Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Query letter #13: paranormal thriller

Dear Ms ---------
I'm seeking representation for my completed 82,500 word paranormal thriller 'ALL YOU WHO ENTER HERE'.
In ALL YOU WHO ENTER HERE [first thing I noticed was that you used quote marks around the title the first time and then didn't use them here - yes, we notice things like that because we're all anal retentives, so proofread your letter before you send it off] an Australian factory worker inherits wealth beyond his wildest dreams, and a house beyond his worst nightmares. [Good hook]
Chris Paterson knows nothing about his deceased father except that he was English, so when a letter arrives requesting his presence at the reading of a will he is intrigued. Chris discovers he is the sole heir of a grandfather he never knew and is now the owner of vast wealth and property. There's just one small condition; [I'm thinking of holding a colon/semi-colon workshop - this should be a COLON!] he must live for a specified time at Trellwoods House, his grandfather's old home in Shropshire, England. The newly-rich Patersons [Did he clone himself? No? Don't assume that we'll know what you mean by 'Patersons'] fly to England and move into the isolated mansion. But there's something about Trellwoods House Chris hasn't been told. Then there's 'The Society' , thirteen old men with evil intentions, unlimited wealth and power, and an unhealthy interest in the Paterson family. Then there's [don't use 'Then there's' again] the ancestral graveyard. Abandon hope all you who enter here. [This last sentence is overkill - you've referred to this phrase in the title so we don't need to be told again.]
My story 'The Overcoat' gained third place in the 2005 Australian Horror Writers Association short story contest, and an honourable mention in Ellen Datlow's 'Years Best Fantasy and Horror'. I have had several other short stories and articles published and I'm busy with my second novel. My influences are such authors as James Herbert and Ira Levin. [Good para]
Enclosed please find SAE, synopsis and the first three chapters.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely.
My name.

Overall: a fairly good letter, if slightly lacklustre. I don't feel like the story is going to be scary - maybe try to convey a sense of what it's like to read the story when you're describing the story. Writing the pitch is hard, as you can see - I'm being really pernickety with everyone. But that's because you only get one chance with each agent/publisher to make the pitch so it needs to be as good as possible.

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