WHAT A PAINE! edited yet again

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amyashley
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WHAT A PAINE! edited yet again

Post by amyashley » August 28th, 2010, 9:44 am

Edited again! :) I feel there is a better "main" plot line running through the query this time. Hopefully it will be enough to get the manuscript read. It is not a one plot line, one main conflict story. It's more a snowball of events happening in a short period of time. That is far more difficult to convey in a standard query, as is a funny book! I'm glad I'm giving myself a week to work on this.

Dear Agent,

Reece Paine’s goals are to make it through this week sane, and be able to button her jeans at the end of it. A tangle of family and work calamities keep her struggling to find a balance between diapers and duty. When her employer asks her to find the culprits of a kidnapping ring, things at home start spinning out of control with impeccable timing. Her kids disappear, her husband’s job puts his life in jeopardy, and her evil mother in law shows up for a visit. She’s a normal mom, always on the go and always trying to fit all the moving parts together. She just happens to be a vampire.

Reece doesn’t suck blood, and she isn’t undead. Those ideas are a bunch of baloney. Most paranormals are normal really, just a few genes from human with bad reputations. She freelances for BOPS (the Bureau of Paranormal Services), investigating problems the bureau can’t fathom. She’ll have to use her wits, humor, and cookie bribery to uncover who is behind the kidnappings, but only if she can sort through stripping senior succubbi, a troll sit in, and a brainwashed angel first!

Reece and her cohorts uncover some extreme paranormal politics as they’re trying to get the job done, and, humor aside, she’s forced to make a decision about coming out about her spooky status to her hometown. She’ll have to face her fears and trust that her neighbor’s hearts are truly made of the same stuff as her own.

My urban fantasy novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is 80,000 words and available upon request.

Sincerely,
Amy Ashley
Last edited by amyashley on August 30th, 2010, 4:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Take 3

Post by Quill » August 28th, 2010, 11:11 am

amyashley wrote:Edited again! :)
Cool! But not necessary to start a new thread for each new version. Just post in line in the thread, and edit an announcement into the thread title, like "Version 3" and we'll find it!
I feel there is a better "main" plot line running through the query this time. Hopefully it will be enough to get the manuscript read. It is not a one plot line, one main conflict story. It's more a snowball of events happening in a short period of time. That is far more difficult to convey in a standard query, as is a funny book! I'm glad I'm giving myself a week to work on this.
A week to work on a query isn't much. Unless you mean full time!

Reece Paine’s goals are to make it through this week sane, and be able to button her jeans at the end of it. A tangle of family and work calamities keep her struggling to find a balance between diapers and duty.
I'd cut these two sentences, despite the funny play on words, probably unintentional, "between diapers and duty (dooty)." :)
When her employer asks her to find the culprits of a kidnapping ring,
Awkward, culprits of a ring. Culprits are those who do something, so it might be culprits of a crime, but it wouldn't be of a ring.

And what sort of employer asks an employee to find culprits. If this is a private eye agency, wouldn't this be put differently, like opening a case, following leads, not just "find them!"

I'm starting to have questions about the genre. It isn't clear.
things
"Things" seems so unspecific.
at home start spinning out of control with impeccable timing.
I like the phrase "spinning out of control with impeccable timing".
Her kids disappear,
They simply vanish? Or, they go missing (and might be at a friend's house)? I'm experiencing more genre questions. Where am I, in what sort of book?
her husband’s job puts his life in jeopardy,
Again, awkward, job puts life in jeopardy. Wouldn't it be employer puts life in jeopardy? Or, new assignment puts life in jeopardy. I mean, is it a hazardous job, like construction? If so, this wouldn't be news. If it is a new situation for the hubby, then make that clear.
and her evil mother in law shows up for a visit.
Mother-in-law
She’s a normal mom, always on the go and always trying to fit all the moving parts together.
This is good, but doesn't fit. You said her life was spinning out of control, and now you portray normality. It doesn't work.
She just happens to be a vampire.
This punchline comes too far down the line to be effective.

It follows nicely the previous sentence, but the previous sentence doesn't fit the previous paragraph, so this line is stranded. Find another way to integrate. Possibly use it to start the next paragraph, after remodeling paragraph one.
Reece doesn’t suck blood, and she isn’t undead. Those ideas are a bunch of baloney. Most paranormals are normal really, just a few genes from human with bad reputations.
A bit of a mish-mash. You tell something of her nature (no blood sucking, no undeadness) and then give her opinion about her nature (I don't do those things so those things are baloney). It reads a little odd because of it.

Then you use the word "normal" again, which isn't a strong descriptive word to begin with.

"A few genes from human" is awkward. Maybe " a few human genes"...

Is a vampire considered a paranormal?? I've never heard the two equated. I think of a paranormal as a human who has special powers, like clairvoyance.
She freelances for BOPS (the Bureau of Paranormal Services), investigating problems the bureau can’t fathom. She’ll have to use her wits, humor, and cookie bribery to uncover who is behind the kidnappings,
It's a little late to give us her employer. Also, you've painted her as normal except for the vampire thing, but this would be majorly not normal as well, so it undermines your previous statement(s). Any way to bring this in earlier, and tie it to her assignment about the "culprits"?

What sort of bureau is it that cannot "fathom" certain problems that a housewife can "fathom"? I don't get much faith that this bureau is very savvy or onto what it proclaims to be.

Also, I'm still having a genre identity crisis. The "cookie bribery" phrase has got me thinking this is middle grade humor, but your protag is an adult, so maybe spoofish humor, like "Get Smart" or "Men in Black"?
but only if she can sort through stripping senior succubbi, a troll sit in, and a brainwashed angel first!
These references aren't helping your query, since they are unanchored (where to they fit?) and unexplained (what are those entities?)
Reece and her cohorts uncover some extreme paranormal politics as they’re trying to get the job done, and, humor aside, she’s forced to make a decision about coming out about her spooky status to her hometown. She’ll have to face her fears and trust that her neighbor’s hearts are truly made of the same stuff as her own.
Here you need a gripping end line or two nailing your main conflict and providing the tension that will have us asking to read more. Your asides and summaries aside, this needs to be more pointed and poignant.

Good luck!

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Take 3

Post by a3writer » August 28th, 2010, 3:10 pm

I haven't read the other iterations, but I hope I can help.

Dear Agent,

Reece Paine’s goals are to make it through this week sane, and be able to button her jeans at the end of it I get this. A bit of humor in the beginning, but then you're actually putting pressure to maintain that humor. Also, is this the best hook for what your story is? Is this the essence of the story. Now, I think this is the essence of the character, but is it the essence of the story?. A tangle of family and work calamities Show, don' tell. What, specifically?keep her struggling to find a balance between diapers and duty. When her employer The Bureau of Paranormal Affairsasks her to find the culprits of A little iffy like Quill says, and a little passive. How about "take down" a kidnapping ring, things at home start spinning out of control with impeccable timing. Her kids disappear *poof* gone?, her husband’s job puts his life in jeopardy show, don't tell, and her evil cliche. Show me. What does she do that is so evil? Plus I begin to have doubts about this because of the vampire revelation below. Is mom-in-law a demon? What could really intimidate a vampire that much? mother-in-law shows up for a visit. She’s a normal mom, always on the go and always trying to fit all the moving parts together. She just happens to be a vampire.

Reece doesn’t suck blood, and she isn’t undeadI'm really concerned here. A lot of the definition of a vampire is drinking blood. We don't say that a person who changes into a wolf during the full moon is a vampire. If you're going to talk about what makes your vampires different, you're going to have to really go into it, but does that explanation have anything to do with the story itself? Does the agent need to know what makes your vampires different? Usually not. They want to know what makes your story unique, and I think you're better off with the mom angle.. Those ideas are a bunch of baloneyOuch! Okay, you might have just alienated the agent. Chances are they've read a lot of vampire stories (since your agents are repping urban fantasy) and they really like those ideas that you just called baloney. Most paranormals are normal by definition a paranormal cannot be normal. Find a different way to say this. Not that different from everyday peoplereally, just a few genes from human This is the right way to say it. Of course, everything is just a few genes from human, unless you're talking plants (sorry, my friend is a microbiologist, and the info just bleeds over), but I do like how you say it. with bad reputations. She freelances for BOPS (the Bureau of Paranormal Services), investigating problems the bureau can’t fathom. She’ll have to use her wits, humor, and cookie bribery I like this! Funny and very mom-like. to uncover who is behind the kidnappings, but only if she can sort through stripping senior succubbi, a troll sit in, and a brainwashed angel first! This is funny, but I'm concerned it's too much. The plot is getting lost in all these events you're listing. kidnapping ring, kids disappearing, husband in danger, stripping succubi, troll sit-in, and brainwashed angel. Maybe you should pare it down.

Reece and her cohorts should you mention her allies at this point? The query is almost over, and we've made it this far. Do they add anything?uncover some extreme paranormal politics And another plot point. I'm overwhelmed now. as they’re trying to get the job done, and, humor aside, she’s forced to make a decision about coming out about her spooky status to her hometown. Ahhh, part of the character conflict. The people don't know she's a vampire. This needs to be brought up earlier and focused on. If this is the character's central conflict, I need to know about it. How is this brought into the story? How does it permeate all these plot lines? She’ll have to face her fears and trust that her neighbor’s hearts are truly made of the same stuff as her own What is Reece's heart made of? .
My urban fantasy novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is 80,000 words and available upon request. Of course it's available for request, you're querying for that purpose.
WHAT A PAINE! is an 80,000 word urban fantasy.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
The Queryshark drilled that into me. Be sure to read her excellent blog. Yes, all of it.

You've got some contradictory elements you need to work out. The vampire revelation while being a "normal" mom. I don't get a real sense that Reece really has anything paranormal about her. It seems almost like an after-mention and doesn't really come through in the query. Also watch the plot overload. Keep it basic to what the focus is, and what's relevant to the main conflict of the character. It sounds like an interesting idea, but it needs tightening.

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Take 3

Post by amyashley » August 28th, 2010, 3:56 pm

ROTFLMAO


Okay, I have some editing I am doing, but I have to say that YES her mother in law IS a demon.

After a great deal of thought and some of the input I am getting, I think that

1) I need to market this as a specifically cross-genre book that is CHICK-LIT and URBAN FANTASY, with a dash of mystery. I will probably target agents who prefer chick lit. And, yes, I know it is not capitalized, and it is women's lit and yada yada

2)Rather than trying to explain the entire freaking book in the query, or even all the conflicts in the query, I would prefer to make it out as her getting through the week being the focus and market the humor and character.

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WHAT A PAINE! New Edits try 3657 or something

Post by amyashley » August 30th, 2010, 11:03 am

I feel much better about this one. EGADS, I wrote about 8,000 words this weekend and I'm off to write about another 8,000. Yeehaw! Thanks for the feedback, I am also getting some helpful info from the WWW when I take writing and toddler breaks. The first line here is a "housekeeping" line. I have put this up first because the cross-genre reference helps to set the tone of the query itself, and I felt it had a better flow. I read it both ways, and my gut said THIS ONE. I like my gut better than the rules. I'm a rebel like that.


Dear Agent BOZO,

In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70, 000 word novel, WHAT A PAINE!, might be just the thing to buzz your senses. It’s an urban fantasy that should appeal to moms trying to juggle diapers and other duties. The completed manuscript is available upon request.

Over the last week, Reece Paine's life has been a tangle of events requiring every ounce of her wits and sarcasm, plus the use of extreme cookie bribery, just to maintain her sanity. In her attempts to puzzle out the minds behind a kidnapping ring while doing a consulting job for her employer, Reece gets sidetracked by extremist politics that force her to face some tough decisions about her own family’s status. From a distance, Reece’s life is as chaotic as your average working mom's. Closer inspection reveals that while she may be normal, she’s far from ordinary! Reece is a vampire, married to a demon, and freelancing for a bureau aiding other paranormals and all are far less gory than humanity thinks. Sorting out stripping senior succubi, a troll sit-in, and a brainwashed angel leave her in need of intense retail and chocolate therapy, and she still has laundry to do.

She’ll have to call in a few favors to snag the kidnappers, and needs to decide if she’ll come out about her paranormal status. It’s a rough and emotional week in the Paine household, but don’t we all have weeks like that?

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

Sincerely,

Amy Ashley

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Edited 3114th try

Post by a3writer » August 30th, 2010, 12:52 pm

Dear Agent BOZO,

In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70, 000 word novel, WHAT A PAINE!, might be just the thing to buzz your senses. It’s an urban fantasy that should appeal to moms trying to juggle diapers and other duties.I know you think it sets the tone, but the agents don't care about the tone, nor do they care who you think the book would appeal to up front. They want to know what the story is about, and you've already spent time doing something else. Move it to the bottom because it really has no impact on the next paragraph. The completed manuscript is available upon request. Of course it is. It's the whole reason you're querying.
Over the last week, Reece Paine's life has been a tangle of events requiring every ounce of her wits and sarcasm how does sarcasm help her overcome events?, plus the use of extreme cookie bribery, just to maintain her sanity. In her attempts to puzzle out the minds behind a kidnapping ring while doing a consulting job for her employer, This part is awkward and ramble on. Try and avoid complex sentences as this will be read on a computer screen, and long sentences can wander. Keep them short if possible.Reece gets sidetracked by extremist politics that force her to face some tough decisions about her own family’s statuslike what?. From a distance, Reece’s life is as chaotic as your average working mom's. Closer inspection reveals that while she may be normal, she’s far from ordinary! Reece is a vampire, married to a demon, and freelancing for a bureau aiding other paranormals and all are far less gory than humanity thinks. Sorting out stripping senior succubi, a troll sit-in, and a brainwashed angel leave her in need of intense retail and chocolate therapy, and she still has laundry to do. This is a little bit of an event soup. I don't think it's necessarily bad, but it seems out of place. I think you should move it up to put it right after "maintain her sanity." This describes the every day stuff. Then I think you should have a new paragraph that describes the extraordinary events of the main plot.

She’ll have to call in a few favors to snag the kidnappers, So that plot is easily resolved? and needs to decide if she’ll come out about her paranormal status Okay, while I understand this to be difficult, what is truly at stake for Reece if she does this? It sounds like the world accepts paranormals since there's a bureau that aids paranormals.. It’s a rough and emotional week in the Paine household, but don’t we all have weeks like that? Rhetorical questions are an invitation for agents to make a sarcastic comment. Try to work in an implied question, but nothing so overt. Plus, is a question about a rough week really what you want to end with? Even with everything Reece goes through, it's not that bad, almost normal (as you say above). What about the weeks of the people who personally had the kidnappings? What about any number of other people that go through horrors like war? Doesn't Reece's week seem a little tame in comparison?

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

I'm still having trouble sorting out the main conflict in all of this. I get that things get piled on, but that's every day stuff according to you. The coming out part might have something to it, but it seems really subdued. The kidnapper thing seems to get resolved without incident, so I'm really wondering what the big deal is? Where's the big conflict, and what's at stake for Reece?

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Edited 3114th try

Post by amyashley » August 30th, 2010, 1:06 pm

To explain shortly, and to try to get some idea of how you might present this:

This is a comical novel about a snowball of events that seem frightening and intense at first, but end up okay. While finding the kidnappers is a plot thread winding through the book until the end, and her emotional quandary over keeping her status secret and making it public is also a thread, neither of these takes over the entire book. The bureau she works for maintains a front as something else, most of humanity has no clue that any of these creatures are real. I am not trying to to compare this book to a serious, action packed book, because it is not. I am trying to convey a sense of fun.

There is no rule that there has to be a basic arch of a boring plot curve to a book. I see thousands of incredible books sith intersecting lives and unrelated events, or even tangles of conflicts and simply a common theme. Trying to fit my novel into a structure it doesn't posess won't work, so how SHOULD I present it?

I am not trying to be snarky, I'm really asking for assistance.

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Edited 3114th try

Post by chris13 » August 30th, 2010, 1:11 pm

Hi,

I love your humor, and am thinking the MS will show that. I agree with the above comments that you have to narrow down the choices and consequences--what's at stake--and show it right away. While keeping your chicklity (is that a word) tone.

The kidnapping ring wasn't too clear; what I got out of the query was whether she should come out as a vampire. With her organization in place, I'm thinking paranormals are known in her world? Could her coming out tie to her successfully catching the kidnappers (ie, she protected her neighbors).

Keep working; I would like to read the book.

BTW, I'm on my 3115th try.

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Edited 3114th try

Post by amyashley » August 30th, 2010, 1:17 pm

You wanna know?


The "kidnappers" end up being a bunch of human television show flunkies who have found out about paranormals and started "collecting" paranormal kids so that they can train them up and start airing a reality TV show. She busts the ring with her pals (they can't go to the cops, because they'd have to explain that werewolves, vampires, etc all exist and it would just result in insanity), and the kidnappers get arrested for kidnapping, but they know the truth, end up signing some of the kids who are now no longer minors and threaten to put the show in production soon anyway by the end of the book.

This is just an example of one of the sorts of nutty things that happens to her.

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What A PAINE! edit crazy day today.

Post by amyashley » August 30th, 2010, 1:43 pm

LOL not really. It's a break from trying to figure out my latest chapter title! Some tweaks O faithful feedbackers.

Dear Agent BOZO,

Over the last week, Reece Paine's life has been a tangle of events requiring every ounce of her wits and some extreme cookie bribery, just to maintain her sanity. Reece is a vampire, married to a demon, who freelances for a bureau aiding other paranormals who are all far less gory than humanity thinks. Until now, most of the world doesn’t know about them. As she attempts to puzzle out who is behind a kidnapping ring while doing a consulting job, some weird paranormal politics push Reece into making a decision about coming out with her own family’s non-human status.

From a distance, Reece’s life is as chaotic as your average working mom's. Closer inspection reveals that while she may be normal, she’s far from ordinary! Sorting out stripping senior succubi, a troll sit-in, and a brainwashed angel leave her in need of intense retail and chocolate therapy, and she still has laundry to do. She’ll have to call some major favors to snag the kidnappers, and lay her family’s lives on the line. It’s a rough and emotional week in the Paine household, but since Reece seems to run on coffee and sarcasm it looks like she’ll make it through.

In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70, 000 word novel, WHAT A PAINE!, might be just the thing to buzz your senses. It’s an urban fantasy that should appeal to moms trying to juggle diapers and other duties.Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

Sincerely,
Amy Ashley
Last edited by amyashley on August 30th, 2010, 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Edited 3114th try

Post by thewhipslip » August 30th, 2010, 1:57 pm

It feels like paragraphs one and two have nothing to do with one another. As far as choosing a "main plot" (I understand from your comments that this has a few), I would go with the kidnapping ring. The query needs to have a central line for this to work, in my opinion.
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Re: WHAT A PAINE! a pain in the patoot. NEW EDITS

Post by chris13 » August 30th, 2010, 2:37 pm

I like it. Just a few editing comments or questions. Sorry if I missed some of the answers from your explanations. Also, there does have to be more connection between the 1st and 2nd grafs since they are almost equal in weight. I would hit the 2nd with choice/consequences of the kidnapping consult she takes on. Are the trolls, strippers, etc. related? This could tie things together. You def want to keep your humorous chick lit tone, which I believe agents like. I know I did! And I haven't seen a stripping succubi in days.

Dear Agent BOZO,

Over the last week, Reece Paine's life has been a tangle of events requiring every ounce of her wits and some extreme cookie bribery, just to maintain her sanity. Reece is a vampire, married to a demon, who freelances for a bureau aiding other paranormals who are all far less gory than humanity thinks. [whoops, not sure if it's the husband who works for the agency? Is so, take out the commas] Until now, most of the world doesn’t know about them. As she attempts to puzzle out who is behind a kidnapping ring while doing a consulting job, for the agency, someweirdparanormal politics push Reece into making a decision about coming out with her own family’s nonhuman status.

From a distance, Reece’s life is as chaotic as your average working mom's. Closer inspection reveals that But while she may be normal [average? she isn't normal.], she’s far from ordinary! Sorting out strippingsenior succubi strippers, a troll sit-in, and a brainwashed angel leave her in need of intense retail and chocolate therapy, and she still has laundry to do. She’ll have to [ decide whether] call in some major favors to snag the kidnappers, and lay her family’s lives on the line. [explain more, it is the "coming out, and possible bad reaction from the neighbors? ]It’s a rough and emotional week in the Paine household, but since Reece seems to run on coffee and sarcasm it looks like she’ll make it through.

In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70, 000 word novel, WHAT A PAINE!, might be just the thing to buzz your senses. It’s an urban fantasy that should appeal to moms trying to juggle diapers and other duties.Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

Sincerely,
Amy Ashley[/quote]

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Re: WHAT A PAINE! Edited 3114th try

Post by amyashley » August 30th, 2010, 2:49 pm

Thanks chris13, that was very helpful!

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WHAT A PAINE! edit crazy day today.

Post by amyashley » August 30th, 2010, 3:05 pm

I will do this until it gets right. I think this direction is the right one. I FEEL IT!!!! Oooops, maybe that's the coffee.

Dear Agent BOZO,

Over the last week, Reece Paine's life has been a tangle of events requiring every ounce of her wits and some extreme cookie bribery. Reece is a vampire, married to a demon. She freelances for a bureau aiding other paranormals who are all far less gory than most of the world thinks. Until now, humans haven’t known about them. As she attempts to puzzle out who is behind a kidnapping ring while doing a consulting job for the bureau, paranormal politics push Reece into a decision about coming out with her own family’s nonhuman status.

Although Reece’s life is as chaotic as your average working mom’s, she’s far from ordinary! Sorting out senior succubi strippers, a troll sit-in, and a brainwashed angel as she’s trying to get the job done, leave her in need of intense retail and chocolate therapy. She still has laundry to do! Cashing in some major favors to nab the kidnappers forces Reece to wrestle with some emotional demons of her own, as she lays her family’s lives on the line, decides to reveal her true nature, and learns that humanity is more about what is on the inside.


In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70, 000 word novel, WHAT A PAINE!, might be just the thing to buzz your senses. It’s an urban fantasy that should appeal to moms trying to juggle diapers and other duties.Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

Sincerely,
Amy Ashley[/quote]

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