Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Workshop Wednesday

Thanks to all of your contributions, Workshop Wednesday has been a success. We're going to continue on with it for as long as we have entries and the energy to comment on them. If you haven't yet submitted but are still interested, don't be afraid to participate as per the guidelines in our original post.

For anyone wanting to comment, we ask that you comment in a polite and respectful manner, and we ask that you be as constructive as possible. If you can be useful to the brave souls who submitted their query and comment on the query, that's great. Please keep any anonymous tirades on publishing or other snarky comments to yourself. This is and should remain an open and safe forum for people to put themselves and their queries out there so that everyone can learn. I'm leaving comments open and open to anonymous posters, as I always have; don't make me feel the need to change that policy.

And for those who have never "met" Query Shark, get over there and do that. She's the originator of the query critique, the queen, if you will.

Dear Ms. Ruth,

I have read your interview with Monica B.W. and your reply to question number five leads me to feel that you would be a good agent for me. I see that you represent mysteries and was wondering if my completed 70,000-word manuscript, Led By Lies, would interest you.

I think think is a great opening. Professional, personal and gives details. Perfect. Nothing fancy, but still good.

Imagine finding out someone close to you is linked to the murders you’re investigating, or worse yet, involved in the death of your sister.

To me this sounds like a rhetorical question without the question mark. I'm not a fan of this sort of plot introduction. It falls a little short for me. I'd rather you get right into the issues Lily has.

That is what second-generation detective Lily Blanchette endures when she is assigned her first case as lead in a double-homicide. After arresting the man she believes is responsible, another body surfaces and family secrets are unearthed. Left with no other alternative, Lily kidnaps her suspect hoping he’ll reveal who else is involved. In the shocking revelation more of her family’s deception is exposed.

I'd rather we start the entire description with Lily. Make it all about her and give it some oomph. Honestly, this entire blurb falls a little flat for me. The biggest problem is that there's nothing here that hooks me or makes this book feel like it's going to stand out from the many other similar books on the market.

In 2007, I worked at the State Public Defender’s Office where I did Intake for the Milwaukee Police Department. In 2009, I won honorable mention for my screenplay, [redacted], in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

Good bio.

If you would like to see the manuscript, I can send it via e-mail or regular mail. I look forward to hearing from you.

You wrote a very professional letter, but I question whether you'll get many bites since the hook falls short for me.