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  1. #1
    Roy Abrahams

    Is this QL a go?

    Below is a query letter hopefully designed to get requests for partials or fulls. Your input is invited and will be respectfully considered.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


    A month before his 4th birthday, Joey Arter hands his mother the rope she will use minutes later in killing her father-in-law. Although the boy leaves before the murder takes place, he does return to get a quick and hazy glimpse of something his mother calls a surprise. Before the boy can fully assimilate what he sees, he is hustled away from the scene. Two years later, he begins having the recurring dream that will haunt his waking moments for the next twelve years.

    At age eighteen, Joey flees his home, hoping his escape from his domineering mother will end the dream. Determined to never again be subjected to her vagaries, he hitchhikes to Denver, Colorado, where he finds the infamous Larimer Street. There, he makes friends with several winos and other characters living on that dangerous skid row.

    A private investigator hired by Joey's father quickly locates the boy. His parents drive to Denver, his mother determined to return her son to the home. The father has other plans. Fate has its own plans, including awakening the boy to the reason for the dream.

    The awakening comes as he faces his mother in a night darkened Larimer alley. In her hand is a short rope. In his is the revolver used half a minute earlier as he laid atop a well-to-do woman satisfying her lust during a Diamond Night. The woman lies on the long plank laid over two beer kegs, two bullets in her brain. At Joey's feet lies her killer, a single suicidal bullet in his.

    Death continues its rampage the next day, nearly claiming Joey. Surviving an attempt on his life, the boy lies in hospital making vengeful plans for one of the major characters. With the help of a minor figure from the underworld and an ancient Chinese seer, the boy reaches a decision that carries him from vindictiveness to a mature acceptance of what has gone before. What lies ahead is enigmatically foreshadowed.

    *** is a 94 thousand word novel set in the year 1955. It is ready for your assessment as to its marketability. Its author, a freelance writer for five national magazines, is currently doing research for a sequel that takes the story to the year 1966..

    Looking forward to your reply, I remain, respectfully yours, ...........

  2. #2

    Re: Is this QL a go?

    No, no no! You wrote a synopsis, not a query letter. Back to the drawing board...


  3. #3
    Roy Abrahams

    Re: Is this QL a go?

    Well, Alex, at least that part of the process is done. Now to find my drawing board.


  4. #4

    Re: Is this QL a go?

    'night darkened' should be hyphenated because it is a compound adjective. I don't know what a Diamond Night is, but maybe your prospective agent will. The paragraph that starts 'Death continues . . ' is much more vague than the preceding ones, and for that reason I don't like it as much. I don't think you need to refer to yourself in the third person ('its author'). Just say I'm a freelance writer working on a sequel, or whatever. I liked the first two paragraphs the best.

  5. #5
    Roy Abrahams

    Is this QL a go?

    Gibby.....thank you for the hyphen heads-up and the change to first person. They are incorporated.

  6. #6
    Roy Abrahams

    Definition of Diamond Night

    Forgot to do this, Gibby. A diamond night, in the slang of the Larimer Street denizens, was one when wealthy women slipped down to the alleys looking for lustful gratification with the winos. If they didn't pay the person satisfying them, their diamond earrings or other jewelry was yanked off and hocked the next day.

  7. #7
    Heather F

    Re: Is this QL a go?

    I agree that it is a little on the long side. I also had no idea what a Diamond Night was.
    On the plus side, you kept me reading all the way through, which a lot of query letters posted here don't.
    I wouldn't start from scratch - I'd just condense it.
    Good luck with it, it sounds like a very interesting story.

  8. #8

    Re: Is this QL a go?

    Roy, I followed it til this para, when you linked two sentences together, with a comma. I think it should read like this: A private investigator hired by Joey's father quickly locates the boy. His parents drive to Denver: HIS MOTHER IS determined to return her son to the home, BUT HIS FATHER HAS ANOTHER PLAN. (or keep the comma and drop the second verb, 'is'. Verb tense needs attention too.

    From here on in, it becomes obscure. Who exactly killed who? I think you should write in nouns and verbs only (drop the 'fate has its own plans' in a synopsis, since Fate is not a character and it is extremely obscure). Or, if you want to keep that thought, use it before or after you clarify the plot and action, as a kind of commentary.

    I think you should say 'dark Larimer alley' not night darkened. Then the rope, the revolver, the woman - too obscure. No image, no clarity, no geography. And what do you mean - 'death continued its rampage the next day'? Isn't anyone responsible for the deaths, or is Death another character?

    The first two paras were exquisitely clear, so I'm sure you can unravel whatever it is that's obscuring the information. It sounds like a promising good story.

  9. #9

    Re: Is this QL a go?

    "he is hustled away" is passive. "kind neighbors hustle him away" (or whomever it is that does the hustling) is active. Don't use passive tense.
    What KIND of a novel? Literary, YA, mystery? Who's your audience? Why is it different from others in the same genre?
    What is the mother's reason for the murder? You need to set up the conflict, not just name it.
    Combine paragraphs two three and four, into one succinct paragraph.
    What kind of magazines do you write for, and why does it qualify you to write this novel? I write for magazines too, and in my query I said "I've published over a hundred stories on health, job and family issues in several national magazines," which has given me insight into . . . etc.
    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Agnes Grace

    Re: Is this QL a go?


    I sent you an email.


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