Jun 7, 2009

Query: A DARKER DAWN (Revision 2)

Click here to read the original.
Click here to read the first revision.

After getting some great feedback, I have made the changes. Be absolutely ruthless!

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Dear Ms. /Mr. Agent:

When the four friends accidentally killed the school bully, their friendship died, but decades later, when they confront their terrible sin, friendship is their only hope for redemption.

In a small town of India, with a violent history of religious tensions, twelve year old best friends Dev, Avi, Anita and Jeet are growing up like grass on a sidewalk – neglected and uncared for by their families. The bullies led by Bappa and a school teacher abuse them relentlessly. When a bomb explodes in front of a mosque, a bloody riot erupts in the market and the four friends are trapped. They are tormented by the carnage they witness, and their rage at Bappa, who almost kills Dev, turns fatal. They make a pact of silence – never meet each other and never talk about the bully’s death to anyone.

They go their separate ways and over their unfulfilled lives, the memory of the bully’s death grows stronger, like a festering wound. Twenty years later, an unknown man sends them a message – it’s time for atonement. They return to the town as strangers to each other, blaming their childhood friendship, wishing they had never met. When Avi is assaulted and beaten near death, they know the old hatreds are still alive in the town. The four friends have nothing but their forgotten friendship to save themselves.

My 84,000 word literary fiction, A DARKER DAWN, explores how one terrible mistake can destroy many lives, and how friendship survives when all other relationships fade.

Kind regards
Rohit Gore

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6 comments:

ejalvey said...

This is my first time seeing one of our queries, and my first impression was that it seems like a good premise, but yet I was not struck by any sense of what makes your story unique compared to others that are similar in theme.

I think if I were an agent, I would want a sense of tension from such a difficult experience. Perhaps it would help to try the "less is more" idea--short sentences that can add a sense of briskness or building to the main points of the query.

I am struggling with similar issues in my query, so I understand the difficulty of condensing the book and having it make any useful sense.
This seemed a bit long to me.

Ruth said...

My issue - and I've just read the other incarnations of this query - is that you focus on the backstory. It's all about what happens when they're twelve, with a very vague few sentences at the end saying that they "return as strangers", "wish they had never met" and find out "the old hatreds are still alive". But what happens? It seems like what the story is about is what happens when they come back as adults - not what happened when they were twelve. You can sum that up really briefly - and you've already started to do so in your first paragraph. I would rewrite your first paragraph as something like:

"When four friends (you don't need "the") accidentally kill the school bully, they made a pact never to meet again or talk about the bully's death. Decades later, once they've gone their separate ways, they are forced to return to the town and confront their terrible sin. Their forgotten friendship is now their only hope for redemption."

Then cut the second paragraph out altogether, as it's all back-story. (I'm sorry! But you did say to be ruthless.)

For the rest of the query, focus on what happens in the story you actually write about - not the backstory. We need to know the backstory, sure; but it can be summed up. The agent's going to want to know what happens in the story itself.

I like the writing in the query. If the story was only about their lives when they're twelve, it would be a really good query letter. But as it is, I do think you need to rewrite it again. Sorry! But I hope I helped.

Rohit Gore said...

Hi Ruth and ejalvey

Many many thanks for that detailed feedback! :-)

It will surely go a long way in making the query better.

Ruth, you weren't ruthless at all!

Cheers
Rohit

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Rohit!

Okay, I feel like a broken record, but I'm going to make the same suggestion one last time!!!!

Please watch your hyphens! It should be "twelve-year-old best friends" (if that paragraph stays intact) and "84,000-word literary fiction".

Okay, that's it - I won't say it again (she says, wagging her finger ruthlessly)...

--Laura

Rohit Gore said...

Oops!!
(Cowering)

Sure Laura. Won't repeat that :-(

Laura Martone said...

Well, then, Rohit, my work here is done... for now! Grr.

Just kidding. Good luck with the query (pain in the arse, isn't it?) - I can't wait to see the book itself! ;-)

--Laura