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  1. #331
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    Hello!

    Alright, so my mother wrote a book and now she's looking for agents. She sent me her query letter and synopsis to look over. Thing is, I've never written either one. (Well, the latter for my own personal use, but never for others). So, I asked her if she'd mind if I posted it here to see what others say about it. She agreed. she would actually like to become a forum member, but she's rather computer illiterate, and I haven't been able to go over to her house to give her a lesson on forums. So, on the behalf of my mother, what do you guys think?

    October 21, 2009

    Re: Query for “The Amber Sunburst”
    Attn:

    Dear------,
    I have written a children’s novel, “The Amber Sunburst,” and am currently looking for representation. I saw your ----------------.

    (I need an opening sentence here) So…how in the world is twelve-year-old Haji supposed to know how to keep the Gods happy when their behaviour is so erratic that it’s impossible for Haji to understand what they want? One minute, they seem happy, and the next—they are seeking vengeance for some unknown wrongdoing. For as long as he can remember, Haji has watched the suffering of those who have displeased the Gods, but now it seems to be his turn to face their might. After almost dying at their hands while stranded in the middle of a raging river, Haji has had enough of dealing with the Gods to last him a lifetime, but it soon becomes apparent that they are not through with him yet.

    At first, Haji thinks the Gods are simply toying with him, but he soon realizes that the games they are playing are those (of life and death-suggestions?). When the Gods take his mother from him, Haji knows that his life is forever changed and that he must now brace himself for what is to come—he only hopes that he will be ready for it, whatever it may be, and from wherever it may come.

    I have written numerous poems, and one other book, none of them as yet published. I have also attended the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. I am a music teacher, and after much discussion with my students, as well as receiving their feedback on this book, I do believe that The Amber Sunburst is a compelling story and will interest young readers everywhere.

    The Amber Sunburst is a fantastic story for nine to twelve year olds and is sixty-six thousand words in length. I believe that this book, set in the exotic locale of ancient Egypt, with the mystique of the all-powerful, ruling Gods who govern the earth, and filled with events beyond the experience of today’s children, will appeal to a wide audience of readers. If the story interests you, I would be delighted to send you the manuscript.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    Her synopsis is 3 1/2 pages and I won't post it here, because of the length.

    Thank you all in advance!

  2. #332
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    I think she's going about it a bit backwards. This information: "The Amber Sunburst is a fantastic story for nine to twelve year olds and is sixty-six thousand words in length. I believe that this book, set in the exotic locale of ancient Egypt," needs to be at the beginning of the letter. The Egyptian gods are a favorite in fantasy, so your mom can be specific about which Gods are involved in the story and particularly after Haji.

    Also, who is Haji? Is he a child priest? A pharoah? A farmer's kid? Why is he in the situation he's in?

    The subject matter is rather on the dark side for a middle school novel (not sure they call them middle school in England.) That's not necessarily a problem, but it's a little hard to separate out what's going to be appealing adventure from really scary, hard things in the description of the story. Children's publishers are looking for stories to which children can in some way relate or discover something and so that's information that your mom might want to work on giving. She may want to elaborate more on how the story shows the ancient culture of Egypt.

    This sentence: "I have written numerous poems, and one other book, none of them as yet published." should be deleted. The music teacher stuff can stay. That she's a teacher working with kids will interest them. But she needs to describe the central purpose of the story a bit better.

    What she may want to do is talk to some of her fellow teachers, ask them what they'd want to know about the story.

  3. #333
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    Thank you KatG. I'll let her know. If you don't mind, can I just copy and paste what you wrote into an e-mail for her?

  4. #334
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Absolutely, or tell her to finally come over here. She's a music teacher, she will pick up the basics of Internet use if she tries. And if she wants to be a children's book author, she's going to have to learn.

  5. #335
    Start judging theWallflower's Avatar
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    I have written a children’s novel, “The Amber Sunburst,” and am currently looking for representation. I saw your ----------------.
    "Children's novel" isn't that specific - could be YA, could middle-grade, could be a picture book. Is it a fantasy? Cyberpunk? How many words is it?

    (I need an opening sentence here) So…how in the world is twelve-year-old Haji supposed to know how to keep the Gods happy when their behaviour is so erratic that it’s impossible for Haji to understand what they want? One minute, they seem happy, and the next—they are seeking vengeance for some unknown wrongdoing. For as long as he can remember, Haji has watched the suffering of those who have displeased the Gods, but now it seems to be his turn to face their might. After almost dying at their hands while stranded in the middle of a raging river, Haji has had enough of dealing with the Gods to last him a lifetime, but it soon becomes apparent that they are not through with him yet.
    The opening sentence is crucial. Without it, we are hard-pressed to understand the following paragraph (but I'll do my best). Eliminate needless words like "in the world". What do the Gods want? What do the Gods do? Are they like Asian Gods? Roman Gods? Christian Gods? What is Haji doing to try and please them? What is Haji's job/role. Use of the term "the Gods" gets awful repetitive here. The story intrigues me, but I want to know the character archetype that Haji is, what he wants, and what's going to stop him. There must be an inciting event, and there must be a series of events that lead to Haji getting to what he wants (or at least trying to). What are those events?

    At first, Haji thinks the Gods are simply toying with him, but he soon realizes that the games they are playing are those (of life and death-suggestions?). When the Gods take his mother from him, Haji knows that his life is forever changed and that he must now brace himself for what is to come—he only hopes that he will be ready for it, whatever it may be, and from wherever it may come.
    The previous paragraph already indicated that displeasing gods = death. What is to come when his mother is taken away? How old is Haji? That last sentence needs more specifics, and take out that phrase after the dash.

    I have written numerous poems, and one other book, none of them as yet published. I have also attended the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. I am a music teacher, and after much discussion with my students, as well as receiving their feedback on this book, I do believe that The Amber Sunburst is a compelling story and will interest young readers everywhere.
    I disagree with KatG. Take out this whole thing. If you haven't been published, don't bring that up. And don't bring up anything that's not a formal credit. Everything I've read, agents are not interested in anything that cannot be used in marketing the novel.

    The Amber Sunburst is a fantastic story for nine to twelve year olds and is sixty-six thousand words in length. I believe that this book, set in the exotic locale of ancient Egypt, with the mystique of the all-powerful, ruling Gods who govern the earth, and filled with events beyond the experience of today’s children, will appeal to a wide audience of readers. If the story interests you, I would be delighted to send you the manuscript.
    Take out the "I believe", take out exotic locale (what if you have an agent whose Egyptian? Not very exotic anymore). Just state the facts, let the editor draw his/her own conclusions. Take out everything after "govern the earth". It's all fluff. The rest of the information in this paragraph should be moved up, maybe after the summary.

  6. #336
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theWallflower View Post
    I disagree with KatG. Take out this whole thing. If you haven't been published, don't bring that up. And don't bring up anything that's not a formal credit. Everything I've read, agents are not interested in anything that cannot be used in marketing the novel.
    And there you would be wrong. What agents are interested in are indications that writers can write and have knowledge of use in what they are writing which might make their writing good. Publication credits indicate that someone thinks the writer can write which may mean the agent will find the person can write in his opinion, so as I said before and which you agree, saying you've written some stuff that is unpublished is unnecessary because it is not a credit. That she has attended a writers conference is not necessarily necessary, but isn't going to hurt either. If the conference is prestigious -- i.e. she needed to audition to get into it -- that might be relevant as it again means professionals felt she could write, meaning that her work might be something the agent will like.

    But the fact that she is a music teacher is good to mention because she is writing a novel for children. The children/YA market is different from the adult market. Again, children's/YA fiction is expected to offer stories to which the age audience can relate or discover things with, with the goal/theme to helping with problems and building social skills and critical thinking skills (even for series like Gossip Girls.) This is what her mom does for a living, and that indicates that she understands that audience and how to reach them and communicate to them, so it is relevant to her writing the novel. (It also is quite effective for marketing said novel through schools and libraries, but the ability of the fiction author to be a good publicist is not very critical.)

    Likewise, your day job may be relevant even if you are writing for the adult market. If you are a cop or otherwise work in law enforcement and investigation and you are writing some form of thriller, that's relevant. If you are a rock climber and you are writing about a group trying to get up a Martian mountain, that's relevant. If you have any profession in or related to journalism, education, workshops, etc., where you are writing for a living, that's relevant. It doesn't give you a leg up on getting the agent or a publisher. But it does make them slightly more interested in reading your work if they like the sound of the story because it indicates that you may have good material and you may be able to write to their satisfaction.

    Egypt isn't very exotic because it has been very often used. It's a culture most grade school kids are going to be familiar with. So yes, she could take out the word exotic, though it isn't going to hurt if she leaves it in, even if an agent is Egyptian. But her query doesn't give enough detail about the story being set in Egypt to make the Egypt setting of great use to her. If you're writing about Egypt and that's a selling point, then you have to actually use the point regarding the story description.

  7. #337
    Author and Game Designer Taramoc's Avatar
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    Sorry to briefly hijack the discussion, but I have a quick question for KatG.

    I write videogames for a living, any genre and platform, do you think it's relevant to mention in a query letter for an epic fantasy novel in an invented world? When I say write, I don't mean write code, but everything else (design documents, storylines, dialogues, levels, etc.).

    Thanks,

    Taramoc

  8. #338
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Utterly yes, mention that. You are a story designer for fantasy games. Gamers have a long tradition in SFF, so that means you might know how to design a story and writing you've done has pleased other people and engaged an audience.

  9. #339
    Start judging theWallflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    And there you would be wrong. What agents are interested in are indications that writers can write and have knowledge of use in what they are writing which might make their writing good. Publication credits indicate that someone thinks the writer can write which may mean the agent will find the person can write in his opinion, so as I said before and which you agree, saying you've written some stuff that is unpublished is unnecessary because it is not a credit. That she has attended a writers conference is not necessarily necessary, but isn't going to hurt either. If the conference is prestigious -- i.e. she needed to audition to get into it -- that might be relevant as it again means professionals felt she could write, meaning that her work might be something the agent will like.

    But the fact that she is a music teacher is good to mention because she is writing a novel for children. The children/YA market is different from the adult market. Again, children's/YA fiction is expected to offer stories to which the age audience can relate or discover things with, with the goal/theme to helping with problems and building social skills and critical thinking skills (even for series like Gossip Girls.) This is what her mom does for a living, and that indicates that she understands that audience and how to reach them and communicate to them, so it is relevant to her writing the novel. (It also is quite effective for marketing said novel through schools and libraries, but the ability of the fiction author to be a good publicist is not very critical.)

    Likewise, your day job may be relevant even if you are writing for the adult market. If you are a cop or otherwise work in law enforcement and investigation and you are writing some form of thriller, that's relevant. If you are a rock climber and you are writing about a group trying to get up a Martian mountain, that's relevant. If you have any profession in or related to journalism, education, workshops, etc., where you are writing for a living, that's relevant. It doesn't give you a leg up on getting the agent or a publisher. But it does make them slightly more interested in reading your work if they like the sound of the story because it indicates that you may have good material and you may be able to write to their satisfaction.
    I disagree. All the query letter advice I've read says that unless it's relevant to your authority to write the story, don't mention it. Things that are relevant are publishing credits or a really relevant occupation. You don't want to risk coming off as inserting extraneous things. For example, you thought being a music teacher was relevant for writing a children's novel. I, on the other hand, do not. That's probably the same way with agents. One might care, one might not.

    But you want to err on the side of caution. For me, I'm going to balk if you mention information irrelevant to the story. Because that tells me you also write fiction this way. You want to give this paragraph everything you need to "seal the deal" if it's not presented in the story. If there's nothing like that, don't mention it.

    I saw nothing in this paragraph that an agent would want to know that relates to the story. If the story was about music, then I'd perk up. But my wife's a teacher, so I know it's not a job where you need to be able to write well. I know this because my wife specialized in social studies and ended up teaching English (badly, I might add). If the conference did have some kind of qualification to get in, then yes, mention that, but you might also mention what that qualification was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taramoc
    I write videogames for a living, any genre and platform, do you think it's relevant to mention in a query letter for an epic fantasy novel in an invented world? When I say write, I don't mean write code, but everything else (design documents, storylines, dialogues, levels, etc.).
    Yes, but it kinda depends on what games you've made. If you've written fantasy games, then yes, and mention the big/best ones. If you're writing things like Metal Gear Solid or Call of Duty, ehhh... I'm hesitant about saying something - some games have crappy stories. Although, since we're talking video games, there's a 99% chance you have written for a SFF game).

    Also, PLEASE TAKE ME WITH YOU!
    Last edited by theWallflower; November 5th, 2009 at 03:05 PM.

  10. #340
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    All the query letter advice I've read says that unless it's relevant to your authority to write the story, don't mention it.
    Being a teacher who knows how to work with and engage children is relevant to writing a story for children, yes.

    "Authority" is not an issue for fiction writers. That's an issue for non-fiction writers, where it's your ability to be the best expert, deliver the best factual information, be a great, networked publicist, etc., are the reasons for buying your book project. But in fiction, it's simply if people like your story. (You, the author, are not that important.) So even authors with no published credits are assessed and may get published.

    So the fact that Nickee's mom is a music teacher doesn't get her an agent. But if the agent likes the sound of the story, Nickee's mom being someone who works closely with children is a good sign that may help solidify the agent's decision to take a look at the work as a children's project and see if there's anything there.

    If the agent doesn't particularly care that Nickee's mom is a teacher, that agent also doesn't care that Nickee's mom put that fact in the letter. Agents don't spend time grading query letters -- they aren't teachers. If the author messes up, the agent doesn't toss the query. Agents expect authors to mess up in query letters. But if the story sounds interesting enough, then the agent may take a look. So there is no downside to Nickee's mom including the information, and a slight upside to including it because she is writing for the children's market.

    Likewise, many fantasy writers have been game writers. So no matter what games Taramoc worked on, it doesn't hurt to mention that he's a game designer. He doesn't have to mention specific games -- although if he did, odds are the agent wouldn't know the game anyway and wouldn't particularly care, but it is relevant because it is a storytelling profession.

    Authors listening to agents bitch and snort over query letters tend to get a bit paranoid. But really, what most agents are doing with your query letter is searching it for interesting information. They'd like you to give them a clear, concise, interesting query letter that intrigues them, but they know most of them are not going to be perfect queries. They still read them and they'll ask to see a good number of the ms. Because the way that an author attempts to write a query letter -- often on the basis of myriad sources of marketing advice -- has nothing to do with how that author writes fiction. And they know that. That is, in fact, part of what you are trying to get an agent for -- to have someone who can make a much better, more communicative pitch than you can. But it's still the best idea to try to communicate your story as clearly as you can.

  11. #341
    Start judging theWallflower's Avatar
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    Hi, hate to resurrect a potentially dead horse, but I've tried one more experiment - making the query letter solely about the protagonist (when it's really a dual-narrative). Try this on for size, please?

    Remy wakes up on a park bench in the middle of the city. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And the psychic ability to read the history of objects.

    Now he must strike out on his own in a megalopolis controlled by Starkweather Industries, a cold pharmaceutical company that has saturated everyday life with prescription drugs. His only tie to his identity is his instinct to protect and defend people. Remy uses his powers to save a woman from an abusive relationship, and makes friends with a spunky female cop named Tuesday. After he's pursued by mysterious private security agents, he joins a "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy.

    But he's not the only one wandering the streets with incredible powers and lack of memory. And what will he do when he discovers the real threat to society – himself.
    Concerns:
    -Is the "mysterious" in "mysterious private security agents" too cliche?
    -Is this any more intriguing than my last letter (see thread page 4)
    -Is the agent going to be pissed when they see the actual story is not quite as advertised (I haven't lied at all in this query. It's just that the narrative focus is evenly divided between Remy and the other guy, who's not so protagonisty)
    -Is the 2nd paragraph too "soupy"? (too many plot threads, not enough development - I was hoping the events tie in to the "instinct to defend" line, but tell me if that wasn't apparent)
    -I have trouble with the 3rd paragraph. I've got two "stingers" - the fact that there's another guy with amnesia and psychic powers, and the "threat" that Remy poses to society. Did this paragraph work for you? Should I pare it down to just one "stinging" element? Should I move one element to a different place?

  12. #342
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    I don't really get why you would want to do it this way, Wallflower. The previous description with the two guys, both with powers and in contrast, was more interesting, accurate and showed a wider scope to the story. Also, you keep trying to make the description super short, like a PR blurb. A query letter can have 2-4 paragraphs of description.

    You seem very worried about the structure of the novel, and I don't get that either because it's a very common narrative structure for SFF, the twinned characters. What you have is an interesting story about two young men who wake up without their memories, discover they have mental powers, and who set out to find out what happened to them, having encounters, some violent, some romantic, while the dangerous forces of the pharmaceutical company seek to hunt them down and hold the key to their identities, their powers, and what is really happening. And they will have to elude, fight this pursuit, find the answers to their past and this brings them in convergence with each other -- and some kind of threat situation on which you refuse to give any information.

    And you keep talking about stingers, which seem to mean vague cover copy statements meant to tease the reader of the description. But as has come up many times in this thread in the past, agents and editors don't want cover copy. They don't want to be teased. They don't want statements that promise something but don't offer any actual information on what that something is going to be. Saying that the guys find out they are the threats to humanity is okay, but it doesn't mean much since we don't know what kind of a threat you're talking about.

    A query letter to a publishing professional is not an advertisement. It's not a pitch because you aren't trying to get someone to make a movie based on an idea. What it is, is an informational document -- a mini-synopsis. It and the plot synopsis' job is to inform and it is the information that intrigues, not a tagline.

    This version:

    Remy wakes up on a park bench. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And apparently, he has psychic powers.

    Ash wakes up in an alley. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, and he can set things on fire with his mind.

    Now they each must strike out on their own in a cold mega-city where pharmaceutical drugs pervade everyday life. While learning his powers, Remy finds a hotel and feels compelled to save a woman from an abusive relationship, makes friends with a spunky female cop named Tuesday, then joins an "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash is assaulted and robbed when he tries to get some food. Looking for a job, he joins the White Knights, a neighborhood watchdog group and forms a relationship with Ivy, a stripper. Throughout their individual, but strangely parallel journeys, they follow their instincts to protect and defend people. But what will they do when they discover the real threat to humanity – themselves.


    was I think the most on track, but it didn't have the pursuit part where they are being hunted by the agents of the drug company, and I would suggest adding that.

  13. #343
    Start judging theWallflower's Avatar
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    I changed it to this version for two reasons.

    1) Someone said that my 3rd paragraph was "soup" - lots of stuff thrown in with no development

    2) Someone said the second paragraph was repetitive because it sounded like Remy's story. And suggested that maybe you don't need to know so much about Ash.

    It seems hard enough to condense the journey of one character into a query letter, let alone two. That's why I'm having trouble, because it's really two (two!) two novels in one. I don't know how to better communication the structure of the novel, and that it's really the story of two protagonists. It's so hard to describe that in 250 words (and don't say I don't have a limit - I know of at least one agent that wanted a query no more than 250 words long).

    You say they don't want cover copy, but if I don't, I end up spouting generalities with no "happenings". It's hard to do it with plot events, because they both have separate plots (resulting in soup). The single protagonist allows me to focus on that single plot.

    Here's a new version of my two-protagonists query:

    Neither knows the other exists, and their only ties to their respective identities are their instincts to protect and defend people. Now they must strike out on their own in a megalopolis controlled by Starkweather Industries, a cold pharmaceutical company that has saturated everyday life with prescription drugs. Throughout their individual, but strangely parallel journeys, they must find their origin, the reason they have these powers, and who the private security agents pursuing them are. They find that their instincts to protect people were not far off. But what will they do when they discover the real threat to society – themselves.
    Besides the normal stuff, are these sentences too long?
    Last edited by theWallflower; November 13th, 2009 at 02:04 PM.

  14. #344
    Author and Game Designer Taramoc's Avatar
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    If I can throw my two cents in, I agree with KatG. The version with the two sentences very similar for the two main characters is by far the most intriguing for me.

    Honestly, they piqued my interest right away, especially because are almost identical.
    Last edited by Taramoc; November 13th, 2009 at 02:40 PM.

  15. #345
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theWallflower View Post
    2) Someone said the second paragraph was repetitive because it sounded like Remy's story. And suggested that maybe you don't need to know so much about Ash.
    Without Ash, Remy is more boring. With Ash, Remy and Ash form a contrast and a thriller plot. Since you indicate that one will go sort of negative, the other positive, they form a ying-yang structure which is part of what you have to sell.

    It seems hard enough to condense the journey of one character into a query letter, let alone two. That's why I'm having trouble, because it's really two (two!) two novels in one.
    Tough luck. But again, it's a common narrative/plot structure and it will work if you use the two for contrast. You have a much easier task than the alternate world fantasy writers, believe me.

    (and don't say I don't have a limit - I know of at least one agent that wanted a query no more than 250 words long).
    Either that agent wants a pared down blurb specifically for electronic queries or that agent is an incompetent idiot, because no agent who is actually effective has time to count how many words an author uses in a query letter. If it's the former, you can design a short form specifically for that agent and a regular query for the rest. If you think it's the latter, don't query that agent.

    There is a limit on queries -- it is for written queries 2 pages max, single spaced, with 1 page being preferred, and slightly shorter for electronic queries (more 1 page again.) You are expected to convey the gist of the story in several paragraphs.

    You say they don't want cover copy, but if I don't, I end up spouting generalities with no "happenings". It's hard to do it with plot events, because they both have separate plots (resulting in soup).
    You have that backwards. Cover copy spouts vague generalities, meant to give potential readers a general idea of the story, so that they will buy it. Synopses provide details of the key events of the plot and how they emotionally impact the main characters.

    The reason the two sentence for two main characters works is that it shows the structure of the story -- parallel storylines that converge -- and the contrast of the two characters as the twin poles of the story. That's why Taramoc liked it. So my advice is keep this part to open:

    Remy wakes up on a park bench. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And apparently, he can read the memory of objects.

    Ash wakes up in an alley. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, and he can set things on fire with his mind.
    But change "read the memory of objects" to more clearly articulate exactly what Remy's power is. Is it the memory of who owned the object, or something else?

    Then you have:

    Now they each must strike out on their own in a cold mega-city where pharmaceutical drugs pervade everyday life. While learning his powers, Remy finds a hotel and feels compelled to save a woman from an abusive relationship, makes friends with a spunky female cop named Tuesday, then joins an "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash is assaulted and robbed when he tries to get some food. Looking for a job, he joins the White Knights, a neighborhood watchdog group and forms a relationship with Ivy, a stripper.
    I'm going to change that just a bit:

    Now they each must strike out on their own in a cold mega-city where pharmaceutical drugs control the lives of its citizens, and [here's where you could interject a little more about the world setting, such as "and gangs X while there are food shortages, etc., whatever it is you have.] Remy becomes entangled with a woman in an abusive relationship and forms an alliance with a female cop named Tuesday, then joins a "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash survives a mugging while trying to scrounge for food. He joins up with the White Knights, a neighborhood watch dog group, and starts a relationship with Ivy, a stripper.
    Now that works well enough, but it is focused on the women relationships more than the details of Robin Hood black market pharmacies and how Remy going criminal effects his interactions with cops, or what exactly the neighborhood watchdog group is watching and in what neighborhood. To give a bit more detail there, you might want to break this down into two short paragraphs, one for each main character again.

    Then you bring in the search for their memories and the reasons/origins for their powers, and the fact that they are being pursued by guys in black coats. You can say that their individual journeys then come into contact, or you can describe in a little more detail how that happens. And you can say that they will have to discover whether the forces that pursue them or themselves are the bigger threat to humanity. You could, as an alternate strategy, actually describe what sort of threat the two guys are to humanity. (And if you don't in the query letter, please do so in the longer plot synopsis.) You could indicate that Remy is going to go more the good guy path, while Ash is going to veer off it, depending on how far that idea develops by the end of the story.

    If this still seems too generalized to you, then you need to identify what are the particular, specific aspects of the two stories that you feel are most important so that they get in the synopsis description.

    What you are going through is very normal. Most authors do not like to do this. But if you can focus on what are the most important things in the plot, in terms of the story and impact, and what are the most interesting things for you about your two main characters, then that's the essential communication. You are working with suspense and suspense aspects are familiar to them and will not need elaborate explanations to set up.

    Long sentences are your friends in query letters because you are having to pack a lot of information into a little space. Short, choppy sentences in a query letter don't do this very well. Short, choppy sentences are for cover copy, not queries.

    The most interesting aspects of the story that we've heard so far, are, from my perspective:

    That you have not one but two guys with amnesia and unusual abilities who have to figure out what's going on.
    That you have a future world setting where everything revolves around pharmaceuticals.
    That they are being pursued and will have to deal with threats.
    That they become involved with unusual social groups -- Robin Hood band, watchdog group, cops, etc.
    That their parallel journeys either intersect or effect each other, though you won't tell us much about that so far.

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