QUERY: What love may do

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cokey
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QUERY: What love may do

Post by cokey » February 7th, 2010, 6:32 pm

Dear [Agent Name],

A small town in mid seventies Wisconsin finds itself the latest victim in an immortal creatures crusade of blood lust. However, a teenage charter member of the "Wedgie victim's brigade" draws the creatures attention as the
natural and supernatural worlds around them tremble with each embrace they share.

Thirteen year old Cory Davisson combats his bullying tormentors armed only with his wit to ward off the physical and emotional blows awaiting him each day; that is, until she moves in down the street. Her name is Lubiyana, and she is an aged vampire in the guise of a stunningly beautiful sixteen year old girl. She is ever used to an easy meal, an easy victim, but when she is defeated by Cory’s wit, she begins a campaign to claim his blood by letting him use her beauty in prideful revenge against his classmates.

Her patience to feed on him does not salve her hunger and the bodies around town begin to pile up, awakening the town to a nightmare. Once the vampire has earned Cory’s trust, her first taste of him reveals to her that he is the vessel of blood unlike any other. To cement her hold on him, she compels the splintered living soul still remaining within her to seduce Cory while her undead body feeds on him. This seduction leads to a mocking miracle on the vampire, a conception.

The undead Juliet and her pimply Romeo are never free from the vengeance on her sins as both priest and police close in to deny their love. To this, a rural apocalypse ensues as the domination of reality over fairy tale swallows vampire, lover and town down into its own fiery testament.

WHAT LOVE MAY DO is a completed 180,000 word novel of the horror genre. I would be happy to send additional sample chapters. As a first time author, I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Christopher O’Key
Cwokey@cox.net

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JustineDell
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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by JustineDell » February 7th, 2010, 6:55 pm

cokey wrote:Dear [Agent Name],

A small town in mid seventies Wisconsin finds itself the latest victim in an immortal creatures crusade of blood lust. However, a teenage charter member of the "Wedgie victim's brigade" draws the creatures attention as the
natural and supernatural worlds around them tremble with each embrace they share. I think you mean Wisconsin the "70's" but it didn't quite read that way for me. I totally laughed at the Wedgie brigade thing...funny. But I don't think this first paragraph has enough punch....not real hook - just very generalized info (expect the wedgie thing).

Thirteen year old Cory Davisson combats his bullying tormentors armed only with his wit to ward off the physical and emotional blows awaiting him each day; that is, until she moves in down the street. Her name is Lubiyana, and she is an aged vampire in the guise of a stunningly beautiful sixteen year old girl. She is ever used to an easy meal, an easy victim, but when she is defeated by Cory’s wit, she begins a campaign to claim his blood by letting him use her beauty in prideful revenge against his classmates. She wants to feed off him because of his wit? That doesn't make much sense. Is there another reason she is so bent on feeding from him?

Her patience to feed on him does not salve her hunger and the bodies around town begin to pile up, awakening the town to a nightmare. Once the vampire has earned Cory’s trust, her first taste of him reveals to her that he is the vessel of blood unlike any other. To cement her hold on him, she compels the splintered living soul still remaining within her to seduce Cory while her undead body feeds on him. This seduction leads to a mocking miracle on the vampire, a conception. I, personally, have serious problem with this. No offense, but he is only 13 and in all the genre's I have read, sex with a minor is no-no (eventhough the girl is 16, she's probably more like 205). I get sex at 17, 16, and even 15. But 13? That's young. I get the connection that vampires sometimes like younger lovers, etc, etc and I applaud you for tackling this, it does sound intriquing. But the beginning of this query sounds like a YA vampire story and when I read this paragraph I was like - whoa! Not YA.

The undead Juliet and her pimply Romeo are never free from the vengeance on her sins as both priest and police close in to deny their love. To this, a rural apocalypse ensues as the domination of reality over fairy tale swallows vampire, lover and town down into its own fiery testament.

WHAT LOVE MAY DO is a completed 180,000 word novel of the horror genre. I would be happy to send additional sample chapters. As a first time author, I appreciate your time and consideration.Take out the first time author part. I get it now, it's a horror. I would have never guessed that from the query. I had no idea what genre I would have called it by the way you described it. Again, no offense - but it didn't really sound like the type of horror I am used to. Are there more horror type details you can add? It seemed like a twisted love story with bad consequences and I couldn't get past that. I didn't focus on the writing in the query itself, and I'm SOOOOOOOO sorry if I have offended you by plugging in my thoughts as I went along. I was just very taken back by the story line. Maybe if you focused more on the horror and less on the relationship/longing of the vampire you could give it some umph! That's totally my opinion of course, and I shall disclaim that I am not a professional, which means you can print and burn my critique if you like. I may very well deserve it.

I think you have an interesting premise going on underneath it and I'm curious as to what more of the conflicts are, what drives the story, and (aside from the pregancy - which is VERY unique for a vampire story seeing as how the pregnancy is with the female vampire) what else makes this story unique?


Sincerely,

Christopher O’Key
Cwokey@cox.net

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by KappaP » February 8th, 2010, 10:03 am

A small town in mid seventies Wisconsin In the mid-seventies, a small town in Wisconsin finds itself the latest victim in an immortal creatures is this plural or possessive? this sentence reads weird to me for a few reasons. i want to say it should be "of an immortal" but then you use crusade of blood lust. try to rephrase, imocrusade of blood lust. However, a teenage charter member of the "Wedgie Victim's Brigade" draws the creatures attention as the
natural and supernatural worlds around them tremble with each embrace they share. even after reading this sentence and the whole query a few times, not100% positive on this sentence. "draws the creature's attention" seems pretty mild and "each embrace they share," I'm unclear if you mean the boy and the creature (which I think you do?) or if you're drawing some relationship between the natural and supernatural worlds around them.

Thirteen year old Cory Davisson combats his bullying tormentors armed only with his wit to ward off the physical and emotional blows awaiting him each day; that is, until she moves in down the street. Her name is Lubiyana, and she is an aged vampire in the guise of a stunningly beautiful sixteen year old girl. She is ever used to an easy meal, an easy victim, but when she is defeated by Cory’s wit,"ever used to an easy meal" seems awk to me. and I feel like defeated is a pretty strong word... it seems more like she's offended or insulted. She's clearly not defeated, as she's around to wreak havoc for the rest of the story. she begins a campaign to claim his blood by letting him use her beauty in prideful revenge against his classmates. no idea what that means.

Her patience to feed on him does not salve her hunger, and the bodies around town begin to pile up, awakening the town to a nightmare. "awakening the town to a nightmare" is also awkward. When trying to sell something 180K words long, you need to prove you can write succinctly and phrases like that DON'T convey that. "While she waits patiently to feed on Cory, town's nightmare awakens as bodies from Lubiyana's hunger pile up. Once the vampire Refer to her by name a few times-- you only mention her name once in this query and she seems to be a crucial character. has earned Cory’s trust, her first taste of him reveals to her that he is the vessel of blood unlike any other. To cement her hold on him, she compels the splintered living soul still remaining within her again, cut words to show you can write concisely. "she compels the splintered soul still living within her"to seduce Cory while her undead body feeds on him. This seduction leads to a mocking miracle on the vampire: a conception.

The undead Juliet and her pimply Romeo are never free from the vengeance on her sins as both priest and police close in to deny their love. To this, a rural apocalypse ensues as the domination of reality over fairy tale swallows vampire, lover and town down into its own fiery testament.

WHAT LOVE MAY DO is a completed 180,000 word novel of the horror genre concise-- 180,000 word work of horror. I would be happy to send additional sample chapters. As a first time author, I appreciate your time and consideration. Cut it. Thank you for your time and consideration.

My biggest concern here, as I point out a few times, is that you sometimes use long, awkward phrasing when something simpler will suffice. In a work of 100K words, this may not be as big of an issue but you-- a first time novelist-- are trying to sell a 700 page monster of a book. It's been done, for sure. But not often. And, in this query, you need to tell the agent "Yes. This is 180K words long and every single one of them is used out of absolute necessity." You need to prove those 180K words aren't full of awkward phraseology, but are masterfully used. I don't get that from this query right now.

I had the same reaction as the previous poster in terms of the child seduction angle. I'm not going to say it won't work-- actually I think it's interesting and definitely COULD work. I did, however, absolutely start reading this with a "Oh this is YA fantasy" in mind and then all the sudden there is a baby in the mix and a 13 year old daddy. Because vampires are (unfortunately, IMO) being overrun by the YA genre, it may behoove you to begin your query with the title/word count/genre so that an agent is reading it with horror, not YA, in mind.

Going along with that, I'm curious about whose perspective this is from. Is it told from Cory's perspective? Split? Who is the pivot character? I almost get the feeling that Lubiyana is since a lot of this seems to be her internal motivations, knowledge, etc. A suggestion, more out of curiosity than anything, try writing this starting with HER, rather than Cory. Like "Of all the things Lubiyana has come up against in her X years as a vampire, she never expected to be outdone by a founding member of the Wedgie Victims Brigade. In the town of ____, Wisconsin, though, this is exactly what happens." This way, you may be able to explain the story a little more through what SHE is perceiving is happening which I think would help with some areas of ambiguity.

Good luck! It's interesting reading a horror query (there aren't many posted here) and I can't wait to read revisions.
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taylormillgirl
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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by taylormillgirl » February 8th, 2010, 11:00 am

cokey wrote:Dear [Agent Name],

A small town in mid seventies Wisconsin finds itself the latest victim in an immortal creatures crusade of blood lust. However, a teenage charter member of the "Wedgie victim's brigade" draws the creatures attention as the
natural and supernatural worlds around them tremble with each embrace they share.

I'd eliminate the first paragraph and start your query here.
Thirteen year old Cory Davisson combats his bullying tormentors armed only with his wit to ward off the physical and emotional blows awaiting him each day; that is, until she moves in down the street. Her name is Lubiyana, and she is an aged vampire in the guise of a stunningly beautiful sixteen year old girl. She is ever used to an easy meal, an easy victim, but when she is defeated by Cory’s wit, she begins a campaign to claim his blood by letting him use her beauty in prideful revenge against his classmates. There is some passive voice in this paragraph. And the last sentence is unclear.

Her patience to feed on him does not salve her hunger and the bodies around town begin to pile up, awakening the town to a nightmare. Once the vampire has earned Cory’s trust, her first taste of him reveals to her that he is the vessel of blood unlike any other. To cement her hold on him, she compels the splintered living soul still remaining within her to seduce Cory while her undead body feeds on him. This seduction leads to a mocking miracle on the vampire, a conception. Very unclear. It seems you're trying too hard to use dramatic language, and the effect is confusing. And I'm also concerned that a 13 year old boy fathering a child with an adult could cause agents to run for the hills.

The undead Juliet and her pimply Romeo are never free from the vengeance on her sins as both priest and police close in to deny their love. To this, a rural apocalypse ensues as the domination of reality over fairy tale swallows vampire, lover and town down into its own fiery testament. Wait, they're in love now? I thought she was using him for his blood? And again with the unclear, dramatic launguage.

WHAT LOVE MAY DO is a completed 180,000 word novel of the horror genre. I would be happy to send additional sample chapters. As a first time author, I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Christopher O’Key
Cwokey@cox.net
Author of hot & humorous romances, debut novel coming in 2012 from Sourcebooks!
http://macybeckett.com/

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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by Yoshima » February 8th, 2010, 11:28 am

Hey cokey! Thanks for commenting on my query. I come to return the favor. And since this is a horror query, I won't hold back on the red ink, haha. Okay. Lame joke. Anyways...
cokey wrote:Dear [Agent Name],

A small town in mid seventies Wisconsin finds itself the latest victim in an immortal creatures (should "creatures" be possessive? this is worded kind of funny.)crusade of blood lust. (I'm not crazy about a town "finding itself." It just sounds weird. Rephrase?) However, a teenage charter member of the "Wedgie victim's brigade" (Ha! That's a good name.) draws the creatures attention as the
natural and supernatural worlds around them tremble with each embrace they share. (Gotta tell you, I'm not into the personification of the natural and supernatural worlds. I think it sounds kind of cheesy, to be honest. I mean, personifying them in a way that would link them up with horror would be fine, but the embrace...it doesn't make this query feel like horror.)

Thirteen year old (hyphenate ages?) Cory Davisson combats his bullying tormentors armed only with his wit (I know quite a few thirteen-year-olds, and they're hilarious, but...well, not exactly "witty" just yet. Maybe use a different word? Is he a brainiac? Book worm?) to ward off the physical and emotional blows awaiting him each day; that is, until she (at first I thought the "she" was a typo. Maybe italicize or something to make it stand out/make it clear that you put "she" there intentionally?) moves in down the street. Her name is Lubiyana, and she is an aged vampire in the guise of a stunningly beautiful sixteen year old girl. She is ever (cut ever) used to an easy meal, an easy victim, but when she is defeated by Cory’s wit (huh? I think defeated is the wrong word here. I'm guessing you mean that she's charmed by his wit and doesn't want to kill him?), she begins a campaign (campaign? This word doesn't seem to fit here to me) to claim his blood by letting him use her beauty in prideful (cut prideful) revenge against his classmates. (Mwah ha. Love to see bullies taken down.)

Her patience to feed on him does not salve her hunger and the bodies around town begin to pile up, awakening the town to a nightmare ("awakening" doesn't feel like the right word for this). Once the vampire has earned Cory’s trust, her first taste of him reveals to her that he is the vessel of blood unlike any other (Uh-oh. Now I'm thinking Twilight. Not good in a horror query.). To cement her hold on him, she compels the splintered living soul still remaining within her to seduce Cory while her undead body feeds on him. This seduction leads to a mocking miracle on the vampire, a conception. (Oh dear. I have to agree with the others about the thirteen-year-old getting it on with the vampire. Now, I think that since this is horror it isn't taboo or anything, but on my first read, I thought this query was for YA fantasy. Because of this part of the story, you have to make sure everything before it reads loud and clear that your book is horror.)

The undead Juliet and her pimply Romeo (that made me giggle) are never free from the vengeance on her sins (...huh?) as both priest and police close in to deny their love (love? I wasn't getting that they loved each other from the above.). To this, a rural apocalypse ensues as the domination of reality over fairy tale swallows vampire, lover and town down into its own fiery testament.

The entire query felt too wordy to me. I felt like you were dancing around the point with adjectives and descriptive nouns when you don't need to. You've got a good concept here. Don't bog it down. And all the words took away from any horror the query might have brought, you know? "Fiery testament" doesn't make me feel creeped out. I think it's really awesome that you're doing a horror book with vampires. I haven't read one of those in a while! Good luck! I hope this helps you!

WHAT LOVE MAY DO is a completed 180,000 word novel of the horror genre. I would be happy to send additional sample chapters. As a first time author, I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Christopher O’Key
Cwokey@cox.net

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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 8th, 2010, 1:28 pm

Hi Christopher,

You are so doomed. It doesn’t matter what I say about your query, the word count is completely out of control. From what I can tell, as a newbie myself, agents will not mess around with books over 120 K. And most seem to like a word count closer to 100 K. So now is not the time for querying, my friend. Get out a chainsaw and get cuttin’.

Regards,

Ghost in the Machine

PS. My opus also started around 180 K. It is now 106 K .You can do this, and yes, it will be painful.

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taylormillgirl
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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by taylormillgirl » February 8th, 2010, 1:31 pm

Hey, while you're at it, would you consider changing your MC's age from 13 to...I don't know...maybe 17? He can still battle bullies in high school. Just a suggestion...
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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 8th, 2010, 9:28 pm

Hi Christopher,

After a private word, I realize you are not naïve about the work ahead of you regarding word count. So on with the show!

Dear [Agent Name],

A small town in mid seventies Wisconsin finds itself the latest victim in an immortal creatures crusade of blood lust. However, a teenage charter member of the "Wedgie victim's brigade" draws the creatures attention as the natural and supernatural worlds around them tremble with each embrace they share.

Comment: “mid seventies” to mid-70’s as Justine said, love “Wedgie victim’s bridgade, but nothing else sticks, too general

Suggestion: Take “Wedgie victim’s bridgade” along with something from second paragraph and make a bold, fresh 'gotcha' line or two to grab agent. How about:

Thirteen-year-old Cory Davisson, charter member of the ‘Wedgie victim’s brigade’, deals with bullies the only way he knows how: a wicked style of self-deprecating humor. Hey, it’s hard to hit someone if you’re laughing. But who knew the power of wit could win over a stunningly, beautiful vampire?


Thirteen year old Cory Davisson combats his bullying tormentors armed only with his wit to ward off the physical and emotional blows awaiting him each day; that is, until she moves in down the street. Her name is Lubiyana, and she is an aged vampire in the guise of a stunningly beautiful sixteen year old girl. She is ever used to an easy meal, an easy victim, but when she is defeated by Cory’s wit, she begins a campaign to claim his blood by letting him use her beauty in prideful revenge against his classmates.

Her patience to feed on him does not salve her hunger and the bodies around town begin to pile up, awakening the town to a nightmare. Once the vampire has earned Cory’s trust, her first taste of him reveals to her that he is the vessel of blood unlike any other. To cement her hold on him, she compels the splintered living soul still remaining within her to seduce Cory while her undead body feeds on him. This seduction leads to a mocking miracle on the vampire, a conception.

Comment: This needs to be tightened up for clarity. Less words, more punch. I see other comments are cautioning you about sex at 13. They are probably right, but Stephen King got away with several 11-year-old boys having sex with an 11-year-old girl in It. But he’s Stephen King. We’re not.

Also, how much do you like the name Lubiyana? Maybe I’m mispronouncing it in my head, but Lube just doesn’t sound sexy or scary. How about Leighanna pronounced Lee-ah-na? Or Lea?

Suggestion: Lubiyana is no nightmare. For Cory she is a dream come true as she lets him use her beauty in prideful revenge against his classmates. Yes, she finds his blood sweet, but decides against killing him. Instead she haunts the town for sustenance and the bodies pile up.


The undead Juliet and her pimply Romeo are never free from the vengeance on her sins as both priest and police close in to deny their love. To this, a rural apocalypse ensues as the domination of reality over fairy tale swallows vampire, lover and town down into its own fiery testament.

Comment: “undead Juliet and pimply Romeo” is great but the rest of the paragraph is goblety-gook. I’ll try to parse out what you might have been going for. After the sex scene, is Corey now a vampire, too?

Suggestion: Lubiyana’s appetite for Corey has dire consequences. In a moment of seduction and bloodlust, the impossible happens—Lubiyana conceives. Now the stakes for this undead Juliet and her pimply Romeo are much higher than the school bully. With the town’s clergy and police force closing in, saving each other and their unborn offspring may require a fiery apocalypse.

Okay, that last sentence blows, but more information about what’s going on with these two near the end might help.


WHAT LOVE MAY DO is a horror novel, complete at 180,000 words. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Christopher O’Key

The next step for this query is describing more about what happens after the conception. Why do they have to stay? Is Corey still mortal? Why not leave town?

I like the idea of Corey, the nerd, getting revenge on the bullies by parading his gorgeous new girlfriend around. But it’s hard to believe the vampire would bother to keep Corey alive. Is she that hard up for laughs? Maybe so.

I would like to read a scary vampire book. This query does not sound scary right now. It sounds like a Twilight knock-off. As you go through your cutting, think about terror. We’ve had lonely vampires with Anne Rice. Heck, her whole series was a manifesto on the isolation of man. I loved it, by the way. And now we have Stephanie Meyers and her love story. Just read all four of those, again. But these two greats in the vampire biz are not scary. Maybe that’s what you can do different. I’m talking Salem’s Lot, kid-vampires-scratchin’-at-the-window scary. Go for it!

Ghost in the Machine

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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by Brian_H » February 11th, 2010, 1:32 pm

Christopher,

I have to agree with Ghost, Taylor, and KappaP on a few points here:

You're selling this as a horror novel, yet I don't think your query reflects this. Right now it sounds more like a YA fantasy romance story. I think making Cory a bit older could help, but I'd also like to see you peer inside the dark, sinister mind of your vampire a bit; or focus more on the nightmarish events that unflod around the forbidden lovers.

Your query mentions words like nightmare, victims, blood lust/hunger, apocolypse, and fiery testament. That's awesome, and what I''d want out of a horror story; but nowhere do you give me a glimpse of any of those things. Instead, I get the feeling that what I'd be reading about is sharing embraces, suduction, pregnancy, Romeo and Juliet, and love.

I realize that may be a bit harsh, but what I'm trying to say here is that if your target audience is adult horror fans, I'd suggest revamping this almost completely. If your target audience is YA, I'd say so in your query.

That is not to say that your ideas are not interesting. I do think you're on to something here, but I also think you may be straddling the fence, so to speak, between two different genres. My advise is to pick one and run with it; at least in your query. As it stands right now I don't think this query will generate a lot of interest because it's not hitting the center of the target for either genre.

Please understand I am not trying to be mean or overly-critical; and my opinion is that of a complete amatuer.

Respectfully,
Brian H
It always seems impossible until it's done.

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Re: QUERY: What love may do

Post by Nicole Zoltack » February 11th, 2010, 7:21 pm

Upon first reading your query, I assumed it was a YA fantasy with some romance thrown in. Your query does not yet reflect a horror story. It's important that the query reflects the writing behind it.

I know others have said this, but I think it bears repeating, a 13 year old and a centuries-old vampire should not be having sex together. The simplest way around this is to make Cory older.

Focus on the horror aspects of the book to make the query more horror-ish instead of YA fantasy.

Just my opinion. feel free to ignore.

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