Author Topic: Query letter for Murder On Marsh Island Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks  (Read 32190 times)

Wolfe

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Hello?  Tap, tap, tap. This thing on? Let's see the update!

Wolfe

Offline Swampfox one

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The corpse, sprawled on the ninth green, drew more stares than it did as Miss Georgia.  Yet, Sheriff Lightfoot discovers more to the murder than a dead diva.  He would have liked her in life; he will serve up justice for her in death.

Wolfe

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Watch the tenses.  ;) You can switch tenses, but they must flow in language and sound. If in doubt, read them aloud to hear the paragraph's music. If it jars, edit. I will warn you, like a synopsis, most query letters use present tense.

The corpse, sprawled on the ninth green, (consider moving this to the second sentence to avoid splitting the subject and verb) drew more stares than it did as Miss Georgia.  Yet, Sheriff Lightfoot discovers (discovered) more to the murder than a dead diva (sprawled on the ninth green) (consider adding a specific name to ninth green: e.g., Meadowland's).  He would have liked her (consider: failed) her in life; (avoid semicolons - consider a conjunction with a comma) (, but) he will (past tense) (would) serve up (avoid verb and preposition combinations) justice (maybe: destiny? like the title reference though...) for her (understood, but leave this out to create mystery) in death.

Consider the suggestions and re-edit, but a quick question. Does your novel use present tense? If so, re-edit the entire letter to reflect the present tense.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 08:03:20 PM by Wolfe »

Offline eric

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This is not my ball game, but as a matter of interest I notice that you had five different tenses in the prior post, JH, when W. asked you to make the tenses uniform ... requiring almost a re-write of your query for you in the response.  Remember that the query has to reflect the tone and style of the manuscript ... if it reflects your editor's tone instead, the editor who reads it will know that.

As a side note, I am uncomfortable with "would" in the last line ... it's future or conditional, and does not sound right.  Or maybe the problem is elsewhere.  Forgive me, but the final prepositional phrase--as you have currently positioned it in the sentence, JH--appears to imply that the now-dead sheriff will serve (up) justice to ... someone, or slave for the abstract notion of justice as one of the living dead.  The first and third inferences are outlandish.  The second inference is almost as if justice were a platter of cold-cuts or a bowl of chips.  Maybe these three things do not bother other people as much as they bother me.  But they are real connotations, especially in the current revision (as follows).  If you keep that version, I would substitute "now" for "in death."  But that's just me.

I agree this is the best we've seen so far, though.  My images are getting wild, so I will have nothing else to say on this thread if I can help it.

« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 09:42:23 PM by eric »

Offline Swampfox one

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The corpse drew more stares than it did as Miss Georgia.  Yet, Sheriff Lightfoot discovered more to the murder than a dead diva sprawled on Marsh Islandís ninth green.  He failed her in life, but he would serve justice in death.

Wolfe

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I like it.  ;D  Let's leave the synopsis portion for now, and let it cool.  Can you show us your second paragraph?

Wolfe
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 09:02:02 PM by Wolfe »

Wolfe

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I will once again remind my fellow posters to avoid scathing judgments about anyone's ability, talent, or writing. Before you hit enter, I ask all posters to review their responses and question if their 'opinion' is simply an opportunity to display their cruelty. If in doubt, reconsider your post and ask if aids the original poster's work or destroys their confidence. If the latter, I recommend you remove it.

These boards are not the place to show your proverbial rears. And believe me when I tell you, the opinions you display might turn into a reflection on you.

Wolfe

Offline pb

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i reckon that lin robinson's effort completely lacks the wit of JH Mull's.

also one question - about the 'yet'. what connection does it have with the first sentence? it has confused me considerably that wolfe hasn't mentioned it and therefore i assume it does have a connection.

to me it sounds like the corpse drew more stares BUT DESPITE THIS the sheriff discovers more...

which doesn't make sense or at least is superflous.

have I gone bonkers?

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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pb,

Wolfe and JH have been working on the first paragraph of JH's query recently. Keep an eye on things and when they move on the the rest of the query I'm sure you'll see the connection.

Wolfe has been leading JH, step by step, into creating his own query in his own words and style.  This is not only helpful for this novel, but he will be able to use what he has learned in the future.

I for one have been following the thread and also learning as they progress.



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Offline pb

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thanks country4gal for the reply.

maybe i shouldn't have jumped in like that...i just thought the 'yet' in the opening part of the query bothered me but i wasn't sure how.

like you say...i'll watch and learn. it's very interesting isn't it.

Offline ma100

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I am reminding all posters on this thread that JH is trying to learn here, as is a lot of us following the thread. On his behalf I have edited your comments Lin and apparently another one has already been removed by someone else.

A lot of time and effort has been put in by JH to learn how to get his query correct. He has been helped along all the way by Wolfe. I am proud of his attempts and I won't stand by and watch thoughtless people try and wreck his or would be posters confidence.

If you have something helpful or constructive to say you are more than welcome on this thread. If it is personal and destructive stay away. All posts not directly involved with the threads topic will be removed from now on.

Go for it JH we are rooting for you. Some of us are sweating when it comes to our turn. :)

« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 01:19:19 PM by ma100 »

Offline Swampfox one

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thanks country4gal for the reply.

maybe i shouldn't have jumped in like that...i just thought the 'yet' in the opening part of the query bothered me but i wasn't sure how.

like you say...i'll watch and learn. it's very interesting isn't it.
PD, donít feel like you should not join in.  To me this is a classroom unlike any other.  Open to all wishing to learn.  I look at writing like golf.  There are the basics and you cannot get anywhere without them.  On a 375 yard hole you tee off with a driver not a 9 iron.  Yet how you swing that driver is a personal thing.  No two people swing it the same.  I am still learning the craft of writing the basics if you will.  So please jump in and join me.
JH

Offline Swampfox one

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Now where were we?  I have had a number of distractions this week. One being the passing of a close friend. Her funeral was Wednesday.  She was 87 I thought for a long time she was only 82 and she let me.  Talk about a book idea she and her husband were high school sweethearts, married in 1941.  Jim went off to war and became an ace in the army air corp.  He was Gen. Chuck Yeagerís wingman and after the war was a test pilot.  Great golfer. Any way Iím back and here is my query letter.  So what are your thoughts?

 Dear Agent,

The corpse drew more stares than it did as Miss Georgia.  Yet, Sheriff Lightfoot discovered more to the murder than a dead diva sprawled on Marsh Islandís ninth green.  He failed her in life, but he would serve justice in death.

JUSTICE SERVED is a 95,000-word mystery.  Similar to Robert B. Parkerís Sea Change, it races through a five-week period on St. Simons Island.

Iím a member of the Georgia Association of Writers, as well as a participant in the Scribblersí Retreat Writerís Conference. 

Thank you for your time.


 

Offline pb

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cheers JH Mull and well dammit i will then...if i ever think of something to say.

in the meantime pass me the putter and i'll see if i can navigate round this corpse.

Offline Swampfox one

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cheers JH Mull and well dammit i will then...if i ever think of something to say.

in the meantime pass me the putter and i'll see if i can navigate round this corpse.

Alas that was her problem to many putters! ;D