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Writing Books/Query letter and first pages of book



Question one: For romantic suspense novel. Should the query be more focused on the romance or suspense aspect of the book. I have a para about each. Also, I see (on Twitter) some agents say you need to show MCs choices and what will happen if he/she takes one choice or the other. Mine shows whats at stake, her life is in danger, but there is no choice to be made. She has a killer after her.

Question two: MC witnesses a murder on page 26. Page 1-25 is background and introduction of hero and heroine, plus one minor character. Am I waiting too long for her to see killer?

Hi MaryAnn,

If your novel is a romantic suspense, then I'm assuming that each of these aspects plays a large role in the plot. The story should fit well enough together that, when writing the synopsis, you can cover both grounds without leaning only to one side.

I'm a bit confused about what you mean by the second half of your first question. Do you mean that you think this should be shown in the synopsis or in the novel itself? If you are talking about the synopsis, the answer is no. Agents/editors don't care what might have happened to your character, had she happened to make a different decision. What they want to know is what happens based of the decision she does make. If you mean within the novel itself, then it is still best to focus on the decisions the character does make rather than what might have been. If the character makes a bad decision that negatively affects her for the remainder of the novel, then you may want to focus on it more than you would otherwise, but not more than you focus on the actual outcome.

In regards to your second question: I cannot determine this based on page number. I have no knowledge of what happens in the first 26 pages, or how long those pages are (also effected by whether the story is typed or handwritten), so I don't know how much actually occurs before we get into the meat of the story. If it is interesting enough to keep the readers engaged and if it is plot relevant, then you shouldn't have much of a problem. If everything before the big event is not relevant, or is only included for your entertainment, then it is probably not something you want to leak into the final draft. The best advice I can give is make sure everything is not only engaging, but also important to the plot.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.


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Jamie Darrach


I can answer just about any question regarding the composition, editing, and publishing procedures for all forms of literature. I will give aspiring authors ample tips on how to strengthen plot, how make story-lines and characters credible, how to improve visual description and dialogue, and how to make works flow easily and naturally. In addition, I can give writers advice on how to adequately edit and revise their works. I have knowledge of the literary market, and can advise writers in which route would be best for their piece, including offer examples of presses and agents who work with manuscripts in the author's category.


I have been writing for eleven years, having completed fourteen novels, several short stories, and countless pieces of poetry. I am experienced in multiple genres. I have worked as a copy-editor and critic for aspiring authors. I have researched the literary market from inside-out, and can provide much information to writers who are seeking advice.

College for BA in English

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