Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Query Letter Blogfest

Thanks to Jodi Henry for hosting the Query Letter Blogfest!

The idea of this blogfest is to practice your query writing skills. As if writing the novel weren't hard enough, tackling a query letter (and synopsis) can be torture. I've posted my query below, but I've removed the portions discussing my background and memberships, leaving only the story-related information.


Dear  Agent:

I am pleased to submit for your consideration, Faerie Fate, a paranormal romance set in contemporary Oregon and divided between both the human and faerie realms. It is complete at 86,000 words.

Holly Reed is a grad student who doesn’t have much family to speak of, and yearns to know why. But when she discovers she’s half faerie and the father she never knew is a renegade out to kill her before he starts a war with humankind, she’s plunged into a world she grew up believing only existed in faerie tales.

Shadow’s life has always been about duty – to his queen, to his job, to Gaea. He gave up on finding his soul mate long ago. But when Fate puts Holly in his path desire flares between them, and he’s forced to reevaluate his long-held enmity toward humans. Amidst growing unrest and with war on the horizon, Shadow claims her as his soul mate.

Despite her undeniable attraction to him, Holly is afraid of becoming nothing more than Shadow’s property and rebels against his claim on her. But with her father hunting her, she’s faced with an impossible decision: accept Shadow’s offer of protection and forfeit her humanity and everything she’s ever known, or have her memory wiped and go back to her human life giving up her magic, her new family, and the man she’s grown to love.

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

Best Wishes,

Margaret Bail

So, what do you think? Does it work? What needs to be changed?  

Now go check out the rest of the entries at Jodi's blog!


Jodi Henry said...

Oh, I am the first to comment. Hate that, but here we go.

P1: you don't mention if it is YA or Adult. I assume adult due to the length, but you want that clear.

Chop off "I am pleased to submit for your consideration" and start with (and not in italics, but all caps)

FAERIE FATE is an 86,000 word paranormal romance novel taking place in both the human and faerie realms.

Agents assume if you are querying it is complete. I don't think it is important to name the state in which half the book takes place, but that might just be me. and 'a paranormal romance' isn't a complete thought, you have to have novel on the end of that.

P2. cut=> 'to speak if.' the second sentence is 41 words long. way too long. try rearranging it something like:

She's plunged into a world she grew up believing only existed in books when she discovers her father is a faerie.

Why is her father out to kill her? Is why he is out to kill her what drives her into Shadow's arms? If the genre is PR then the plot has to be about the relationship, everything else is technically subplot. If it is straight fantasy than the roamnce is subplot. I hate saying it, but queries are supposed to convey the overall plot (this is a fault of mine as I include too much all the time.)

P3. Great first line, but who/what is Gaea --it's vague. my first thought was a woman, the genre being PR and all, but it could be the name of the faeire realm too. Clear that up, or just drop Gaea off.

'long-held emnity toward humans' implies he doesn't know she's half, or does he hate her cuz she has any human in her at all?

'claiming her as his soul mate' because of unrest and a looming war doesn't seem like a logical progression. Is this the only way he can save her from her father or something?

But with her father hunting her, she’s faced with an impossible decision: accept Shadow’s offer of protection and forfeit her human life or have her memory wiped and give up everything in her faerie life including the man she's grown to love.

This last paragraph is beautiful (with a few adjustments to cut the extra words out)

P4. Cut=> I look forward to hearing from you. (most of the time we really don't look forward to recieving a form rejection and that's what we all will recieve at least once.)

Overall this sounds like a book I would so read. Do you use Public Query Slushpile? It feels like I have read this query before. Maybe the name Shadow or something. You did a fabulous job, a few lengthy sentences but nothing you can't divide and make work. Well under the word count too. :)


Jodi Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

Hmm; I was engaged from first to last word. I had a couple of the same questions Jodi did about why her father wanted to kill her, and why Shadow hates humans.

However, these very questions are what make me want to buy the book.

I did wonder if this is YA or adult, even after reading she is a grad student. But I think this could go either way, so maybe clarifying that could work against you.

Something to think about though: I am a little confused by your genre label however. This reads like a fantasy - urban fantasy due to the contemporary world. When I think of paranormal, I'm envisioning demons, angels, vamps, weres, witches, psychics.

The title FAERIE FATE brings to mind fantasy, and Gaea reinforces that concept for me. Mother Earth is often depicted as the Queen of the Fairies.

Like I said, maybe genre choice is something to think about, but not worry about. Paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi lines blur constantly.

I'm hooked anyway. A novel I'd definitely like to read.


Joanna St. James said...

I would just say thank you for your time and i would definitely say I look forward to hearing from you. Its just common etiquette and could score you some feedback.

Dawn Embers said...

Wow. This seems to be pretty good. I like the general plot and am interested to see what happens. The only issue I had with the query is the third paragraph about Shadow was a bit jarring. I had just gotten into reading about Holly and all of a sudden there is a new character. So that made me pause in reading the query. But other than that, it sounded good to me.

Good luck to you.

erica and christy said...

I think your writing for this is very clean. I agree with leaving off the "I am pleased to submit.." and "I look forward to hearing from you". I also agree that this sounds like a story that would fall under the Fantasy genre. Although, I'm no expert and am currently having difficulty classifying my own work a midst the genres of urban fantasy/paranormal/fantasy/magical realism.... Some people tell me to make mine Fantasy/Romance, others say to cut the Romance from the classification. I've also heard not to write from two POV in the query, even if you do in the novel. Your last paragraph is perfect. Well done! christy

Nicole Zoltack said...

I think you could start with a better hook. Holly being a grad student doesn't seem to have much to do with the plot. I also think you need to have some kind of transition before talking about Shadow. He seems like such an interesting character.