Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by jen » June 13th, 2011, 12:17 am

Dear Monsieur Bransford .

France 1660 and King Louis XIV's lustrous crowning glory has forsaken him . A remedy must be sought , tout'e de suite !

Teasing through wigs , choking on powder and gently touching upon the beauty , etiquette and hygiene faux par of the period , POMPADOU comes face to face with what lies beneath the poufs and powder of France's most infamous and vainglorious , but please be warned , it isn't alway's pretty !
For POMPADOU also reveals the grand insecurities of King Louis , the blonde ambition of Madame de Pompadou and the diversions of a broken hearted Marie Antoinette . Of course Monsieur...such things are never spoken , but discreetly whispered .

I am querying you because I am a great fan of your blog , and I know you love Paris .

POMPADOU is my first children's book written for children aged 12 plus , and is complete at 8000 words .

Without further ado.......Please be seated the Valet de Chambre will be with you shortly .

Thank you for your time and consideration .

Yours sincerely ,

Jenny .

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by johnh27 » June 13th, 2011, 11:13 am

Dear Ms. Carson,

What happens when a sixteen-year-old girl and her eighteen-year-old adopted brother fall in love? "Annie and Will", a 106,000-word novel set in the 1960's, is a family drama that follows the Gunderson family and the relationship between Annie and Will from Will's arrival as a ten-year-old orphan to his shocking and heart wrenching departure.

Will's adoptive father, Reverend Carl Gunderson, is bent on utilizing Will's sizable trust fund to his own advantage while his natural father, Duke Callahan, is forced to maintain an arm-length's relationship with the boy in order to keep the truth from his wife, Kay. Over the eight years that Will is with the Gundersons, Annie's feelings for him evolve from big brother adoration to deep love. When Reverend Gunderson realizes what is happening between Annie and Will, he seizes a lurid opportunity to try to separate Will from both his money and Annie.

"Annie and Will" should appeal to a wide audience including readers of Richard Russo and Anna Quindlen. The culture, events and music of the Sixties are woven into the story, so this work will also be attractive to many Baby-Boomers.

While this is my first novel, I have been writing technical literature in the telecommunications and scientific domain for many years and am a recipient of the Bell Labs President's Award. Recently retired, I am enjoying my foray into the world of fiction and am currently at work on the sequel to "Annie and Will". I was heartened to see that your agency took a chance on John Verdon’s first novel, “Pick a Number”, and it has been a huge success. I’m hoping you’ll give “Annie and Will” a shot at seeing the light of day.

I'd be thrilled if you would consider "Annie and Will" for representation. Thanks very much, and hope to talk with you soon.

John H

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by stephendag » June 14th, 2011, 5:17 am

What started as a week to himself before he started his senior year in high school turns into a test of loyalty for Tommy Henderson, an aspiring artist. In the span of two days, he is forced to defend his1930s home in a remote Catskills valley against New York City’s plans to turn it into a reservoir, and he meets a worldly artist and his promiscuous girlfriend who challenge Tommy’s abilities and tempt him with life outside the valley.

The Dutiful Son, a 153,000-word coming-of-age novel, is based on the true history of New York City’s 60-year-effort to develop a system of upstate reservoirs. Tommy’s roots run deep in this valley where residents get along without electricity, telephones, vehicles, and interruption from the world beyond its borders. He and his family are descendants of the first settlers in Seasons Valley. In whatever challenge confronts them, his neighbors have always looked to Tommy’s family for guidance.

Now Tommy must decide whether to fight to preserve what generations of Hendersons have built or to pursue his passion and leave behind the only home he’s ever known, on the brink of destruction.

This work is timely because of the current effort to drill for natural gas in the Catskills. I am sure many readers will draw the parallel.

My publishing credits include short works in the Beacon Street Review, Night Sky magazine, and a play performed at the Provincetown Playwrights Festival. I have also done writing on art for the Cape Cod Museum of Art and the Hans Hoffman Trust. The Dutiful Son is my third novel and the first one I am seeking to publish.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for considering this work.

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Janell Williams
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Janell Williams » June 24th, 2011, 10:21 am

Syrena will kill. She just doesn't know it yet.

Men are dangerous, or so Syrena's mother tells her. Throughout her childhood, they flee from one small town to another, and with each move Syrena watches the bizarre fear of men grow in her mom. When her mom dies suddenly, and Syrena is forced to venture into the world alone, she decides to pursue her dream of living in New York City.

Despite her naivety, she hits the dating scene in Manhattan, but it proves disastrous until she meets Ian, and a strange love affair ensues. He manipulates her with outlandish stories that she’s a mythological siren, and she’ll destroy all men. Crazy talk. So Syrena runs.

By accident, she kills. Syrena sings a song, a man becomes mesmerized, and then she murders him. The scary thing is she likes killing, a lot. It dawns on her that perhaps men are not dangerous, instead she is, and if that’s true, then maybe she really is a siren.
In my mid twenties, I moved to New York City to be a famous actress. Sadly, this did not happen, but I did learn how bitterly lonely this city was. I sought comfort with other artists, but it was like looking into a mirror. Our personal issues resembled one another so greatly that sharing a meaningful romantic liaison was virtually impossible. I wanted to write that story in the only way my mind worked…dark, disturbing and completely unapologetic.

TO DATE & DIE IN NEW YORK is 85,388-word character driven urban fantasy. Dark and painful, the book weaves love with murder, awkwardness with self-discovery, while teaching one woman that “sometimes you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive”. Dolores Claiborne Dir. Taylor Hackford. Per. Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh. Castle Rock Entertainment, 1995. Film
Last edited by Janell Williams on February 24th, 2012, 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Matt_X » July 4th, 2011, 2:38 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Timid, friendless Samuel Kelly is minding his own business in a cafe, devouring a newspaper article about a recent spate of trichinosis deaths—a tragedy that could give his animal rights organization the boost it needs—when a haggard, bearlike stranger asks for the sports section and turns his life upside down.

The stranger knows Samuel's name and address, and tells him in an amiable tone that he plans to kill Samuel in three months, on Samuel's 40th birthday, for reasons he won't reveal. The stranger makes two promises: he will not kill Samuel before his birthday, and the only way Samuel can save himself is to kill the stranger first. The beefy man calmly gives his full name, Michael Dennis Webb, and street address, before Samuel leaves in a huff.

There are few people Samuel can turn to in a crisis: the uncle and cousin who raised him were the first in the long line of bullies that would loom over his life; he suspects that his wife, Noriko, only married him for American citizenship, though he has not given up on winning her love; and whenever he goes to the police about Mike Webb's increasingly frightening psychological attacks, he realizes that his tormentor has even planned how to turn the law against him.

When Samuel becomes an accidental celebrity by saving the life of charismatic electrician Arturo Alvaro, he makes his first true friend in years. But involving Arturo in the problem of Mike turns out to have tragic consequences, and as his birthday approaches Samuel slowly begins to accept that there is only one permanent solution to his problem. In carrying it out, Samuel will discover hidden ferocity within himself—but may also unleash a monster that will not go back in its cage when the deed is done.

THE BIG 4-0 is a complete 85,000-word mainstream novel set in greater Washington, DC. I have had several short stories published, including Late Season in the 2007 edition of the Berkeley Fiction Review. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response,

Matthew Pietz

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by peterpangirl » July 6th, 2011, 1:18 pm

Last edited by peterpangirl on August 29th, 2011, 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by JohnStanton » July 10th, 2011, 6:59 pm

Title:Alden's Imagination
Genre:General Fiction

Chapter 1
A Night of Firsts

Alden knew it was going to be the kind of college party that campus counselors warned students to avoid but it was only a momentary apprehension washed away in an ocean of excitement. It would be the kind of party where people got drunk and stoned, guys got in fights and girls got pregnant. He knew of the hazards of an off-campus party not sanctioned by any official school organization, particularly a party thrown by a random group of guys for no reason beyond sheer hedonism. Last year, four kids were hospitalized and one died from alcohol poisoning at a party like this one. That same year, at another party, a drunken student passed out lying in the middle of a dark side street on a moonless night and was fatally struck by a passing car that couldn't stop in time. Alden read the brochure that the University had given all the students about the dangers of everything from drinking to date rape drugs and knew he was too smart to make such basic mistakes. He knew all the reasons not to go but he was ready to glimpse beyond his home and school life even if just for an evening. All the people around him were dating, buying new cars, smoking cigarettes, getting drunk, stoned, joining the military and having sex while he studied and worked night and day. If he could graduate a year early it would be a year earlier that his mother could be spared the cost of keeping Alden in school.
It wasn't the harsh cajoling from his buddies, Carp and Barry, after his business management class that had anything to do with his decision to go to the party. He felt like his reasoning was sound and practical and that he was a hard-working kid, a junior in college, made good grades and worked hard to help his mother. He was aware enough to avoid compromising situations and deserved to relax for one evening and experience the forbidden pleasures of the party even if it meant running the risk of getting beat up, arrested or contracting a social disease.
Why do people freak out when I tell them my favorite book is 'Gravity's Rainbow'?

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by MattLarkin » August 1st, 2011, 5:45 pm

Edit: removed since I worked a better query out elsewhere on the forums.
Last edited by MattLarkin on October 27th, 2011, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total. - freelance editing for fantasy and science fiction

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by DeeRoe » October 25th, 2011, 3:40 pm

Dear Agent,

Jane Lovell can never return home to her children again. After suffering a violent attack by strangers, she is involuntarily recruited by an organization greater than any establishment on earth. She tends to lose track of time though and often ends up in unusual places like the desolate highway in rural Wyoming where she encounters the roguish and devilishly handsome Blackie. The two quickly learn that they are bound together by unworldly and unbreakable forces. They discover that they also share a grim fate—one which sets them to the daunting task of locating and eliminating child killers throughout contemporary western United States.

Anikitos, an arrogant and staggeringly stunning angel, has been ordered by The League to guide Jane and Blackie in their duties, while preparing them for an ultimately greater event in which the outcome could be detrimental to the fate of all children. However, the angel harbors secrets of his own, particularly when it comes to Jane. His need to hide many truths sometimes interferes with his ability to mentor the unique humans as he contends with their emotionally driven, destructive, and lustful ways.

Alderic Volos, a wealthy eccentric entrepreneur and collector of all things unusual, be them animate or inanimate, is making disturbing plans of his own which involve Jane’s young daughter. He has built a substantial underground network of followers to help him achieve his sickening mission, and God help anyone who dares to interfere—including the fierce Anikitos and his fledgling assassins.

My novel, Jane L: Elimination is complete at 97,500 words. The story is peppered with dark humor and provides an earthly approach to the actions and relationships of a new breed of not so angelic angels, while incorporating themes of preserving, protecting and avenging the innocent, the strength of the human spirit and the unbreakable bonds created within people’s lives.

I have added the first five pages of my manuscript. Thank you for your consideration.

Dawn V. Rosado
Phone number
E mail address

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by bforlenza » November 4th, 2011, 9:26 am

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Self defense makes Cheryl Benson kill her abusive lover. Blackmail makes her marry the only witness to the crime. A Long Island millionaire who needs a wife to secure his inheritance.

Trapped in a loveless marriage Cheryl escapes to the Paradise Lounge for a few hours of freedom. Jonny Vallone, the handsome manager, intrigues her. Two dirty martinis later, he offers to plan her getaway, and she quickly accepts. Maybe too quickly. Since Cheryl's husband and Jonny's boss, share the favors of many city officials and prominent businessmen on both sides of the law. It seems the martinis aren't the only thing that's dirty.

If Cheryl ditches her marriage vows for Jonny, her husband will make sure her next stop is prison. If Jonny takes her side against them, his may be the morgue.

To free themselves, Jonny and Cheryl must out-wit her husband, out-think his boss, and out-run a crooked cop close at their heels. And they have to do it while overcoming their biggest obstacle . . . the love that’s claiming both of them.

The risks they take and the choices they make drive BEYOND PARADISE, my 90,000 word romantic suspense.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by cassiemcook » December 5th, 2011, 4:14 pm

Dear Mr. Nathan Bransford,

There’s no way fourteen year old Jonathan Stevens is going to his first day of public school in May. So cutting class to wander around a park seemed like a better idea... until a storm forces him into a bathroom stall, and he falls face-first into a giant hole caused by an earthquake.

Waking in the underbelly of the earth, Jonathan discovers he’s been kidnapped by a pain-in-the-butt sorceress named Tamara, who insists he is an immortal and he's on the top of a very long hit list. Jonathan was given a unique power that would save the immortal realm from the Master, an overlord with the power to locate immortals strong enough to challenge him before they are old enough to know how.

Jonathan learns from Tamara’s allies that the Master has discovered the means to control mortals--and he intends to test that power on Jonathan's parents. To destroy the most dangerous man in two realms, Jonathan will have to risk his life by triggering an unknown power too early. And if he fails, his family--as well as every other mortal and immortal in existence--will suffer for it.

The Privileged is an upper middle grade fantasy complete at 82,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by AnnElise » December 18th, 2011, 11:44 pm

Dear Nathan Bransford:

There is one rule to surviving under the totalitarian regime of the Saviors: keep your damn head down. Darian is a sixteen-year-old street urchin struggling to survive in the impoverished city of Canberra. When an Incendaris magicker, Valora, offers to help him explore his weak Gaius, or earth, magic in the safety of the countryside, he is attacked on the way to her house by deranged werewolves still in their human forms.

Darian and Valora discover the werewolves have been driven to madness by the Saviors’ experimentations with an incomplete mind-control scroll that can’t distinguish between humans and animals. The Saviors are on the hunt for the missing piece, which will allow them to focus the magic on every human in the world, crushing all resistance to their iron-fisted rule.

The Gaius Council won’t help a washout like Darian without concrete evidence, so Darian and Valora are left to find the piece themselves. But finding it isn’t enough. Both pieces must be united before the scroll can be destroyed and put out of the Saviors’ reach for good.

COLDFIRE is a young adult dystopian fantasy with series potential, complete at 104,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Ann Elise Monte An overly opinionated adolescent writer with a penchant for rambling.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by betsylycheung » January 9th, 2012, 5:50 pm

Hi Nathan,
What do you think of this:

my completed novel, The Reality Of The Virtual (approximately 101,000 words),falls in the science fiction genre with a social-political twist.

The book is about the possibilities of the Virtual and its applications which is changing the world. The story revolves around Sophie, a young Chinese reporter - one of the many baby girls adopted and brought up in the US - and her computer scientist / neurologist brother-in-law, Sam, who are trapped in a plot set up by two newspaper editors who exploit Sam’s inventions to keep their dying publications afloat. So much so that Sam becomes a threat to national security and is under constant surveillance by Intelligence Agencies. When pushed into a corner, Sam tries to disentangle themselves and unthinkingly creates an on-line game which can ‘foretell the future’ and amasses a huge following. Accused of instigating a cyber sect, everything gets caught in the vortex of a treacherous whirlwind when the agents plot a counter operation.
I belief this book to be current in many aspects addressing issues of media and how the new generation of Chinese deal with their past. Though it is a tale about people who fall victim to an extreme and polarized world, and what happens when men decide to take things into their own hands to save a complex if not mad world, it is entertaining. I believe this book will appeal to a wide range of readers including science fiction, spy novel enthusiasts, and those who enjoy a good read, a fresh take on an alternative history, a few laughs and a few tears.


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by susruthanvesh » January 10th, 2012, 9:17 am

The theft of a painting makes the thousand year kipping secrets of King Dragonogard assurgent to life.

A page marker in a randomly picked book in his library, addressing a painting at Ming-Li museum, makes Sam eager to know about an unknown fact about Lord Dragonogard, the greatest of Bremingtonian kings. Before he could reach the museum, the painting is stolen. And his granddad -- one man capable of unraveling the Lord's mystery -- is also abducted, as he is the secret protector of Lord's secrets. Sam, decrypting the lord's secrets one by one, with the help of an author who wrote controversial books on Dragonogard, finally makes to the lair of the culprit to find his granddad. But he doesn't know that he'd face a scandalous truth there.

The Mystery, THE DRAGON'S WILL is complete at 108,200 words, and is capable of appealing Thriller and Mystery lovers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Full manuscript is readily available on request. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by 4helen » March 1st, 2012, 6:25 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:If you'd like to have your query critiqued for the occasional Query Critique events, please paste your query in a post in this thread. Time permitting I'll use a random number generator to pick the query up for critique. Please limit this thread only to queries entries for critique on the blog.

Please also remember that there are separate forums for peer page, query, and synopsis critiques in case you'd like more instantaneous feedback. All non-query posts in this thread will be deleted.

Please only one entry per human.

From 4helen to Critique Fridays. I hope I did this correctly. If not, forgive me.
Page one, 'Kingdom' by Helen Downes

It was the glass splinter that did it for Julie. Her mother shuffled into the kitchen that morning, like usual, still in her nylon nighty.
“I’m making eggs and toast,” Julie said.
Her mother groaned and poured a glass of the orange juice Julie left on the counter. She added a shot of vodka from the bottle in the freezer. “Toast,” she said. “Dry.”
Julie popped down a slice, but before it browned, her mother’s glass was half-empty. When there was no juice, her mother put vodka in iced tea.
“You’re up early,” Julie said.
“Got to look for work…your father’s taking me.”
Her mother finished her cocktail and left waving the toast. Julie’s mother hadn’t looked for a job in months. Since they had forgotten Julie’s last birthday, her parents might be using that excuse to go out and make up for it today. Her parents returned late afternoon angry. Julie had broiled chicken, mashed potatoes, and heated canned beets for supper. No cake-in-a-box appeared, no present wrapped with a bow. Her mother managed to find wine when they were out though, kept filling her glass, while her father drank beer.
“You could take the job at the hotel,” her father said.
“Manning the counter?” Her mother might not realize she shouted.
“It’s a start, you can work up to night manager,” her father said.
“I’m a bookkeeper. I make fifty bucks an hour,” her mother said. “There were paying minimum.”
“Were an accountant, were making fifty an hour.”
Her father was on his feet now. “You blew that off spiking your coffee on the job.”
Her mother screeched. “Screw you!”
She grabbed the now empty wine bottle, threw it at Julie’s father. It missed, hit the wall, shattered. A shard pierced Julie’s hand.


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