Monday, December 13, 2010

Query 46

One Fang

Dear [agent’s name]

Hannah is a young lady destined for the Tudor Court until she wakes in the family vault with a hunger for blood. She doesn’t believe life could get worse. But when a monstrous assailant rips out one of her fangs and catapults her back into the Dark Ages, she must roll up her sleeves and fight like a fishwife to survive.

Trapped in a medieval world, where knights slay blood-drinkers and towns are too small to hide in, she plays a desperate game of cat and mouse with an ancient vampyre who enthrals lesser kin as witless slaves. When Hannah learns of a possible cure for her affliction, the stakes change. She must track the ancient enemy to his lair, discover his secrets and destroy him.

A handsome young knight may be the only one who can help her but he’s only one step ahead of a hangman’s noose. Their only chance of survival is to find a way to work together – as long as they don’t kill each other first.

One Fang is a YA paranormal romance, complete at 85,000 words.

Comments

Well, it is an interesting take on time-traveling vampires to have Hannah start out in Tudor England and go back to the Dark Ages. Although, save for the reference to "fishwife," I'm not sure I get a feel for the Tudor Hannah.

It also feels a little heavy on the clichés. Since it's a bit short, I think you have some wiggle room here to give us a better feel for Hannah and the eras.

Hannah is a young lady destined for the Tudor Court until she wakes in the family vault with a hunger for blood.

This is a nice economical way to establish time period and her change into a vampire.

She doesn’t believe life could get worse.

This cliché, though, negates the nice setup.

But when a monstrous assailant rips out one of her fangs and catapults her back into the Dark Ages,

Huh? Is there a reason she's catapulted back? Did the ripping out of her fang trigger the time slip? Is the assailant a master of time? There seems to be no reason she's suddenly flung back in time.

she must roll up her sleeves and fight like a fishwife to survive.

I like "fight like a fishwife," but the overall phrasing makes it sound like life would have been simpler if she'd stayed in her own time.

Trapped in a medieval world, where knights slay blood-drinkers and towns are too small to hide in,

This is good.

she plays a desperate game of cat and mouse with an ancient vampyre who enthrals lesser kin as witless slaves.

The "desperate game of cat and mouse" is another cliché that you could probably show us instead. Does this vampyre have a connection to the time traveling? Is he luring others from different times? What is he slaving them for?

When Hannah learns of a possible cure for her affliction, the stakes change. She must track the ancient enemy to his lair, discover his secrets and destroy him.

Again, this all feels a bit too cliché in the writing. Also, I take it she doesn't like being a vampire. She wants to become human again. But we haven't seen anything really here to show us that. Actually, being thrown back in time seems to be more distasteful to Hannah than being a vampire, but there doesn't seem to be a way back to her era – or a choice to stay or not.

A handsome young knight may be the only one who can help her but he’s only one step ahead of a hangman’s noose.

Why would he be able to help her and is he someone the reader can root for? Being handsome seems enough to make a character sympathetic these days, but if he's a serial killer who deserves the noose, the reader may think differently about him.

Their only chance of survival is to find a way to work together – as long as they don’t kill each other first.

A slayer falling in love with the thing he normally hunts is almost de rigueur now. "Work together before they kill each other" is serviceable but also cliché writing. What about this relationship takes it to the next level?

One Fang is a YA paranormal romance, complete at 85,000 words.

My Revision

The time travel bit is still a loose end in my version, but maybe it will give you some ideas for editing out some of the clichés (one or two are OK to leave in) and giving the reader a little more grounding in the world building and character motivations.

Hannah is a proper young lady destined for the Tudor Court -- until she wakes in the family vault with a hunger for blood. If the transition from a diet of roasted capon and quince pie weren't bad enough, she now has enemies far nastier than a ballroom of bored barons playing at intrigue. In fact, the monstrous assailant who corners her and rips out one of her fangs catapults her back into the Dark Ages – as bait for his powerful master.

Trapped in a medieval world where knights slay blood-drinkers and towns are too small to hide in, Hannah must fight like a fishwife to survive. The ancient vampyre who hauled her back is determined to enthrall her -- along with the rest of his lesser kin – and use his slaved army to do X. The once-pampered noble finds herself scrounging plague-infested streets trying to stay ahead of his henchmen. But when Hannah learns there may be a cure for her affliction, she has to change her tactics. The vampyre master guards the secret, and to possess it, Hannah must track him down and destroy him.

A handsome young knight [falsely accused of murder] has the X to help her, but he's only one step ahead of the hangman's noose. She can clear him of the murder, but won't until he agrees to help. Their only chance for survival is to find a way to work together – as long as they don’t kill each other first.

ONE FANG is a YA paranormal with romantic elements, complete at 85,000 words.

4 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

I was confused about Tudor time, medieval times and the Dark Ages but then I'm not a history buff. It's just that I thought that the Dark Ages preceded medieval times.

I love the first line of this!

Matt said...

FH, the dark ages are the early years of medieval times.

I didn't care for the fishwife analogy. Do you mean fishwives literally have to fight to survive or figuratively? Either way I don't see how it relates to the voice of a time-traveling vampire. Analogies and metaphors are supposed to make things easier to understand.

I'm torn as to weather time-traveling hurts this book or makes it stand out.

fairyhedgehog said...

I think that in Britain the Dark Ages are usually taken to refer to the time between the Romans leaving around 400AD and the Norman Conquest in 1066AD. See Britannica. I suppose it only matters for a UK readership.

Phoenix said...

I've always personally referred to the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages differently (along FHH's line of reasoning), except there was cross-over in my medieval lit classes and in my SCA role-play. And in my medieval women's historical that takes place in the Dark Ages.

Considering the average PERCEPTION, maybe best to just use Dark Ages in the query since some people might want to lump Tudor times in with medieval as well.