Jul 13, 2010


Dear Mr. Torrence,

After countless horror movies, books and video games, Paul Thomas-an unemployed shock jock-always dreamed about what if a real life zombie outbreak happened like this. Not that he had wanted this to happen, but, outside of Sophia, he had had little to lose, which made the adventure of it attractive to his day dreams. Real life was so boring. Two weeks ago, movies and games were just entertainment, an escape from the mundane rigors of life. Today, they were training. In this world, he was the one with the edge. However, in all of his corpse-infested fantasies it had never been this damn cold.

He could feel her shivering against him now in the flickering candlelight. The snow covered farmhouse was deserted and drafty, caught in the clutches of Iowa’s third worst winter in state history. The nine-millimeter strapped to his leg was cold as ice. He would have to get Sophia to warmer weather and fast. If he had learned one thing over the past five years they’d been dating, it was to make her bring a sweater to the movies. Even if it was ninety degrees out. She was always cold and if the zombies didn’t get them, the freezing temps would. Sun, margaritas and bikinis in the Gulf of Mexico was the only way to go. And guns. No crappy jobs or relentless bills. Hell, it would almost be romantic, especially with the right boat. But when she gets bitten along the way and painfully turns, all of that changes. He blames himself for failing her. Now he must decide wether to give up altogether or to carry on with Wendy, a pretty dancer they had met while seeking shelter in a small town Kansas strip bar. She is no replacement for his Sophia, yet ironically, he is able to save her life time and time again. Months of hiding together leave them entangled in a true test of the limits of love in a world with no rules. Things move too fast now, but old ghosts are hard to shake.

Like Paul, I am also an unemployed radio guy, devoted fan of all things horror and my girlfriend’s best chance of surviving the inevitable zombie infection. STRAPPED is 90,000 words and my completed manuscript is ready to be sent at your request. I would love to work with you and thank you for your time.

Sean F



Darin said...


I like the concept of your novel. The query has some good points. I think I would make the first sentence much more clear that a zombie outbreak has actually happened, then your Paul's feelings about that. I think the main thing about this letter is that it is like a very short synopsis rather than a query letter. I would shorten it and stick to the high points of the story. Keep up the good work!

By the way, your last paragraph is really good. A bit of humor and a nice introduction to yourself. Good job!


RCWriterGirl said...

I agree with Darin.

This reads more like a synopsis than a query. A query should be no more than 300 words (total, including background info about you/salutations). I think around 250 is preferred. Yours is just over 400.

The key with a query is a good hook at the beginning. What you've put at the beginning of your query is backstory. Yes, it's probably useful to know he's an unemployed shock-jock who devoured everything zombie (movies, books, video-games, scratch-and-sniff snickers, etc.). But, the stuff about two weeks ago, and real life being boring,.... is too much. It takes too long to get to the meat of your story after that.

Try to move from one point to another more quickly. Paul was into Zombies. Now Zombies are really attacking.

Also, try to include just the crucial plot points. Sophia needing a sweater for a movie theater is a great detail--but not for a query. It's a great detail for the book. It shouldn't be in the query. (1) You don't have enough space and (2) it turns out being pretty irrelevant as Sophia dies (er, gets zombified).

That's the last thing I'd like to bring up. The book sounds really interesting and readable until we get to the part about his one true love-Sophia-becoming zombified. That's fine. But, then, Paul moves on in like two seconds to some other chick. Come ON! Is Paul a total jerk (or insert expletive of your choice)? That's the question I'm asking myself. And I don't think you want people thinking that about your main character in your query.

I'm sure it makes sense in the book, but you've used 90,000 words to make it make sense in the book. You don't have that luxury in the query, so I'd suggest you leave out any noncrucial details that make your main character look like a total jerk. (By describing Sophia as the only thing that mattered to him and also as the one person he wanted to protect, etc. builds her up, only to have her tossed aside rather quickly for someone else. Not good).

Nice summary paragraph about yourself at the end.

Again, interesting query. Work on paring it down and you may snag an agent.