Aug 6, 2009

Query Ferris' Bluff revision#3

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

Street Address
New York, NY, 10010

Dear Ms. Agent,

FERRIS’ BLUFF, a 96K word thriller, is the story of a troubled man hiding from his past until a glimpse of the life he’s been forced to abandon, an easy camaraderie with unique new friends, and the promise of love he thought impossible help him realize he has finally found a home—one worth fighting for.

Ace Evans, an ex-SEAL/undercover operative, forced to live a solitary vagabond existence, risks a visit with an old friend. He soon discovers that the quaint, gossipy small town of Ferris’ Bluff, Arkansas, has a very dark side. His friend is in a coma, a virtual prisoner, and Ace is quickly drawn into a series of confrontations with a number of ruthless local villains -- a conniving greedy lawyer, his even greedier wife, and a brutal town tough.

And if that ain’t thorny enough—Russian gangsters, vengeful enemies from his mysterious past are skulking around. The danger factor grows dramatically. So do the complications.

Ace knows he should hit the road, not only to protect his fragile alias but to hopefully assure the safety of his new friends; especially Annie Travers, a pretty widow as lonely and damaged as he is.

But the body count rises and the lawyer’s murderous schemes continue to threaten the people he’s become very fond of.

Resolved to make a life for himself in Ferris’ Bluff, Ace enlists the aid of his new friends to try and pull off a dangerous ruse, a bluff, duping both foes into a violent, deadly showdown.

FERRIS’ BLUFF is a sexy, smart, original thriller with a southern drawl and a slow-burn romance smoldering inside the action. Thanks for taking a look.


Fred Limberg


gj said...

You're making rapid strides in the right direction.

Personally, I'd cut the entire first paragraph (except for the genre & word count) and the last paragraph, both of which essentially repeat (telling and labeling) what you show in the meat of the query.

Beware of double-dipping (showing AND telling the same thing) in other places, too. For instance:

"And if that ain’t thorny enough—Russian gangsters, vengeful enemies from his mysterious past are skulking around. The danger factor grows dramatically. So do the complications."

The second and third sentences are implicit in the first sentence, which SHOWS that the danger & complications are growing, so you don't need to TELL that they're growing.

Also, check your manuscript, especially any pages you're planning to send with the query, for the same thing, in case it's a habit in your writing generally, not just in your query. Look for dialogue that's followed or preceded by explanations of what the person just said (or is about to say).

Donna Hole said...

I've been following your progress through this revision. Sorry, Lurker, what can I say. This getting there; a little long still, but definitely getting all the elements of action in there.

I'd write a bit more, but my cat has climbed onto my computer and I can't move him off. Damn thing! Maybe I'll take another look later.

fred limberg said...

Many thanks gj and Donna. One of the things I've learned having the query up here for review is that when you think you've cut and trimmed as much as humanly possible, theres more that can be done.

I've had a couple of revelations as well. I think I have a concept of what a query letter really is now. I often wondered why an agent would specify that you send a query AND a one page earlier queries were all one page and pretty well summarized the book.

it was Ricks challenge to tell the story in one sentence that did it.

It IS easier to build on the core of the story than to edit down the longer synopsis like narrative.

I'm going to wait a bit to post the new version in hopes others will weigh in on this one.

again, my thanks to you and everyone who has commented.


Rick Daley said...


I "won" a query critique from Nathan Bransford back in February, and he gave me that advice, i.e. boil it down to a single sentence to help find the heart of the story.

Gotta give credit where credit is due!