BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy, Temporarily Retired

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Meredith
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BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy, Temporarily Retired

Post by Meredith » June 10th, 2010, 11:37 pm

The newest version is on page 3.

This is approximately the fourth version of the query for this novel. Have at it.
Revised version below. I tried to take all of the feedback into account. I don't disagree with the advice to use something stronger than "plot" in the first paragraph. After three days, I just couldn't come up with anything that didn't require a paragraph of explanation. And then I read Query Shark today and decided to take that advice: 'Specificity is good, but it can get you bogged down in detail."
BTW, I'll share my favorite line from the previous version (before this forum) that got cut:

"When a werewolf and a dragon go on the hunt together, their quarry better start to worry."


Revised Version

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a formidable bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve.

Valeriah hides Crystal in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. She has to decide who she can trust. Her instincts tell her to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life, but she knows he’s hiding something. Her other choice is a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer who murdered her family and is now after Crystal. The other may love Valeriah enough to break her curse.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel. If you’re interested, you can find more information about the characters and their world on my blog, MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

"Original Version"

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm.

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers.

While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles, Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life. Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer. The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance. If you’re interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Last edited by Meredith on January 7th, 2011, 12:35 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by jkmcdonnell » June 11th, 2010, 2:53 am

Meredith wrote:Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. (Interesting premise.) Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm. (Is there a specific aristocratic or political system that holds this power? This is a chance to build your world into the query.)

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. (I'm going to blunt: I hate this name, but that's just me.) It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers. ('Plot'? Be more specific: a political thing, a rogue group, the killer himself?)

While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles, Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life. (Very cool, bringing the modern and urban into the fantastical.) Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer. The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life. (I'm definitely interested -- but a little confused. By 'the killer', do you mean the one responsible for her family's deaths?)

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance. (People tend to overcomplicate genre. I would suggest leaving it at 'urban fantasy'. I'm also confused about the target age group for this; how old is your protagonist?) If you’re interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Overall, this is pretty tight. I'm liking it so far.
I think there are a few places where you could lend a stronger, more distinct voice to the query -- your voice. Maybe re-working a few words here and there would make it more unique.
Also, not sure why you have multiple spaces between each sentence, I don't think that's standard anymore, is it?

I'll be looking out for any revisions/updates on your submission process. Good luck!

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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Quill » June 11th, 2010, 10:41 am

Meredith wrote:This is approximately the fourth version of the query for this novel. Have at it.

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm.

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers.
So far this is pretty good, and I like the premise.
While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles,
"Under wraps" is a cliche and seems vague here besides.
Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life.
This could be tightened and brightened, i.e. shortened and supplied with stronger verbs.
Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once.
Ditto.
One of them is the killer. The other may love her enough to break the curse
Okay.
she has lived under for most of her life.
This seems superfluous, and also after the fact. Omit?
BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance... I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Good
If you’re interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com.
I'd omit this, as sketches of your characters (whether drawn or written; it isn't clear which) would appear to have nothing to do with this writing project, and also, I believe it is poor form to include any contact info within the body of a query.

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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Meredith » June 11th, 2010, 11:22 am

Thank you both. I'll be posting a revison hopefully in the next couple of days.

I'm curious. I've read many places, including here, that agents like to see that a writer has a website or blog. If not in the body of the query, where would you put this information?
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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Quill » June 11th, 2010, 12:54 pm

I guess I'd put my name, phone number, email, and website in a separate block, after the letter ends.

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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by shadow » June 11th, 2010, 3:46 pm

Dear Agent:
lor=#FF0000]Here I go![/color]

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon I think you could have a stronger hook.. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm.What realm? Explain?

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. How is it threatned?It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. Did she save anyone before?She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers. You never mentioned they were murdered before.

While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles, Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life. Confusing. You never mentioned a stranger. Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer. how does she know and who did they kill?The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life.Interesting premise.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance. If you’re interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Good Luck!
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by HillaryJ » June 11th, 2010, 11:40 pm

Meredith,
This is a hugely competitive genre right now, and you need a killer pitch. I'm not getting that in the first paragraph. The story sounds interesting, but doesn't pop. Something bold and original up front will suck the reader in, but I'm not seeing that here, nor am I getting a good sense of Valeriah's character. If she's a kick-ass bodyguard, then let's come right out and say so.

Good luck.
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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Jessica Peter » June 12th, 2010, 10:19 pm

Here are my personal opinions of your query, line-by-line. I hope they help somewhat. And I will say I didn't read any of the other critiques, but hey - if you're getting the same comment several times, I guess you'll be able to really tell what should change!

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm.

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. [Who's Crystal? Is that her cousin or someone else entirely?Also, this seems vague - HOW is her cousin's life threatened, and WHY does it put her life at risk? The details would make this more compelling] It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers. [Again, details: WHAT kind of plot?]

While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles [What's Crystal doing that she needs to be kept under wraps? This wasn't clear to me], Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life. Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer. The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance. [I would say choose one. Or say ". . . urban fantasy novel with a romantic element." If it's urban fantasy, it's already a given that it's paranormal.] If you’re interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com.[Cut. . .]I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Emily J » June 12th, 2010, 10:46 pm

Meredith wrote:This is approximately the fourth version of the query for this novel. Have at it.

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm. Decent opening, concise and clear but lacking a real attention grabbing hook

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life face danger and even risk death? tighter and avoids repeating the word life to save Crystal. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. this begs the question, questions actually, who else has she done this for, why? feels like opening an unnecessary can of worms She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers.

While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles, Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life. what stranger? Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once. what man? One of them is the killer. The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life. awash in generalities here, and the juxta-positioning of the two men isn't as effective since we have no name or characterization for either

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance. If you’re interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Your writing is solid and concise but this feels a little vague to me. Who are the two men? Why were Valeriah's family murdered? Were they werewolves? Who is trying to kill Crystal and why? I think we need a clearer picture of the world and the characters. What sorts of magic exists? etc. Your length is good, but I think you need to make this more specific.

Hope that makes sense.

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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Meredith » June 14th, 2010, 10:25 pm

Revised version posted above.
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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Quill » June 14th, 2010, 11:17 pm

Hey, Meredith, I like the new version much better.

I also want to say that it might be easier for us readers if you post your new versions in line in the thread, not up at the top of the first post. And then you can announce it by amending the thread title, if you like. It's how most queries here are updated . :)

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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Meredith » June 14th, 2010, 11:39 pm

Quill wrote:Hey, Meredith, I like the new version much better.

I also want to say that it might be easier for us readers if you post your new versions in line in the thread, not up at the top of the first post. And then you can announce it by amending the thread title, if you like. It's how most queries here are updated . :)
Okay. Different forum, different rules. This is the way it's usually done on Hatrack River Writers Workshop, so that's what I did.

Thanks for the comment.
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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Emily J » June 15th, 2010, 10:29 am

Hmm... maybe it's just me but I don't really see any significant change in the revised query. I mean, it's no worse than the first, but I don't think it's any better either. Maybe I'm being obtuse but they read the same to me.

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Re: Query for BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy

Post by Meredith » June 15th, 2010, 6:14 pm

Newest version:

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a formidable bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before, but never for someone she cared about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve.

When a third attempt to kill Crystal nearly succeeds, Valeriah hides her in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. She has to decide who she can trust. Her instincts tell her to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life, but she knows he’s hiding something. Her other choice is a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer who murdered her family and is now after Crystal. The other may love Valeriah enough to break her curse.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel. If you’re interested, you can find more information about the characters and their world on my blog, MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

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Re: BLOOD WILL TELL, Urban Fantasy, third version

Post by suesan0814 » June 22nd, 2010, 5:36 pm

Meredith wrote:The third version is on page 2.

This is approximately the fourth version of the query for this novel. Have at it.
Revised version below. I tried to take all of the feedback into account. I don't disagree with the advice to use something stronger than "plot" in the first paragraph. After three days, I just couldn't come up with anything that didn't require a paragraph of explanation. And then I read Query Shark today and decided to take that advice: 'Specificity is good, but it can get you bogged down in detail."
BTW, I'll share my favorite line from the previous version (before this forum) that got cut:

"When a werewolf and a dragon go on the hunt together, their quarry better start to worry."


Revised Version

Okay, not a query expert, lord knows I've gone through many edits on mine, so all I have to offer are my thoughts as I read.

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a formidable bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

I think that this first paragraph is a great hook. I wouldn't change it.

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve.

And here I see the beginning of a plot. Only suggestion: I think I'd slap her cousins name up front instead of at the end of the sentence.

Valeriah hides Crystal in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. She has to decide who she can trust. Her instincts tell her to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life, but she knows he’s hiding something. Her other choice is a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer who murdered her family and is now after Crystal. The other may love Valeriah enough to break her curse.

Great follow up that fleshes out a nice conflict and maybe even some love interest. My only suggestion here would be to change the second to the last sentence:

What Valeriah doesn't know is, one of them is the killer who murdered her family and is now after Crystal.


BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel. If you’re interested, you can find more information about the characters and their world on my blog, MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Is giving a personal web site a bit to pushy? I have no idea. Just asking because it's a great idea! I think your query is tight and very well written. I would request sample chapters after reading it.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

"Original Version"

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm.

When her cousin’s life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before for people she cared less about. She doesn’t anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers.

While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles, Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystal’s life. Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer. The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance. If you’re interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

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