QueryDice #4.1

The following is a query critique. Comments, suggestions and discussion are welcome and we hope you join in. I can only offer one opinion. The author of the query and I would love to hear yours!

This query was previously Diced on July 28th, 2011. The following is the author’s revised query, based on our suggestions and comments. Kudos to the author for her perseverance!

Dear Ms. Ruth:

When Caitlynn Manning, a Chicago defense attorney, notices suspicious activity surrounding her boss she decides to do some investigating, and this decision will change her life forever.

I like this sentence better than the opening of your previous query. However, I would really like to know why Caitlynn needs to pry into her boss’s affairs. What business is it of hers? In order for me to like this character, she needs to have a very good reason–one that will affect her, personally, in a big way–for getting involved in her boss’s business.

Caitlynn gets caught, (gets caught doing what?) kidnapped, and thrown onto a stolen yacht.  After multiple failed attempts at escaping, it’s time (why is it time? Is this a matter of course, or did the kidnappers move her to keep her under wraps?) for Caitlynn to be moved.  Her new location is close to home.  In fact, she’s being held in plain sight.  (How is this possible? I’m not saying it isn’t, I’d just like to know how it is?)

Caitlynn’s brother, Aaden, and his PI partner, Hudson, are working on a huge case involving a mobster that (who) is supplying the streets of Chicago with heroin.  When Caitlynn turns up missing they have to use their PI skills to search for her, and soon the two cases become one.

Who could gain from Caitlynn’s kidnapping, the drug trafficking mobster, her money laundering boss, or could there be someone else involved?  The first in a series Chicago:  Kidnapping in the Loop is an 80,000 word mystery novel. <—You’re still missing those commas in this sentence.

I currently live in Jonesboro, Arkansas, but I fell in love with the city of Chicago the first time I visited as an adult, so naturally it became the setting of my first novel.

The sentence above is information we don’t really need, which brings me to the biggest problem in this query: not enough information where we really need it. I have too many questions in my head after reading this, and I worry that since the answers weren’t touched upon here, they won’t be answered in the manuscript. Mysteries are difficult to write because of the sometimes very intricate plotting and I worry this author has left out too much information for this to shine.

Additionally, this was very short, and as a result, we have been given very little information about the character’s personalities. Will we like them? What makes them different? Why should we care about the characters?
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my query letter, and I appreciate your consideration.  My full manuscript is available for you to read upon request.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

Best of luck,

LR

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Posted on September 1, 2011, in Advice, book, book publishing, manuscripts, publishing, queries, Query Dice, slush pile, submissions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I have to agree, the ambiguity is hurting this query. I think more specifics would help me connect to the characters more and want to find out what is making Caitlyn feel obliged to snoop around in the first place.

    But I think it’s improved from the original. Nice work!

  2. I know you might not want to give too much away, but the opening part is still confusing and not very enticing–Caitlynn “suspects something.” I think if you either tell us what she discovered (“Caitlynn finds forged letters in the recycling bin”) or what she suspects (“Caitlynn begins to suspect her boss might be an alien”) it would be more enticing.

    Can I say–I really like that it’s her brother and not a love interest on the case–that feels really refreshing to me.

    Nice work revising 🙂

  3. I remember the original query, so it’s nice to see another attempt to improve it based on Lauren’s many comments. It’s informative to read how Lauren dissect the query again. The story line is clearer in the new query and is reasonably good. The most interesting comment is how to show in the query Caitlynn personality, so that we’ll care about her and like her. That is a challenge .

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