Query Critique #6

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 29 2007

It begins with a box of paperbacks sent by a dead man.

Great opening. You instantly grabbed my attention.

“Still Waters” (I think you could come up with a stronger title) is a completed 70,000 word romantic suspense that includes blackmail, murder and betrayal.

I would move this sentence to the end of your letter. Your opening is so strong that you don’t want to lose momentum. Try “In Still Waters, a romantic suspense . . .

Jessica Logan opens an ordinary cardboard box mailed by her father on the day he committed suicide. She has no idea that opening it will lead her into discoveries about her family that involve death and destruction. Travis Connors has pieces to the puzzle, but he’s not sharing. As a private investigator, he prefers to work alone. But when he proves to Jessica that her father was murdered, he finds himself with a partner who both irritates him and attracts him. As they begin to unravel the murder, the answers only lead to more questions. Finding trust in each other becomes as important as finding the person who would like Jessica and Travis dead.

Again, you have a good opening, so let’s not lose the pace. What about your second paragraph reading more like this: On the day of his death, Jessica Logan’s father mailed her a box of simple paperback books. Now she finds herself running ???? with only a box of books to discover the truth. Can Jessica, together with PI Travis Connors, discover the truth before ????

I think you have to show a little more of the suspense here. Your opening grabbed my attention, but your paragraph didn’t hold me enough to make me want to see more. How do the paperbacks and suspense make this different?

I have four short stories published with a small epublisher and a romantic suspense coming out in print in September with Different Small Press. I am a member of RWA and Sacramento Valley Rose RWA. I am a reviewer for Romance Divas award-winning website.

I think this could be slightly stronger. I’m the published author of four short stories with Small EPress and a romantic suspense with Different Small Press. I am a member of . . .

Enclosed is a synopsis for “Still Waters” and the first 50 pages.

Thank you for your consideration.

As you know by now I think it’s stronger to end with “I look forward to hearing from you.” But that’s a personal opinion.

Good work.


Check back tomorrow for another query critique.

4 responses to “Query Critique #6”

  1. Avatar Jennifer McK says:

    Whew! I came out of this unscathed. THANK YOU for the critique. I appreciate this.

  2. Avatar Bernie says:

    These query critiques are great, very informative.

    Actually, this whole blog is wonderful. I found it a couple days ago from Kristin’s Pub Rants. You’ve been keeping me up late reading your older posts. 🙂

  3. Avatar Tess Harrison says:

    Great information. I’m enjoying learning from the critiques.


  4. Avatar jodi says:

    lol, that query contest worked. 🙂 Great feedback. Congratulations, Jen. *psst* tweak it and submit.