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  1. #1
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Sorry I'm such a pest, and an obsessed pest at that. It seems I just can't put it aside for a while; this QL is haunting me 8-)

    I was advised to attack the problem of too many foreign-sounding names/terms, frontally and unashamedly, by opening the QL with the description of the largest North American pre-contact city. Making it an opening statement.


    "Construction of the Great Mound at Cahokia on the Mississippi River began around 10th century. At 1250 it was the center of the largest North American empire, populated more densely than London of the same period. A hundred years later the Great Mound lay abandoned. “The Cahokian” is an 115,000-word historical novel, based on the final years of that empire.

    Acoto, the Chief Warlord of Cahokia, accepts a mission in the far north-east. Determined to restore the fading glory of the Empire, he leads the campaign against the northern barbarians. However the League of the Iroquois is not an easy target. He loses a crucial battle, and falls into the hands of the people he came to conquer.

    Even when he grasps the basics of their language, he cannot understand them. Yet, escape plans occupy his mind less with each passing day. A beautiful Iroquois woman fascinates him. Torn by his love for Neokë and affection for his own people, his unique position of a man familiar with both cultures puts him against both sides while he attempts to stop the war in the Ohio River Valley.

    Bio: Having a background in the Classic Ancient History, I’ve spent more than ten years researching the Pre-Columbian North America and some of its most fascinating, pre-contact cultures.

    Thank you for your time and consideration."
    Pre-Columbian North America

    http://blog.zoesaadia.com/



  2. #2
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Zoe,

    Definitely improvement here. Here come the caps...


    Construction of the Great Mound at Cahokia on the Mississippi River began around 10th century. THE TENTH CENTURY. ALSO, WHY WASTE YOUR QUERY'S VERY FIRST SENTENCE ON SOMETHING THE READER DOESN'T NEED TO KNOW? YOUR HOOK IS COMPRISED OF THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE CONCEPTS PRESENTED IN THE SECOND AND THIRD SENTENCES. SUGGEST JETTISONING THIS At "IN," OR POSSIBLY ""BY," NOT "AT" 1250 it IF YOU DO LOSE THE FIRST SENTENCE, HERE IS WHERE YOU WOULD SAY "THE GREAT MOUND AT CAHOKIA, ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, was the center of the largest North American empire, populated more densely WHAT WAS POPULATED MORE DENSELY? THE MOUND? THE EMPIRE? YOU MAY NEED TO SPECIFY "WITH ITS GREATEST CITY" than London of the same period. MAYBE SAY "THIRTEENTH-CENTURY LONDON" INSTEAD A hundred years later the Great Mound lay abandoned. THAT'S A GOOD HOOK. YOU'VE GOT THE READER WONDERING WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED IN THE SPAN OF A CENTURY TO BRING DOWN THIS EMPIRE “The Cahokian” is an "A," NOT "AN" 115,000-word historical novel, based on the final years of that empire. AFTER THAT GOOD HOOK, IT'S A BIT OF AN ABRUPT TRANSITION TO TALK ABOUT YOUR WORD COUNT. PERHAPS TO KEEP THE FLOW YOU SHOULD SAY THAT THE FINAL YEARS OF THAT EMPIRE ARE THE BASIS FOR "THE CAHOKIAN" AND THEN GIVE THE WORD COUNT AND GENRE. MIGHT ALSO THINK ABOUT MOVING THAT SENTENCE DOWN TO THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PARAGRAPH

    Acoto, the Chief Warlord of Cahokia, accepts a mission in the far north-east. YOU'VE WASTED PART OF A SENTENCE BY TELLING US HE "ACCEPTS A MISSION." VAGUE AND UNINFORMATIVE Determined to restore the fading glory of the Empire, he leads the campaign against the northern barbarians. YOU COULD COMBINE THE FIRST TWO SENTENCES AND MAKE THEM MUCH STRONGER, LIKE "ACOTO, THE CHIEF WARLORD OF CAHOKIA, LEADS A CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE NORTHERN BARBARIANS TO RESTORE THE FADING GLORY OF THE EMPIRE." However COMMA the League of the Iroquois is not an easy target. He loses a crucial battle, and falls into the hands of the people he came to conquer. THAT'S A GOOD SETUP FOR WHAT COMES NEXT

    Even when he grasps the basics of their language, he cannot understand them. THIS IS ALSO A WASTE OF A SENTENCE, ESPECIALLY SINCE IT CONTRASTS WITH YOUR LATER STATEMENT THAT HE IS FAMILIAR WITH BOTH CULTURES. I'D LOSE IT Yet, WEAK OPENING escape plans occupy his mind less with each passing day. COULD BE STRONGER. THIS WOULD BE A GOOD CONFLICT FOR YOUR MAIN CHARACTER BUT YOU'VE FORGOTTEN TO SET UP HIS DESIRE TO ESCAPE AS THE STATUS QUO. GIVE US A LINE FIRST ABOUT HIS DETERMINATION AND/OR EFFORTS TO PLAN AN ESCAPE A beautiful Iroquois woman fascinates him. THEN TELL US HOW HE'S DISTRACTED FROM HIS ESCAPE PLANS BY THE WOMAN. ALSO, THE FIRST TIME YOU MENTION THE BEAUTIFUL IROQUOIS WOMAN, GIVE US HER NAME IN THAT SENTENCE, DON'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE Torn by his love for Neokë and affection for his own people, his unique position of a man familiar with both cultures puts PITS him against both sides while he attempts to stop the war in the Ohio River Valley. DON'T THINK WE NEED THE OHIO RIVER VALLEY IDENTIFIED IN THE QUERY. IT ACTUALLY KIND OF PULLS THE READER OUT OF IMMERSION IN YOUR STORY'S SETTING TO HEAR THIS MODERN TERM USED

    Bio: NO NEED TO SAY "BIO" Having TRY TO AVOID STARTING SENTENCES WITH GERUNDS (-ING WORDS). THE AGENT WILL TAKE IT THAT YOU DO THIS IN YOUR NOVEL TOO. INSTEAD, WHEN POSSIBLE, RESTATE IN THE MOST ACTIVE POSSIBLE MANNER - HERE "I HAVE" IS PERFECTLY GOOD a background in the Classic Ancient History, I’ve spent more than ten years researching the LOSE "THE" Pre-Columbian North America and some of THINK ABOUT WHETHER YOU NEED "SOME OF." IF THE ONES YOU'VE STUDIED ARE THE MOST FASCINATING TO YOU, IT'S PERFECTLY ALL RIGHT FOR YOU TO SAY THEY ARE NORTH AMERICA'S MOST FASCINATING PRE-CONTACT CULTURES. IF YOU HAVEN'T STUDIED THE ONES THAT ARE MOST FASCINATING TO YOU...WHY NOT? its most fascinating, LOSE THE COMMA pre-contact cultures.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    Hope those are helpful. Despite all the caps, I think it wouldn't take too much work to turn this into a pretty tight query.

    Good luck.

    JH

  3. #3
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Thank you, John!!!

    To say your suggestions are helpful would be an understatement!!!
    I've copy-pasted all the CAPS and will work with them one by one.
    Thank you so much!!!!!!
    Pre-Columbian North America

    http://blog.zoesaadia.com/

  4. #4
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Quote Originally Posted by John Hawkwood Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I’ve spent more than ten years > researching the LOSE \"THE\" Pre-Columbian North > America and some of THINK ABOUT WHETHER YOU NEED > \"SOME OF.\" IF THE ONES YOU'VE STUDIED ARE THE > MOST FASCINATING TO YOU, IT'S PERFECTLY ALL RIGHT > FOR YOU TO SAY THEY ARE NORTH AMERICA'S MOST > FASCINATING PRE-CONTACT CULTURES. IF YOU HAVEN'T > STUDIED THE ONES THAT ARE MOST FASCINATING TO > YOU...WHY NOT? its most fascinating, LOSE THE > COMMA pre-contact cultures.
    The problem with Pre-Columbian North America is that it's a vastly uncovered field.
    I know of, at least, one more prominent culture that I couldn't squeeze into this current MS. And who knows how many more are lurking out there (or hiding more probably), waiting for their turn. This is just a first MS
    Pre-Columbian North America

    http://blog.zoesaadia.com/

  5. #5
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Heh. This is a query letter. Purpose: to get an agent interested in looking at your book. Note: purpose does not include being an accurate survey of the most fascinating pre-Columbian cultures. I think you can get away with saying you've studied the most fascinating pre-contact cultures, even if, secretly in a closet in your mind that the agent will never look into, you suspect another culture was equally fascinating as the ones you've included.

    On the other hand, leaving in the "some of" weakens that sentence, which means the agent may intuit from it that your manuscript language is often not as strong as it should be, which means the agent may reject. Want to take that chance? It is, of course, your call in the end.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    A point well taken (tu)
    I know I shouldn't let this historian out too often
    Pre-Columbian North America

    http://blog.zoesaadia.com/

  7. #7
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Zoe,
    John has given you great advice, as he always does. He helped me out a LOT with my query. We're lucky to have him in this group.

    I have not read your other query attempts, but the first sentence does not make me want to read on. It almost reads like a text book. My husband is an archaeologist and his area of expertise is Ohio Valley Paleo-Indian through Historical, so I know a bit of what your story is based on. But like I said, it reads more like one of his reports. The second para is where I would start the query, that is where you introduce your story.

    Your book sounds very interesting. Best of luck. Like I said, listen to John. This group is GREAT!

    Write on!
    Carolyn

  8. #8
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Carolyn, thank you so much for your input!

    I agree that the first para may be... well, a little too informative, but through my previous attempts John has pointed out that, when I start pulling out of the blue all those names/terms (Cahokia, Mississippians, Iroquois & co.), people may feel like running away, as quickly as they can. So I probably have to introduce these terms, somehow.
    But I'll definitely throw out the first sentence, as John suggested, and try to rephrase the rest of this first paragraph.

    Thank you so much for your input! It helps A LOT!

    (hope your husband won't laugh at me, as I've been stretching some points to present the war I'm describing in this MS. The conflict might have taken place, but there is no textbook that would state so. So, having taken some literary license, I'm afraid of hardcore historians and archaeologists)
    Pre-Columbian North America

    http://blog.zoesaadia.com/

  10. #10
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    Re: A somewhat different approach (attempt #4:))

    Carolyn's comments brought something to my attention that I should have noticed before - the introductory paragraph isn't really linked to the story you present. That is, the intro talks about how the empire disappeared suddenly, but the story is really a personal story about Acoto. I think you need something, some kind of tag, to let the reader know that Acoto's struggle ties in somehow with the decline and fall of the Cahokian empire. It wouldn't take much - and given that you'll likely be cutting a few sentences out of your most recent version, you should have plenty of room to add it in.

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