Saturday, October 16, 2010

Query Critique #9

QUERY #9 - mickip

Dear Dream Agent,
When Dotty and her two friends embark on an adventure to a remote African island, never in their wildest dreams do they imagine it might mean their demise.
Avoid clichés, especially in the opening hook. "In their wildest dreams" will turn agents off instantly. I also recommend putting some mention of the characters' ages here--I had a very different visual picture of them right up until the last line. I'd also like something that lets me know where they're from. I got a feel from your word choice and spelling that you might be from outside the U.S. If your characters are retirees living in Capetown or something, give the agent a hint of that flavor.
From the outset of their travels, nothing goes to plan. Dotty expresses her concerns and her two friends question her crap judgement of character and self professed psychic abilities. First Lucas, the stranger she meets and implicitly trusts to organise their holiday, and then Raymond Milestone who they encounter in the coffee shop. His interest is their itinerary while Dotty’s are her hormones doing the tango.
This section doesn't work well for me. I'm not even sure how to fix it.  I'm put off by the incomplete sentence, and I'm confused by Raymond Milestone vs. Major Milestone--are they the same person? 
Dotty placates her friends and interrogates their guide. He reveals they are guests of Major Milestone. Shock horror, Dotty’s wild assumption believes Milestone is a kidnapper for devious deeds. She schemes a hasty foolproof escape plan to find Lucas, which develops from one disaster to the next. But when her harebrained jaunt finds them in a notorious jail because she thinks the opium parlour is a perfume factory, the world falls out their bottoms. Their trusted guide negotiates their release. Meanwhile, Milestone pulls his hair out; the wretched women are about to blow his covert military operation and risk the lives of his personnel. He eventually engages the trio to explain his modus operandi for his clandestine protection. Lucas, head of the island’s drug cartel was to keep them hostages to abort the military’s destruction of his opium. Now Dotty has just one more scheme - how to capture the handsome Major’s heart after her reckless stupidity.
This has too many sentence fragments and clichés (e.g., "pulls his hair out"), and the twists are hard to follow.  Simplify the previous two paragraphs.  
THREE BROADS AND A FRAUD is an 85,000- word comedy about three audacious sexagenarians whose wild imaginations run away with them.
Thanks you for your time in reading my query.
Micki XXX

Micki--I'm going to be blunt. This query doesn't make me want to read your book. I think you may have some interesting characters and plot twists in here, but it doesn't read smoothly, and a query letter gives agents their first taste of your writing style. If this is representative of your book, consider going through another round of revisions. Try reading aloud to see which phrases don't work, like:

"Shock horror, Dotty’s wild assumption believes Milestone is a kidnapper for devious deeds."

I know having people criticize your book is like having them say your baby is ugly. I hope that you'll take this advice as it's intended--I want you to have a chance to shine when you query agents, since you only get one chance with each of them.

I hope this helps.


Disgruntled Bear said...

I hate being so harsh when I can tell from the narrative voice that the writer is a really nice person.

Anonymous said...

Disgruntled Bear thanks so much for your honesty, I full understand what you have said and shall sort it out. Many thanks for your time in commenting on my query, really appreciate your comments. You are a STAR. Micki

Eliza Tilton said...

don't give up Mick! said...

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