Monday, June 16, 2008

#45

Dear Query Shark:

Bailey Brennan takes a job at a local funeral home to help out a friend, not to become a customer.

This is a great first line.

When a biker is brought in to the morgue whose death is not an accident, Bailey is caught up in a chain of events—creepy crematories, stalkers in red Cadillacs and drive-by shootings—that puts every breathing person in the funeral home in danger and digs up events from the past she would like to keep buried.

And we lose the connectivity here. She works in a funeral home, not the morgue. Then there's a list of events with no known connection to her or to each other.

Bailey's long-lost cop-brother doesn't want her involved, but mysterious Luther is counting on her help for his own reasons. A second murder pulls her irrevocably into an underground of criminals and drug-trafficking. It's up to Bailey to unearth the connection that solves the case before time runs out for them all.


If he's long lost how come he's standing around telling her what to do? Shouldn't he be like...lost? You don't need every detail in these queries. This one for example.

And who is Luther? A second murder, who was the first? The biker? "not an accident could mean he died of natural causes"

The description of the plot isn't any where near the lighthearted tone you had at the start. This is where I'm confused.


First Call is complete at 70,000 words, and is the first in a series. Along with my credentials as a journalist, I also work in a funeral home, where most of our guests arrive by natural causes.

"where most of our guests arrive by natural causes" is a great line. You know how to open and close the letter, that's for sure. The middle needs some sprucing up.

I look forward to speaking with you about my work.

Insert sound of screech of panic. Never put the words 'phone' or 'talk' in a query letter. You'll scare me into thinking you might call me up. The best way to close a query is "thank you for your time and consideration, here's the twenty dollar bill's serial number in case you need to look for it in the mail room."

9 comments:

talpianna said...

No, YOU should call THE AUTHOR up:

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it."

Julie Weathers said...

"The best way to close a query is "thank you for your time and consideration, here's the twenty dollar bill's serial number in case you need to look for it in the mail room."

Must resist following this advice. Oh, please, why did you do that? That just tickles me witless, and I didn't have far to go.

Of course, if an agent didn't scream and shred the query, I would at least know they had a sense of humor.

Lehcarjt said...

puts every breathing person in the funeral home in danger

Love this line, along with the one QS noted. Other than that, I think you need to tell us what Bailey is really up against. Who is the bad guy and why is he killing people?

Just_Me said...

I'm with the Shark, the opening and closing are great. The middle kind of loses me... but I like your sense of humor. :o)

Nancy Beck said...

That opening line made me chuckle (a good thing :-)), as did the closing line.

I was confused by most of what came in the middle. Who's Luther? (He just kind of shows up in this query.) And the awkward phrasing of "the long-lost brother/cop" dropped me out of your query. Rather than trying to squish in every last detail, I think it's sufficient to just let us know he's the brother and he happens to be a cop.

The humor's there in the opening and closing, but I'm not getting the same in between.

Good luck.

beth said...

I thought overall, well done. I agree that some parts of the middle are confusing...the author knows the story, but it's hard sometimes for a reader who doesn't know the story.

Southern Writer said...

... puts every breathing person in the funeral home in danger and digs up events from the past she would like to keep buried.

I thought all this was cleverly tied in with the funeral home theme. Maybe you could help me come up with a clever line for my hook.

P.S. Since you work in a funeral home, you might like to read Ghost by Alan Lightman.

Amanda said...

Gosh, what an interesting reaction to the word "speaking." I use it to refer to any conversation, including correspondence, comment threads and IM.

Word ver: knthby. kthxbye.

sharron said...

I love the opening and closing. I do get a little lost in the middle. Nice concept, different.