Investigative reporter Avery Bonelli became Chiquita non grata when deep-cover CIA agent Logan Nash accused her of publishing national secrets and ruining his career. Two years later, Nash shows up in her apartment covered in blood, and promises a scoop that will get her back in the big leagues--all she has to do is trust him.
oh I am so in. This really works: it SHOWS rather than tells with things like Chiquita non-grata.
Following Nash’s scoop, Avery investigates a series of high profile murders with terrorism implications. Instead of finding something she can publish, she discovers
The difference between "a" and "the" doesn't seem like much does it? Kind of picky to notice it. Well, I do notice it. They convey very different nuances of what the mission in her mailbox was: "a" means it is one among many, not specific; "the" is specific, the one mission that was in her mailbox. She didn't have two or ten there, she had just "the" one.
THIS is the kind of attention to detail in your writing that I look for. No, it doesn't make the difference in whether I will read pages, or perhaps even want to sign you as a client.
Where it makes the difference is in how much editorial work I'll have to invest to get this ready to send to an editor You want to SHOW me your book will be as close to perfect, right down to "the" not "a." And you do want to be that perfect. After all, this is your book, you want to get it right, don't you?
Now Avery feels the weight of a bulls-eye on her back as more people involved with the stolen file get
Again, slaughtered is not the best word. It's not a synonym for "killed." Slaughtered is the savage and excessive killing of many people. There's a quality of the impersonal in "slaughtered."
Killed is more personal, and doesn't invoke people as a group, but people targeted individually.
When I jump up and down and holler about the importance of slow editing, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Does every single word mean what you want it to mean? Does it convey exactly what you want to convey.
VICARIOUS is a 105,000-word thriller.
Enclosed is a sample chapter.
Thanks for your consideration.
I'd request pages here, no doubt about it, but fervently hoping the manuscript doesn't have more of this kind of not-quite-right word choices.
123 Shark-Meat St.
On the corner of Acceptance Ln. and Pet Peeve Pl.
Blog Follower, NY 00000
ok, hilarious yes, but you know not to put your return address FIRST in an email query right? I've ranted about this at length.
Dear Ms. Query Shark,
Investigative reporter Avery Bonilla became Chiquita non grata when ex-CIA operative Logan Nash accused her of stealing national secrets. Two years later, Nash shows up in her apartment covered in blood, and promises a scoop that can get her back in the big leagues--all she has to do is trust him.
This is a really good opening. It's enticing. It sets up what looks like a real plot. I'm ready to like this.
Desperate to get back into journalism, Avery helps Nash investigate a terrorist bombing that killed his father and thirty-two others. She still hates him for destroying her career, but his charm makes it hard to keep her hands off his pecs and his … 21st digit. After all, she just broke off an engagement, and you can’t just go cold-turkey on men. It’s unhealthy.
And splat right here. It's hard to make a terrorist bombing sprightly and humorous. The tone of the writing (sprightly, humorous) doesn't match the content (terrorism)
But Avery uncovers a conspiracy that’s more hazardous to her health than Y-chromosome withdrawals. The terrorist attack was engineered by the CIA to protect one man from an FBI investigation: Nash’s father, chief engineer of an airborne strain of HIV. And he’s still alive. Now she’s hunted by people who believe she’s a threat to their virus project and to the terrorist’s identity. Avery becomes a subject in her own story and she’ll have to trust her life to the man who just might turn out to be the terrorist she’s been hunting.
Whoa. You want to be lighthearted about airborne HIV and bio-terrorism. Yikes. No.
VICARIOUS, a 111,000-word espionage-thriller, is Jack Reacher muscle on a Stephanie Plum diet. It’s one of five finalists in the 2010 (redacted) Contest on (redacted).
Well, one good thing about comparisons is they show instantly why this doesn't work. Stephanie Plum books are lots of fun to read of course, but you'll notice they aren't about serious topics. Jack Reacher isn't lighthearted. Yes you can pair the two but that's a platypus; nothing quite looks or feels right.
Enclosed are five sample pages.
The five pages you attached don't mention either character or any of the plot you cover in the query letter. It's as though you sent five pages that have nothing to do with this query.
That's one of the (many) problems with prologues. When you query with pages, start with chapter one, page one. Leave OUT the prologue.
Thank you for your consideration.
This is a form rejection.