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  1. #1
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    I'm giving this another try. I welcome the help

    Hi everyone, I'm trying to do my best with this query. It's rough focusing, my father passed away and it's been really hard. Anyway I welcome your critiques. Good or bad.
    Thanks again,
    Cheryl


    Dear Agent,

    Several years ago, police officer Gina Russo fired a shot in self-defense. It caused an explosion that killed a man. Unfortunately, she and every law enforcement officer at the crime scene presumed the wrong man had died.

    Now as an FBI agent, the man presumed dead sends Gina a death threat and poems containing hidden clues about his potential next moves. The man knows personal information about her, even about a past sour romance that still stings like hell, and she doesn’t like it…not one bit.

    The bureau assigns the handsome, sharp, agent Joey Zicara as her partner. Now she’s caught between a stranger who wants her life, and a partner who wants her heart. With the intelligence of an experienced agent and the cautious heart of a woman scorned, she hopes to dodge both. But will she?


    THE FINAL CLUE is a 100,000-word, character-driven suspense novel set in New York City.



  2. #2
    Member Tanya Bell's Avatar
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    Hi Cheryl, sorry to hear about your father. I think your letter is good but I've made a couple of changes you may either like or dislike. Critiques are so subjective. Good luck with finding an agent. Are you also planning to query publishers? It never hurts, especially in today's publishing market, to get as many irons in the fire as you can.

    Dear Agent,

    Several years ago, police officer Gina Russo fired a shot in self-defense. It caused an explosion that killed a man. Unfortunately, she and every law enforcement officer at the crime scene presumed the wrong man had died.

    Now as an FBI agent, Gina receives death threats and poems from the man presumed dead. They contain hidden clues about his potential next moves. The man knows personal information about her, even about a past sour romance that still stings like hell, and she doesn’t like it…not one bit.

    When the bureau assigns handsome Joey Zicara, as her partner, she’s caught between a stranger who wants her life, and a partner who wants her heart. With the intelligence of an experienced agent and the cautious heart of a woman scorned, she hopes to dodge both. But will she?


    THE FINAL CLUE is a 100,000-word, character-driven suspense novel set in New York City.
    One step at a time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Keith .'s Avatar
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    My opinion:

    It reads choppy and stilted to me. It doesn't flow. There's a reason it's called storytelling. Have someone who's never seen the letter read it aloud to you. This person wont know where you expect pauses or accent and will read it as an agent will. You may be surprised.

    Tell this friend part your story verbally without reading. Tell her what happens at or near the story beginning that drives your character's major conflict. Tell what you consider the hook. Verbally. Relax and explain why you love your main character and describe her conflicts. Try to speak a query without notes. Sell it and give your friend a reason to ask to hear more. Then put it on paper and make it beautiful. Luck.
    ________________________________________________

    People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
    - Bob Dylan

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryl Iadonisi View Post
    Hi everyone, I'm trying to do my best with this query. It's rough focusing, my father passed away and it's been really hard. Anyway I welcome your critiques. Good or bad.
    Thanks again,
    Cheryl


    Dear Agent,

    Several years ago, police officer Gina Russo fired a shot in self-defense. It caused an explosion that killed a man. Unfortunately, she and every law enforcement officer at the crime scene presumed the wrong man had died.

    Now as an FBI agent, the man presumed dead sends Gina a death threat and poems containing hidden clues about his potential next moves. The man knows personal information about her, even about a past sour romance that still stings like hell, and she doesn’t like it…not one bit.

    The bureau assigns the handsome, sharp, agent Joey Zicara as her partner. Now she’s caught between a stranger who wants her life, and a partner who wants her heart. With the intelligence of an experienced agent and the cautious heart of a woman scorned, she hopes to dodge both. But will she?


    THE FINAL CLUE is a 100,000-word, character-driven suspense novel set in New York City.
    So sorry about your father. My condolences.

    As far as wording and style, I think your letter is pretty darn good and tight as a drum. That last paragraph, that's a zinger for sure. The only thing I can see to tighten a little more is the first paragraph. You could delete "several" and "had" and combine the first two sentences, like this:

    Years ago, police officer Gina Russo fired a shot in self-defense, which caused an explosion that killed a man. Unfortunately, she and every law enforcement officer at the crime scene presumed the wrong man died.

    Other than that...well, it's not often I see a letter with so little to correct in the writing. Great job!

    Now as to content, I think you could use a little more detail to transition between paragraphs 1 and 2 and draw these paragraphs together even tighter. The villain should have close to the same amount of flesh as Gina, but right now, he's not much more than a cypher. I think you should name him and tell what kind of criminal they thought they killed in the first paragraph. Something like, "Years ago, police officer Gina Russo killed drug lord Vince Minetti in an act of self-defense. Or so she thought."

    In the second paragraph, it reads as if the man presumed dead is the FBI agent. Should say, "Now as an FBI agent, Gina receives...".

    Also, you have a contradiction in the third paragraph. If Gina knows the man presumed dead is the one sending her stuff, then he is not a stranger, is he? She knows who he is. Maybe use "psychotic" or "criminal genius" or whatever fits what you write in the first paragraph.

    So, I think you have a great start here, just expand the details a little, and I think you'll be gold.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 05-01-2012 at 05:59 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thank you Tanya, Keith and John,
    Tanya, I haven't submitted yet. I want to make sure I have a solid query before I do so. I appreciate the advice you gave me. Thanks again, you've been a big help.
    Keith, thanks for your input. I will work on that.
    John, thank you so very much. I will expand on it. The answer to your question about Gina knowing who it is. She doesn't. I will definitly clear up what I need to. I appreciate the time you took to tell me what you feel needs to be done to get it right. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Cheryl

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryl Iadonisi View Post
    Hi everyone, I'm trying to do my best with this query. It's rough focusing, my father passed away and it's been really hard. Anyway I welcome your critiques. Good or bad.
    Thanks again,
    Cheryl


    Dear Agent,

    Several years ago, police officer Gina Russo fired a shot in self-defense. It caused an explosion that killed a man. Unfortunately, she and every law enforcement officer at the crime scene presumed the wrong man had died.

    Now as an FBI agent, the man presumed dead sends Gina a death threat and poems containing hidden clues about his potential next moves. The man knows personal information about her, even about a past sour romance that still stings like hell, and she doesn’t like it…not one bit.

    The bureau assigns the handsome, sharp, agent Joey Zicara as her partner. Now she’s caught between a stranger who wants her life, and a partner who wants her heart. With the intelligence of an experienced agent and the cautious heart of a woman scorned, she hopes to dodge both. But will she?


    THE FINAL CLUE is a 100,000-word, character-driven suspense novel set in New York City.
    Hi Cheryl,

    I'm not sure you need to say that she fired a shot, it's insinuated. Same with her title, police officer. You don't need the word police. It is a bit choppy, but you can easily fix that just by linking some sentences together. The way you've worded the second paragraph makes it sound like the man they presumed dead is an FBI agent rather than Gina. I also wouldn't repeat the word presumed. You could probably say "Now, the man who should have died is sending..."

    Read it out loud. It really is a great way to hear the awkwardness. Best of luck!

    Aeslynn

  7. #7
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    Hi Aeslynn,
    Thank you very much. You're all so helpful in more ways than one. Thanks again.
    Cheryl

  8. #8
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    Do you have another revision to post?

  9. #9
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    Hello John,

    I have been working on one and hoping I'm that much closer to getting it right. Thanks again, for all your help and support.
    Here it goes:

    Dear Agent,

    Years ago, Officer Gina Russo fired a shot in an act of self-defense, which caused an explosion, killing career criminal William Nicholas Mancuso, aka, Nick, or so she thought.

    Now as an FBI agent, Gina receives a death threat and poems containing hidden clues from some man going by the initials WNM, hinting at his potential next moves. Nick knows personal information about her, even about a past sour romance that still stings like hell. She doesn’t like it… not one bit, especially not knowing who the bastard is.

    The bureau assigns handsome, sharp, agent Joey Zicara as her partner. Now she’s caught between Nick, who wants her life, and Joey, who wants her heart. With the intelligence of an experienced agent and the cautious heart of a woman scorned, Gina hopes to dodge both. But will she?

    THE FINAL CLUE is a 100,000 word, character-driven suspense novel set in New York City.

  10. #10
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    No comma after "aka". I know you're technically right in designating "Nick" as an alias, but aren't criminals generally known by more colorful aliases? Nick Mancuso...I could see his pals calling him Nick "The Man" or something like that.

    If she really doesn't know who's sending the poems, you can't say "some man" or "Nick" in the second paragraph. All you can say is the threat and poems are signed "WNM". Also, there's no such thing as a hidden clue in a poem, unless the clue is written in invisible ink. Instead of "hidden", I think you want something like "cryptic". Gina knows they are clues, but she doesn't really understand exactly how they apply to whatever crime WNM is planning. Does that sound right?

    You can't say "Nick" in the third paragraph either, if she doesn't know who's sending the poems.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 05-17-2012 at 03:50 AM.

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