FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramTumblrGoogleYouTube
 
 
RSS Feed Print
Query - A New Day at Midnight
Michelle Hiscox
Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 12:48 PM
Joined: 4/4/2012
Posts: 17


I would like to get some general feedback on the query letter for my paranormal romance novel. 

It's my first attempt, both the novel and the query, and I'd love a few critical eyes. 

 

For those that respond, I extend my thanks and appreciation!

 

Submissions Agent

 

I am seeking representation for my paranormal romance, A New Day at Midnight, set in late 19th century America.  It is the story of a cursed traveller winding his way through the darkness, and the woman that calls him into the light.  A New Day at Midnight is a complete novel at approximately 92,000 words.

 

Merik Hearne, scarred lord of the Romani, amassed a fortune with only one goal in mind.  To buy Hannah Worthington’s hand and possess the woman that betrayed him.  When he succeeds, everything about her threatens his resolution to see her pay for transgressions past.  When she makes the mistake of inferring he is more monster than man, it only strengthens his desire to show her how close she is to the truth; that her end is the price of his new beginning.

 

Since the night she lost the man she loved to a vicious act of cruelty; Hannah did not see men in the same way.  In fact, she chose not to see them at them at all.  Not until Merik Hearne rode into town to claim her in exchange for a purse of gold.  Despite his dark demeanor, she begins to see that something beautiful might lie beneath, something that belongs only to her.  It sets her on a course to determine the angle from which the great lord plays… a task she must meet before his demons consume them both. 

 

Blinded by mistrust and conflicting desires, the wounded pair is not aware of the greater threat that hunts them until the night Hannah is left bleeding and begging for her life.  A dark ancient and his followers call for blood, for penance against the sins of their forefathers, and it is not long before Hannah and Merik discover that she is the answer they seek.   

 

I am a member of Romance Writers of America and belong to the online RWA chapter.  I am also an active member on Book Country, where A New Day at Midnight has received multiple positive peer reviews.  Since receiving my university degree, my professional writing credits include industry articles and success stories, and copy development for marketing materials.

 

I am very excited about A New Day at Midnight, the first in a series of paranormal romances focusing on the Hearne family legacy.  I hope you will be as well.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Michelle Hiscox

 

--edited by Michelle Hiscox on 7/9/2013, 1:25 PM--


May
Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:25 PM
Joined: 7/3/2013
Posts: 20


Hi Michelle,

 

Sorry about the crazy spacing in this - but the forums reformat my posts in a really odd way and it seems to recognize double spaces but not single.

 

First, I have never sent in any queries - so take what I say here with a grain of salt.  I do however come from a marketing/copywriting background if that helps at all.

 

 

I really like the query - I think you do a good job of quickly explaining the plot, the main characters, their goals, and what is at stake.

 

 

My first suggestion would be to take the bottom paragraph about your memberships/experience and bring it up top.  My reasoning behind this is (from what I have read about drafting query letters) this appears to be information all letters should include.  My worry would be that it looks like you intentionally left it out until they get to the bottom.  Then it kind of snaps you out of the whole interesting story - when I feel like you have a good hook here and should keep their mind on that as you end it. 

 

 

But again - I have no experience with actual query letters

 


I would also move the part at the bottom about this being the first in a series to the top as well. Probably right after, or included with, the "complete novel at approximately 92,000 words."

 

 

Maybe:

 

 

"This is the first complete novel in a series of paranormal romances, focused on the Hearne family legacy. This first novel, A New Day at Midnight, is approximately 92,000 words."

 

 

 

 

Just some thoughts:

 

 

Maybe remove the "that her end is the price of his new beginning"  I think leaving that off makes figuring out what the truth is more appealing - and you touch on this a little later in the query.

 

 

I am wondering if she is inferring he is a monster or implying he is one.  It seems a little unclear there.

 

 

Maybe instead of

 

 

"Since the night she lost the man she loved to a vicious act of cruelty"

 

"Since the night she lost her lover in a vicious act of cruelty"

 

 

An example of removing "that"

 

"Blinded by mistrust and conflicting desires, the wounded pair is not aware of the greater threat that hunts them"

 

"Blinded by mistrust and conflicting desires, the wounded pair is not aware of the greater threat hunting them"

 

 

  Removing some repetitious words, and use of "that".

 

 

"A dark ancient and his followers call for blood, for penance against the sins of their forefathers, and it is not long before Hannah and Merik discover that she is the answer they seek"

 


"A dark ancient and his followers call for blood, demanding penance against the sins of their forefathers.  It is not long before Hannah and Merik discover the answer they seek, may be Hannah herself.  "

 


Just some thoughts, hope that helped some.  Keep us updated on the status!

--edited by May on 7/11/2013, 8:28 PM--


Michelle Hiscox
Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013 3:54 PM
Joined: 4/4/2012
Posts: 17


Hi May,

 

I just wanted to say thanks for the reply, despite the fact that you might not be a query expert there is still much of your suggestions I can use.  I've been swimming through Query Shark and just about every other website I can find on writing queries, and am very aware that I still have a lot to learn.  Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

 

I very much appreciate that you took the time to read as well as reply, so thanks again!


Jay Greenstein
Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:46 PM

What you've written isn't a query blurb, but an attempt to write a mini synopsis. That's not what the blurb is for. After all, if you could meaningfully reduce a full novel to 250 word synopsis, and thrill the reader, it couldn't be a very complex novel.

 

The purpose of the blurb is to catch the reader's interest and make them turn to the writing sample, or request it. And in that, less is more, to entertain, not inform. Instead of talking about events, talk about issues. Every story has a major problem, a reason why that character must address it, and what terrible thing happens if the protagonist isn't successful. It also has a theme, like growing up, learning to trust, etc. All emotional response issues, not facts. Like the actual story it must entertain, not inform.

 

Think in terms of the voice-over you hear during the opening of a film's preview. your blurb is 250 words or less, that has the visceral impact of that voice over. It's the back cover blurb.

 

Look at the query shark site for examples. Dig back in time to Miss Snark's blog (http://misssnark.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2005-08-06T19:39:00-04:00&max-results=100&reverse-paginate=true) and read forward for an agent's eye view of that and many more writing issues.

 

Hope this helps.


Michelle Hiscox
Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 11:19 PM
Joined: 4/4/2012
Posts: 17


Hi Jay,

That does help, I'm on board 100%.  I previously found your comment about Query Shark after I started reading through different queries, and realized I should have done more homework.  I'm still working on it now but with the help of multiple resources, including the RWA.  The process is brutal and rewarding and not nearly done.  It's coming, and hopefully I'll be able to post a query that hits the mark in the near future.

Thank you,

Michelle


 

Jump to different Forum...