Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

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a3writer
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Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

Post by a3writer » August 31st, 2010, 4:09 am

It's time I take the plunge, so go ahead and let me have it with both barrels, people.

Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay low: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand.

Matt has to decide whether his fee is worth the risk since Elise—full-time witch, part-time seductress—doesn't want a private dick snooping. Matt gets tenderized like a slab of meat, a reminder that supernatural folk have real power while Matt's only human. He doesn't have any kind of edge. He relies on his gun and his wits; too bad guns have more boast than brass. But, like any PI, he's drawn to the puzzle. He'll have to beg, barter, and lie to get the information he needs, trading away more than he can afford in favors, friends, and blood.

Knowledge is trouble, even dangerous. It's the only way to get the job done, and a PI's honor demands it. Sometimes it demands more: the life of the client, maybe the PI's, or the betrayal of a friend.

Blood and Stones is a complete detective and urban fantasy novel at 74,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Andrew Adams
Last edited by a3writer on September 3rd, 2010, 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by Hyaline » August 31st, 2010, 8:23 am

Hi! I like how your voice comes out in this passage, and I love the concept--feels like classic noir meets paranormal. Love the twist on the genres.
a3writer wrote:It's time I take the plunge, so go ahead and let me have it with both barrels, people.

Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control.OK, he recognizes these, but I don't--I think that's ok out of the gate, but it better clear up pretty quick or I'll lose interest. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay lowUh-oh....I got more confused. The why and who? I don't know what that means--it's too vague for me to grasp the concept of what, exactly, Matt is investigating.: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand.This phrase felt awkward--are goths a huge part of this book? If not, this felt out of place.

Matt has to decide whether his fee is worth the risk since Elise—full-time witch, part-time seductress—doesn't want a private dick snoopingOK, I love the reference to the old-fashioned language with dick--I'd make sure others get it before sending this out [color]. Matt gets tenderized like a slab of meat, a reminder that supernatural folk have real power while Matt's only humanLove this phrase!. He doesn't have any kind of edgeHere's the trouble--I still don't see what the main conflict here is. Yeah, he's investigating something...but he's a PI. That's like saying there's a fish in your book and he happens to be swimming.. He relies on his gun and his wits; too bad guns have more boast than brass. But, like any PI, he's drawn to the puzzle. He'll have to beg, barter, and lie to get the information he needs, trading away more than he can afford in favors, friends, and blood.Again, your voice here is fantastic--I would be drawn to read based on your voice. But--I'd be reticent because I'm still not sure what the story is.

Knowledge is trouble, even dangerous. It's the only way to get the job done, and a PI's honor demands it. Sometimes it demands more: the life of the client, maybe the PI's, or the betrayal of a friend.

Blood and Stones is a complete detective and urban fantasy novel at 74,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Andrew Adams


Like I said--the voice is brilliant. I can completely see the tone of the work, and I think that's often the hardest to capture in a query, so nicely done. That said, you really need to clarify this--what is the main problem, and don't be vague? I get not wanting to give away too much (serioulsy, read my query and the replies, you'll see what I mean!) but I need more to grasp than this--I have no handle on the story besides there's a PI who investigates paranormal stuff and there's a cranky witch who'd rather he didn't. There's more than this--I know it :)

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 31st, 2010, 9:16 am

I agree with Hyaline--great voice, but I didn't see the conflict beyond the girl not wanting Matt to snoop. Why doesn't she want him to snoop? Is she the one under mind control? What's up the glowing rock? Who's hired him to snoop in the first place?

These were all questions that I was wondering about.

Looking forward to seeing more of this.

Best of luck.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by sammyig » August 31st, 2010, 9:33 am

Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay low: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand.

I would do something like. Matt has to decide if working with Elise -- full-time witch, part-time seductress-- is worth it. She doesn't want him snooping, and that doesn't sit well.Matt has to decide whether his fee is worth the risk since Elise—full-time witch, part-time seductress—doesn't want a private dick snooping. Matt gets tenderized like a slab of meat, a reminder that supernatural folk have real power while Matt's only human. He doesn't have any kind of edge. He relies on his gun and his wits; too bad guns have more boast than brass. But, like any PI, he's drawn to the puzzle. He'll have to beg, barter, and lie to get the information he needs, trading away more than he can afford in favors, friends, and blood.

Knowledge is trouble, even dangerous. It's the only way to get the job done, and a PI's honor demands it. Sometimes it demands more: the life of the client, maybe the PI's, or the betrayal of a friend.

Blood and Stones is a complete detective and urban fantasy novel at 74,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

----------------------------

Like the others have said, your voice is great here. Just the part about Elise caught my eye and made me question a few things.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by Write2Me » August 31st, 2010, 3:39 pm

great job getting the voice across. The only problem is the query seems to wander a bit. It sounds like a standard p.i. book without the intrigue. It might not be a bad idea to look at some back covers for traditional p.i. books to see how they wrap together mystery, murder, and grit. Your idea is interesting, but i think some things could be switched around.

Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay low: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand.

my version: Knowledge isn't power, its trouble. Chain-smoking occult detective Matt Allen has spent years tracking down the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths, wannabees who wished they possessed freakish powers. He's the best PI around, at least in his opinino. (x number) of years on the job tell him something stinks like a sewer rat when a college kid mysteriously loses the ability to control his mind, and he stumbles across a glowing rock....

something like that seems to make it more of a sequence. i think you have something with your idea.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by elfspirit » August 31st, 2010, 8:07 pm

From my own recent adventures in queries, I learned that agreement among those who critique count when you're deciding how to revise. Your voice caught me immediately, and that's most of the battle. If you can tighten it up a bit and put in some particulars, I think you'll have it made.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by thewhipslip » August 31st, 2010, 8:25 pm

a3writer wrote:It's time I take the plunge, so go ahead and let me have it with both barrels, people.

Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay low: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand.

Matt has to decide whether his fee is worth the risk since Elise—full-time witch, part-time seductress—doesn't want a private dick snooping. Matt gets tenderized like a slab of meat, a reminder that supernatural folk have real power while Matt's only human. He doesn't have any kind of edge. He relies on his gun and his wits; too bad guns have more boast than brass. But, like any PI, he's drawn to the puzzle. He'll have to beg, barter, and lie to get the information he needs, trading away more than he can afford in favors, friends, and blood.

Knowledge is trouble, even dangerous. It's the only way to get the job done, and a PI's honor demands it. Sometimes it demands more: the life of the client, maybe the PI's, or the betrayal of a friend. I don't think this paragraph adds anything.

Blood and Stones is a complete detective and urban fantasy novel at 74,000 words.
Overall, I liked it, but I still think you're lacking a punch at the end. What are the stakes? Really. What has this guy got to lose? Overall, you've got the voice down. You've got the summaries down. You're very close, congrats!


Thank you for your time and consideration,

Andrew Adams
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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D.S. Deshaw
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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by D.S. Deshaw » September 1st, 2010, 12:46 am

Hi! You've had some great input at the forum from what I've seen, and I'm glad to get to read your query. I agree with a lot of people here that what you've got is good and that the voice really stands out.

Unlike everyone else, I think the second paragraph is a really nice synopsis. The first paragraph is absolutely golden, though. You told us WHO, now cut to the chase. Tell us the specific catalyst. Tell us about this case. Tell us why it's going to really hard for him to solve it. I find myself caring if he lives or dies, but this best friend you mention at the end? Who the heck is that and why do I care enough as long as Matt stays alive? The client has no chance. He can die.
a3writer wrote:Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay low: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand. Saying supernatural is kind of redundant. We know mystics, witches, and vampires are 'supernatural.'

Matt has to decide whether his fee is worth the risk since Elise—full-time witch, part-time seductress—doesn't want a private dick snooping. Matt gets tenderized like a slab of meat, a reminder that supernatural folk have real power while Matt's only human. He doesn't have any kind of edge. He relies on his gun and his wits; too bad guns have more boast than brass. But, like any PI, he's drawn to the puzzle. He'll have to beg, barter, and lie to get the information he needs, trading away more than he can afford in favors, friends, and blood. So when did he get this case? When did he start finding out it's not going to be so easy? Why does he need to beg and barter and lie? Give me the specifics. Be clear! Don't be afraid to tell us what happens.

Knowledge is trouble, even dangerous. It's the only way to get the job done, and a PI's honor demands it. Sometimes it demands more: the life of the client, maybe the PI's, or the betrayal of a friend. Show us how knowledge is trouble. WHAT is the only way to get the job done? Who is the client? Who is the friend?

Blood and Stones is a complete detective and urban fantasy novel at 74,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Andrew Adams
Now I'm going to sit on my hands for being so mean now! I'm only one opinion and yours might be that one query that just doesn't need to follow the rules. Just go with what your gut tells you!
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Re: Query: Blood and Stones

Post by Jaligard » September 3rd, 2010, 2:44 pm

Most everyone has said it, but I will reiterate. I have no idea what your plot is. It's a detective novel. Tell us the case and why this case is different from any other case. You've already got a decent character and setting. Now you need to intrigue us with the mystery.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

Post by a3writer » September 3rd, 2010, 2:51 pm

Thanks to everyone who commented. I got some interesting perspective on it. So here is take 2. And I'm inclined to agree mostly with D.S. The plot is already in there, what I believe everyone was actually after was not plot, but conflict, so let's see if I succeeded.

Dear Agent X,

Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay low: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand.

The ones pulling the strings have real power, while Matt's an ordinary joe—as getting tenderized like a slab of meat reminds him. He relies on his gun and his wits; too bad guns have more boast than brass. Matt spends more than he can afford in favors, friends, and blood to get the clues he needs. Putting it all together doesn't bring any comfort, as Matt has to make the tough call: the client's life, his own life, or giving the witch a better target by betraying a friend. And a PI's honor puts the client first.

Blood and Stones is a complete detective and urban fantasy novel at 74,000 words.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

Post by Jaligard » September 3rd, 2010, 3:41 pm

a3writer wrote:Knowledge isn't power; it's trouble. Occult Detective Matt Allen knows enough to recognize a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control. Tracking down the why and who means dealing with those that want to lay low: the supernatural world's mystics, witches, vampires, and goths. No, goths aren't supernatural, but some like to think they are, and they're more difficult for a hard-boiled PI to understand.

The ones pulling the strings have real power, while Matt's an ordinary joe—as getting tenderized like a slab of meat reminds him. He relies on his gun and his wits; too bad guns have more boast than brass. Matt spends more than he can afford in favors, friends, and blood to get the clues he needs. Putting it all together doesn't bring any comfort, as Matt has to make the tough call: the client's life, his own life, or giving the witch a better target by betraying a friend. And a PI's honor puts the client first.
Nope. I'm still missing the plot. All I know is that there is "a mysterious, glowing rock and a college kid under mind control." I know that he will have to decide between his life, his client's, or betraying a friend, but I haven't the faintest idea how he gets there.

You're ommitting the most important part: the story. What you've got now is a few hints and a character synopsis.

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

Post by thewhipslip » September 6th, 2010, 11:39 pm

I'm with Jaligard. Sorry. What's the conflict? You have the stakes, but not what's causing the stakes.
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Re: Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

Post by Quill » September 6th, 2010, 11:53 pm

Wait a minute, thewhipslip. You're critiquing an old version. There's another thread with updates -- that you critiqued today!

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

Post by thewhipslip » September 7th, 2010, 12:25 am

Which is why all of these should be on the same thread...it said it was a new version, I did not realize that I critiqued version 3 and that was version 2. Anyway, my comments were pretty much the same for both!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: Query: Blood and Stones Revision 1

Post by Quill » September 7th, 2010, 12:38 am

Agreed, and I do try to let people know when I see multiple threads, that that's how we like to do things here, it's how Nathan laid it out, and it makes sense for this very reason, among others.

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