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Help me. Please help me. /jeff goldblum voice
Nefasti
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 4:09 AM
Joined: 5/5/2011
Posts: 24


Any advice, thoughts, revisions, etc. are welcome. Thanks

Dear Awesome Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Liliana Morgan is not going to let her boyfriend’s bad reputation land him in Hell without a fight.

Hooking up with long-time crush Daniel LeBeau is pretty much the only good thing she’s got going on since her dad died. The gossipmongers at school say that Daniel is staking his ex-girlfriend, but that’s bull. Liliana ignores the rumors.

Bad call. Daniel’s ex is murdered, and everyone thinks he did it. The victim’s father kills Daniel in revenge.

Things go from bad to freaky when Liliana learns that the archangel who is supposed to judge the dead isn’t interested in whether people deserve Hell, only whether other people think they do. It's up to Liliana to find her inner badass and rescue Daniel, even if it means trading her own soul for the chance to save his.

FORBIDDEN is a paranormal YA novel, complete at 65,000 words, about prejudice, loss and standing up for what is right. I understand from some light cyber-stalking that you are [insert reason why s/he is the perfect agent for me].

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours truly,

Your Future Client



Jay Greenstein
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 1:09 AM
Place the genre and length at the start, so they know right off if there’s no match.

• Seventeen-year-old Liliana Morgan is not going to let her boyfriend’s bad reputation land him in Hell without a fight.

No problem here, it led me to continue because it encapsulates the problem. Good.

• Hooking up with long-time crush Daniel LeBeau is pretty much the only good thing she’s got going on since her dad died.

Not a bad line, but I don’t see the connection to the line above, though I’m willing to wait and see.

• The gossipmongers at school say that Daniel is staking his ex-girlfriend, but that’s bull.

This is story not concept and problem and this is where I fell out, because there’s still no connection to line one and the stated problem.

• Liliana ignores the rumors

More story detail. The fact that Dan and his dad are dead matters. People gossiping don’t.

• Things go from bad to freaky when Liliana learns that the archangel who is supposed to judge the dead isn’t interested in whether people deserve Hell, only whether other people think they do

It’s passive. Let me decide if things get worse, or freaky. Tell me the situation, not her analysis of it. This could be stated actively and with far fewer words.

Remember, I don’t know how she knows about the angel, or any of the world details, so telling me about them, in general, can only confuse.

• I understand from some light cyber-stalking that you are [insert reason why s/he is the perfect agent for me].

I’d drop the first part because it’s too easy to misunderstand.



Hope this helps a bit.

Jay Greenstein

Foreign Embassy
Wizards
Lisa Hoekstra
Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 9:12 PM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 89


Hi! I read the story (and really enjoyed it!) but I've got to say that after line three "Liliana ignores the rumors" I scrolled down to see what the comment said instead of finishing my read through (don't worry, I went back up and read it all the way through!)

Building on Jay's comment, I would move the fact that Dan's actually dead right up to the top (after this line: Hooking up with long-time crush Daniel LeBeau is pretty much the only good thing she’s got going on since her dad died.)

Maybe - Now Daniel's dead and the fate of his afterlife depends not on the strength of his character but on the opinions of gossipmongers.

Then I would continue with the meat of the story - She has to prove his innocence so that he can go to heaven... Archangel Michael is a selfish angel who's being really bitter toward the human race... and... she's trying to fight off Lucifer

(I think those are the three main ideas?)

Hope this helps. looking forward to reading the next draft!







Michael R Underwood
Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 8:35 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


In addition to the good feedback from above, I'd do everything you can to be clear about characters and their relationships. You have a lot of moving people pieces, and it gets vague for me.

You have 'staking' here when I imagine you mean stalking -- that'd be a hell of a typo.

The first line resonates powerfully with the idea of the 'Guilty by Rumor' concept, and I'd try to narrow the query to focus on that aspect if possible.

"Daniel’s ex is murdered, and everyone thinks he did it. The victim’s father kills Daniel in revenge." -- I'd re-work these lines and go for something like this:

"When Daniel's ex is murdered, everyone thinks he did it, including the girl's father. In a fit of revenge, the father kills Daniel, putting him square in the sights of a vengeful archangel who judges the dead by reputation, not facts."
Nefasti
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 8:33 PM
Joined: 5/5/2011
Posts: 24


@Michael: Dude, how did you do that? I've been revising the damn query for months and you came along and made it look easy
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:21 AM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


@Nefasti -- I'm very glad to be able to help. I've been banging my head against the wall about my own query letter for about a year, so I've had time to learn all the ways *not* to do it.

Stick with it, and may you have an easier time than I did have/am having.
 

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