Query critique - REVELATION: THE BOOK OF ANGEL- Revision 2

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BransfordGroupie
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Query critique - REVELATION: THE BOOK OF ANGEL- Revision 2

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 10th, 2009, 6:42 pm

Ok after writing and rewriting the last scene of my novel (at least half a dozen times) and throwing it out the window I thought I would take a break and seek opinions on an early query attempt. So here is my first attempt. Questions: Does it read more like the back cover blurb? Or is that the gist of the query anyway?

Dear …..,

Personalized salutation.

Who… or what is Angel?

From the day ANGEL is found naked, bloodied, near death and without memory at the gates of Sunshine Estate (an asylum for troubled kids) the only link she has with her past is the little acorn clutched in her filthy hand; the acorn… and then the nightmares.

Her transfer to the gothic Wallace House brings her closer to her origins, yet poses terrifying questions when she meets autistic Eli who unfolds her history through his eerie paintings and sculptures. How does this stranger know her secrets before she does? And how is he able to paint her nightmares?

Here, too, she meets the devilishly seductive Joe Granger, a soul mate with his wealth of stories of the supernatural, his beautiful eyes haunted by an unspeakable childhood, and his reluctance to acknowledge the hints and clues that point to Angel’s identity.

Eli, Joe, Angel. Three teenagers who unknowingly share a horrifying past and an unsure destiny.

REVELATION: THE BOOK OF ANGEL is an 80,000-word young adult paranormal romance novel packed with twists, action and strong elements of suspense. The novel can stand alone though there is series potential.

I have included the first five pages for your consideration. Should you be interested in further reading please feel free to read the first chapters at http://www.revelationangel.com. I have also completed a synopsis and detailed outline which is available upon your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,
My name.
Last edited by BransfordGroupie on December 22nd, 2009, 3:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by Nathan Bransford » December 10th, 2009, 6:53 pm

BransfordGroupie wrote:Ok after writing and rewriting the last scene of my novel (at least half a dozen times) and throwing it out the window I thought I would take a break and seek opinions on an early query attempt. So here is my first attempt. Questions: Does it read more like the back cover blurb? Or is that the gist of the query anyway?

Dear …..,

Personalized salutation.

1. Who… or what is Angel?

2. From the day ANGEL is found naked, bloodied, near death and without memory at the gates of Sunshine Estate (an asylum for troubled kids) the only link she has with her past is the little acorn clutched in her filthy hand; the acorn… and then the nightmares.

3. Her transfer to the gothic Wallace House brings her closer to her origins, yet poses terrifying questions when she meets autistic Eli who unfolds her history through his eerie paintings and sculptures. How does this stranger know her secrets before she does? And how is he able to paint her nightmares?

4. Here, too, she meets the devilishly seductive Joe Granger, a soul mate with his wealth of stories of the supernatural, his beautiful eyes haunted by an unspeakable childhood, and his reluctance to acknowledge the hints and clues that point to Angel’s identity.

5. Eli, Joe, Angel. Three teenagers who unknowingly share a horrifying past and an unsure destiny.

6. REVELATION: THE BOOK OF ANGEL is an 80,000-word young adult paranormal romance novel packed with twists, action and strong elements of suspense. The novel can stand alone though there is series potential.

7. I have included the first five pages for your consideration. Should you be interested in further reading please feel free to read the first chapters at http://www.revelationangel.com. I have also completed a synopsis and detailed outline which is available upon your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,
My name.
Ok. So. You begin with a rhetorical question (and just because it comes after the personalized section doesn't mean it's not leading off with one.) And in this case I really don't think you need it. All I take from "Who is angel?" is... well, aren't you going to tell me? I'd delete that. You also don't need to capitalize Angel's name. Capitalizing character names is really more of a screenplay thing. When querying agents, the only thing that should be capitalized is the book title (and if it's an eponymous novel, only when you're actually referring to the book's title, not when you're referring to the character.)

- I really like this: "From the day ANGEL is found naked, bloodied, near death and without memory at the gates of Sunshine Estate (an asylum for troubled kids) the only link she has with her past is the little acorn clutched in her filthy hand;"
- This: "the acorn… and then the nightmares." feels a little over the top to me.
- " yet poses terrifying questions when she meets autistic Eli who unfolds her history through his eerie paintings and sculptures" - I found the writing here a little awkward
- I also found the structure of the query a tad confusing. I numbered the paragraphs in the quote above for reference. I don't think you really need Paragraphs 1 and 5. Paragraph 3 feels like you're wrapping up the query/summarizing the book, but then Paragraph 4 introduces a whole 'nother character. I think this needs to be streamlined/rejiggered some
- This "I have also completed a synopsis and detailed outline which is available upon your request." goes without saying, no need to mention it.

For a first attempt I think this is a very good effort and there are lots of intriguing elements in this novel. Good luck!

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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by rose » December 10th, 2009, 8:17 pm

Just my luck, I finally get to a query before a half a dozen people have combed through it and Nathan has gotten there first. What's left to say?

I liked the query, too, BG, although I thought "little acorn" was redundant and it seems to me that Eli probably doesn't unfold, but does some other less tacile unverb like unveil. Also, I didn't understand the bit about Joes' refusal to acknowledge the clues that point to her identity. Because he knows and doesn't want her to find out? Because he doesn't want to lose her? A clue there would be helpful.

But it's very nice writing and a very intriguing story line. Good luck.
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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by Tzalaran » December 10th, 2009, 9:21 pm

yeah, not going to give a crit when you've got far better advice in a post above.

i will say that although i generally dislike the genre, your query did interest me, and made me want to read more.
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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by ErinGayle » December 10th, 2009, 10:16 pm

BransfordGroupie wrote:Ok after writing and rewriting the last scene of my novel (at least half a dozen times) and throwing it out the window I thought I would take a break and seek opinions on an early query attempt. So here is my first attempt. Questions: Does it read more like the back cover blurb? Or is that the gist of the query anyway?

Dear …..,

Personalized salutation.

Who… or what is Angel?

From the day ANGEL is found naked, bloodied, near death and without memory at the gates of Sunshine Estate (an asylum for troubled kids) the only link she has with her past is the little acorn clutched in her filthy hand; the acorn… and then the nightmares.

Her transfer to the gothic Wallace House brings her closer to her origins, yet poses terrifying questions when she meets autistic Eli who unfolds her history through his eerie paintings and sculptures. How does this stranger know her secrets before she does? And how is he able to paint her nightmares?

Here, too, she meets the devilishly seductive Joe Granger, a soul mate with his wealth of stories of the supernatural, his beautiful eyes haunted by an unspeakable childhood, and his reluctance to acknowledge the hints and clues that point to Angel’s identity.

Eli, Joe, Angel. Three teenagers who unknowingly share a horrifying past and an unsure destiny.

REVELATION: THE BOOK OF ANGEL is an 80,000-word young adult paranormal romance novel packed with twists, action and strong elements of suspense. The novel can stand alone though there is series potential.

I have included the first five pages for your consideration. Should you be interested in further reading please feel free to read the first chapters at http://www.revelationangel.com. I have also completed a synopsis and detailed outline which is available upon your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,
My name.
Read your query. won't critique because others have said it all, but decided to read your website. I now know how an addict feels. I NEED MORE!
There is so much vivrancy there, and the questions you pose right from the very start - whoopie-do! (I know exclamation marks suck, but can't help myself!!!!)

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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by Hillsy » December 11th, 2009, 5:43 am

BransfordGroupie wrote:
Who… or what is Angel? - I'm with Nathan (duh...he's a paid pro and I'm a shmuck)...the first dozen words of the next line has much more of a punch to it

From the day ANGEL is found naked, bloodied, near death and without memory at the gates of Sunshine Estate (an asylum for troubled kids) [don't like the bit in brackets....sounds like an aside, a footnote. Out of context with the tone of the query] the only link she has with her past is the little acorn clutched in her filthy hand; the acorn… and then the nightmares. (Thwack! - great opening though.)

Her transfer to the gothic Wallace House brings her closer to her origins, yet poses terrifying questions (you don't need this...painting/sculpting someones nightmares in an eerie manner, depicting what you think is a past you've forgotten, is going to raise some terrifying question. I should know - it's happened to me...hehe) when she meets autistic Eli who unfolds her history through his eerie paintings and sculptures. How does this stranger know her secrets before she does? And how is he able to paint her nightmares? (Your writing is strong, your voice clear, but something in here keeps snagging me. Is it that you've gone from Sunshine Estate to Wallace house so quickly? That shouldn't be a problem, really. Is it that using an Autistic person seems an easy way of being revalatory and enigmatic at the same time? It's not the first time, there's nothing wrong with it and i KNOW it works. Is it that "Know her secrets before she does" sounds impossible? Maybe.....ugh....sorry I can't come up with a proper explaination....but perhaps just rewording it to smooth it out would cure it.

Here, too, she meets the devilishly seductive Joe Granger, a soul mate (took me three reads before I realised you might be trying to use this to mean they fall madly in love - or something less mushy) with his wealth of stories of the supernatural, his beautiful eyes haunted by an unspeakable childhood, and his reluctance to acknowledge the hints and clues that point to Angel’s identity.

Eli, Joe, Angel. Three teenagers who unknowingly share a horrifying past and an unsure destiny. (By definition destinies can't be unsure....futures would provide a better coupling with "Horrifying past")
It's good....Even when I had a pause about it I couldn't immediately pinpoint why....a lot of it is personal taste and this isn't my genre at all....but Nathan's already replied soo heed his advice first!

Good luck!

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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by J.Jessamyn » December 11th, 2009, 10:49 am

I'm posting for encouragement rather than critique.

I think you did an awesome job overall. Though it still needs work, you're a lot closer to the mark than some of us usually are with their first query versions (for instance, oh, me). Your plot was very clear to me and didn't leave me with questions of confusion, but questions of wondering what happens next.

I'm very tempted to go read some sample chapters, but I know I'll just be driven crazy waiting for the book to actually be published so I can read the whole thing. So, I'll just wait for it to be published. ;-) I know it will be!
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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by Joel Q » December 11th, 2009, 2:09 pm

Nice jop,

For me, the one thing I think is missing is a little more or a hint about what happened in her past, I want a glimpse of the bad guys or bad power that the three are going against.

JQ

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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 11th, 2009, 4:09 pm

What can I say, but… WOW! Thank you all so much for you words of encouragement. I guess I’ll have to WIP my muse back into submission and get crackin on that last scene. Not to mention improving the query. I guess I should try my hand offering some critiques of my own (now that's a scary thought - I'm not qualified). Thanks again everyone.
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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by saraho » December 12th, 2009, 12:12 am

Hey!

Just adding my encouragement! It looks super cool and I'll totally read it when it gets published :D For a paranormal romance it definitely sounds different from all the other stuff out there!
*~Sarah O.~*

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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 12th, 2009, 12:56 am

saraho wrote:Hey!

Just adding my encouragement! It looks super cool and I'll totally read it when it gets published :D For a paranormal romance it definitely sounds different from all the other stuff out there!
Thanks Sar. I am rather proud of the site if I may say so myself ;-) I'm Going away for a few days so I will definately have another go at finishing the last scene. Hope I can come back with some good news... fingers crossed.
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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 13th, 2009, 12:07 am

I'm off for a well earned holiday break. Only a couple of days though. I hope you all have a lovely couple of days, and I'll see you all on Friday (thinks that's Thursday in the USA).
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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by CharleeVale » December 14th, 2009, 11:42 am

I didn't read your excerpt yet, I'm planning too, but I don't know if the thing that is on the front page of your website should be the exact same summary that is in your query letter. I was kind of expecting something different upon arrival.

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Re: Query critique - REVELATION

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 15th, 2009, 8:27 am

CharleeVale wrote:I didn't read your excerpt yet, I'm planning too, but I don't know if the thing that is on the front page of your website should be the exact same summary that is in your query letter. I was kind of expecting something different upon arrival.

CV
Hi CV. Thanks for taking the time to look at the web page. As I mentioned at the beginning of this thread (I think that's what you call it) it was an early attempt at a query (even though I wasn't ready to start sending any queries). As it reads like a back cover blurb (to me anyway) I thought I'd stick it on the web site. Keep in mind that the site is out there for all to see (not just for this blog/forum) so for the purpose of that site it is a 'blurb'.

When I do start sending my queries the site will have some major work done on it, including changing/deleting the blurb and possibly adding some more personal detail (I am not sure about that one yet).

Hope that clarifies the duplication. I have just completed rev 1 which I am still polishing. When I post it you should notice quite a lot of differences (except for the hook). I am just hoping 520 words isn't going to push it past the 'acceptable' length of a query.

Ok now I am raving (that's what happens after 2 glasses of wine).
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Re: Query critique - Revelation - REVISED.

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 19th, 2009, 10:33 pm

Due to reservations I have about my first revision containing to much plot information (it was more of a synopsis than a query), I have deleted it from this thread. Sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused. I will be posting a third try at a later date. Again, please accept my apologies.

Happy holidays all.
Last edited by BransfordGroupie on December 21st, 2009, 3:09 am, edited 4 times in total.
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