Aug 30, 2010

Query - Tainted Legacy

Dear (named agent)
Following the guidelines found on your website, I enclose the synopsis and first 3 chapters of my historical novel TAINTED LEGACY for your consideration.

It's 1913, and domestic servant Lizzy Parker thinks she has hit rock bottom when she is imprisoned for a crime she did not commit, but on her release she discovers her troubles are far from over.

Her fragile, newly rebuilt life is shattered by the kidnapping of her younger sister, and Lizzy is forced to enlist the help of someone who has already let her down once; a man with his own long-held secrets.

When Lizzy then discovers those secrets are even darker than she’d imagined, she has very little time to decide whether or not she can trust him. Either way, her decision will make the difference between life and death for more than one person.

Tainted Legacy is complete at 98,000 words, and I believe it will appeal to those who enjoy master-servant stories with an edge, such as Julian Fellowes’s Gosford Park, and his forthcoming ITV drama: Downton Abbey.


Anonymous Author said...

Does the story begin when Lizzie's imprisoned, or when Lizzie's sister is kidnapped? It's not clear from your query.

You have a lot of generalities here, where specifics would do more to hook the reader.

Who is the man whose help she enlists? What are his dark secrets? What makes them even darker? Whose death might her choice cause?

Tell us.

Terri Nixon said...

This is my query :)

Okay, see - this is where I get confused! The synopsis would be enclosed, with all those answers in, and a clear layout of the entire story, including the ending of course, and it seems from other blogs that the query is there to make someone want to find those things out rather than tell them up front.

So maybe I've been too vague then? Okay, I'll work on it and add some more detail in. Thanks!

Mesmerix said...

Hello! So this story looks interesting. It makes me want to know more about what happened to Lizzy (and what's going to happen) and that's a good thing.

I have 2 main concerns: vagueness and genre.

There's a lot of stuff going on that doesn't tell me much. Secrets, troubles, life/death, etc. All of that is good and well, but it doesn't actually show me anything. What's the story about? The kidnapping? A love story with Lizzy and this secretive guy? You need to outline the plot for me in an enticing way.

My second concern is the genre. Master-servant story? What's that? My assumption is this is a UK thing that maybe my American self is unfamiliar with, but when I first read "master-servant story" I didn't see where it had anything to do with this query. The shows you mention are all mystery types, so maybe mystery would be a better genre?

I'm not sure. If "master-servant story" is a popular genre in the UK, and that's your target base, maybe you should stick with that. For myself, I was one confused American.

I hope this helps you. I'm looking forward to reading the revision as I think you have some seriously fun things going on here. I want to know more!

Best of luck. :)

Scribbler to Scribe

Terri Nixon said...

Hi, Mesmerix

Thanks for taking the time to read it. To answer one of your questions, the genre is just "historical," but "master-servant" is kind of an accepted term over here for those kind of stories; the whole Above Stairs/Below Stairs kind of setup. I was just using it to further clarify the kind of audience I was going for.

Anyway, I've put up a revised version now, and hope it goes some way to answering some of those questions.

Thanks again!