Query for Darkness Becomes Her

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Jeanne Bannon
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Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Jeanne Bannon » June 18th, 2010, 11:06 pm

I've never written a query before so any and all help is appreciated
Thanks in advance!


Dear

Please consider representing my novel Darkness Becomes Her.

Darkness Becomes Her is a paranormal thriller of 105,000 words. It tells the story of Dane Westwood, a spiritual warrior/vigilante. Dane possesses the ability to not only peer beyond this reality into the world of spirit, but she’s able to see entity attachments in the energy fields of those around her. Dane and her best friend June are dispatched on a mission to save humanity by the mysterious Dark Angel. The Dark Angel guides the women, leading them to Costa Rica and a handsome and gifted healer named Gregorio Pappas. Although Gregorio can perform miracles, he is also tangled up in a plot that involves reducing the world’s population. The book culminates with Dane’s decision to abandon June to join the handsome healer in his diabolical plot. She believes she loves him, but it is a power beyond her that’s driving her into Gregorio’s arms and for nefarious reasons.

Presently, I work as a freelance editor and have done so full-time for almost twenty years. I am a former freelance writer with a journalism degree and have published several short stories and articles.

You can contact me at any time. I hope my book’s premise has intrigued you. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Bannon

Krista G.
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Krista G. » June 19th, 2010, 12:52 am

Jeanne Bannon wrote:Dear

Please consider representing my novel Darkness Becomes Her. The convention is to put the title in all caps, since e-mail can mess up italics. Also, you may want to add a few agent-specific details to this paragraph (i.e., "I recently read [INSERT ONE OF THE AGENT'S CLIENT'S BOOK TITLES HERE] and thought you might be interested in DARKNESS BECOMES HER").

Darkness Becomes Her is a paranormal thriller of 105,000 words. I'd chop this sentence and add the relevant information (genre, word count) to the previous paragraph (i.e., "Please consider representing my novel DARKNESS BECOMES HER, a paranormal thriller of 105,000 words"). It tells the story of Dane Westwood, a spiritual warrior/vigilante. <--I'd kick this sentence, too, and start the summary with this one (just because the phrase "It tells the story of" adds unnecessary distance between the reader and the summary)--> Dane possesses the ability to not only peer beyond this reality into the world of spirit, but she’s able to see entity attachments in the energy fields of those around her. Dane and her best friend June are dispatched on a mission to save humanity by the mysterious Dark Angel. Who's this Dark Angel? And why does the Dark Angel pick them? And how are they going to save humanity? From a flood? From nuclear holocaust? From a guinea pig invasion? The Dark Angel guides the women, leading them to Costa Rica and a handsome and gifted healer named Gregorio Pappas. Although Gregorio can perform miracles, he is also tangled up in a plot that involves reducing the world’s population. Is this the danger to humanity? If so, I'd state that explicitly. (And whatever the threat to humanity is, I'd state that specifically.) The book culminates with Dane’s decision to abandon June to join the handsome healer in his diabolical plot. She believes she loves him, but it is a power beyond her that’s driving her into Gregorio’s arms and for nefarious reasons.

Presently, I work as a freelance editor and have done so full-time for almost twenty years. I am a former freelance writer with a journalism degree and have published several short stories and articles. This is a great paragraph. Highlights a few writing credits without rambling on or sounding egotistical. Nice job.

You can contact me at any time. I hope my book’s premise has intrigued you. I look forward to your response. I'd snip this entire paragraph and just go with, "Thank you for your time and consideration" (or, if you prefer, "I'd be happy to send a partial or full manuscript at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration"). Because the sad truth is, you probably won't ever hear back from at least a few of the agents you query.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Bannon
Way to be brave enough to post your query here, especially your first one. (Actually, the reason I stopped to comment is because there were parts of this that could have come straight from my first query:) ) My biggest problem is the lack of voice. The plot summary reads more like a synopsis (which is the extra document some agents want to see that just gives a blow-by-blow account of the events of the book), so you might try writing it as if you're still writing the novel, with the same tone and texture.

Good luck!
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

sirfrodo13
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by sirfrodo13 » June 19th, 2010, 8:24 am

Hello Krista,

Thank you for giving us the chance to look at your first query. If you want more advice on chapters, or query/synopsis critiques, consider joining the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (OWW for short). It's a paid membership, but totally worth it. I'm going on 2 years and don't regret joining once.
Jeanne Bannon wrote:Please consider representing my novel Darkness Becomes Her.

I agree with Jeanne, this needs to run as more of a conventional pitch. IE: I am seeking representation for DARKNESS BECOMES HER, a paranormal thriller complete at 105,000 words.
Jeanne Bannon wrote:It tells the story of Dane Westwood, a spiritual warrior/vigilante.

Get right into the grit, and possibly offer personality traits here, because this spiritual warrior and vigilante mix sounds like a Book of Eli character. Don't come off bland. Give her something unique that draws us to her with the snap of the finger.
Jeanne Bannon wrote:she’s able to see entity attachments in the energy fields of those around her.

This is vague, but so very interesting and crucial (I think to the story). It's very difficult to follow the "if the agent has to scoll, it's a rejection" rule, but I would experiment with adding more fat right now. Then cut it down.
Jeanne Bannon wrote:a handsome and gifted healer named Gregorio Pappas. Although Gregorio can perform miracles, he is also tangled up in a plot that involves reducing the world’s population.

The query is not the spot for secondary characters who have motives or plot lines of their own. You are free to introduce and maybe explain a connection to the protagonist, but never I would refrain from revealing his secondary plot point.
Jeanne Bannon wrote:The book culminates with Dane’s decision to abandon June to join the handsome healer in his diabolical plot.

Who is June???
That's all for now. As usual, this is a good start for your first query, but you will find yourself writing so many of these, it becomes a dizzy task. Best of luck in submissions.

Justin

Username
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Username » June 19th, 2010, 1:17 pm

I completely disagree with the post above - you don't have to pay for anything to become a novelist, or to get your work published. If somebody wants money from you, I'd strongly advise you to tell them where to go.

Meredith
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Meredith » June 19th, 2010, 2:02 pm

Username wrote:I completely disagree with the post above - you don't have to pay for anything to become a novelist, or to get your work published. If somebody wants money from you, I'd strongly advise you to tell them where to go.
Agreed. If you're looking for an online writers' group other than this one, there are plenty that are free. I frequent Hatrack River Writers Workshop, which also specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, although other genres pop up from time to time. If you want a password-protected forum, there's Liberty Hall. No need to pay for an online writers group.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Meredith » June 19th, 2010, 2:13 pm

Jeanne Bannon wrote:I've never written a query before so any and all help is appreciated
Thanks in advance!


Dear

Please consider representing my novel Darkness Becomes Her.
The title should be in all caps. But drop this sentence altogether. The agent knows why you're sending them a query.

Darkness Becomes Her is a paranormal thriller of 105,000 words. Move this sentence to the end of the query. It's not the most exciting thing about your story so don't start with it. It tells the story of Dane Westwood, a spiritual warrior/vigilante. I'd delete this sentence and start with the next.Dane possesses the ability to not only peer beyond this reality into the world of spirit, but she’s able to see entity attachments in the energy fields of those around her. I think this needs to be a little more clear. I'm not really sure what "entity attachments" are. Start a new paragraph after you tell us what's special about Dane.Dane and her best friend June are dispatched on a mission to save humanity by the mysterious Dark Angel. Be more specific about exactly how Dane and June are going to save humanity and from what. I'd consider leaving June out of the query. You don't want too many names.The Dark Angel guides the women, leading them to Costa Rica and a handsome and gifted healer named Gregorio Pappas. Although Gregorio can perform miracles, he is also tangled up in a plot that involves reducing the world’s population. The book culminates with Dane’s decision to abandon June to join the handsome healer in his diabolical plot. Don't say how the book ends. That's for the synopsis, not the query. Just state the choice Dane faces and the consequences of that choice.She believes she loves him, but it is a power beyond her that’s driving her into Gregorio’s arms and for nefarious reasons.

Presently, I work as a freelance editor and have done so full-time for almost twenty years. I am a former freelance writer with a journalism degree and have published several short stories and articles.I'd leave out the journalism degree. I'd also pick out one or two of the best short story credits and give them specifically, story title, publication, and date. Article credits probably aren't going to help you with a novel query unless they relate to the story--like articles about Costa Rica or native healers, in this case.

You can contact me at any time. I hope my book’s premise has intrigued you. I look forward to your response.I'd cut this down to just the last sentence. The other two are implied by the fact that you're sending a query. So's the last, actually, put it comes off as a polite closing.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Bannon
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

Jeanne Bannon
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Jeanne Bannon » June 19th, 2010, 2:38 pm

Thanks to everyone. I've gotten some really incredible advice. I'll rework my query and post again. It's tougher than I thought to write a good one.

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Quill
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Quill » June 19th, 2010, 2:39 pm

Jeanne Bannon wrote:
Please consider representing my novel Darkness Becomes Her.
Consider omitting, as it is implied and understood by dint of you querying. For certain do not open with this.
Darkness Becomes Her is a paranormal thriller of 105,000 words.
This belongs after your main query blurb. Most agents want to see your hook first.
It tells the story of Dane Westwood, a spiritual warrior/vigilante.
Better to directly tell than to tell what "it" tells. How about "Dane Westwood is a spiritual..."
Dane possesses the ability
How about "She possesses..." to let us know as quickly as possible that Dane is a she?
to not only peer beyond this reality into the world of spirit, but she’s able to see entity attachments in the energy fields of those around her.
Not sure what that means, in practical terms, in scientific terms, in any terms. Can you clarify? It seems pivotal to the story.
Dane and her best friend June are dispatched on a mission to save humanity by the mysterious Dark Angel.
1. Stronger and clearer I think to end with humanity: "Dane and her best friend June are dispatched by the mysterious Dark Angel on a mission to save humanity."

2. "A mission to save humanity" is vague. How will they save humanity? Why does humanity need saving?
The Dark Angel guides the women, leading them to Costa Rica
Compress. "The Dark Angel guides (or leads) (not both) to Costa Rica...
and a handsome and gifted healer named Gregorio Pappas.
"and to a handsome..." otherwise we might think the Angel is guiding/leading him as well, the way it's written.

Although Gregorio can perform miracles, he is also tangled up in a plot that involves reducing the world’s population.
This seems out in left field. Miracles aren't connected to plot, and neither are overtly connected to saving humanity (unless the saving has something to do with the plot, and if so, please be clear about this; as it is, it sounds unrelated).
The book culminates
1. Speaking of the book is not as strong as simply saying what happens.

2. Speaking of culmination is not the job of a query. A query's job is simply to get an agent to request more. This is done by laying out the hook (unique situation along with main conflict) and the characters/ setting.

with Dane’s decision to abandon June to join the handsome healer in his diabolical plot.
1. It is not clear whether it is Dane or June who is joining.

2. Also, "diabolical" is a given and sounds like a modifier to prop up a weak sentence. Suggest clarifying and punching-up sentence. Tip: "join" is a weak verb, and "decision" is a weak noun. Also strongly suggest omitting this second employment of "handsome" as it adds little.
She believes she loves him, but it is a power beyond her that’s driving her into Gregorio’s arms and for nefarious reasons.
1. Again, not sure which of the women you refer to.

2. "Driving her into...'s arms" is a cliche.

3. "nefarious reasons" is a weak phrase that could be strengthened. In general, words like diabolical and nefarious tend to come across as melodramatic, sometimes even humorous.
Presently, I work as a freelance editor and have done so full-time for almost twenty years. I am a former freelance writer with a journalism degree and have published several short stories and articles.
Editing and journalism do not directly equate to ability to craft a novel, but your presentation is succinct and I see no reason not to include it.
You can contact me at any time. I hope my book’s premise has intrigued you.
Omit. "Thank you for your time and consideration" is a better choice.
I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Okay.

Jeanne Bannon
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Jeanne Bannon » June 19th, 2010, 2:51 pm

Thanks Quill for your excellent advice - I truly appreciate the time and effort you've put into critiquing my query.

sirfrodo13
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by sirfrodo13 » June 19th, 2010, 3:33 pm

Username wrote:I completely disagree with the post above - you don't have to pay for anything to become a novelist, or to get your work published. If somebody wants money from you, I'd strongly advise you to tell them where to go.
I'm sorry but I should have specified that the first month is free.This workshop is so simple. Plus, it's $30 for 6 months.

By the way, this workshop has received reviews by numerous agents and editors as one of the best out there. I'll also note that you are essentially saying that the Gotham Writers Workshop is also not worth it, and that is paid and one of the best workshop/conferences in the country.

Not forcing it on this writer, but suggesting she try it. If she doesn't like it after the month, so be it.

Jeanne Bannon
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Jeanne Bannon » June 19th, 2010, 7:52 pm

sirfrodo13 wrote:
Username wrote:I completely disagree with the post above - you don't have to pay for anything to become a novelist, or to get your work published. If somebody wants money from you, I'd strongly advise you to tell them where to go.
I'm sorry but I should have specified that the first month is free.This workshop is so simple. Plus, it's $30 for 6 months.

By the way, this workshop has received reviews by numerous agents and editors as one of the best out there. I'll also note that you are essentially saying that the Gotham Writers Workshop is also not worth it, and that is paid and one of the best workshop/conferences in the country.

Not forcing it on this writer, but suggesting she try it. If she doesn't like it after the month, so be it.
I'm grateful for the suggestions and will look into these groups. Right now I belong to an online writers' group called the Next Big Writer and I love it. I've been a member for almost a year. You do have to pay to belong, but it's well worth it. The people on the site are amazing. It's a wonderful community and I've learned so much.

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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by clara_w » June 20th, 2010, 6:18 am

Please consider representing my novel Darkness Becomes Her. No,no,no. I´d start with the paragraph below.

Darkness Becomes Her is a paranormal thriller of 105,000 words. I´ve seen countless tips that say this info should go on the end of the query.It tells the story of Dane Westwood, a spiritual warrior/vigilante. Dane possesses the ability to not only peer beyond this reality into the world of spirit, but she’s able to see entity attachments in the energy fields of those around herThat is really interesting! But the last sentence is a tad confusing...how about she can see auras? Or something more simple? Is there a way to simplify the concepts of the last sentence?. Dane and her best friend June are dispatched on a mission to save humanity by the mysterious Dark Angel. The Dark Angel guides the women, leading them to Costa Rica and a handsome and gifted healer named Gregorio Pappas. Although Gregorio can perform miracles, he is also tangled up in a plot that involves reducing the world’s population. The book culminates with Dane’s decision to abandon June to join the handsome healer in his diabolical plot. She believes she loves him, but it is a power beyond her that’s driving her into Gregorio’s arms and for nefarious reasons.No,no,no, is this the end of the book? Never tell the end of the book...but if this is the peak of the book, and she is sved by the end of it, I´d recommend rephrasing.

Presently, I work as a freelance editor and have done so full-time for almost twenty years. Awesome credentials! I am a former freelance writer with a journalism degree and have published several short stories and articles.

You can contact me at any time. I hope my book’s premise has intrigued you. I look forward to your response.I´d just say the last sentence

Sincerely,

Jeanne Bannon

Jeanne Bannon
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Jeanne Bannon » June 20th, 2010, 9:28 am

Thanks Clara - I'll take your very insightful suggestions into consideration when I rewrite my query.
Jeanne

suesan0814
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by suesan0814 » June 22nd, 2010, 11:37 am

Just wanted to let you know I was by, Jeanne. Since I just reviewed this, I won't copy and paste it here, again. Thanks, for sending me the site. Just uploaded my query yesterday and have already received some great suggestions! (you probably have already reviewed it also, several times. ha!)

Thanks, friend,
Susan

Jeanne Bannon
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Re: Query for Darkness Becomes Her

Post by Jeanne Bannon » June 22nd, 2010, 11:40 am

suesan0814 wrote:Just wanted to let you know I was by, Jeanne. Since I just reviewed this, I won't copy and paste it here, again. Thanks, for sending me the site. Just uploaded my query yesterday and have already received some great suggestions! (you probably have already reviewed it also, several times. ha!)

Thanks, friend,
Susan
Hey, so happy you found this site helpful, and happier still to pass along any useful info to my pal :)

Jeanne

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