1. Steve Hill

    Steve Hill New Member

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    Query, upper MG historical

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Steve Hill, Apr 16, 2020.

    OK, how does this sound?

    John always longed for adventure. That’s why he ran away from his grand but dull home to savor life on the open sea in the first place. But alas he ended up on The Amethyst, the worst pirate ship in the Caribbean. Now he’s a common cabin boy to the bumbling Captain 'Plumboots’ Damson.

    When a pub landlady (and amateur psychic) foresees him leading the crew to the Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd, John is convinced it must be true. At last he can ditch those chores that are beneath him – like shining his captain’s many boots – and take command.

    But when his reckless actions jeopardize the ship, John questions his new status. He begins to suspect that Elizabeth, the independent young stowaway, might be the real key to Kidd’s treasure. A stowaway whose existence he vowed never to reveal.

    The Amethyst is not the only pirate ship in search of the legendary riches, however. The ruthless Captain Whitestripe of The Crimson Wake has his own reasons to hate Kidd and plunder the prize. Bedeviled by ghosts and fueled by revenge, Whitestripe is happy to sacrifice anything and anyone to claim what he considers is rightfully his - including the lives of a conflicted cabin boy and his only friend.

    It will take a shipload of skill, cunning and belief in one another for John to lead The Amethyst’s shoddy crew to victory, and for him to discover that not all treasure comes buried in a chest.

    ‘The Blood of the Cutlass’ is an upper middle-grade novel complete at 55k words. It’s a humorous historical adventure featuring characters from real life and legend. While 'The Blood of the Cutlass’ can stand alone as a novel, it is the first in a planned series.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  2. Steve Hill

    Steve Hill New Member

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    I had some feedback - here's version 2:

    John craves adventure. That’s why he ran away to savor life on the open sea. Yet here he is, just a common cabin boy on The Amethyst, the worst pirate ship in the Caribbean.

    Until he’s told he’s destined to find The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd!

    But John soon discovers being the ship’s hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – especially with a ruthless pirate captain following in their wake. Maybe the fortune teller got it wrong. Yes, surely Elizabeth, the secret young stowaway, is the real key to Kidd’s treasure. But revealing her existence could risk their friendship - and their lives. It will take a shipload of skill, cunning and belief for John to lead this shoddy crew to victory, and for him to discover that not all treasure comes buried in a chest.

    ‘The Blood of the Cutlass’ is an upper middle-grade novel complete at 55k words. It’s a humorous historical adventure featuring characters from real life and legend. While 'The Blood of the Cutlass’ can stand alone as a novel, it is the first in a planned series.
     
  3. Steve Hill

    Steve Hill New Member

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    Some minor edits to add more 'voice':

    John craves adventure. That’s why he ran away to savor life on the open sea. Yet here he is, just a common cabin boy on The Amethyst, the worst pirate ship in the Caribbean.

    Until it’s foretold he will find The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd!

    But John soon discovers being the ship’s hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – especially with a ruthless pirate captain following in their wake. Maybe that pub landlady (and part-time psychic) got it wrong. I mean, surely Elizabeth, the secret young stowaway, is the real key to Kidd’s treasure. But revealing her existence could risk their friendship - and their lives. It will take a shipload of trust, cunning and Dutch cheeses for John to lead this shoddy crew to victory, and for him to discover that not all treasure comes buried in a chest.

    ‘The Blood of the Cutlass’ is an upper middle-grade novel complete at 55k words. It’s a humorous historical adventure featuring characters from real life and legend. While 'The Blood of the Cutlass’ can stand alone as a novel, it is the first in a planned series.
     
  4. Yorgi Schmorgi

    Yorgi Schmorgi New Member

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    Just a few small things that I think would be important for the story, as it does sound good, would be to show the "why?". Such as, why does he trust this amateur psychic? Why does he choose to not rat-out the stowaway? And how does he gain the role of captain when the captain was already in the position?

    I can understand that the story would answer these questions, but but just something little like that in the description of the story would make it seem much clearer to me. Hope that was somewhat helpful, good luck on the series!
     
  5. Steve Hill

    Steve Hill New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback! Who knew that a simple letter would need so much tweaking..?
     
  6. Jasmine Mander

    Jasmine Mander New Member

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    Your story sounds interesting, I'm querying a novel with pirates too! Will have my query letter up soon for critique. I would suggest adding a short paragraph in your letter when you actually send it to agents that explains why you think they would be a good fit for representing your story. A personal touch can help you stand out.
     
  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    ^ Soon to be bitter rivals, two pirate captains plundering the same waters in the same subgenre... :p
     
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  8. Jasmine Mander

    Jasmine Mander New Member

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    ^ Haha, mines YA, not MG and sound like there's a lot of style/substance differences. Plenty of room on the seven seas :p
     
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  9. Steve Hill

    Steve Hill New Member

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    Thanks, fellow swashbuckler!

    Yes, this is just the template I will use for each query. I've been researching agents and will add specific details to the opening paragraphs as to why I am querying them.

    Good luck with your book!
     
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