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  1. #1
    Amy Lou
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    Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    I would love some feedback on my query letter. Thank you so much for your help. Now I'm off to critique someone else.
    Amy


    Dear Agent,

    Created to offer redemption to the one that will forsake his kind, Chloe will understand the language of the dead, for she is the chosen one.*

    Chloe falls for him instantly. *Phoenix is the dark shadow in the back of a crowded room, different from the other predictable men she's been set up with. There's a torment dwelling within him that Chloe longs to comfort. Protective yet gentle, Phoenix is the one that will heal her wounded heart.

    Son to a fallen angel, yet born from a human mother, Phoenix is a nephilim, created to continue his father's lineage. *Like his brothers, he is ordained to deceive a woman by producing an heir within the bonds of marriage and offering her soul to his master, Lucifer.

    Broken and abandoned, Chloe is the type his kind prey on.* But when Phoenix is introduced to Chloe, he struggles with his predestination as she awakens an unfamiliar emotion in him, the ability to love. *How do the others not see her value? Chloe is the Angelus Adonai, a messenger of God. *Her destruction should be his first priority, yet the moment their eyes meet Phoenix vows to protect her from his legion, betraying his bloodline and his master for one of God's creations. *

    As their forbidden love develops, Chloe discovers the world of fallen angles that long for her soul and the one vowing to protect her from his iniquities. *If their bond is discovered, Chloe will face annihilation at the hands of his legion, and Phoenix will be forced to suffer eternal condemnation as a servant of Hell. *Chloe will do all that she can to keep their love a secret, even if it means sacrificing her life, and Phoenix will give up the only existence he's ever known to stop Chloe from doing so. *

    SPIRITS AND FLESH is a paranormal romance novel, complete at 100,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.



  2. #2
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    Amy,

    I see real issues here that I think will deter an agent from considering your work. Here's comments (in caps) on the first few paragraphs...


    Created to offer redemption to the one that WHO will forsake his kind, Chloe will understand the language of the dead, for she is the chosen one. IF I'M AN AGENT, I STOP READING RIGHT THERE. "CREATED TO OFFER REDEMPTION TO THE ONE THAT WILL FORSAKE HIS KIND" IS MEANINGLESS AND VAGUE. "CHLOE WILL UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE OF THE DEAD" HAS NO APPARENT CONNECTION TO THE FIRST CLAUSE AND THE READER IS LOST. "FOR SHE IS THE CHOSEN ONE" IS A GLARING CLICHE. THIS DOESN'T HEIGHTEN THE READER'S INTEREST, IT GIVES THE READER A VERY NEGATIVE IMPRESSION OF YOUR WRITING

    Chloe falls for him instantly. IT'S A MISTAKE TO REFER TO "HIM" WITHOUT FIRST LETTING THE READER KNOW WHO THE "HIM" IS. ALSO, IF IT'S A ROMANCE, WHY DOES SHE FALL FOR HIM INSTANTLY? THE READER IS GOING TO WANT TO SEE THE ATTRACTION DEVELOP INTO A RELATIONSHIP - THIS SUGGESTS THE ROMANTIC TENSION IS GONE BEFORE THE STORY EVEN STARTS Phoenix is the dark shadow in the back of a crowded room, CLICHE different from the other predictable men she's been set up with. HUGE CLICHE There's a torment dwelling within him that Chloe longs to comfort. TELLS US NOTHING AND IS ANOTHER ENORMOUS CLICHE Protective yet gentle, Phoenix is the one that will heal her wounded heart. VAGUE, UNINTERESTING

    Son to a fallen angel, yet born from a human mother, Phoenix is a nephilim, created to continue his father's lineage. DON'T ALL CHILDREN CONTINUE THEIR FATHERS' LINEAGES? Like his brothers, WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT HIS BROTHERS? he is ordained to deceive a woman by producing an heir within the bonds of marriage DON'T KNOW THAT YOU NEED THE "WITHIN THE BONDS OF MARRIAGE" BIT and offering her soul to his master, Lucifer. SO...IS HE GOING TO SACRIFICE HER OR SOMETHING?


    Amy, this is going to come across as harsh, but I think you need to step back and work on your writing. Based on the above, I suspect your manuscript is not at the level needed for querying.

    Good luck, though!

    JH

  3. #3
    Amy Lou
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    Wow, I guess I asked for it. I need to take a moment and digest......

    Okay --- Seriously, thank you for your constructive comments. They are harsh, but I can take it. I thought I had something fantastic and have been working on this for months just to get it to this point. LOL I do see all of your points and the cliches that make up the majority of my query. I never thought of them as such, but I get it. Now I'm just sick. I have posted on another forum and received feedback that helped me to construct this. So now I'm a little lost. My writing is better than this query BTH. Thanks again for your time and thought provoking comments.
    Amy

  4. #4
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    Amy,

    Don't get discouraged; having someone rip apart your writing is one of the best opportunities to learn and become a better writer. Take another look at your manuscript and decide whether your writing is really up to snuff or if you need to go back to the drawing board.

    Once you're sure you're ready to query, try laying out the story in simple, human terms. Don't get bedazzled by the fact that one character is a nephilim or the fact that another is a messenger of God. Instead, focus on what happens in stripped-down terms, along the lines of: girl meets boy from wrong side of the tracks, they instantly fall in love, he decides to leave his gang for her. Is there enough there to make a compelling heart of a story? If not, all the diabolical relations and divine wars in the world aren't going to be enough to carry a reader along.

    If there is enough to make a good story, structure your query in those stripped-down terms - and then add just enough so the reader knows the bad boy is a nephilim and not one of the Jets.

    Good luck.

    JH

  5. #5
    Amy Lou
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    Love the Jet's joke. LOL

    Thanks for your comments and ideas. I went back to my original queries from a year ago and although they are terrible, it was fresh and more of what you are talking about. If I post again in the future I hope you will give me another critique. This time I'll be prepared.

    Amy

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    Amy, here's a few of my suggestions:

    Created to offer redemption to the one that will forsake his kind, Chloe will understand the language of the dead, for she is the chosen one. This really doesn't make any sense.

    [s]Chloe falls for him instantly.[/s] Phoenix is the dark shadow in the back of a crowded room, different from the other predictable men she's been [s]set up[/s] with. There's a torment dwelling within him that Chloe longs to comfort. Protective yet gentle, Phoenix is the one that will heal her wounded heart. What or who wounded her heart? If it's just a backstory, leave this whole sentence out.

    [s]Son to a fallen angel, yet born from a human mother,[/s] (Nephilim are always the offspring of a fallen angel and a human mother. You could leave this first sentence out, and the next sentence would still be understood. But if you instant on stating the obvious then: Son of a fallen angel and a human mother, ) Phoenix is a nephilim, created to continue his father's lineage. Like his brothers, he is ordained to deceive a woman [s]by[/s] into producing an heir, [s]within the bonds of marriage[/s] and then offering her soul to his master, Lucifer.

    Broken and abandoned, Chloe is the type his kind prey on. But [s]when Phoenix is introduced to Chloe,[/s] he struggles with his [s]predestination[/s] destiny as she awakens an unfamiliar emotion in him, the ability to love. How do the others not see her value? (What others? ) Chloe is the Angelus Adonai, a messenger of God. Her destruction should be his first priority, yet the moment their eyes meet Phoenix vows to protect her from his legion, betraying his bloodline and his master for one of God's creations.

    As their forbidden love develops, Chloe discovers Phoenix' true nature and a world of fallen [s]angles[/s] (angels) that long for her soul [s]and the one vowing to protect her from his iniquities[/s]. If their bond is discovered, Chloe will face annihilation at the hands of his legion, and Phoenix will be forced to suffer eternal condemnation as a servant of Hell. (If Phoenix' master is Satan, then he's already a servant of Hell. ) Chloe will do all that she can to keep their love a secret, even if it means sacrificing her life, (why and how does she have to sacrifice her life?) and Phoenix will give up the only existence he's ever known to stop Chloe from doing so.

    SPIRITS AND FLESH is a 100,000-word paranormal romance novel[s], complete at 100,000 words[/s](it had better be complete before you query!). Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Again, just my suggestions. Good luck.

    Lea

  7. #7
    Amy Lou
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    Hi Lea,
    Thank you so much for your helpful insight. It's obvious I have a lot of questions I don't answer in my query. With a new pair of eyes reading it, it seems like I am not being very clear. There is back story as to why Chloe is "broken" and my very first query letter showed that. She's experienced a stillbirth and wanted a child so badly that her five year marriage falls apart. Her best friend takes Chloe under her wing but keeps setting her up with guys just like her best friends fiance. Not Chloe's type until she is introduced to Phoenix. What Chloe or her best friend Maggie don't know is that Maggie's fiance is a fallen angel and his friends, including Phoenix are really his sons, the Nephilim. And that is where my query picks up, because I was told by many to leave all the other backstory out. That a divorced, depressed, lonely girl is cliche. LOL Sorry for the long response.
    Again, thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
    Amy

  8. #8
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    But Amy ~ with this paragraph I actually begin to understand what is going on!! It may not be polished, and not ready to send off, but I like it a lot better than the initial query. Really;

    I think it needs a little more explanations, but all in all I think it does a much better job explaining your novel than the other query you presented. Maybe you get too nerveous when you know a lot is at stake?

    Because the part above seems to flow much better, be much more natural.

    Is your book all finished?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    Amy, they were right. For your QL you want to focus on the main story and stay away from any back stories. That'll come out as people read the story. But for now, it's not really needed in the QL. Queries are hard. Keep trying.

  10. #10
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    Re: Query Critique - Paranormal Romance

    "Created to offer redemption to the one that will forsake his kind, Chloe will understand the language of the dead, for she is the chosen one."

    Read that sentence aloud. "His kind?" Who is he? All you give us is Chloe. This is a completely confusing opening sentence.

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