Jan 24, 2010

Fallen Knight - (3rd Revision)

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

Dear Ms. Agent,

Jonathan James, the computer genius responsible for hacks into the Department of Defense and NASA. David Berkowitz – the infamous Son of Sam Killer. Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold, the boys responsible for the Columbine tragedy. And last but not least, the Rajneeshee religious cult, responsible for the largest bioterrorism attack in US history. All amateurs! At least that what one individual believes, and now they plan to prove it.

The story takes place over the course of nine days, climaxing on the eve of 2011 when a twisted mind intends on culminating a carefully devised crime spree by eclipsing the events of 26 years ago. At the center of the action is a female private detective who is forced to rely on the help of an aging group of amateur sleuths, all of whom stumble across the plot while investigating the assault of a friend and co-worker. Quickly in over their heads but determined nonetheless, the boundaries of the groups friendship become tested as they suddenly shift from committed pursuers…to unsuspecting quarry.

What would it be like if the Bowery Boys grew to adulthood and squared off against Professor Moriarty? That is the essence of my story.

I am writing to you because you represented DEAD AIR by ED GOLDBERG and I believe my 105,000 word mystery/suspense novel, FALLEN KNIGHT, fits in that mold. Thank you for your consideration of this query. My full manuscript is available at your request.



Starving Writer said...

Don't understand the first para. Had to read it three times to understand what was being said.

Not certain you need all of four examples there to prove that they are amateurs. One, at most two.

Based on what I've read, someone wants to create the biggest crime spree ever. And a group of elderly "knights and a female cop will attempt to stop them. That is the essence of the story. Find a way to say that.

In truth, preferred second revision. First para in this version turned me off.

Sorry I don't have more to say.

Anne Gallagher said...

Is this the same story with the Knights of Ni? Where did they go? Where's Diane? Where's all the other stuff?

I think I know what happened, you got so many suggestions you changed the whole thing. Been there, done that.

Okay, I'm going to break it down for you because THIS just does not work. The second revision was the best of all those and this one too.

I can't pull it up and write this at the same time so I'm going back to the second revision and write what I want to say there. Please follow me DL.

gj said...

Sorry, but Piedmont's right. You're going in the wrong direction. You spend the entire first paragraph talking about stuff that HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR STORY! And then you don't give any specifics about the actual story.

It's not high enough concept to go on the "what if" line, simply pitching the premise, so you need to get the agent to care about the protagonist and her problem and her antagonist and their stakes.

Boil your set-up down to a single SHORT sentence (so-and-so thinks all the previously famous criminals are mere amateurs, and sets out to _________, giving something specific about what he's going to do, which shows just how brilliant he is). Although, actually, that example is backwards, because you want to focus on the protagonist initially, so it's more like "when a [something to show he's brilliant] guy does [something that shows there's a uniquely interesting threat to the world], the [interesting protagonist who has a reason to stop the antagonist] does something." Then show how the situation gets worse and what the stakes are.

Stacy McKitrick said...

When I first read this query, I thought my memory was going because I couldn't remember seeing it before and it's the third revision.

Then I saw it was yours, DL.

It kind of made me feel better knowing I wasn't the ONLY one who went the wrong direction when I was working on my query, but I felt bad because I know how hard you're trying (how hard we're all trying).

You were on the right track with the last query. It grabbed me more than any of the others. Piedmont has some great suggestions. I hope you consider them.

dolorah said...

Ok, I read all the other comments, but didn't read the previous postings.

Going off this query alone, I got it. I see where you're wanting to go, I think. A copy cat killer who thinks of himself as a computer genius, religious saviour, and deprived rich kid. Ok, we just need to know how all these unrelated events fit together in the psychopaths mind. I'm sure you bring that out in the novel, but, they seem disconnected as listed.

I'd also like to know the name of the "female private detective" because she seems the protagonist in this novel, and if the "events of 26 years ago" are the same as the list of crimes in your first paragraph.

I like the paragraph "What would it be like if the Bowery Boys grew to adulthood and squared off against Professor Moriarty?" But, I think you'd make an agent have to look up the plots of those two series, and see exactly how they fit together.

Bowery Boys was in cyndicated re-runs when I was a kid in the 70's, and I really doubt many people remember that they were a "nativist street gang", if they remember them at all. But anyone who has viewed the more recently released "Gangs Of New York" might remember the Bowery Boys as a dedicated rival of the Dead Rabbits.

My question to you is, do you really want your novel associated with gang violence, old and steeped in slapstick humor as it is?

This is a good query, but I'm not sure you realized where all those implications were taking you. If this truly is the essence of your novel, then you've done a good job of summing up the illicit connotations.

Good luck to you.