Jun 3, 2009

Query: A DARKER DAWN (Revisited)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the second revision.

Dear Mr. / Ms. Agent,

When four childhood friends accidentally kill a school bully, they make a pact of silence – never meet each other again and never talk about the bully’s death, but someone knows their secret, and decades later the four friends confront their past one final time.

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. They are bullied relentlessly by older boys and abused by a teacher in the school. When a bomb explodes in front of a mosque, a bloody riot erupts in the market and the four friends are trapped. Tormented by the carnage they witness, their rage at the bullying Bappa, who assaults them, turns fatal.

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

- I don't have any pub credits worth mentioning :-(. So not so sure about what to mention in the bio
- Just a question Does the query seem too 'set-up'ish?
- Be absolutely brutal!


Suzan Harden said...

Hi Rohit,

I deliberately have not looked at your first version because I don't want it to skew what I've read here.

This is a fabulous concept, but I would rearrange the wording a little to take advantage of the setting, which seems a major influence on how the boys' story unfolds.

Take out the first paragraph. It sounds too much like the story is a cross between "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "Stand By Me," not the image that fits the real story.

Start with "Twelve-year-old best friends...by their families in a small town in India." Show how their suffering at the hands of Bappa mirrors the horror around them. I think you can be more specific about what Bappa did to them during the riot to set the four boys on the path of murder.

Don't worry about not having any writing credits. We all start somewhere. Your last paragraph ends the query just fine.

Good luck on your submissions!

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Rohit.

It's my humble opinion, of course, but I still think the first paragraph should be divided into two sentences - it just runs on a bit, which lessens its "hook" potential. But I also agree with Suzan - perhaps the first paragraph isn't necessary - its similarity (in tone) to I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER lessens the serious impact of your story.

Also, I still stand by my critique of the first letter - watch your awkward sentence structure ("Tormented by the..." should refer to the boys, not "their rage") and watch your hyphens (twelve-year-old, 84,000-word).

Good luck!

Rohit Gore said...

Many thanks Suzan and Laura!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Susan about removing the first paragraph. IMO, what makes your book so different is the setting, and that should be the first thing the agent sees.

Is Bappa the tormenting teacher? That needs to be clarified.

Lastly, the phrase "Avi is assaulted and beaten near death" is awkward for me. The expression "beaten almost to the point of death" is more common.

Rohit Gore said...

Thanks for that, Cherrytart!