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  1. #1
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    Happy New Year everyone. My resolution is to get my darn query right. I revised again

    I'm determined to get it right. I respect and value your input and would appreciate any help I can get. Thanks again.

    Cheryl

    FBI agent Gina Russo is faced with the biggest challenge of her career thus far. She not only has to protect her life from a man she doesn’t know. She needs to protect her heart.

    She couldn’t protect her heart from being shattered when the love her life ultimately betrayed her, yet she’ll stop at nothing when it comes to protecting and upholding the law. However, the tables turn when a calculating mysterious man with a vendetta threatens her life, and a swaggering agent, Joey Zicara is sent to shadow her every move.

    Gina has to keep her heart from going in over drive whenever Joey gets within twenty yards of her. In spite of that, she needs to set aside her stubborn pride and trust him. She needs his help to unravel the mysterious man’s clues that are flooding her mailbox. That’s Gina’s one and only shot at unveiling his identity before time runs out, or she could end of up dead. Should they need that damn final clue? The game ends. She'll forever be looking over her shoulder anticipating his next move.

    I look forward to sharing THE FINAL CLUE, a romantic suspense novel. The 125,000 word character driven story is set in NYC.

  2. #2
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    Happy new year, Cheryl.

    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    Can you see that all three descriptive paragraphs contain the same information?

    1. She needs to protect her heart.

    2. She couldn’t protect her heart

    3. Gina has to keep her heart from going in over drive

    You can't keep saying the same thing in each paragraph of a Q letter. Express that idea once and move on. The writing has to be sharper than this.

    Other stuff:

    FBI agent Gina Russo is faced with the biggest challenge of her career thus far.

    You have a habit of adding words you don't need. Why do you need thus far at the end of this sentence?

    She couldn’t protect her heart from being shattered when the love her life ultimately betrayed her, yet she’ll stop at nothing when it comes to protecting and upholding the law. However, the tables turn when a calculating mysterious man with a vendetta threatens her life, and a swaggering agent, Joey Zicara is sent to shadow her every move.

    It rambles. Yet, however, a calculating mysterious man. What are you saying? Just say it. This kind of writing is not going to give an agent the impression that you can write.

    Gina has to keep her heart from going in over drive

    Overdrive is one word.

    stubborn pride

    Cliche.

    mysterious man’s clues

    You've already told us he's a mysterious man. Why repeat it? It was a lazy description the first time.

    Should they need that damn final clue?

    Should they? You're asking the reader? Are they asking themselves? Don't they know? This is confusing.

    The game ends. She'll forever be looking over her shoulder anticipating his next move.

    If the game ends, why is she forever looking over her shoulder? Again, confusing.

    The 125,000 word character driven story is set in NYC.

    Please don't use character driven story.

    Truthfully, I don't see anything in this version that I would keep. What is your story about? Present it clearly, in a style that makes the agent want to see more. Remember that they read hundreds of letters, and yours has to shine.

    I'm sorry I don't like it, because I know how hard you're trying and I'd like to say it's great. But this one isn't working for me at all.

    Just my opinion, of course.
    Last edited by leslee; 01-01-2012 at 04:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thank you Leslee,
    I see what your saying. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to point all of that out to me. I'll work on it.
    Thanks again and I wish you a very Happy New Year,
    Cheryl

  4. #4
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    Hi again Leslee,
    I've been racking my brains out for the past few hours and this is what I came up with based on your critique. Don't know if I'm on the right track yet or not, but I took this one in a whole new direction. When you get a chance can you give me some feedback on it. I value your opinions.
    Thanks,
    Cheryl

    FBI agent Gina Russo’s career groomed her to handle danger and uncertainty with conviction. Lesson learned: stop at nothing to protect and uphold the law.

    Gina’s fiancé ultimately betrayed her.
    Lesson learned: Trust no one.

    Her life is threatened by a man with a vendetta against her that she doesn’t know and a swaggering agent; Joey Zicara is assigned to assist and protect her.
    Biggest challenge: breaking down the clues that the mysterious mans been sending. It’s her only shot at unveiling his identity, or she could end up dead.
    Major challenge: Keeping her heart from going in overdrive drive every time Joey gets within twenty yards of her.
    Key challenge: learning to trust again, before it’s too late. She needs Joey’s help.
    Prime challenge: If they make it to that damn final clue, game ends, and she’ll lose.


    I look forward to sharing THE FINAL CLUE, a romantic suspense novel. The 125,000 is set in NYC.

  5. #5
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    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE (even though you did ask!):

    Lesson learned:
    Lesson learned:
    Biggest challenge:
    Major challenge:
    Key challenge:
    Prime challenge:


    Wow.

    You know, I think you could make a case that this is an innovative way to structure a query letter IF the rest of the writing worked brilliantly, but it doesn't. So you come out with this nutty looking list of "lessons" and "challenges," but one doesn't seem any more important than another. The writing just isn't sharp enough.

    Example:

    Her life is threatened by a man with a vendetta against her that she doesn’t know and a swaggering agent; Joey Zicara is assigned to assist and protect her.

    Read that. It says she doesn't know the vendetta. Can you see it? What you're probably trying to say is that she doesn't know the man, but, as you've structured the sentence, it actually says she doesn't know the vendetta. And the sentence rambles on, because you're trying to pack too much information into one sentence.

    You've got incorrect punctuation in there, too.

    a swaggering agent; Joey Zicara is assigned to assist and protect her.

    A semicolon? Really?

    But here's what I really want to know: What is your book about? There has to be a main theme. That's what you want to work from. But I'm not sure you know what the core is. You're writing like the little stuff is equal to the big stuff. So, what is it? Is it this:

    A female FBI agent receives menacing letters from an unknown writer. She requires the help of a male FBI agent to determine who is sending the letters. She is physically and emotionally attracted to the agent. Her lousy history with men causes her to mistrust the agent and complicates their investigation.

    Is that it?
    Last edited by leslee; 01-01-2012 at 08:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    FBI agent Gina Russo’s career groomed her to handle danger and uncertainty with conviction. Lesson learned: stop at nothing to protect and uphold the law.

    The second sentence above seems to repeat what the first sentence says, just using different words. If she's someone who will stop at nothing to protect and uphold the law, you're saying that she will do unlawful things to reach that goal.

    Gina’s fiancé ultimately betrayed her.
    Lesson learned: Trust no one.


    Are the above two sentences really needed? How big a part of the story is this? If it's something she continues to dwell on, then maybe she's not very effective at her job.

    Her life is threatened by a man with a vendetta against her that she doesn’t know and a swaggering agent; Joey Zicara is assigned to assist and protect her.

    Rearrange and shorten the first part of this sentence and expound on the second part: Her life is threatened by an unknown man with a grudge. Out of the all the agents who could have been assigned to protect her, she gets stuck with swaggering Joey Zicara.

    Biggest challenge: breaking down the clues that the mysterious mans been sending. It’s her only shot at unveiling his identity, or she could end up dead.

    Solving the clues are her only chance to learn the identity of the suspect. (We already know that if she doesn't solve this case she'll end up dead - that's the part where you said her life has been threatened.

    Major challenge: Keeping her heart from going in overdrive drive every time Joey gets within twenty yards of her.
    Key challenge: learning to trust again, before it’s too late. She needs Joey’s help.

    The major and key challenges say the same thing - She's turned on by Joey, but doesn't trust men after her snake of an ex-fiance broke her heart. We already know she needs Joey's help since he's been assigned to protect her.

    Prime challenge: If they make it to that damn final clue, game ends, and she’ll lose.


    First, this last sentence really stumps me. If Gina already knows that getting the final clue means she loses, why would she go after it? Doesn't make sense. Also, "damn final clue" reads awkward. Four-letter words don't bother me, but you've not shown anything about Gina's character to make that "damn" work in your query.

  7. #7
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    Thank you Lea and thank you again Leslee,
    I'll start over. Your opinions are appreciated and should help me figure this out. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time with this query, but I'm determined to get it right.
    Thanks again,
    Cheryl

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Don't sweat it too much, Cheryl. I can help almost anyone with their query, but don't ask me to write one myself.

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