Thursday, September 2, 2010

Query Revamped

At the suggestion of Albert Strickland, I've significantly shortened my query. Although dear Professor Dooling suggested a long, extended 3 pg. query, Albert said it would be much better to shorten things, as agents and publishers are short on time and probably wouldn't read anything lengthy. I thought that sounded like pretty good advice, especially considering the advice came from one of Albert's "people" who is definitely "in the know." So acting on this advice, I've produced for you my most recent (hopefully) "eye-catching" query....

Dear Agent:

I recently completed my first novel, Keepers of the Flame, the first of three in a trilogy I hope to complete.

In 2008, I graduated from Brigham Young University as a History Major, where my capstone project was Colonial Women: Debunking the Myth of “Oppressed” and “Unrepresented.” I am now a third year law student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln where I am President of the J. Rueben Clark Law Society.

Keepers of the Flame, is an intense political thriller. It follows the lives of the Halls, a powerful U.S. government family, as they are torn apart by politic turmoil rippling through the government. At the heart of the conflict is Elias Clymer, an expert politician with a powerful sway in Congress. Facing little resistance, Elias and other corrupt congressmen scheme to overthrow the United States government; only a few are willing to stand against him. Senator Thomas Hall is one such person. But despite Thomas Hall’s efforts to restore justice in Congress, his efforts are in vain.

Unbeknownst to Thomas, the problem is much closer to home. His oldest son, Marcus Hall, is seeking to establish a place in Elias's new regime. But Marcus’s siblings, Ethan and Vanessa ("Essie") Hall are fighting back. They seek to join a nation-wide, underground movement called the Constitutionalists, whose primary focus is to restore the fundamental values of freedom and liberty. Amidst mysterious deaths and suspicious rumors, the two siblings discover Elias's shocking plan to murder thousands of American lives. In a desperate fight to stop the plan, Ethan and Essie become involved in a fight that will change the very fabric of their lives forever. Like George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, or Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, Keepers of the Flame explores the potential demise of a nation, as a few brave individuals struggle to right the wrongs of a power-hungry government.

In our current political climate, Keepers of the Flame will appeal to a large audience. Unlike many political thrillers, this novel originates in what’s happening today in Washington D.C., where upheaval and scandal are all-too-familiar occurrences. My extensive background in history combined with my current legal education makes a powerfully lethal combination for a political thriller. With my ability to weave history and politics into an exhilarating storyline, Keepers of the Flame will reach past the normal boundaries of genre to every type of booklover.

Enclosed are the first three chapters for your review. The completed work is approximately 100,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you further.

Most Sincerely,

Julie Tuovi
December 2010 J.D. Candidate
University of Nebraska College of Law

So... what do you think? Would you want to read this book?


Emily Gibbons said...

Fascinating. If you won't hate me for it, might I offer suggestions for improvement(I love editing, have I mentioned that?)? I would say "a trilogy to come." It sounds like you're more sure of yourself. If your capstone project was a paper, especially if it was published, I would mention that. I would shorten the plot even more, and make the ending and even some major plot points more mysterious. You'll want to say "politicAL turmoil" or just "turmoil", since it's probably political if it's in the government. Take out United States. You already established that with "U.S." I would drop the ";" in favor of ", and." "His efforts 'might be' in vain," or consider dropping the last sentence of that paragraph altogether. You might change references to Thomas to Hall instead, drop the Hall after Marcus, and change "Marcus's siblings" to "Hall's other children," again dropping the Hall. The next sentence shows your brilliance as a law student, but is a little lengthy. I would add it to the previous sentence, something like this, "But Hall's other children, Ethan and Vanessa ("Essie"), are fighting back--joining an underground movement seeking to restore freedom and liberty." "Murder thousands of Americans" might sound more concise. (I have no idea if I spelled that right--yeah me!) I would really tone down your praise of yourself in the second-to-last paragraph. Try something like this, "..climate, I FEEL Keepers of the Flame will appeal..." "...current legal education GIVE ME AN EDGE MOST AUTHORS CANNOT BOAST, AND I AM CONFIDENT Keepers of the Flame will reach past..." Let them do the praising, as I'm sure they will! You're an excellent writer. I can't wait! (I'm sorry for taking liberties with your letter. If you don't like suggestions on what I'm sure by now is your "baby" delete this post, and I'll be sure not to offer unsolicited advice again! :) You seem to me like someone who would be willing to take (hopefully) good advice wherever you found it. Love ya! Emily

Julie said...

Love the feedback, Em! Keep it coming!