Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

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BethC
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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by BethC » June 22nd, 2010, 8:29 am

Cheekychook,

Thank you. I wrote that in a very early version of a query many months ago, before I began a revision of the MS and thought of it again. I love the line too and will take this advice to heart....immediately.

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Re: 4th revision, yes, no, I would have loved....

Post by cheekychook » June 22nd, 2010, 1:38 pm

BethC wrote:Okay, last comment really gave me something to consider. I felt stuck, trying to tell enough, without too much, and you all know the pitfalls. anyway, I've made another go at it using some of the suggestions to fit my story. So....yes or no?

Dear Agent of choice,


When Presley O’Connor receives a letter wishing her a happy last birthday, she believes it’s a classmates attempt at sick humor. Even her senior picture, eyes missing, red slashes crisscrossing her face doesn’t convince her it’s anything more. At least not until another girl goes missing, and a second threat, more ominous than the first, is received.

When her own psychic powers fail her, it is the quick action of her long-time crush, Reid, which saves her from a serial killer. Drawn together by such a traumatic event, their relationship fast forwards to love. But love, even when you’re psychic, is complicated. Presley soon realizes Reid is more than the blue-eyed hunk she’s adored from afar, and Reid, unable to cope with his secret visions, believes it’s best to leave her.

Presley’s nightmares of a second attempt on her life, and Reid’s admission that living without her is a sacrifice he’s not willing to make, bring them back together. When Presley’s nightmares become a reality, she fears not even their combined powers will be able to save her.

My YA paranormal romance, I WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU ANYWAY, is complete at 90,000 words. The story leads the reader through the horror of a kidnapping and the power of true love, as two people are willing to risk all to save those they love.

Sincerely,

(name and contact info)
You're doing a lot of rewrites on this query in a short period of time and you're significantly changing the info that's included in them. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing, I just want to point out the differences I notice. For me, when I am doing several versions of something, it becomes difficult for me to step back and realize what I may be leaving out because I've already said it in a different attempt.

I like the opening sentence, and it gets rid of the double use of the words "expect" and "senior", but it no longer places Presley clearly in her senior year, so consider whether or not you think that's important enough to include. (Also, just as an aside, I think "sick attempt at humor" might work better than "attempt at sick humor", but that's just a personal preference on my part.)

"Even her senior picture..." You no longer say that this mutilated picture was included in the letter, and I'm not sure that would be obvious to someone who was reading this cold. Use of senior picture in this way doesn't make me assume she's in her senior year, either, just that the picture involved is her senior picture.

" ...a second, more ominous, threat arrives." This is the DUN, Dun, dun moment, so this line should be as concise and tense as possible.

"When her own psychic powers fail her"---very good, tells us she has psychic powers, tells us they're not helping, but doesn't feel like the info is forced. The part about Reid can probably be tweaked a little... "When her own psychic powers fail, it's Reid Montgomery, her longtime crush, who saves her..." (depends if you want to emphasize that it's REID who is saving her or on the fact that his QUICK ACTION saves her).

"Drawn together by trauma..." or "United by trauma..." their relationship fast forwards to love. Good. You already know I like the "love... is complicated line".

"Presley soon realizes Reid is more than the blue-eyed hunk she’s adored from afar, and Reid, unable to cope with his secret visions, believes it’s best to leave her." We already know she's liked him a while (long time crush), I don't think it's essential that we find out now that he's a blue-eyed hunk, and now Reid, who we just met, seems skittish---he can't cope with his secret visions and he leaves her? But they just fell in love over a shared trauma. If I didn't know what I already know from reading your other version, this line would have confused me and I don't think it would have given me the same "I want to read more" feeling that I had when reading your "Choice One" version of this query.

"Presley’s nightmares of a second attempt on her life, and Reid’s admission that living without her is a sacrifice he’s not willing to make, bring them back together." This feels like too much of a summary without enough build up...he's admitting things, they're getting back together, it feels too rushed (for me).

" When Presley’s nightmares become a reality, she fears not even their combined powers will be able to save her." Nice, tells us about her nightmares, tells us Reid has powers, tells us they'll work together, but still leaves the element of fear/suspense. I agree that you could end your plot description with this line.

"My YA paranormal romance, I WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU ANYWAY, is complete at 90,000 words." I'd close with this. You don't need the final plot summary sentence.

Overall there are some strong elements to this version, but your "Choice one" version also had strength. I know how frustrating it is to do these rewrites and I admire your tenacity. You're doing great!
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BethC
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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by BethC » June 22nd, 2010, 5:11 pm

All very good points. I'm taking some time to look at the two versions (choice 1 and then the newest one) and see what elements I can bring from each. When I feel comfortable with the revision I will post. There is an agent, Sara Megibow, that is seeking queries for romance...all genres until the end of June. That's one reason I really want to get this right.

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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by Jessica Peter » June 22nd, 2010, 9:10 pm

When Presley O’Connor receives a letter wishing her a happy last birthday, This really draws me in! she believes it’s a classmates' attempt at sick humor. Even her senior picture, eyes missing, red slashes crisscrossing her face doesn’t convince her it’s anything more. At least not until another If one other girl went missing, say "a girl"; if two did say "two girls". It's unclear with the "another" girl goes missing, and a second threat, more ominous than the first, is received. Passive Voice - avoid it in a query! ".... and Presley receives a second threat, more ominous than the first". Although this puzzles me - wouldn't this be the third threat? [1: letter, 2: crossed out picture, 3:other threat]

When her own psychic powers fail her, it is the quick action of her long-time crush, Reid, which saves her from a serial killer. Whoa-oh. What? A) She's psychic? How do the powers fail? How could they have helped? B) The serial killer scene is already finished!? You could have added some more tension by telling us about the almost-getting-killed and how Reid saves her. Drawn together by such a traumatic event, their relationship fast forwards to love. But love, even when you’re psychic, is complicated. Why would being psychic make it easier? I actually would do away with this sentence entirely and start the next one with "But"Presley soon realizes Reid is more than the blue-eyed hunk she’s adored from afar, and Reid, unable to cope with his secret visions,Again, whoa, what? believes it’s best to leave her. Why? Are the secret visions about her?

Presley’s nightmares of a second attempt on her life, and Reid’s admission that living without her is a sacrifice he’s not willing to make, bring them back together. When Presley’s nightmares become a reality,The repetition of "nightmares" is jarring. she fears not even their combined powers will be able to save her.

My YA paranormal romance, I WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU ANYWAY, is complete at 90,000 words. The story leads the reader through the horror of a kidnapping and the power of true love, as two people are willing to risk all to save those they love. I would cut this sentence and let the story speak for itself.

Hi Beth. This is the first version of the query I've read (I'm going to see the others after to see if they answer my questions!), but yep - I had a lot of questions. I think the psychic powers/visions kind of slip by the wayside in this query, and I don't understand their place in things. Also, you seem to miss out on getting the tension of the whole almost-getting-killed thing the way you skim over it - I would think that part is more important than the threats. Finally, you don't have a "hook" (1 sentence- catchy summary) at the beginning as most queries do, and I originally thought the threats were the hook. That threw me off. I wonder if the threats can be cut entirely, as they seem less important than a) almost getting killed; b) budding/breaking romance; c) the killer coming back.
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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by mfreivald » June 22nd, 2010, 10:19 pm

Jessica brings up a point that kind of nagged at me. The set up of the first paragraph doesn't even mention that she is psychic--but I think you can fix it. Maybe with:

"When Presley O’Connor receives a letter wishing her a happy last birthday, her lack of a psychic reading from it doesn't dissuade her from dismissing it as a classmate's sick attempt at humor. Even her enclosed senior picture, eyes missing, red slashes crisscrossing her face doesn’t convince her it’s anything more."

I think that works okay. I worry that it's throwing too much up front, but I think it's better than bringing it up cold in the second paragraph.

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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by crazeesharon » June 23rd, 2010, 1:09 am

Hey Beth, I thought this was intriguing, but that it could be tightened up. Also, I read it several times, and each one seemed like Reid was having thoughts of abducting and murdering Presley himself, so I thought this should be clarified. Here's what I came up with for you to sift through:

Presley O'Connor expects a memorable senior year. What she doesn't expect is a letter from a serial killer with her multilated picture and a wish for a happy last birthday.

Presley, able to connect to the inner emotions of others, can't find the one person harboring murderous thoughts about her. Then there is the matter of college junior Reid Montgomery, a guy she's crushed on for three years. Reid has visions, the result of a 400-year-old spell that allows all first born sons to find their soul mates, and seeing Presley in his vision, he realizes that is exactly who she is. Only he's also experiencing visions of her abduction and murder.

When the killer tries to kidnap Presley on Christmas Eve, Reid arrives in time to save her and get the killer sent to jail. Now hooked up, their love is immediate and powerful. When the killer escapes, determined to complete his obsession, Reid is unable to stop him. With Presley under the killer's knife, Reid knows saving her a second time will take every skill and emotion he possesses.

Everything is just a suggestion, of course. I've been told that words like "just" don't sit well with agents. I didn't think it necessary to explain that Presley thinks nothing will stand in their way for happiness, etc. it didn't add anything for me. Sharon

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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by Jessica Peter » June 24th, 2010, 10:22 am

And maybe I'm just adding fuel to the fire of frustrated re-writing and too-many-opinions (I know how that is, believe me!), but I actually prefer your "Choice Two" in the first post to this rewrite. It seems to have most of the information I was lacking, or at least presents it in a clearer way.
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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by BethC » June 24th, 2010, 12:35 pm

I have spent a few days now looking at options and thinking what is really important in the story. It really is a story of love...even when its meant to be...can still be complicated. (I know all love is...but being psychic should give and advantage) Anyway I have two I'm considering. One is a rewrite of the first option which I will post as soon as I look it over a few more times and the other is posted below. It takes the "complications" and goes from there. let me know what you think. I can take it. NOTE: just pasted only the body...no agent name or closing


Love, even when you’re psychic, is complicated.

Eighteen-year-old Presley O’Connor knows the instant Reid Montgomery steps inside her living room that it isn’t her long-time crush on him or the fact he just saved her from death, but it’s his love that’s creating the deep, insatiable ache within her. She knows because that’s what she does—physically takes in another’s emotions. Though she doesn’t understand how someone she’s barely said more than three words to could feel so deeply, she’s happy to accept it. Even willing to accept he’s hiding something. She can feel that too.

Reid has visions. They’re something he’s trying hard to accept, but when he sees Presley being stalked by a serial killer he has to act. Saving her fulfills a prophecy, one made 400 years before, and now Reid must decide. If he stays with Presley, the visions will continue and they have the power to destroy both of them. If he pushes her away, he sees nothing but a long, miserable life.

While the couple struggle with the decisions they must make, a greater threat is looming. Determined Presley won’t get away, the killer breaks out of jail. Reid isn’t close enough to stop him, and Presley, literally under the knife, fears even their combined power won’t be enough to save her this time.

My YA novel, I WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU ANYWAY, is complete at 90,000 words.

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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by BethC » June 24th, 2010, 11:25 pm

This is getting seriously crazy. I'm posting a query I wrote some time back and decided to bring it back and have another look. just posting the body. tomorrow I'm deciding on one and working from there. too many versions.


Love, even when you’re psychic, is complicated.

Presley O’Connor’s senior year isn’t turning out like she expects. Not a good sign for someone with psychic abilities. She always been able to physically feel what others are feeling. That isn’t always pleasant, but it’s always useful. When a letter arrives on her birthday with her mutilated senior picture and a wish for a happy last birthday, she thinks it will be simple to find the person responsible. But no one seems to be harboring murderous thoughts. And then there’s the matter of nightmares. Nothing terrifies her more than the dark and the two pairs of eyes searching for her.

Those eyes find her on Christmas Eve. A serial killer makes his move to kidnap her, but it is the other pair of eyes that save her. Reid Montgomery, a college senior home for the holidays, has a vision of her abduction and murder. Reid’s eyes hold more than visions though, they hold the key to her heart, and it does not take long for their relationship to fast forward to love.

The story might end right here, but then when does love ever go smoothly? Reid’s visions have a darker side; one he is not sure she will be able to accept. Believing it will be easier to leave her now, he pushes her away. Unable to imagine living without him, Presley fights back. The man responsible for bringing them together isn’t giving up either and a jail escape has Presley fearing even their combined powers will not be enough to save her this time.

My YA paranormal romance, I WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU ANYWAY, is complete at 90,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,

(name and contact info)

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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by Jessica Peter » June 25th, 2010, 10:30 am

Oh dear, I feel for ya. I liek your new hook, it gets that "she's psychic!" info right in off the top. I'm not going to do a line-by-line of either of those, but I really liked the first one when I read it, even if it was mostly romance and only touched on the serial killer - you're marketing it as a paranormal romance, not an urban fantasy, right? I don't particularly like the second one, mainly for it's strange use of "eyes". I think the first of those you just posted could be the gem!
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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by Quill » June 25th, 2010, 10:57 am

Wow. I feel for you, too.

Of all your queries I think I like number 4a.subcategory II version B best.

Just kidding. I do miss the birthday/ slashed photo hook, though.

Good luck.

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Re: Will grovel for feedback. I Would Have Loved You Anyway.

Post by BethC » June 25th, 2010, 7:12 pm

I did a couple of queries today, just to get a feel, and sent one very similar to the last one posted. Jessica, I used the eyes in the query because the dream comes back later in the story and the eyes are always a part of them, plus it's Reid's eyes that always have made Presley weak in the knees. Quill, I feel like I need an inventory code on each one I've written. But each one has helped me get where I am in the query process to this point. I'll post if I hear even a "no thank you".

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