new WHAT A PAINE! query page 3

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new WHAT A PAINE! query page 3

Post by amyashley » September 3rd, 2010, 12:45 pm

Dear Agent,

My novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is a quick-moving, kooky urban fantasy novel with a women’s fiction feel. It should appeal to fans of Christopher Moore, Janet Evanovich, and Kim Harrison.

Reece Paine needs to come out of the closet, she just doesn’t know it yet. She’s been trying to act like your average mom, juggling diapers and other duties, despite hiding the fact that she’s a vampire from neighbors and her MOPS group. Paranormals like vampires have a bad reputation, but aren’t as bad as they’re hyped up to be. Reece is just afraid people won’t see past the differences to give her and her family a chance.

As she freelances at a paranormal help bureau, she encounters some weird cases, but this week, Reece’s life seem’s to detonate into a tangle of zaniness that exposes her to some of the freakiest of the freakiness. Cookie craving trolls, succubus strippers, and paranormal politics leave her questioning her personal ethics, and her silence about her racial status.

Wielding sarcasm and quick wits as weapons, Reece maintains a bright attitude while she muddles through all the conflicts that beset her. She learns that she has to face her emotional turmoil head on. In the end she realizes that your species is not what defines you...unless you let it.

In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70,000 word novel, might be just the thing to buzz your senses. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Amy Ashley
Last edited by amyashley on September 6th, 2010, 2:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Big Changes WHAT A PAINE! Query

Post by oldhousejunkie » September 3rd, 2010, 3:03 pm

You're going to hate me but I don't think this is an improvement. I think you spent valuable space telling the agent that the book is fun, hip, zany, etc. and did very little to show the agent.
amyashley wrote:Dear Agent,

My novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is a quick-moving, kooky urban fantasy novel with a women’s fiction feel. It should appeal to fans of Christopher Moore, Janet Evanovich, and Kim Harrison. Don't start with this. Move it to the end and combine it with your word count. Only make comparisons to other authors for the agents that want to see that type of thing.

Reece Paine needs to come out of the closet, she just doesn’t know it yet. She’s been trying to act like your average mom, juggling diapers and other duties, despite hiding the fact that she’s a vampire from neighbors and her MOPS group. Paranormals like vampires have a bad reputation, but aren’t as bad as they’re hyped up to be. Reece is just afraid people won’t see past the differences to give her and her family a chance. I like this start with the exception of the reference to MOPS. What is MOPS? The last line if kind of useless, plus you pulled her family in. Are they vamps too?

As she freelances at a paranormal help bureau, she encounters some weird cases, but this week, Reece’s life seem’s to detonate into a tangle of zaniness that exposes her to some of the freakiest of the freakiness. Cookie craving trolls, succubus strippers, and paranormal politics leave her questioning her personal ethics, and her silence about her racial status. This is ok. It's better than your last query, but the first sentence is only so-so. I do like the last sentence, but it opens up more questions. I think you are glossing over the plot a little too much.

Wielding sarcasm and quick wits as weapons, Reece maintains a bright attitude while she muddles through all the conflicts that beset her. She learns that she has to face her emotional turmoil head on. In the end she realizes that your species is not what defines you...unless you let it. Bright attitude? Not sure if I'm getting that about Reece. But in general, I think this is a good sum up.

In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70,000 word novel, might be just the thing to buzz your senses. Yeah, I think I would leave that out. I'm not feeling buzzed by this query although the book sounds promising. Plus you want them to feel buzzed about your book. You shouldn't have to tell them.Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Amy Ashley
Over all, I'm still not getting a sense of what your book is about. What are the main conflicts? It seems like you're trying to say that the main conflict is Reece's concern over revealing who she is. But how are you advancing that? What events convey that? You need to capture those in the query. Keep trying... It took a gazillion revisions before I finally got my query where it needed to be. Best of luck!

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Re: Big Changes WHAT A PAINE! Query

Post by amyashley » September 3rd, 2010, 4:20 pm

Back to the drawing board! I think I am going to go back to the kidnapping angle. Although I got a lot of negative feedback from that, it seemed easier to present it as the main conflict and portray it as a funny book.

Also, trying to incorporate query writing advice is simply backfiring because every piece of advice gets someone who hates it in critique.

I think I will have to leave the MOPS group out. An agent marketing womens fiction really should know about that, but I am getting too many questions between here and AW.

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Re: Big Changes WHAT A PAINE! Query

Post by a3writer » September 3rd, 2010, 7:37 pm

This is where the whole forum process gets messy, as I think you've got some good stuff in here.

Dear Agent,

My novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is a quick-moving, kooky urban fantasy novel with a women’s fiction feel. It should appeal to fans of Christopher Moore, Janet Evanovich, and Kim Harrison. Move this to the end after you've shown these things in the query. I think mentioning authors up front gives an expectation. You say Christopher Moore, and that makes me wonder how serious this is when it's paired with Janet Evanovich and Kim Harrison. Humor is used in all, yes, but Chris Moore is much different. It's like pairing up Douglas Adams and Leo Tolstoy. What does that make the book?

Reece Paine needs to come out of the closet, she just doesn’t know it yet. She’s been trying to act like your average mom, juggling diapers and other duties, despite hiding the fact that she’s a vampire from neighbors and her MOPS group. Paranormals like vampires have a bad reputation, but aren’t as bad as they’re hyped up to be. Reece is just afraid people won’t see past the differences to give her and her family a chance. I actually really like this. This sets up the conflict for me. The only thing more I need are the stakes. What are the risks here? General disdain, or full on Monty Python "We've found a witch"? Caveat: Is this really what the book is about? How much time do you spend focusing on these ideas, or are they more subdued behind the kidnapping plot?

As she freelances at a paranormal help bureau, she encounters some weird cases, but this week, Reece’s life seem’s to detonate into a tangle of zaniness that exposes her to some of the freakiest of the freakiness. Cookie craving trolls, succubus strippers, and paranormal politics leave her questioning her personal ethics, and her silence about her racial status. To me this is just a list of events that happen in the story, which I don't think you need. You're desperately trying to add elements of humor here with the trolls and strippers, but listed it just seems tacked on. Can you work any of this in with the above about trying to be a normal mom as moms have to juggle the family and professional lives.

Wielding sarcasm and quick wits as weapons, show, don't tell. Where is the sarcasm and quick wits in the query? Reece maintains a bright attitude while she muddles through all the conflicts that beset her. I don't think that really adds anything. Why does the agent need to know that Reece is upbeat and cheerful in the face of adversity?She learns that she has to face her emotional turmoil head on. In the end she realizes that your species is not what defines you...unless you let it. And the moral of the story. Don't focus on the moral and message. That needs to come through the story, and it will since you already told about the difficulties of coming out and integrating into other societies.

In the interview with______, you said _______. My 70,000 word novel,might be just the thing to buzz your senses. The danger here is you are an inviting a sarcastic response. How do you know what buzzes the agent's senses? Thank you for your consideration.

I think you've got some better stuff here. In previous queries you were always talking about Reece surviving the week as the main thing, and how she's juggling the motherhood. I'm wondering just how much the kidnapping has to do with the book, now. Is that the central thing or is it Reece being a mom. Which gets the most weight in the story?

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Re: Big Changes WHAT A PAINE! Query

Post by amyashley » September 3rd, 2010, 9:00 pm

A3writer, thanks, your response was helpful.

The kidnapping and the mom angle have equal time. I don't feel I really focused on the stakes in this query, or why Reece might gave felt odd about her species.

Is this the Christopher Moore that you are thinking of?

http://www.chrismoore.com/

THIS is the brand of humor in my book. Exactly that. However, it does display a more parnormal bent, and is definitely more women's fiction than anything Moore has ever written, even You Suck. Fans of his work, will enjoy this. I think my main character has a lot in common with Evanovich's Stephanie Plum character as well, but the book and humor are very different. I found advise to do this and advise against it, and I am not sure what to follow. I thought offering a good comparison might be useful for an agent.

I'll put some time in tonight on this and repost. Multiple forums have helped, some advice is good and some okay. Everyone has good stuff to offer, and my instincts help too. I am learning. I am 34, not 15. I have pretty thick skin. If I have to write it 895 times it won't kill me. It is only words.

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Re: Big Changes WHAT A PAINE! Query

Post by a3writer » September 4th, 2010, 12:42 pm

AmyAshley,

I am also a Moore-on, and Bloodsucking Fiends is one of my favorite books. I've also read a bit of urban fantasy, so it's hard to get the idea of a dark, gritty world laced with the supernatural yet have a Chris Moore approach. It's hard to maintain any sense of impending doom with the Emperor of San Francisco leading his troops around Frisco. I'm just not sure making the author comparisons would be beneficial to you because the general ideas are so disparate. I guess this is one of those things where deciding genre is key. Does this get shelved with the women's fiction or with the fantasy/horror books? It sounds like more of the former. If that's the case, I definitely think your query needs to be funnier, and focus on the mom. The urban fantasies tend to follow the plot more, and the stakes in the book don't really seem to focus on the kidnapping, but what will happen to her family if/when they come out.

I loved your lines about cookie bribery, troll sit-ins, and the idea that one of the most important things for Reece was to be able to button her jeans by week's end. What about kid shenanigans? And are there problems that the children of a vampire and a demon pose for Reece? (I'm thinking of the Incredibles and baby Jack Jack's infamous babysitting).

I'm sure you'll get it eventually! I'm right where you're at as well.

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Re: Big Changes WHAT A PAINE! Query

Post by amyashley » September 4th, 2010, 3:46 pm

REVISED!!! I think I am really getting there. This one felt much better. At any rate, my novel is FINISHED!!!!



Dear Dream Agent,

Being labeled an undead bloodsucker doesn’t mesh with Reece Paine’s idea of what a working mama ought to be. Knowing those things are just overblown rumors about vampires hasn’t encouraged her to come out of the closet either. She’s married to a demon, freelancing at a bureau secretly aiding paranormals living in a mostly human world.

Asked to investigate a recent rash of paranormal kidnappings, Reece balks. Although afraid for her own kids’ safety, there’s also the question of how the kidnappers knew to target paranormals whose existence was supposed to be secret. A tumult of crazy cases-cookie craving trolls, stripping succubi, and her own flying toddler, distract Reece from her inner fears as she runs from the case she’ll have to take on eventually.

A mom trying to slog through a wild week is begging for trouble, and Reece just put a flashing neon sign up. Her last investigations bought her some friends with questionable backgrounds and big hearts. Getting their help to nab the kidnappers might tarnish her reputation as much as being a vampire would. She has some decisions to make and some kids to save. This week has been a real pain, but she has her coffee and she heard there’s a sale at Dillard’s this weekend, so she’s going to suck it up and dive in head first.

My urban fantasy novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is just under 71,000 words. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Amy Ashley

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Re: Revised WHAT A PAINE! please read!!! ;)

Post by Beethovenfan » September 4th, 2010, 4:14 pm

Wow, I think this is a great improvement from the last! I get more of a sense of the plot than before. Really, my only concern is with the first sentance of the second paragraph:
"Asked to investigate a recent rash of paranormal kidnappings, Reece balks."

I was wondering how come she balks at it, when earlier you made it sound like this is something that she does regularly. Is it because she has kids of her own? I wonder if "balks" is the right word here. It seems that if she IS worried about her own kids that she would be freaking out right about now. This might be a good place to give us what Reece would actually say so we have a sense of who she is.

I really do think this a great improvement. Keep going! You are going to get this! (I'm only hoping I do too! I'm in a similar canoe.) :)
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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Re: Revised WHAT A PAINE! please read!!! ;)

Post by a3writer » September 4th, 2010, 4:26 pm

Dear Dream Agent,

Being labeled an undead bloodsucker doesn’t mesh with Reece Paine’s idea of what a working mama ought to be. Awesome.Knowing those things are just overblown rumors about vampires hasn’t encouraged her to come out of the closet either. Just a little trim to tighten it downShe’s married to a demon,and freelancinges at a bureau secretly aiding paranormals living in a mostly human world.

Asked to investigate a recent rash of paranormal kidnappings, Reece balks. Although afraid for her own kids’ safety, there’s also the question of how the kidnappers knew to target paranormals whose existence was supposed to be secret. Very nice.A tumult of crazy cases-Okay, I guess this is me on punctuation patrol. Make sure you don't actually put a hyphen here. You want an em-dash which you can put in through character mapping, or use two to three hyphens to indicate (depending on your word processor). Also, these are best when they're bookended. So throw another em-dash in after toddler, and no spaces between the words. This ends punctuation patrol, now back to the query. cookie craving trolls, stripping succubi, and her own flying toddler, distract Reece from her inner fears as she runs from the case she’ll have to take on eventually. Why will she have to come back to it? I get the feeling it's something personal.

A mom trying to slog through a wild week is begging for trouble, and Reece just put a flashing neon sign up the sign reference isn't completely clear, and a little cliche. So's begging for trouble.. Her last investigations bought her some friends with questionable backgrounds and big hearts Good.. Getting their help to nab the kidnappers might tarnish her reputation as much as being a vampire would Excellent. She has some decisions to make and some kids to save. This week has been a real pain, but she has her coffee and she heard there’s a sale at Dillard’s this weekend, so she’s going to suck vampire pun? (I like it) it up and dive in head first a little cliche.

My urban fantasy novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is just under70 or 71, you don't need to be hyper specific. It's not like it will stay that long after all the edits. 71,000 words. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Amy, I think you're there. I think there's an energy in this one that the others were lacking. Definitely got voice coming through, now. Very good work.

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Re: Revised WHAT A PAINE! please read!!! ;)

Post by amyashley » September 4th, 2010, 4:51 pm

THANK YOU!!!!

Okay, I tweaked it a little, but I can go back


Dear Dream Agent,

Being labeled an undead bloodsucker doesn’t mesh with Reece Paine’s idea of what a working mama ought to be. Those overblown rumors about vampires haven’t encouraged her to come out of the closet either. She’s married to a demon and freelances at a bureau secretly aiding paranormals living in a mostly human world.

Asked to investigate a recent rash of paranormal kidnappings, Reece panics, telling herself it isn’t her type of job. Although she’s afraid for her own kids’ safety, there’s also the question of how the kidnappers knew to target paranormals whose existence was supposed to be secret. Crazy cases of cookie craving trolls, stripping succubi, and her own flying toddler, distract Reece from her inner fears as she runs from the case her own guilt will push her into taking on eventually.

A mom trying to slog through a wild week is bound to attract more trouble, and Reece is collecting chaos like kids catch fireflies in a jar. Her last investigations bought her some friends with questionable backgrounds and big hearts. Getting their help to nab the kidnappers might tarnish her reputation as much as being a vampire would. She has some decisions to make and some kids to save. This week has been a real pain, but she has her coffee and she heard there’s a sale at Dillard’s this weekend, so she’s going to suck it up and dive in.

My urban fantasy novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is 71,000 words. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Amy Ashley

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Re: Revised WHAT A PAINE! please read!!! ;)

Post by wilderness » September 4th, 2010, 6:52 pm

amyashley wrote:

Dear Dream Agent,

(In email format, do not indent paragraphs) Being labeled an undead bloodsucker doesn’t mesh with Reece Paine’s idea of what a working mama ought to be. Those overblown rumors about vampires haven’t encouraged her to come out of the closet either. She’s married to a demon and freelances at a bureau secretly aiding paranormals living in a mostly human world. I don't know about the transition in the last sentence. She's married to a demon doesn't continue with the being in the closet train of thought. Consider:


Being labeled an undead bloodsucker with a demon husband doesn’t mesh with Reece Paine’s idea of what a working mama ought to be. Those overblown rumors about vampires haven’t encouraged her to come out of the closet either. The most she can do is freelance at a secret bureau to aid paranormals living in a mostly human world.


Asked to investigate a recent rash of paranormal kidnappings, Reece panics, telling herself it isn’t her type of job. Although she’s afraid for her own kids’ safety, there’s also the question of how the kidnappers knew to target paranormals whose existence was supposed to be secret. Crazy cases of cookie craving trolls, stripping succubi, and her own flying toddler,(improper comma) distract Reece from her inner fears as she runs from the case her own guilt will push her into taking on eventually. Awkward phrasing in this paragraph. Also some tense changes, e.g. "was supposed to be a secret"


When the bureau asks Reece to investigate a recent rash of paranormal kidnappings, Reece panics. It isn’t her type of job. Sure, she can handle cookie craving trolls, stripping succubi, and her own flying toddler. But how do the kidnappers know to target paranormals when their existence is supposed to be secret?


A mom trying to slog through a wild week is bound to attract more trouble, and Reece is collecting chaos like kids catch fireflies in a jar. Her last investigations bought her some friends with questionable backgrounds and big hearts. Too generic. Either tell us about the friends or leave it out. Getting their help to nab the kidnappers might tarnish her reputation as much as being a vampire would. Why does helping her tarnish their reputations? She has some decisions to make and some kids to save. What decisions? Vague. This week has been a real pain, but she has her coffee and she heard there’s a sale at Dillard’s this weekend, so she’s going to suck it up and dive in. This has a fun tone and plenty of voice, but this last paragraph doesn't have any real meat. "attract trouble" "this week has been a pain" "she has decisions to make" See what I mean? Give us the deets.

My urban fantasy novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is 71,000 words. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Amy Ashley

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Re: Revised WHAT A PAINE! please read!!! ;)

Post by a3writer » September 4th, 2010, 9:16 pm

Dear Dream Agent,

Being labeled an undead bloodsucker married to a demon doesn’t mesh with Reece Paine’s idea of what a working mama ought to be. Those overblown rumors about vampires haven’t encouraged her to come out of the closet either. She’s married to a demon and freelances at a bureau secretly aiding paranormals living in a mostly human world.

Asked to investigate a recent rash of paranormal kidnappings, Reece panics, telling herself it isn’t her type of job. Although she’s afraid for her own kids’ safety, there’s also the question of how the kidnappers knew to target paranormals whose existence was supposed to be secret Maybe a slight rephrase here, such as "She fears for her kids since the real question terrifies her: How did the kidnappers target paranormals?. Crazy cases of cookie craving trolls, stripping succubi, and her own flying toddler, distract Reece from her inner fears as she runs from the case her own guilt will push her into taking on eventually. This sentence is a bit of a ramble, and might benefit from breaking it up.

A mom trying to slog through a wild week is bound to attract more trouble Do you mean more on top of what you've already talked about? If so, we need to know, though it's getting to be stacked pretty high. If you're talking about the above, do we need the rehash?, and Reece is collecting chaos like kids catch fireflies in a jar. I think her friends might be a good place to start this paragraph Her last investigations bought her some friends with questionable backgrounds and big hearts This is fine. I don't need to know more. That's for the synopsis and requesting pages. Getting their help to nab the kidnappers might tarnish her reputation as much as being a vampire would Consequences. Good. She has some decisions to make and some kids to save. Do we need the summary of what she's doing? This week has been a real pain, but she has her coffee and she heard there’s a sale at Dillard’s this weekend, so she’s going to suck it up and dive in. I didn't catch it before, but it stands out now. "This week has been" meaning it's over and the problem is taken care of. Reece is in the clear. Perhaps hold off on that with "The week threatens to bury Reece, but if she can make it through, there's a sale at Dillards.

My urban fantasy novel, WHAT A PAINE!, is 71,000 words. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Go Amy. You've almost got it. I think all that's left is tightening language.

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Re: Revised WHAT A PAINE! please read!!! ;)

Post by amyashley » September 4th, 2010, 9:35 pm

Awesome, I think I'll play with it in the morning. I have running toddlers who seem determined to smear me with mucus.


A3writer, thanks for the help!

Thanks to all for any feedback. As always I am grateful. My husband gives me scary looks anymore when I come bearing the laptop and puppy dog eyes.

I'll repost with revisions.

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Re: Revised WHAT A PAINE! please read!!! ;)

Post by amyashley » September 5th, 2010, 12:00 pm

Edited again, then AGAIN before I even got any responses, LOL


Dear Agent,

After the influx of “Twilight mom’s”, Reece Paine believes our world isn’t ready for the truth about paranormals. Hype is giving them a bad image, and being a working vampire Mama, married to a demon, with a flying toddler might be more than her friends and neighbors can handle. She’s not coming out of the closet yet about her true blood origins!

Freelancing at a secret paranormal help bureau, Reece is asked to investigate recent kidnappings of paranormal children and she panics. It’s not her usual type of job, and she’s afraid for her own kids’ safety. Her fear is how human kidnappers could know to target paranormal kids. They’ve lived beside humans throughout history without detection, far-fetched fairy tales the only hints of their existence.

Reece continues juggling diapers and duties as cases of cookie-craving trolls and stripping succubi distract her from her fears temporarily. Her conscience forces her to take on the job eventually, but she’ll need help nabbing the kidnappers. Some new friends with shady backgrounds are eagerly willing.They’ll tarnish her reputation as much as being a vampire might, and it looks like busting the crooks will force her secret out once they've been turned over to the police.

This week is turning out to be a huge pain, but Reece has an extra pot of coffee on and heard there’s a sale at Dillard’s this weekend, so she’s going to suck up her fears with some sugar and cream and dive on in!

My urban fantasy WHAT A PAINE! is 71,000 words and available upon request. Thank you for your consideration


Sincerely,
Amy Ashley

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Re: Final (I hope) WHAT A PAINE! Query See page 2

Post by oldhousejunkie » September 5th, 2010, 5:31 pm

Wow--you've done a great job of revising since my last read through. I finally have a sense of what your story is about. Good job! My only comment is to drop the Twiligh reference. In fact, I preferred the first paragraph of the revision immediately before this one.
You're almost there--keep plugging away! Good luck!

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