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Query Within Dark Waters


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#1 starwriter

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:54 PM

 When Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home in Pleasant Bay, she hopes to find peace after the death of her husband. Instead, closing doors, scent of seaweed, and dreams of a drowning man haunt her. 

 

The ghost of Jonathan Fraser begs her to help him, because she is gifted with the Sight and is the only one who can see him. Rosemary seeks answers from the townsfolk who seem to know more than they will tell say. One man will stop at nothing to keep secrets hidden, even murder. Rosemary must find the truth to help the ghost before she suffers his fate. 


 

Within Dark Waters is a paranormal Wiccan novel, complete at 60,000 words.  As a clairvoyant, I have a blog about developing psychic skills at http://lady-spiderwitch.blogspot.com. I have published in Circle magazine: Celebrating Nature, Spirit and Magic, Essential Herbal magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine: pagan songs and tales, and Crone Newsletter Ezine. 

 

I appreciate your time and interest in considering my query and look forward to your response.

 

 

Heddy Johannesen

 

Rosemary keeps the portrait of her late husband, is a professional artist, and has isolated herself out of grief 

Hope that answers some of the questions



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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:07 PM

This is quite short, and I don't feel it gives me enough information about who Rosemary is, and the path she takes.

 

At the moment this is lacking a meaty hook - an opening sentence to entice the agent to keep reading. 

 

Also, I fail to see how blog stats are relevant? I don't think they tell an agent anything meaningful. By coincidence  I also have over 27k page views, but only have a following of 80 people. I doubt that would impress an agent.

 

What is your genre? Is this a paranormal romance? A murder mystery? You may also want to consider ways to raise your word count. 60k is light, and bear in mind the editing process can potentially trim thousands of words from the total.



#3 starwriter

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:09 PM

I am trying to figure out how to raise the word count. I am aware of word count expectations. 

 

The genre is paranormal, or supernatural, or psychic- they have so many names for the genre nowadays



#4 Mark Hughes

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:11 PM

Hi Heddy -

As a clairvoyant, you know what I'm going to say, but I'll write it out anyway :) Here are my suggestions:

 

I am seeking representation. (Self evident) When Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home in Pleasant Bay, she hopes to find peace after the death of her husband. Instead, she's haunted by self-closing The closing doors, the scent of seaweed, and dreams of a drowning man puzzle her.

 

The ghost of Jonathan Fraser begs (stronger) tries to persuade her to help him, because she is gifted with the Sight, and is the only one who can see him. Rosemary seeks answers from the townsfolk who seem to know more than they will say tell her. But one One man will stop at nothing to keep secrets hidden, even murder, secrets as deep and dark as the ocean waters of the bay. Rosemary must find the truth to help the ghost before she suffers the same his fate as Jonathan. 


 

Within Dark Waters is a paranormal, Wiccan novel, complete at 60,000 words. I believe my writing will find a market in the paranormal and Wiccan audience.  As a clairvoyant, I have a blog about developing psychic skills at http://lady-spiderwitch.blogspot.com, which has over 27,000 total page views, mostly from North America. I have published in Circle magazine: Celebrating Nature, Spirit and Magic, Essential Herbal magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine: pagan songs and tales, and Crone Newsletter Ezine. 

 

I appreciate your time and interest in considering my query and look forward to your response.

 

This sounds like a neat story, a bit more intense than The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, for example. Given that with these cuts you will have a bit more space available, perhaps a hint about the man who wants all secrets suppressed. But I'm guessing at your story there, and that may not be at all correct. Good luck with this.

 

Mark



#5 starwriter

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:13 PM

i read The ghost and Mrs Muir. I read every ghost story I could get my ghosty hands on ha ha ha Thanks for your help

 

Question: Would it be giving too much away to say that the haunting by the ghost reminds her of the death of her late husband? I don't know if mentioning that in the query is giving away too much.



#6 RC Lewis

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:27 PM

I've removed your contact information from your post. It's not necessary here, and you wouldn't want the internet gremlins to find it.

 

Carry on!


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#7 starwriter

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:28 PM

True thanks



#8 Mark Hughes

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:58 PM

i read The ghost and Mrs Muir. I read every ghost story I could get my ghosty hands on ha ha ha Thanks for your help

 

Question: Would it be giving too much away to say that the haunting by the ghost reminds her of the death of her late husband? I don't know if mentioning that in the query is giving away too much.

 

I didn't read The Ghost and Mrs. M. but I've seen the movie (and the TV series when I was young). Was the book good? As to mentioning her late husband's death, I think it would be good to provide a bit of the emotional heat inside the protagonist, but I'm not sure saying the ghost reminds her of her husband is the way to do it (though, of course, I don't know the story). Critical though is to set up the stakes for the protagonist, in emotional terms. Start there, and see what happens.

 

Mark



#9 starwriter

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for the tip something to think about



#10 CeeJam

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

Hi Heddy,

 

Bearing in mind the meat of your QL is currently very short (excluding the biog, around 100 words) I think you have plenty of space to flest things out a little.  Introducing a good Hook (facing death is possibly a good place to start) you can use this space to give us more information about your MC, her emotions and build a little more about the dilemma she is facing.

 

I would be slightly put off by the language you use here.  Everything seems a little passive - see info below:

 

 When Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home in Pleasant Bay, she hopes to find peace after the death of her husband. Instead, closing doors, scent of seaweed, and dreams of a drowning man haunt her. 

By removing the "When" you bring things into the present - Rosemary Bell isolates herself in an old Victorian home... hoping to find peace... would be more active.  The last sentence could be confusing - is Rosemary closing the doors, or is that the ghost?!? I don't think you can afford this possible confusion here.

The ghost of Jonathan Fraser begs her to help him, because she is gifted with the Sight and is the only one who can see him. Rosemary seeks answers from the townsfolk who seem to know more than they will tell say. One man will stop at nothing to keep secrets hidden, even murder. Rosemary must find the truth to help the ghost before she suffers his fate. 


POV has shifted here to the ghost - I would suggest you keep it ALL with Rosemary as the subject, and sharpen the language.  Rosemary questions the townsfolk etc.  Then there is another POV shift to the antagonist, before shifting back to Rosemary.

 

I also think there is not enough made of her dilemma, and too little character for your MC to pull this off at the moment.

Within Dark Waters is a paranormal Wiccan novel, complete at 60,000 words.  As a clairvoyant, I have a blog about developing psychic skills at http://lady-spiderwitch.blogspot.com. I have been published in Circle magazine: Celebrating Nature, Spirit and Magic, Essential Herbal magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine: pagan songs and tales, and Crone Newsletter Ezine. 

I would suggest avoiding mention of blogs or non-print publication - well done for getting these credits, but Ezines are not the same thing!

I appreciate your time and interest in considering my query and look forward to your response.

 

 

Heddy Johannesen

 

Rosemary keeps the portrait of her late husband, is a professional artist, and has isolated herself out of grief 

Hope that answers some of the questions

Not sure whether that last bit is info for us, or whether you actually have this as the last part of your QL - I'm guessing the former!

 

Hope this is useful,

 

CeeJam



#11 starwriter

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:29 PM

Yes the last part is for this forum, not agents. I was not aware at all that I was switching POVs in the query letter. But now that you mention it. 

 

I will keep these comments in mind



#12 starwriter

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:10 AM

A grieving professional artist gifted with the Sight moves to an idyllic coastal town, hoping to put the past behind her. The eerie dreams of a drowned man disrupt her mourning. 

 

Rosemary Bell realizes a ghost bearing a mysterious scent of seaweed haunts her home and that she is the only one who can help him. The local townsfolk fear and hate the eldritch ghost. One man stands against Rosemary’s efforts to free the ghost’s spirit. My book is in the vein of The Woman in Black or The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

 

BRIGHT AS MIDNIGHT is a paranormal novel, complete at x- words.  I have been published in Circle magazine: Celebrating Nature, Spirit and Magic, Essential Herbal magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine: pagan songs and tales, and Crone Newsletter Ezine.  I developed my clairvoyant skills in the Spiritual and Psychic Development course offered by the Spiritual Science Fellowship.

 

I appreciate your time and interest in considering my query. 



#13 Mark Hughes

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:08 AM

Heddy -

Is the manner of Rosemary's husband's death relevant? In other words, rather than saying it's shocking, could there be a bit more detail? My other suggestions are below.

 

Rosemary Bell, a gifted witch, enjoyed life as a professional artist before the shocking death of her husband. The gGrief drives her to isolate herself in a sleepy town where she hopes to find peace. She lingers in her grief and keeps a portrait of Henry on a wall.

 

The mysterious scent of seaweed, and recurring dreams of a drowning man interrupt her mourning. Rosemary discovers the ghost of Jonathan Fraser needs her help, because she is gifted with the Sight and is the only one who can see him. She questions the townsfolk who seem to know more than they say. Aided by works with a handsome neighbour, Rosemary struggles to uncover to solve the mystery of Jonathan's a murder. If she does, she risks suffering the same fate as Jonathan. Soon, she's risking her own life, as Jonathan did (if that's accurate to the story).

 

Within Dark Waters is a paranormal Wiccan novel, complete at x- words. I have a blog about developing psychic skills at http://lady-spiderwitch.blogspot.com. I have been published in Circle magazine: Celebrating Nature, Spirit and Magic, Essential Herbal magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine: pagan songs and tales, and Crone Newsletter Ezine. 

 

I appreciate your time and interest in considering my query. 

 

Lastly, I tend to agree with CeeJam that your blog probably isn't relevant at this point. I do think you're getting pretty close though, and it continues to get more interesting the more you work on it.

 

Mark



#14 starwriter

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:19 AM

Oh yeah the death of her husband is relevant. It is the reason why she is there, why she is grieving. If nothing happened. the rest of the story would not happen. Of course it's relevant. It also makes her empathize with the ghost. 

 

Henry passed away from cancer

Don McAskill murdered Jonathan at the time of the Great Fire in 1947 in Pleasant Bay out of jealousy for Jonathan's wife Don has tried all these years to keep the truth of the murder covered up. 



#15 Mark Hughes

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:54 PM

Good information. Additionally, what might be useful--if it's the case in the story--is if the particulars of Rosemary's husband's death have implications in the story. If it doesn't figure in some symbolic or meaningful way (from the plot's standpoint), then I'd leave out the "shocking" death and simply say he died. The point is not to throw the reader off, thinking oh, this is a crucial ingredient. From all you're written so far, I'd guess it isn't.

 

mark



#16 starwriter

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 08:26 AM

That is something to think about. THanks Mark



#17 CliffBoyle

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:08 PM

We need to know in the first sentance that Rosemary is gifted with The Sight. Perhaps she looks to get away from the past thinking she can avoid the 'respnsibilities' or experience of the sight. Is she a reluctant hero?

 

I think you can remove 'old' Victorian home. The Victorian conveys the message without the adjective.

 

One suggestion about 'self'closing doors makes some sense, yet many actual doors are self-closing with nothing paranormal about it - just a spring. Perhaps find another way to get this accross.



#18 starwriter

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

Hi Cliff,

 

I really appreciate your comments. You were thinking the same thing as me. I was wondering about whether I needed to say she has the Sight in the first paragraph and that answers my questions. So thank you!!

 

Doors that open and close on their, or just open on their own, are another matter- especially if they are hard to open in the first place by a mortal hand. And yes she is a reluctant hero. Oh yes. She must move past her pain and doubts but she doesn't want to but she must. I know in the first paragraph you do not really learn much of her and I am trying to find a way to make that clearer.



#19 Mark Hughes

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:45 AM

One other suggestion I'll pass along is to (this sounds daunting, but it's not) read all of the Query Shark blog. I soon learned all I needed to know, and was highly entertained in the process. In addition, there are some serious gems about writing in general. Do yourself a huge favor and stop over there. Your query doesn't need a lot of work, and I think you're closer than you may realize. Good luck,

 

Mark



#20 starwriter

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

Aw well thank you. I am right now rereading my novel. I had it printed out and I am going over it now. I need to read it to see if it all flows and plan to do a big edit soon. 

 

Again thanks






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