Sunday, May 16, 2010

Query Revision 9

Face-Lift 409: The Beauty's Beast (Renamed)

Dear Benevolent Editor:

“The Beauty’s Beast” is a fantasy romance complete at 80,000 words, which blends elements of Beauty and the Beast with Marie de France’s medieval lai “Bisclavret.” I think it will fit well in your Sweetheart Line of romances.

Lady Kathryn’s father sent her to court to find a husband, but she’s penniless and plain, which doesn’t help matters. Bored by the petty intrigues of court, her frustration and loneliness are eased when the king puts her in charge of the care and comfort of his new pet wolf. Kathryn quickly realizes the beast is more than he seems, for this "wolf" was once Gabriel, the king's favorite knight.

Resolving to do all in her power to restore him, Kathryn is sorely tested as the trials of court and confrontations with those who betrayed Gabriel lead him to stray ever further from his already dwindling humanity. Trapped in his wolf form permanently by his unfaithful wife, Gabriel struggles to fall into the ways of his old life and fights his wolfish urges to maim and kill.

As Gabriel and Kathryn grow to understand and care for one another despite his horrific curse, rumors of an uncanny wolf reach the ears of Gabriel’s wife, Alison, and her unscrupulous new husband, Reynard. Alison suspects that the king’s new pet is her first husband Gabriel in his wolfish aspect. Though her second marriage to Reynard has been far from happy, Alison knows she will need Reynard to quietly dispose of the king’s new pet. For if Gabriel ever regained his human form he could strip them of everything they have schemed so hard to gain.

My YA fantasy novel “XYZ” was recently accepted for publication at XYZ Publishing, and I have a short story in XYZ Publishing’s XYZ Anthology. Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.

Sincerely,
A Writer

Comments

I've been privileged to read bits of the actual story and I think it has a lot of promise. And retold fairy tales seem to still be hot right not. So let's get those pages requested! It's been awhile since I've seen this query, and I didn't go back to re-read the original versions. This version is basically good, but I think it can be rearranged some and tweaked a bit to strengthen it. My line-by-line reasoning first, then a quick rewrite below.

“The Beauty’s Beast” is a fantasy romance complete at 80,000 words, which blends elements of Beauty and the Beast with Marie de France’s medieval lai “Bisclavret.”

Perhaps "draws on elements of"? "Blends" sounds like you haven't put much of yourself into this work. If the reader knows "Bisclavret", they'll likely know it's a medieval story, and since "lai" has various spellings, you may risk the editor thinking you've misspelled it no matter which spelling you choose.

I think it will fit well in your Sweetheart Line of romances.

You shouldn't need "of romances" since the editor will know what's in their Sweetheart (or whichever imprint) Line already.

Lady Kathryn’s father sent her to court to find a husband, but she’s penniless and plain, which doesn’t help matters. Bored by the petty intrigues of court, her frustration and loneliness are eased when the king puts her in charge of the care and comfort of his new pet wolf.

I think you've condensed her getting to court and finding the wolf quite well here. I do wonder if showing her to be "plain" when the title has "beauty" in it is either irony or if the "beauty" is meant to be what's inside. That's not clear to me.

Kathryn quickly realizes the beast is more than he seems, for this "wolf" was once Gabriel, the king's favorite knight.

This, however, leads me to wonder if Kathryn actually knows the wolf is a man, and does she know that it's Gabriel? And then I'm wondering if the king is the one who cursed him. As written, it seems to implicate the king. Even choosing "and comfort" -- which one doesn't usually associate with a pet in these circumstances -- makes it seem the king is in on it.

Resolving to do all in her power to restore him, Kathryn is sorely tested as the trials of court and confrontations with those who betrayed Gabriel lead him to stray ever further from his already dwindling humanity.

I think there's a better way to phrase this. This sentence starts out with Kathryn being tested and ends with Gabriel's plight. These ideas would work better stated separately.

Trapped in his wolf form permanently by his unfaithful wife, Gabriel struggles to fall into the ways of his old life and fights his wolfish urges to maim and kill.

The "permanently" part makes me question if Gabriel is a werewolf and whether there was ever a temporary time he was a wolf. I think this is the case in the ms, but it only confuses in the query to bring it up just this once in this way.

"struggles to fall into the ways of his old life" is awkward. He struggles to maintain, maybe, but "fall into" sounds negative -- and he wants his old life back.

As Gabriel and Kathryn grow to understand and care for one another despite his horrific curse, rumors of an uncanny wolf reach the ears of Gabriel’s wife, Alison, and her unscrupulous new husband, Reynard.

Alison suspects that the king’s new pet is her first husband Gabriel in his wolfish aspect.

I think this sentence is redundant as we already know the king's new pet is Gabriel in his wolf form and that he was Alison's husband. The reader can easily infer that Alison suspects this when she hears news of the wolf.

Though her second marriage to Reynard has been far from happy, Alison knows she will need Reynard to quietly dispose of the king’s new pet. For if Gabriel ever regained his human form he could strip them of everything they have schemed so hard to gain.

This seems to turn the conflict from Gabriel and Reynard to Alison and Reynard. As written, it sounds like the climax will be Alison finally convincing Reynard to kill Gabriel. I'm also not sure what Alison being unhappy in the marriage adds to the query. Are you intimating she may have a change of heart?

Too, the tension here is a little soft. I think the stakes need to be more explicitly stated and need to draw Kathryn back in here at the end.

My YA fantasy novel “XYZ” was recently accepted for publication at XYZ Publishing, and I have a short story in XYZ Publishing’s XYZ Anthology. Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.

Congrats on the upcoming release!!!! Let EE know when it's near it's release date so we can go pre-order ;o)

Sincerely,
A Writer

My Revised Version

Drawing on the timeless elements of "Beauty and Beast" and Marie de France's "Bisclavret", THE BEAUTY'S BEAST is a fantasy romance complete at 80,000 words. I think it will fit well in your Sweetheart Line.

Lady Kathryn’s father sends her to court to find a husband, but being penniless and disinterested doesn't bode well for her success. Bored by the petty intrigues of court, her frustration and loneliness are eased when the king charges her with the care of his newest acquisition: a wolf he and his hunters have recently captured. What the king doesn't realize is his novelty pet was once Gabriel, his favorite knight, cursed into wolf form by an unfaithful wife.

The beast's too-knowing eyes and the way he understands and responds to her every utterance convinces Kathryn he is more than what he seems. Resolving to restore him, she doesn't count on the greatest obstacle being Gabriel himself. The longer he stays in wolf form and a captive of the court, the harder it is for him to remember his humanity and not give himself over to his wolfish urges to maim and kill.

As Gabriel and Kathryn grow to care for one another despite his horrific curse, rumors of an uncanny wolf reach the ears of Gabriel’s former wife and her unscrupulous new husband, Reynard. Together, they plan to dispose of the king's pet, knowing if Gabriel ever regains his human form he could strip them of everything they have schemed so hard to gain.

Only Kathryn's love and determination stands between Gabriel the wolf and Gabriel the man. But when Reynard and Gabriel meet, will it be enough to keep Gabriel from exacting a brutish revenge that will condemn the wolf to death?

2 comments:

e-d-walker said...

Author here.

OMG! I love the revision. Love it!

Anonymous said...

The Divine Miss P jerks another one right out of the ball park! Amazing. Bibi