Query for a Fantasy novel 3rd Draft!!

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Debra_A
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Query for a Fantasy novel 3rd Draft!!

Post by Debra_A » September 21st, 2010, 1:33 pm

So this is the first try at CS's query letter. My goal is to keep it short and informative (like everyone else, I'm sure) I apprecaite any crit you are willing to offer, and I am open to reading things from others, let me know with a message!


Emma, a Christmas Angel, lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire. Together they must try to save humanity from a murderer who inhabits Heaven while God is trapped in Hell.

Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night. Despite Emma’s hate for vampires, she is tasked with proving to Jason that his soul is good. When more Angels are flung from Heaven, the pair can wait no longer to save God. Emma has to power through her fear and face a sexy, determined Satan. Jason’s wait for her on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven’s entire arsenal for evil. In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and first time prayers, love may be the most effective weapon of all.

CRUSHED SERAPHIM is a 72,000 word Fantasy novel. (insert research on agent) Thank you for your time.

Debra A

*I'm sort of lost about including any information about me, my first manuscript is in limbo and I have not published anything. Thank you all in advance for your time and opinions.
Last edited by Debra_A on October 7th, 2010, 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

sgf
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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by sgf » September 21st, 2010, 4:21 pm

Hi Debra,

I've only reviewed a dozen or so queries, and have been working on my own (it's on the forums, and you can see for yourself that it's far from good), so take the following for what it's worth!

Emma, a Christmas Angel, lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire. I thought this first line could be snappier. The detail "torn and bleeding" made me wonder how she got that way. That's one thing I've been noticing with query writing-- you want to add some detail, but have to make the details self-explanatory somehow.

Together they must try to save humanity from a murderer who inhabits Heaven while God is trapped in Hell. This second line is good, although I'm not sure you need "try to"

Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. I really thought this should be the opening sentence. It gives the reader an immediate impression of the MC, and makes her interesting.

Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night.Consider being specific here, i.e., show don't tell. What in particlar does he have to come to terms with? Drinking people's blood? Sleeping in a coffin all day? Avoiding mirrors, garlic pizza, and stake dinners? ;)

Despite Emma’s hate for vampires, she is tasked with proving to Jason that his soul is good. Here I wondered who tasked her to do this, and (more importantly) why?

When more Angels are flung from Heaven, the pair can wait no longer to save God. The problem with this, I think, is that you didn't mention that they were the ones who had to save God, or that they were waiting for someone else to do it.

Emma has to power through her fear and face a sexy, determined Satan. I felt that "power through her fear" read a little awkward, though others might find it OK. Consider somehow showing how Satan is sexy and determined (and determined to do what?). Does he try to seduce her?

Jason’s wait for her on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven’s entire arsenal for evil. Here, I wondered why Jason is waiting for her. Earlier in the query, it's stated that she's tasked to prove that he has a good soul. Don't they meet at that point? Consider briefly stating what heaven's arsenal consists of.

In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and first time prayers, love may be the most effective weapon of all. I like the image of melting rainbows... very nice. Not sure what "first time prayers" means. The first time a particular person prays? Or, an original prayer?

You have a lot of interesting things going on in your story. It sounds great, especially since I like my stories with romance! But, I think that the details either need to be either more conciely explained or removed (if they're not essential to the query). I hope some of this helps!

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Debra_A » September 21st, 2010, 7:43 pm

sgf wrote:Hi Debra,

I've only reviewed a dozen or so queries, and have been working on my own (it's on the forums, and you can see for yourself that it's far from good), so take the following for what it's worth!

Emma, a Christmas Angel, lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire. I thought this first line could be snappier. The detail "torn and bleeding" made me wonder how she got that way. That's one thing I've been noticing with query writing-- you want to add some detail, but have to make the details self-explanatory somehow.

Together they must try to save humanity from a murderer who inhabits Heaven while God is trapped in Hell. This second line is good, although I'm not sure you need "try to"

Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. I really thought this should be the opening sentence. It gives the reader an immediate impression of the MC, and makes her interesting.

Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night.Consider being specific here, i.e., show don't tell. What in particlar does he have to come to terms with? Drinking people's blood? Sleeping in a coffin all day? Avoiding mirrors, garlic pizza, and stake dinners? ;)

Despite Emma’s hate for vampires, she is tasked with proving to Jason that his soul is good. Here I wondered who tasked her to do this, and (more importantly) why?

When more Angels are flung from Heaven, the pair can wait no longer to save God. The problem with this, I think, is that you didn't mention that they were the ones who had to save God, or that they were waiting for someone else to do it.

Emma has to power through her fear and face a sexy, determined Satan. I felt that "power through her fear" read a little awkward, though others might find it OK. Consider somehow showing how Satan is sexy and determined (and determined to do what?). Does he try to seduce her?

Jason’s wait for her on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven’s entire arsenal for evil. Here, I wondered why Jason is waiting for her. Earlier in the query, it's stated that she's tasked to prove that he has a good soul. Don't they meet at that point? Consider briefly stating what heaven's arsenal consists of.

In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and first time prayers, love may be the most effective weapon of all. I like the image of melting rainbows... very nice. Not sure what "first time prayers" means. The first time a particular person prays? Or, an original prayer?

You have a lot of interesting things going on in your story. It sounds great, especially since I like my stories with romance! But, I think that the details either need to be either more conciely explained or removed (if they're not essential to the query). I hope some of this helps!

First, thank you so very much for your time and insight! I am a huge fan of taking things out. I'm going to rework the query using your suggestions and see what I come up with(I'll repost too!) I appreciate this so very much!

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by J. T. SHEA » September 21st, 2010, 8:09 pm

Wow, Debra_A! Your protagonists have to save God? Could you have given them a BIGGER task?

'Jason's wait on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven's entire arsenal for evil.' sounds like it's missing a word or two.

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Debra_A » September 21st, 2010, 8:41 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:Wow, Debra_A! Your protagonists have to save God? Could you have given them a BIGGER task?

'Jason's wait on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven's entire arsenal for evil.' sounds like it's missing a word or two.
Thanks! I will look at that wording again. Saving God and the whole world? Is that a little much ;) She is an Angel after all.

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by khanes » September 23rd, 2010, 4:03 pm

Hi Debra. Queries are so difficult, so good first try. I'm no expert on queries, mine also has gone through tons of revisions and still needs work. I do have some comments, though.

First of all, this query left me with more questions than answers. Why does Emma land in the arms of a vampire? Why does she have to convince him his soul is good? Why do they have to save God? why are angels getting flung from heaven? Which enemy is using heaven's arsenal for evil? What has happened in the world (universe) to make everything go to crap? Obviously, I'm feeling a bit confused after reading your query.

I would strike the first line, and being with this one: Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. From here, go into her journey and what she needs to accomplish. Is she the main character, or do you have two point-of-view main characters in your book?

Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night. This line doesn't really make sense to me. Maybe you are trying to say that he hasn't come to terms with sinking his fangs in people's necks. Or maybe, there's still a little good in him that Emma can use to turn him away from evil.

I'd say, add more detail about the story arc. Where do we begin? Whats the inciting incident that launches Emma and Jason into their journey? What is the final barrier that could hold them back from achieving their goal?

Good luck!! I think queries are the worst part about trying to sell a book.

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Awriter » September 24th, 2010, 2:33 pm

Hi Debra!


Emma, a Christmas Angel, lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire. I really think that this first sentence needs something more too it if you are going to keep it as the opening for the query. And I sort of find it a little bit confusing. "lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire" I get what you are trying to say but to me the way its worded or maybe its just the comma that throwing me off, makes it a bit confusing. Together they must try to save humanity from a murderer who inhabits Heaven while God is trapped in Hell.

Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night.<---- I really like these two sentences, the first one catches my attention right away. Maybe they would do better being the openers? Despite Emma’s hate for vampires, she is tasked with proving to Jason that his soul is good. When more Angels are flung from Heaven, the pair can wait no longer to save God. Emma has to power through her fear and face a sexy, determined Satan. Jason’s wait for her on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven’s entire arsenal for evil This sentence right here doesn't really seem to flow all that well, its like there are words missing.. In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and first time prayers, love may be the most effective weapon of all.'Melting rainbows and first time prayers' I really like the image that brings about, good job.

CRUSHED SERAPHIM is a 72,000 word Fantasy novel. (insert research on agent) Thank you for your time.

I hope that helps, I know you've already gotten a bunch of people helping you out already. Queries are hard, they are evil I tell you :P But thats okay. Anyways good job :)

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Debra_A » September 24th, 2010, 5:11 pm

khanes wrote:Hi Debra. Queries are so difficult, so good first try. I'm no expert on queries, mine also has gone through tons of revisions and still needs work. I do have some comments, though.

First of all, this query left me with more questions than answers. Why does Emma land in the arms of a vampire? Why does she have to convince him his soul is good? Why do they have to save God? why are angels getting flung from heaven? Which enemy is using heaven's arsenal for evil? What has happened in the world (universe) to make everything go to crap? Obviously, I'm feeling a bit confused after reading your query.

I would strike the first line, and being with this one: Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. From here, go into her journey and what she needs to accomplish. Is she the main character, or do you have two point-of-view main characters in your book?

Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night. This line doesn't really make sense to me. Maybe you are trying to say that he hasn't come to terms with sinking his fangs in people's necks. Or maybe, there's still a little good in him that Emma can use to turn him away from evil.

I'd say, add more detail about the story arc. Where do we begin? Whats the inciting incident that launches Emma and Jason into their journey? What is the final barrier that could hold them back from achieving their goal?

Good luck!! I think queries are the worst part about trying to sell a book.

khanes! Thank you so much for your awesome input. Your questions will help me compose my next draft. I appreciate your time so much!

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Debra_A » September 24th, 2010, 5:12 pm

Awriter wrote:Hi Debra!


Emma, a Christmas Angel, lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire. I really think that this first sentence needs something more too it if you are going to keep it as the opening for the query. And I sort of find it a little bit confusing. "lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire" I get what you are trying to say but to me the way its worded or maybe its just the comma that throwing me off, makes it a bit confusing. Together they must try to save humanity from a murderer who inhabits Heaven while God is trapped in Hell.

Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night.<---- I really like these two sentences, the first one catches my attention right away. Maybe they would do better being the openers? Despite Emma’s hate for vampires, she is tasked with proving to Jason that his soul is good. When more Angels are flung from Heaven, the pair can wait no longer to save God. Emma has to power through her fear and face a sexy, determined Satan. Jason’s wait for her on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven’s entire arsenal for evil This sentence right here doesn't really seem to flow all that well, its like there are words missing.. In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and first time prayers, love may be the most effective weapon of all.'Melting rainbows and first time prayers' I really like the image that brings about, good job.

CRUSHED SERAPHIM is a 72,000 word Fantasy novel. (insert research on agent) Thank you for your time.

I hope that helps, I know you've already gotten a bunch of people helping you out already. Queries are hard, they are evil I tell you :P But thats okay. Anyways good job :)
Thanks awriter! Thank you for taking the time to let me know how the letter reads for you. It is so valuable. Thank you for your time!

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel 2nd draft

Post by Debra_A » September 24th, 2010, 7:26 pm

Thank you all for your help! I've paired the meat of the query down to the following sentences: Is it too little to offer? What obvious thing am I missing? Thank you all so very much. Writing seems like a lonely past time, it is so nice to hear from others doing the same thing.



Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. Jason Parish in a vampire whose ancestors include an escaped Devil’s Minion. Despite their prejudices against one another, they must work together to save God, who is imprisoned in Hell. In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and fiery rage, an unlikely love will be the most effective weapon of all.

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by elfspirit » September 24th, 2010, 8:22 pm

Conventional wisdom says you can usually allow about 250 words for the body of your query (that is, excluding opening and closing paragraphs). Agents aren't as uniform in their opinions. I do think you need more. A lot of people had specific questions. That doesn't mean you need to answer them all, but what you've posted needs more detail.

Check out Nathan's comments on this week's query critique. Sorry, I don't remember exactly where it is, but if you go to his blog and click on his link to it, you'll get there. I think it shows where the critiqued query needs to be more specific, and it might help you.

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Debra_A » September 24th, 2010, 9:01 pm

Okay. I will do another draft. I appreciate your time and opinion!

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by stephmcgee » September 25th, 2010, 3:12 am

Emma, a Christmas Angel, I think you might need to expound on this point. There are different types of angels? Help the agent know why it's significant that she's this type of angel. And how is it different from a seraphim? The two different titles get confusing in this short a space.lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire. Together they must try to save humanity from a murderer who inhabits Heaven while God is trapped in Hell.

I feel like you've started for a second time here. Maybe you could incorporate the first two sentences more seamlessly into this paragraph and expound on the plot a little more.Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night. Despite Emma’s hate for vampires, she is tasked with proving to Jason that his soul is good. When more Aangels are flung from Heaven, the pair can wait no longer to save God. Emma has to power through her fear and face a sexy, determined Satan. Jason’s waitWhy's he waiting for her on earth? Didn't she get thrown down to earth? for her on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven’s entire arsenal for evil. In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and first time prayers, love may be the most effective weapon of all. This last sentence reads very schmaltzy to me. I don't know why. But I like the idea of first prayers so keep that part at least. But make us know why it's significant to mention it in the query.

CRUSHED SERAPHIM is a 72,000 word Ffantasy novel. (insert research on agent) Thank you for your time.

Overall I think this is a good start. There's an interesting premise that is coming through. I think that the brevity of the query might keep agents from reading on, but they might read on to the sample pages despite the fact. It's one of those "it depends" type of things. The premise might intrigue them enough to pass the query. I look forward to reading further versions of this.

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Debra_A » September 25th, 2010, 9:36 am

stephmcgee wrote:Emma, a Christmas Angel, I think you might need to expound on this point. There are different types of angels? Help the agent know why it's significant that she's this type of angel. And how is it different from a seraphim? The two different titles get confusing in this short a space.lands, torn and bleeding, in the arms of a vampire. Together they must try to save humanity from a murderer who inhabits Heaven while God is trapped in Hell.

I feel like you've started for a second time here. Maybe you could incorporate the first two sentences more seamlessly into this paragraph and expound on the plot a little more.Emma the Seraphim is an unconventional angel with a dirty mouth. Jason Parish is a vampire who has yet to come to terms with what he needs to do to survive as a creature of the night. Despite Emma’s hate for vampires, she is tasked with proving to Jason that his soul is good. When more Aangels are flung from Heaven, the pair can wait no longer to save God. Emma has to power through her fear and face a sexy, determined Satan. Jason’s waitWhy's he waiting for her on earth? Didn't she get thrown down to earth? for her on Earth includes and vicious assault from their enemy who is using Heaven’s entire arsenal for evil. In a battlefield filled with melting rainbows and first time prayers, love may be the most effective weapon of all. This last sentence reads very schmaltzy to me. I don't know why. But I like the idea of first prayers so keep that part at least. But make us know why it's significant to mention it in the query.

CRUSHED SERAPHIM is a 72,000 word Ffantasy novel. (insert research on agent) Thank you for your time.

Overall I think this is a good start. There's an interesting premise that is coming through. I think that the brevity of the query might keep agents from reading on, but they might read on to the sample pages despite the fact. It's one of those "it depends" type of things. The premise might intrigue them enough to pass the query. I look forward to reading further versions of this.

Thanks stephmcgee! I have been thinking about the query this morning and your words and the other posters opinions have been sinking in. I think I have trouble picking a point of view for the query letter. I think I will try it from two different ones and see which on grabs you guys better.

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Re: Query for a Fantasy novel.

Post by Debra_A » October 7th, 2010, 10:36 am

Jack’s been Satan for a thousand years. He knows how to be good, but his body accepts evil like an addictive drug. Jack’s talents lie in torture and seduction. Every woman that is condemned to Hell submits to him, that is until a broken Angel forces her way into his domain. Jack can still smell the Heaven on Emma’s skin even though her wings have been ripped from her back.

A murderous traitor has control of Heaven and is planning to poison Earth so it can match his shriveled heart. Emma is foul-mouthed and unconventional, but determined to save God and in turn, the world.


Here is try 3, I changed the point of view a bit. Any impressions? I appreciate your feedback! Thanks.

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