Monday, January 17, 2011

Query 20: Redux

Redemption

Dear Agent:

BANE THOMAS knows a thing or two about demons; in fact, as soon as they succeed in killing him, he’ll become one. Which is why an Armistice Zone, an area of land where demons can do no harm, would be a god send, and rumor has it twenty-year-old REIGHLYN ANDERSON has such a zone somewhere on her property. The problem is – she’s not selling!

Bane finances Reighlyn’s crisis center in hopes to persuade her to sell, but instead falls in love with her. After Reighlyn witnesses what can only be explained as reading minds, manipulating thoughts, and super human powers, its clear there’s something different about Bane, but she doesn’t care; she’s in love with him. That is- until she discovers he’s the capitalist pig after her land and throws him out on his ass, love or not.

In an attempt to explain his deceit, Bane reveals a secret he’s never told anyone; he’s a descendant of The Watchers. But with that truth come dangers, and soon a punished demon arrives, determined to use Reighlyn’s death as a means to gain Satan’s forgiveness. And after a successful kidnapping, Bane’s in a race against time and a battle against evil to rescue the one person he never thought could literally exist - his soul mate.

REDEMPTION is a complete 93,000-word Paranormal Romance. At your request, I’d be happy to provide sample chapters and a more detailed synopsis. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Comments

This version is SO MUCH better than the last. Great job in getting it focused down. Now for the tweaking.

BANE THOMAS knows a thing or two about demons; in fact, as soon as they succeed in killing him, he’ll become one.

Good hook!

There's some debate whether character names should be capped on first mention in a synopsis, but in a query, I think the consensus is not to.

Which is why an Armistice Zone, an area of land where demons can do no harm, would be a god send, and rumor has it twenty-year-old REIGHLYN ANDERSON has such a zone somewhere on her property.

I would divide this sentence into two. Depending how you do that, the last half could be combined with the next sentence: Which is why an armistice zone -- land where demons can do harm -- would be a god send. Rumor has it Reighlyn Anderson has such a zone on her property; problem is, she's not selling.

And because we don't know Bane's age why is it necessary for us to know Reighlyn's? If she were very young or very old, it might be more telling -- or might be needed to categorize it as Adult, New Adult or YA. As it is, "New Adult" hasn't quite caught on yet, and if that's the audience, it should be mentioned later when you tell us the genre. In fact, one could start wondering how old Bane is that he's bankrolling her - the query makes him sound older than he likely is.

The problem is – she’s not selling!

Be very conservative with exclams. You've told us this is a problem, so I don't think you need to oversell it with punctuation.

Bane finances Reighlyn’s crisis center in hopes to persuade her to sell, but instead falls in love with her.

Why "but instead"? Does he cut off the financing? Does he not want her to sell any longer? Does his falling in love negate all that?

After Reighlyn witnesses what can only be explained as reading minds, manipulating thoughts, and super human powers, its clear there’s something different about Bane, but she doesn’t care; she’s in love with him.

I don't think the "it's clear there's something different about Bane" works here. It's pretty redundant after that list of things he can do. The "she doesn't care" bit also seems a little flippant. WHY wouldn't she care? I think the answer to that will give us greater insight into her.

That is- until she discovers he’s the capitalist pig after her land and throws him out on his ass, love or not.

I'm not loving "capitalist pig" here. Maybe it sounds dated?

What does "That is" counter? The sentence before, we're left with R being in love with him, and this sentence ends with the implication that she still loves him. "That is" is a fine convention to use in a query; it just needs to tie thoughts together logically. In this case, it would work had the sentence before said something like: "...she's in love with him and thinking about how his ring would look on her finger." That way she's thinking about marriage before her discovery and afterward she's not.

In an attempt to explain his deceit, Bane reveals a secret he’s never told anyone; he’s a descendant of The Watchers.

Unless Bane makes several attempts to explain, you can safely delete "In an attempt." "Secret" implies not telling, so "he's never told anyone" can be deleted (also, the semicolon would work better as a colon or dash). Still, how important is it that we know it's a "secret"? How about just "Bane reveals"?

So I expect the revelation to be something meaningful; instead, I'm told he's a descendant of The Watchers. First, does being a descendant of them make him one, too? Is he a Watcher or not? Second, what's a Watcher? Is it like The Watchers in Buffy who train their charges or in Highlander, folk who record but can't interfere with the people they're charged to watch? And do all Watchers have supernatural abilities? A reader will expect the revelation to be followed by at least a couple of words to explain what it means.

But with that truth come dangers, and soon a punished demon arrives, determined to use Reighlyn’s death as a means to gain Satan’s forgiveness.

The setup at the beginning of this sentence makes it sound like cause-and-effect. That because Bane revealed the truth, the demon arrives. What I think you're meaning is that because Bane's a Watcher he's always in danger and the demon's coming is predicated on Bane being what he is, not because he revealed the secret.

We need a little more about why the demon happens to target Reighlyn. I'm thinking that she can be used somehow against Bane; otherwise, why does the demon kidnap her and not just kill her if she has to die to satiate Satan? Or does the demon kidnap her so Satan can kill her? Basically, why is she kidnapped and not just killed?

And after a successful kidnapping, Bane’s in a race against time and a battle against evil to rescue the one person he never thought could literally exist - his soul mate.

I think "literally" is misplaced here. The reader needs to understand that "soul mate" is not just a euphemism, and that if R dies, her death will have some sort of a physical impact on Bane. Will he die too?

At this point, you'll also want to let the reader know how your really good hook at the beginning plays into Bane's decisions here at the end.

REDEMPTION is a complete 93,000-word Paranormal Romance. At your request, I’d be happy to provide sample chapters and a more detailed synopsis. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Make that "completed". I would delete two of the last three sentences -- of the ones offered, I would delete the "At your request" sentence since the agent will decide if she wants samples or a synopsis and the "I look forward" sentence. Honestly, after seeing word count and genre and that it's completed, I'm sure most agents won't even read the rest expecting it to be the same as everyone else's close. So the shorter the sweeter.

I think you have the right direction now with the format of this query. By getting rid of some of the redundant words and ideas, you'll free up some space to give us just a little more characterization of R and a little more motivation for the demon.

6 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

This is looking good.

Two things stood out for me: in para 2 I'm not sure you need "what can only be explained as", and in the third para I don't see that it matters why the demon is out to get him. The phrase "a punished demon" didn't really work for me.

Good luck with the final few tweaks.

Amy said...

Well, I've made a few corrections. My only issue now is that everything I'm pasting is only 233 words. I know I should probably build character up a bit, but when I try it goes way over the 250 mark. So I'm thinking I should leave it like this.

Dear Agent:

Bane Thomas knows a thing or two about demons; in fact, as soon as they succeed in killing him, he’ll become one. Which is why an Armistice Zone, an area of land where demons can do no harm, would be a god send, and rumor is twenty-year-old Reighlyn Anderson has such a zone somewhere on her property. The problem is - she’s not selling.

To manipulate her into selling, Bane finances her crisis center. Though fails to reveal he’s the despised developer after her land, and is reluctant to correct the mistake once he realizes he’s in love with her, and she with him. But when Reighlyn witnesses Bane’s super human abilities, and discovers he lied, she severs all ties with him.

To explain his deceit, Bane reveals he’s a descendant of The Watchers, angels who bred with humans creating a hybrid offspring called Nephilim, and he’s cursed to become a demon. With his heritage come dangers and Bane must choose to let Reighlyn go for her own safety, or risk her life to have her in his. And when a demon arrives determined to use Reighlyn as a means to capture Bane into Satan’s servitude, Bane’s forced to battle against evil to rescue his soul mate, regardless of what the end could mean for him.

REDEMPTION is a completed 93,000-word Paranormal Romance. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Matt said...

Grammar has many different styles so you can take or leave my suggestions on punctuation.

Too many commas in the first paragraph -- maybe put the parenthetical after "Armistice Zone" between two dashes.

Delete the dash after "The problem is." You can either leave the sentence as a whole or replace "is" with a colon.

Second paragraph: The first two sentences need to be combined into one. A good way to do this would be to delete "To manipulate her into selling" and changing the period after "center" to a comma.

Wilkins MacQueen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilkins MacQueen said...

Writer, getting better.

I'd make the first two sentences stronger.

Bane Thomas knows a thing or two about demons. When they kill him he’ll become one.

Armistice Zone is a plot of land where demons are impotent and that would be a real asset for Bane at this moment. Twenty-year-old Reighlyn Anderson has a zone on her property. She’s not selling.

IMHO the opening needs harder language. Armistice means "a state of peace agreed to between opponents so they can discuss peace terms".

May want to consider a name change unless there are peace terms under discussion.
Hope that helps and good luck. I want you to hit me with your best and hardest shot.

Congrats, much better. It's ALIVE! but needs some tough love. IMHO.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Bane Thomas knows a thing or two about demons. When they kill him he’ll become one.

Nope. Let me try again.

Bane Thomas knows a thing or two about demons. When they kill him he’s going to join the brotherhood.

A little better.