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  1. #1
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    Death has a Daughter Query help

    Dear Agent:

    Some call them the angels of death. Cendall prefers reaper, but if you want to be technical you can throw the word grim in front of her name. Humans view her as evil, but there are two sides to every story, and she canít wait to get out training and start checking off her list.

    DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is young adult paranormal novel complete at 61,000 words.

    Cendallís job description was a simple one; Fight against guardians angels to collect human souls when they become vulnerable. Itís at these vulnerable times, that a battle is raging on between two forces that are invisible to the human eye. When the guardian angels side wins, you hear miracle stories of humans escaping death. When Cendallís side wins, thereís only an obituary to follow.

    Having already accomplished the goal of being the only female to earn the title of grim reaper, Cendallís eager to battle any guardians that attempt to protect the souls on her first list. Nothing though, could have prepared her for the unique challenge of collecting Lacieís soul. Her soul is protected by multiple guardians, wanted by demons, and she can do the impossible: see Cendall. It's a soul that screams, "extremely experienced reaper needed", but Cendall refuses to ask for help, afraid it would make her look unfit for the job. This ends up being the first mistake in a long list of reaper rules broken. That leaves Cendall blackmailed into working with her natural born enemy, to protect a soul that sheíll eventually need to check off her list. As the consequence of not completing her list would mean losing the job sheís been training for her entire life.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. As requested the first ten pages of DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is below.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    A few initial thoughts:

    I like the general premise; it's something that I might actually read, although you'll have to clean up some things first.

    You might consider capitalizing "Angel of Death" and "Reaper" (or "Grim Reaper"), since you're essentially treating these as job titles. "Grim" would go in front of the "Reaper" part, not her name. She's not Grim Cendall.

    Your title and word count would typically go at the end of the query, not in the middle.

    Your punctuation is a bit off, and you need to keep the tense consistent throughout. Stick to present tense for a query.

    I'm not sure about addressing the reader in a query. It can work, but the bulk of your description doesn't leverage or require it. I'd reword things to remove the "you" if you can.

    The premise really isn't coming out clearly, unfortunately. I gather that the moment of death (or just before, actually) represents a contest between the reapers and the angels, and whoever wins gets the soul. What's not clear is why this is happening, and what the consequences of success and failure are, especially for Cendall. What happens if she fails to get everyone on her list? Surely every reaper can't be 100% successful, so why is Cendall's situation different? Who's blackmailing her, and what sort of leverage does this person (presumably one of the angels) have? Again, why are the consequences of failure so dire that she has to go along with this, digging herself deeper into a hole?

    Is being a reaper literally a job? Is Cendall a regular girl who applied for an open position, or was she recruited for the job, or is that what happens when the reaper wins? Can she be fired, and, if so, what would happen to her?

    Tell us something about how Cendall got into this position in the first place, what problems she's facing in the story, and what the consequences of failure are. Those are the key elements of a good query.

  3. #3
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    What Gil said. Is that bold and blunt enough?

    Actually, I'd also axe that first paragraph - it doesn't say much of anything. Just put "As an Angel of Death, or Reaper," in front of your third paragraph.

  4. #4
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    Your story sounds great! I agree with not using "you" in this query; it just doesn't work. I think if you stick mainly to your MC this will be a lot crisper. Who she is, what she wants, what's in her way. Definitely cut the first paragraph, you can try to thread your points in while showing exactly how they affect your MC instead of floating separately as they are in the present version. But all in all I don't think you're that far off the mark, just needs more focus.

  5. #5
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    Query-Death has a Daughter 2nd edition

    Thank you guys for the help above.
    I hope this clears up some of the issues
    Looking for any feedback good or bad


    Dear Agent,


    Cendall, the only female Grim Rever born, has one year to prove to her fellow Reapers that she deserves the role.

    Fresh out of training Cendall decides the only way to prove herself is to be the first of her class to collect all the souls on her list. The only things standing in her way (besides the critics), are the Guardian Angels that protect human souls so that reapers canít take them. After sixteen years of training though, Cendall feels eager and ready to battle any Guardians that attempt to protect the souls on her list.

    However, nothing could have prepared her for the unique challenge of collecting Lacieís soul. Her soul is protected by multiple Guardians, wanted by Demons, and she can do the impossible: see Cendall. Lacieís soul screams, "Extremely experienced Reaper needed." Cendall refuses to ask for help, afraid it would make her look unfit for the job.

    When she attempts to collect the soul, a Demon crashes the party. Cendall attempts to leave but not before accidently saving the soul when she tries to teleport to another location. With the knowledge of knowing sheíll be immediately terminated for her mistake, the souls injured Guardian Angel Trevor, blackmails Cendall into working with them. He tells her that in exchange for his silence, Cendall must help protect the soul until he is fully healed. Cendall reluctantly agrees, but only after they agree that once the Guardian is healed all bets are off and she can again get to checking Lacie off her list. As the consequence of not completing her list, would mean proving to her fellow reapers that they were right. She is in fact unfit for the role of a Grim Reaper.

    DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is young adult paranormal novel complete at 61,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Pretty fat and murky. Read it chopped by a third:

    Cendall is the only female Grim Reaper ever born. Fresh out of training, she decides to prove to her fellow Reapers that she is worthy of the position by being first in her class to collect all the souls on her list. Though Guardian Angels protect human souls from Reapers, Cendall is eager and ready for battle.

    But training couldn’t prepare her for Lacie - a soul protected by multiple Guardians and desired by Demons. Plus, Lacie exhibits a unique ability; she can see Cendall. The job demands an experienced Reaper, but Cendall refuses to ask for help, afraid other Reapers might think her weak and unfit.

    She attempts to collect Lacie’s soul, but a Demon crashes the party, and Cendall accidently saves the soul and injures a Guardian Angel named Trevor. Realizing Cendall fears termination for her mistake, Trevor blackmails her. He offers his silence in exchange for Cendall’s help to protect Lacie until he fully heals. Cendall reluctantly agrees, but after Trevor heals, she intends to check Lacie off her list and prove her fitness to be a Reaper.

    DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is young adult paranormal novel complete at 61,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  7. #7
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    By the way, 61K is kinda low. Might wanna hike that to 80-90K.

  8. #8
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    I like what John did. Your second version was much improved and with the organization it needed. I took John's version, tweaked it to give it more pizazz, and then went back and took the good stuff from your original:



    Cendall is the only female Grim Reaper ever born. Humans view her kind as evil, but there are two sides to every story.

    Fresh out of training, Cendall is eager to prove herself worthy of the position by being first in her class to collect all the souls on her list. She is up against a league of Guardian Angels, who fight to protect human souls from Reapers, and she thinks herself ready for the battle.

    But training couldnít prepare her for Lacie - a soul not only coveted by Demons but protected by multiple Guardians. Plus, Lacie exhibits a unique and unnerving ability: she can see Cendall.

    It may be a job above her pay-grade, but Cendall refuses to ask for help. Under no circumstance will she allow the other Reapers to judge the first female Grim Reaper as weak and unfit. When she attempts to collect Lacieís soul, a Demon crashes the party. By accident Cendall does not collect but saves the soul, and in the process she injures a Guardian Angel named Trevor.

    Trevor quickly realizes that Cendallís biggest fear is failure and termination for her mistake. He blackmails her, offering his silence in exchange for Cendallís promise to help protect Lacie until he fully heals.

    She gives her word but she is, after all, a Reaper. The first thing she plans to do after Trevor heals is check Lacie off her list and prove herself once and for all.

    DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is young adult paranormal novel complete at 61,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  9. #9
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    Query-Death has a Daughter 3rd edition

    Thank you all so much for the feedback so far. It has helped a ton. Cut down like a hundred words I used a mix of your suggestions, so thank you again.
    Below is my third attempt, let me know what you think!

    Dear Agent,


    Cendall, the only female Grim Reaper ever born, has a year to prove to her fellow Reapers that she deserves the role.

    Fresh out of training, Cendall is eager to prove herself worthy of the position by being first in her class to collect all the souls on her list. The only things standing in her way are the Guardian Angels that protect human souls so that Reapers canít take them. After 16 years of training, Cendall is certain she's ready to battle any Guardian that attempts to protect a soul she's been assigned to reap.

    But training couldnít prepare her for Lacie - a soul protected by multiple Guardians and desired by Demons. Plus, Lacie exhibits a unique ability; she can see Cendall. It may be a job above her skill level, but Cendall refuses to ask for help. Under no circumstance will she allow the other Reapers to judge the first female Grim Reaper as weak and unfit.

    She attempts to collect Lacieís soul, but a Demon crashes the party, and Cendall accidently saves the soul and an injured Guardian Angel named Trevor. Realizing Cendall fears termination for her mistake, Trevor blackmails her. He offers his silence in exchange for Cendallís help to protect Lacie until he fully heals. Cendall reluctantly agrees, but after Trevor heals, she intends to check Lacie off her list and prove herself once and for all.

    DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is young adult paranormal novel complete at 61,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Just a couple of additional thoughts:

    Other than the usual impressions associated with the name, it's not clear how Demons fit into the picture. Apparently having one's soul reaped is bad, but having a Demon take it is worse?

    Avoid small numbers: 16 should be sixteen.

    Does it actually take sixteen years to become a Reaper? How old is Cendall, anyway? Are her parents Reapers too? Why are there no other female Reapers?

    I'd actually drop the bit about being able to see Cendall, since it doesn't figure into the rest of the query.

    Trevor's a rather mundane name for an Angel. It should really have a Latin or Greek flavor to it. Wouldn't it be cute if Trevor was the first male Guardian Angel, and he's on his first assignment as well?

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