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  1. #1
    Amy Lou
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    Query Help - Another attempt

    I have tried to take all the comments from before and incorporate them into this query by showing you Chloe and what she must do. That she is the one in control of her destiny. Not Phoenix. I would love some honest feedback from those of you who have helped me so graciously before. Don't be afraid to burst my bubble.
    Amy


    Dear Agent,

    A lot can happen in a year, and Chloe has learned a few things along the way. Her failed marriage was nothing more than young love and a ticket out of a depressed town. She was wrong about Maggie's fiancé, a man once thought of as a gorgeous idiot has now become smart and considerate. She has also fallen in love with Phoenix, and she knows he’s hiding something.

    However, there are some things Chloe doesn’t know. Phoenix is a nephilim ordained to deceive a woman into producing an heir and offer her soul to his master, Lucifer. The moment Phoenix meets Chloe; he vows to protect her from his iniquities even if it means betraying his legion and suffering eternal damnation as a servant in hell. He has a plan to shield her from his bloodline, including the fallen angel that is engaged to Maggie. By showing Chloe the wickedness that created him, he’s certain this will send her running in the opposite direction. He never expected her to stick around.

    Once Chloe witnesses the corruptness Phoenix has been hiding, he insists that she flee to safety, leaving everything behind, including Maggie, but that’s not an option. She loves him too much to live without him. Besides, she must save Maggie from the fallen angel she’s blinded by. When Phoenix’s legion becomes suspicious of his agenda regarding Chloe, she will sacrifice her safety to protect the only man she has ever loved and the friend that has been there through it all, even if the cost is her life, and Phoenix will deny the only existence he’s ever known to stop her from offering it.



  2. #2
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    I don't know Chole, the opening is not grabbing me.
    I think I'd change the opening line(s) to something like this:

    To say Chloe is unlucky in love would be a real understatement. Her husband was a drunk/abusive/lazy/gambler (whatever fits) and her new love is a fallen angel sent to kill her. As this rate, if she survives Phoenix, her next lover will likely be Lucifer.

    (it's not great but it get to the point quicker)

    See what others say.
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  3. #3
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    Not loving it, Amy. Not even liking it.

    You say that you revised it to be about Chloe, but the entire second paragraph is once again about Phoenix.

    You can't make Chloe the protagonist just by saying that she is. She either is or she isn't. And if she is the protagonist, then your query needs to focus on her. What she wants, what's in her way of getting what she wants and what she does about it.

    How far into your novel does Chloe flee?

  4. #4
    Amy Lou
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    ARG to you both!! Just kidding. Thanks for your honesty. Chloe flees about the fourth chapter from the ending. But she is tracked by Alastor and taken. I'm just so lost...........

  5. #5
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    Amy,

    I've heard that there's a lot more leeway in romances when it comes to character arc. But you still need one, right?

    Again I don't get one here.

    A lot can happen in a year, and Chloe has learned a few things along the way. Her failed marriage was nothing more than young love and a ticket out of a depressed town.

    So our first insight into C. She let love sweep her away and used a relationship to change her circumstances. But she's realize her stupidity in this last year. Presumably, she's learned that love ain't everything and that she can move to a new town without a man.


    She was wrong about Maggie's fiancé, a man once thought of as a gorgeous idiot has now become smart and considerate.


    Our second insight is that she lacks good judgement about people or maybe just men.


    She has also fallen in love with Phoenix, and she knows he’s hiding something.


    Oh, no. I thought she already learned that love isn't bus ticket to happiness. But you tell me she's fallen for someone we know nothing about except he's dishonest or at least secretive. So she didn't learn anything from dismal-town boy?

    To sum up, C is a heart before mind sort, who isn't quick to solve her own problems and lacks the ability to judge well. That's great. A nice mix of pretty common problems young women have.

    But then you have to deal with these shortcomings.

    Let's see how you do it.



    Once Chloe witnesses the corruptness Phoenix has been hiding....She loves him too much to live without him.


    That's just more of the same -- heart before mind, poor judgement, so needy for love that she'd like actually keep dating a guy who was a minion of Lucifer -- there's no change in her character, although we've discovered her desperation for love is a lot more, I don't know, icky. Just to give you a perspective. You know how we're all aghast at the women who go back to men who hit them because they're in love? We've all had a girlfriend or two say that, right? And we all make that face and don't know what to say. Well, here you have a woman sticking with some kind of demon thing because she's in love. It kinda makes the reader cringe. Not that that's bad. Readers should cringe, but I don't get the feeling here that the author intends the reader to cringe. I get the feeling that the author wants me to admire such a choice. Perhaps this is simply a problem in the voice you're using in this Q. Don't know.

    Besides, she must save Maggie from the fallen angel she’s blinded by.

    This sounds potentially ennobling. But you didn't set up that C had failed M before or that she'd been selfish with her friends so this line seems to come out of nowhere. All your main character's flaws seemed to be around foolish love and lack of judgement.

    ... she will sacrifice her safety to protect the only man she has ever loved and the friend WHO has been there through it all, even if the cost is her life


    This is really the same thing but ramped up, now she's not just willing to stick around, she's willing to die. Remember what you're asking us to believe: that your main character is willing do die rather than live without the love of an evil creature. Not a far cry from where she was at the beginning. Remember? She married someone who wasn't right for her because she was in love. Downfall mindless need for love at the start; downfall mindless need for love at the end.

    Does that make sense? I know romances allow writers to put a lot more stress on romantic love as more all consuming and transcendent than other genres. But I think you still need a character arc that feels a little redemptive -- for the protagonist.

    Perhaps asking yourself why your C is such a ditz as to get involved with one guy because she felt all swimmingly around him and wanted out of town and another guy because -- well, you don't give us anything about him that's worth falling for. What's C's failing? What's at stake for her if she doesn't get her **** together and get past it or learn to use it? What prize does she get if she does?

    BTW, I thought Raven's opener was cute, although obviously not at all your voice.

  6. #6
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    I still feel the story is with Phoenix and when he meets Chloe, with all her faults, someting changes in HIM
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  7. #7
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    A lot can happen in a year, and Chloe has learned a few things along the way.

    Would this opening senence make you want to read more? I don't think so. It's so generic. Yes, we all know a lot happens in a year, and we all hope we've learned something.

    I doubt that you like it, either.

  8. #8
    Amy Lou
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    Okay, you guys must clearly think I've lost my mind. The bright side is I now have a perfect example of what not to do. I am obviously not getting it! The character arch, the change she must make and all that other stuff. I JUST CANT GET IT. Satyrical Ravin, I too love your hook, I see how you just put it out there. I am holding back and it's boring. I also can't make Phoenix my protag, he doesn't come into the book really until chapter 12. LOL
    CK - I am going to go back over your comments. I get it, I painted her once again as pathetic. A lame protag.
    Leslee - I really did think this was good, really. But I was mistaken. It's interesting how once you post something, it becomes clear that it sucks.

    I really don't want to waste anyone's time and I appreciate all of your comments, they are helping even though it seems like it's not.
    Thanks again gals, you are all so awesome!
    Amy

  9. #9
    Amy Lou
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    Thank you Simon Says, I agree with everything you are telling me, I just can't seem to execute it.
    B)

  10. #10
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    Re: Query Help - Another attempt

    Amy,

    I think you've missed my point. (Or I've missed yours, which isn't comfortable for me so let's ignore that possibility.( One has to have a pathetic protagonist! The more pathetic the better, often. We don't care for stories of perfect characters or even characters who are so passive that all the imperfection in their lives can be blamed on others or circumstances. You've got a royally messed up main character. She's perhaps delightful in her patheticness. The thing is that you, the narrator of this Q, don't seem to realize it. The reader feels he's reading behind (beyond?) the writer's intent. That's no good. It leaves readers wanting to mock the character but feeling guilty because the author, apparently, isn't onboard with us. We're all uncomfortable.

    Don't be afraid to give us a pathetic character. Just deal with her patheticness in the plot. You don't have to fix her; you don't have to do anything but continually force her to deal with her flaw(s) in the plot. And, of course, give a curve a tension to it all.

    Oh, I just realized that maybe you've confused a "strong" character with an "unflawed" character. Strong characters are strong not in the sense of the sort of wise friend we'd go to talk out a problem because she's so arrived. In literature, strong characters are those that burst onto the page in the all the glory of their weaknesses. They demand readers to identify with their weaknesses.

    Or maybe I have misunderstood you.

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