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Query for Lightstorm
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 12:31 AM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227

My five followers on Facebook said nothing, so I'll put it up for the sharks of Book Country. Thoughts, suggestions, revamp ideas, all welcome. Lightstorm is an X-word paranormal romance (it's not finished yet, but I'm aiming for 90k). 

Hung-over from an office party, Irina isn't really in the mood to entertain a delusional--albeit, hot--stranger preaching about the proximity of doomsday. When he tells her she's descended from elementals and has to fight against an immortal being to save the human race...well, he's mentally unstable, right? Besides, the human race as a whole is pretty awful. They may not be worth saving.


Fontaine never expected his "mission of utmost importance" would be to babysit and escort a stubborn human to The Gardens. To cement his frustration, she questions his sanity. He needs to get to their destination as quickly as possible so he can get his promotion and be rid of her. It doesn't matter that she's the only woman alive who can tempt him, with a single kiss, to choose mortality. He must resist--or lose the ability to protect her from those wanting to kill her.

Elizabeth Sogard
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 8:05 PM
Joined: 5/3/2011
Posts: 15

Hi Noelle! I am newbie too, so make sure you take my advice with a grain of salt.

You did some good things, you introduced us to her. You introduced us to him. I am used to seeing a third one that discusses the two of them together but I can see how you wrapped the "them" part into the other two.

I would consider adding a third pararagraph and explain what is at stake and what the two of them need to do to overcome it.

I imagine that humanity can be destroyed.... Why?
I understand that he has to get her to The Gardens What is said destinations and what happens when he gets her there? I'm fairly certain that isn't where you book ends. Your query makes it sound that way.

One of the things I have heard over and over again is find a way to sum up your story in ONE line. I don't see that line in your query and it should be the very first line we see.

Get rid of extra words and dashes.

Hung-over from an office party, Irina isn't REALY (You don't need it. ditch it. The point is she isn't wiling to deal with a crack pot on the street) in the mood to entertain a delusional--( The formatting for dashes is space one dash space.)albeit, hot--stranger preaching about the proximity of doomsday.

Your have some contradictions you may want to look at. Fontaine calls her a human yes she isn't sure that humans are worth saving.... This seems like an inconsistency.

Choose babysit or escort. Think of every word as five dollars. Spend as little as possible. If you can convey a feeling or emotion with on word do it.

Instead of "stranger preaching about the proximity of doomsday." you could just call him a doomsdayer.... there is something about the proximity of doomsday, doesn't' sit right with me. This is chance for you to be more specific. Does the world end if 15 days unless xyz happens?

One last thing to consider. I think that you should say WHO or WHY the humans will be destroyed if they aren't successful in their quest.

Good Luck!

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 11:26 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227

Thanks so much for taking a look. To clear up some things: those are em dashes, not regular dashes, but they're not converted here. Also she IS a human but she's not a fan of people in general. And I agree about the "proximity of doomsday" bit. My brain stopped working when I was trying to condense that.

I know what you're talking about with the one line summary, and I'm still working on that. It's one part about the pitch that I hate. LOL

There's always some controversy over where the query pitch ends in terms of how far into the story to go. Sigh...back to the drawing board.

I appreciate the feedback!
Jay Greenstein
Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 11:30 PM
• Hung-over from an office party, Irina isn't really in the mood to entertain a delusional--albeit, hot--stranger preaching about the proximity of doomsday.

What’s the subject? Her hangover? The party? Her mood? The stranger? His delusions? Preaching? Doomsday? It seems you’re trying to cram in so much that it reduces the impact. Break it into bite-sized morsels that make sure the reader knows where they are and what’s going on, with one subject presented at a time, in a logical progression. And start with the important things, like who this is about.

Trim the unimportant. Does the reader really care that it was an office party or even that it was a party? She’s hung over. That matters. But even there, does it matter that she is? Would she be in the mood to hear him preach were that not the case? You’ve made it sound as if she might be. If not, why mention it?

• When he tells her she's descended from elementals and has to fight against an immortal being to save the human race...well, he's mentally unstable, right?

Maybe it’s just me, but I had a problem with you asking me rhetorical questions about a situation I know nothing about.

• Besides, the human race as a whole is pretty awful. They may not be worth saving.

This seems to be your opinion, not hers. What if the one you submit to thinks the human race is pretty good? Part of the problem, I think, is that when you read the line you “hear” your own voice speaking, including the proper emotion, something the reader can’t match.

Overall, I think the “romance novel back cover blurb” style detracts. I know people advise that the blurb be told as a cover blurb, but in this case I feel there’s too little context for a reader, partly because you’re trying to give them fact, but haven’t the room to include the data necessary for context, leaving it a bit disjointed.

I’d advise leaning harder on emotional rather then factual issues. Tell the reader what the problem is, how important it is, and the consequences of not resolving it in time. I’m afraid that for me, hearing that an unknown man told an unknown woman “she's descended from elementals and has to fight against an immortal being to save the human race” Tends to generate a “huh?” reaction more than, “Tell me more.” Sorry.

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:01 AM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227

Thank you for your input.
Nevada Drake
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:58 AM
Joined: 5/24/2011
Posts: 2

Hi Noelle,

The review I did for 'Lightening' was the first I've done here and I wasn't certain how much space I had, so I stuck to what might be most generally helpful in further developing your draft, rather than mentioning the things that excited me, and I didn't go into detail about specific areas within the draft that needed help. I think that you can figure a lot of that out on your own. Before I go any further, I want you to know that I am going to follow this work and hope that you pull it together because I'd love to read it.

Things I Liked:

~You did a great job with setting up the ominous atmosphere at the party. It was scary. I don't like scary, but you did an awesome job of it. Office parties often suck. I felt that come through in your writing. I was able to empathize with Irina's dislike for socialization. The description of her job requirements explained why she wasn't out schmoozing it up with individuals worthy of news reports, further explaining why she wouldn't enjoy it. I don't know how realistic those job requirements are, but how many of the thousands or millions of people who read books would know what a job like that entails? It was real enough for me. I liked the banter between Fontaine (sp?) and Aether. I also like the spelling you gave Aether and the name's echo of 'ether'. Aquariums are awesome and it is a small thing that gave the setting character. The dialogue was good. Very little of the draft felt forced. Loved the explanation concerning her ancestry. The description of Jenna while she lunched with Irina was foreboding, giving us a foreshadowing of the possibility that she is an enemy. That was well done. Excellent phrasing in the description. I could see it. Loved the snark using movie comparisons. Mercifully, you didn't drowned me in sentences beginning with pronouns. I stopped reading one story when I encountered a first paragraph that contained several sentences beginning with the pronoun 'He'. You did well.

Suggestions for development in different areas:

~I don't have your draft pulled up, so I'm going from memory after pulling an all-nighter. I liked the dialogue, however, Irina's dialogue and actions implied that she believed, while her thoughts were the exact opposite. Her thoughts and actions need to be consistent. You did say that she would play along with Fontaine and Aether in their first meeting, but there wasn't enough skepticism in her thoughts and actions to make us believe that she was just humoring the 'hallucinations'. This skepticism is an excellent excuse for humorous snark that would show us her distrust and disbelief. For instance, when the elementals are explaining the four elements combining in her, she could make a snide remark about playing the game involving 'rock, paper, scissors' and how it applies to water dousing fire and such, which would leave her human, and most likely dead, instead of elemental. Be my guest to use that. Look for areas to play up the skepticism. You're good at the snark, so I know you can dream up plenty.

~Irina is referred to as both human and elemental. There needs to be a clear distinction by the end of chapter one and then her true nature kept consistent thereafter. I think this may have simply been an issue of clarification that you would have gotten to during revision.

~When Irina saw the face in the aquarium, it would help the reader see what you see by describing the aquarium and how it impacted the face (which you need to describe) that was reflected in the glass. That would have been great for a bit of foreshadowing. We also need more description of those at the table and the room in general. Again, I'm sure you would have eventually filled that in.

~ In the scene at the gas station, you gave us a bit of atmosphere, but, other than the need to show that it was quiet, I'm not sure that the level of detail you gave us was necessary. It was a sudden change in mood from worrying about Irina disappearing to sight-seeing. If Fontaine is in a hurry, he wouldn't pay that much attention to it. He'd be using his skills to keep track of Irina. I was surprised that he wasn't listening in on her mind. This is one of the areas that needs consistency. Have your characters see through their own eyes, their own motives, and what is going on around them. You were viewing the gas station through your eyes, not through Fontaine, and it should be through Fontaine's.

I'm starting to fall asleep, so I'll just try to do a general wrap up. The action is good. Go for clarity and description. Do a little re-organization by giving us more descriptions of the characters in the very beginning, so we can see what you are seeing during character interactions. Most likely, in order to do this and to develop your characters, get to know your characters so that you can be consistent with their thoughts, actions, and behavior. Once you know them, don't write through your eyes, write through your characters' eyes. Write the details that your characters notice, the details that (in that moment) affect them.

All of this aside, the draft appears to have been rapidly written up, which you had already explained. Considering that it is such, don't take this post to mean that, as a rough draft, it is lacking. As a rough draft, it's pretty awesome. It shows that you can yank us in and keep us in suspense. It shows that you can write with flourish and without being redundant. It shows your capacity for sarcastic humor, your desire to move the plot at a pace that would keep me interested. I would love to see the second draft.

Now, go work out the details so you can publish it. I'd very much like to read it. ^_^

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