriting...

But first ... let me say you do have credits to your name.  Yet ... I'm not going to tell you which ones or any.  You must tell us—the writers here and the agents waiting—what you consider your best assets.  So, tell us.  ;)

That said...

Dear Agent:  (good)

Kyrie is the socialite's Antichrist. (excellent) She is the product of (wordy) cynicism (This doesn't work in concert with the first sentence: it's over-telling); (don't recommend using a semicolon in a query letter - it reads as academic and shows potential use in the novel ... which is not good these days) the sole (telling) witness to her brother’s homicide (this part shows promise, but needs tightening). Toren is the schizophrenic’s savior (three lines of telling don't work for me). He will avenge his father – the victim to suicide, guilty for killing a little boy (I read this sentence and went ... ugh.  Not the reaction you want). When Kyrie and Toren’s paths collide (cliché), they struggle for the power over fate (I don't get it - this confuses in its take to sound arty). He fights to (infinitive #1) silence Kyrie as she battles to (#2) alive to (#3) die on her own terms. (This ender contains issues such as adjoined prepositions and repetition as shown)

Observation:  This isn't working for me.  The opening bangs, but the rest flops around like a Lifetime movie on a budget.  I'm not getting a thriller vibe from this.  It needs to be louder, stronger, and more exciting.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. (excellent) It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. (interesting) CLARITY embodies themes comparable to (consider: the same as, similar, or akin to) Vengeance (Remember to italics the titles from other authors) in Death by (consider getting rid of the by [passive] and using possessives - Nora Robert's) Nora Roberts and Lisey’s Story by Stephen King. (Is Lisey's Story a thriller or is it horror?  If it's horror, you don't want to compare differing genres.)

Thank you for your time. (good)

Sincerely, (excellent)


Again, these are just my observations.  Remember:  A thriller query must display an edge-of-your-seat feel to it.  Right now, your query reads pedestrian after the first sentence.  The telling hurts you as well.  Don't turn your query into a minisummary.  Make me want to read your book.  Intrigue me with it.  Force me to buy it!

Because ... your query will see use again when your agent pitches it to the publisher.  And again, when the publisher uses it or part for the book flap.  And again with advertisements.  And again with reviews...

You can bet on that.  ;)

Wolfe
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 08:32:22 PM by Wolfe »

Offline musicbaby01

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #56 on: October 15, 2008, 11:32:11 PM »
I was trying too hard :( I tend to do that when I'm so invested in something, I just want it to be great! I stepped back from it today, and started writing is as if it were an advertisement or pitch. I hope this reads better! I also added a paragraph about me... I'm still a little weary of it though. I'm trying my best not to be wordy.  ;)



Name of Agent
Address
City, State, Zip
Phone:
Fax:
Email:

Dear Agent: 

Kyrie is the socialite's Antichrist. When she’s nailed to a cross of lies and slander by a man hell-bent on vengeance, the chances of survival wear thin. Kyrie realizes she must dine with Death to silence the enemy -- permanently.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. CLARITY embodies themes similar to Nora Robert’s Vengeance in Death.

My past creative endeavors include many songwriting credits, storytelling through choreography, and narration in movie and music video production. With the recent death of my father, I have been researching the psychological ramifications involving the passing of a loved one, and how they vary with the individual’s inherited mental state as well as the manner in which they die.

Thank you for your time.
 
Sincerely,
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 11:42:54 PM by musicbaby01 »

Wolfe

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #57 on: October 20, 2008, 06:19:05 PM »
Dear Agent: (good)

Kyrie is the socialite's Antichrist. (excellent) When she’s nailed to a cross of lies and slander by a man hell-bent on vengeance, the chances of survival wear thin. (This does nothing for the query except prove you have skill with metaphors.) Kyrie realizes she must dine with Death to silence the enemy -- permanently. (Again, what does this have to do with the plot?  It's too vague and tells the agent little to nothing about the book.)

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. (excellent) It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. (Interesting) CLARITY embodies themes similar to Nora Robert’s Vengeance in Death. (good)

Everything I cross out below means it's wordy and needs tightening.  I have written suggestions, but you must choose what works for you ... if it works.

My past creative endeavors (credits) include many songwriting credits, storytelling through choreography, and narration in movie and music video production (This last one ... look at your previous post on this.  I believe this is a HUGE marketing point and one you should not gloss over.  Reword it.  Remember, this is a marketing pitch. Never forget that.). With the recent death of my father (my father's recent demise) (This shows instant humanity in your query, and it also shows you have truth in your novel:  You are the writer for this work.), I have been  researching (researched) the psychological ramifications (death leaves on the individual) involving the passing of a loved one, and how they (it) vary (varies) with the individual’s (because of) inherited mental state (psychology) as well as  the manner  in which they die.

Observation:  Not bad, but I would like to see at least one writing credit.

Thank you for your time. (good)
 
Sincerely, (excellent)

As always, just my humble opinion.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 06:20:39 PM by Wolfe »

Offline musicbaby01

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2008, 05:02:33 PM »
Name of Agent
Address
City, State, Zip
Phone:
Fax:
Email:

Dear Agent: 

Kyrie is the socialite's Antichrist. When she’s framed for murder by a man hell-bent on vengeance, she is condemned to pay with her life. The man’s ultimatum is clear: suicide or crucifixion. Kyrie must fight to clear her name and silence her accuser—and the voices in his head–permanently.

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. CLARITY embodies themes similar to Nora Robert’s Vengeance in Death.

My credits include songwriting, storytelling through choreography, and narration through movie and music video production. I am the owner of Abandon Video: my music videos and documentaries are featured on indie & major label CD and DVD releases. With my father’s recent demise, I researched the ramifications death leaves on the individual, and how it varies because of inherited psychology.

Thank you for your time.
 
Sincerely,

Wolfe

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Re: Query -- CLARITY -- Please critique
« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2008, 08:38:08 PM »
Dear Agent:  (good)

Kyrie is the socialite's Antichrist. (excellent) When she’s framed (hidden passive phrase) for murder (cliché) by (passive) a man hell-bent on vengeance (cliché), she is condemned (passive) to pay with her life.

Observation:  Way too many clichés, passive voice, and wordiness.  Let me ask you this:  What is the goal Kyrie wants to gain in the book?  Got it?  Now, deny her and tell the reader who and why the goal gets denied in the second sentence.

The man’s ultimatum is clear (cliché): suicide or crucifixion (Over-the-top). Kyrie must fight to clear her name (cliché) and silence her accuser—and the voices in his head–permanently. (I don't get this.  Also, the long dashes appear odd-looking.  The power between the two dashes weakens because of them as well.) 

CLARITY is a 75,000-word thriller and spans six months in 1994 at the Pacific Northwest city of Lake Washington. (excellent) It explores the blame and anger that surrounds death and ignites the flaws that make us human. (interesting) CLARITY embodies themes similar to Nora Robert’s Vengeance in Death. (excellent)

My credits include songwriting, storytelling through choreography, and narration through movie and music video production (narration). I am the owner of Abandon Video: (, and) my music videos and documentaries are featured on indie Indie (films?) & (as well as ) major label CD and DVD releases. (Clean this up, and agents will kick down your door for this credit alone) With my father’s recent demise, I researched the ramifications death leaves on the individual, and how it varies because of inherited psychology. (excellent)

Recommendation:  Your credits are kicking!  I recommend you place the second sentence first, the first sentence second, and leave the last one as is.  No credits?  Are you kidding?  ;D

Thank you for your time. (good)
 
Sincerely, (excellent)


It's not bad.  Beware those clichés!  Also, purple prose creeps into your writing.  Don't let that happen.  Work on the first part again.  I know it's frustrating, but you've come a long way from your first queries.  You're getting close to the end.  ;)

Wolfe
« Last Edit: October 21, 2008, 08:39:52 PM by Wolfe »