Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

DARIUS CARLYLE (newest version in #145)


  • Please log in to reply
148 replies to this topic

#141 inkandcocoa

inkandcocoa

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 22 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented, industry insider
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I've worked as a literary assistant reading over 900 query letters in the last 4 months (for one agent). I've seen a good portion of the cliches in the book and love helping writers refine their query letters. My goal is to work in the industry as an agent or editor one day, and maybe publish a book or two of my own along the way.

Posted 21 May 2017 - 10:19 PM

Dear :

[PERSONALIZED PREFACE]

Darius Carlyle is an affront to the human condition. [This tells me nothing as to why, so I'm not really hooked by it. I much prefer the opening of your next paragraph to this one, since it gives me some reasoning as to the "why" he's an affront to the human condition. But I don't need you telling me before you show me (see? Same "Show don't tell" rules apply to queries sometimes. :) )]

After Eeighteen decades ["eighteen decades" is 180 years, but the phrasing of "18 decades" sounds off, so maybe round up and say something along the lines of "nearly two centuries/two-hundred years" because I had to pause and do the math for a second and you never want to give an agent an excuse to stop reading--especially to do math.] spent steeped in slaughter hunting werewolvesand ; it's understandable how Darius went so long without love is at once entirely understandable and utterly unanswerable. [I'd explain the obvious as to why he went so long without it, throw in some wit or sass if that's in line with your writing style (his job is messy, he works late nights, didn't want his lover getting eaten by wolves or turned, etc.)] For But there is no answer explaination to the inimitable spark Katherine Harrow possesses, almost in spite of her mortality. [HOW DOES HE MEET KATE AFTER EIGHTEEN CENTURIES OF LOVING NO ONE? This fact might be important and helps tie the two of them together.] But Kate's fearless acceptance of the good man she knows Darius to be, come whatever and whatever consequences (less wordy) be damned [This makes me assume that others say he's not a great guy, or that he doesn't consider himself a great guy--but I want to know who says these things and why because consequences be damned is a bit vague], convinces him this must be love. They married marry in 1881 [and...? Is it a happy marriage? Does he settle down? Does she help him with cases?]. Seven years later, in the Autumn of 1888, Darius hunts down a berserker immortalized in the papers as 'Jack the Ripper'. [I like where this is going]

When Kate follows Darius to London, bent on helping him investigate the Ripper's slew of murders, she proves herself preternaturally cunning. Then, in service to an ancient werewolf, the Ripper takes her captive. Darius tracks and kills the Ripper, rescues his dearest Kate–but the werewolf evades capture. And to his horror, Darius finds Kate cursed with an arcane form of lycanthropy. [The bulk of this paragraph seems to be simply filling in gaps between Point A and Point B. I think this could use some rewording so I don't feel like I'm reading a plot summary. I'm also wondering (after reading the rest of your letter) how far into the novel Kate's curse starts to take affect/come into play. If he realizes she's curesed close to or after the main halfway point, I'd be wary of spending so long on the buildup of their relationship in your query. -- Basically after reading your whole letter I'm curious where the book actually starts out in the timeline of events you've listed here, and if there's a better way to frame your query around that same time frame. Message me if you'd like to talk this out. :) ]

As Kate's humanity wanes with each full moon, Darius's self-doubt waxes [Personally I'd flip this sentence so it reads "Darius's self-doubt waxes as Kate's humanity wanes with each full moon." so you avoid starting the sentence with a preposition, but that's just me.]. Scouring every ancient scrap of lore he can decipher, Darius searches scrambles to find for a cure never known to exist. But as Kate's monstrous affliction breeds atrocity [does Kate start murdering people or is she just a hideous werewolf in transition and Darius can't stand the sight of her? Both ellicit two different levels of urgancy and an indication at either would help the reader guage how pressing the issue and or how vain Darius is :)], Darius finds himself wondering if he has the strength to break his own heart. [I LIKE THIS.]

THE PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF DARIUS CARLYLE is a standalone "romantic" horror/thriller, complete at 92,000 words. The work is transcribed [what do you mean by this?], and includes select facsimiles, from 'Darius's' handwritten journal. This novel would appeal to readers who enjoy everything between the depth of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the breadth of Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf Trilogy. [Good comp titles!] Per your submission guidelines I have provided a synopsis [some agents may not ask for a symopsis but I like that you have this in there, just make sure everything fits to the agent's requests with each submission. Attaching unasked for materials won't win you brownie points.] and the first # pages of the manuscript, the whole of which is gladly available on request [Every agent assumes this]. I very much appreciate your time and consideration.

Kindest regards,
JJW

 

Hey Jeff,

 

So I know it looks like I slaughtered your letter. I tried not to and differentiated my comments from my actual changes via different colors so you weren't shocked by a sea of red (they're mostly blue comments, obviously). I think a lot of this just needs to be tightened up word-wise, and a couple points of expansion. Especially if they're actually described in the manuscript (how he meets Kate, and why he doesn't look for love sooner are prime points).

 

I'm also struggling to figure out exactly where your story takes place as I feel the first two and a half full paragraphs offer up (potentially) a lot of backstory that the reader never lives through in Darius's story--though granted I have no way of knowing this without reading the actual manuscript. And I've got a big concern about that seven-year summary of their marriage and what role Kate plays in their relationship and how glossed over Darius's search for The Ripper seems to be. Like, if she helps Darius track, it makes sense for her to feel pretty confident in joining him on the hunt for The Ripper. If it's her first time out/she's attempting to help behind his back and ends up getting caught, then it changes the reader's perception of her, so having that explained one way or another can be very useful for learning both about Kate and Darius's characters as well as the temperament of their relationship--and it can be done in just a couple short sentences.

 

Again, most of my comments are shortening some wordiness and prodding for a bit more specificity, so take a read-through and don't panic too much. You've got a really cool concept here.

 

- Hannah


If you've got the time, check out my query for a Sci-Fi Western, BEAST.

I'm also looking for a couple beta readers for conceptual edits on the project (DM me if interested).


#142 JeffJustWrites

JeffJustWrites

    Ethimékto

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Seeking agent for a New Adult epistolary dark fantasy/horror novel.

Posted 22 May 2017 - 12:36 AM

Autumn, 1888, Darius Carlyle hunts down a berserker London's newspapers and penny dreadfuls immortalize as 'Jack the Ripper.'

 

After nearly two centuries steeped in slaughter hunting werewolves and their ilk, the Ripper is just another kill. Everything changes when his wife follows him. Kate, the woman with a spark that almost spites her mortality, the woman Darius doesn't deserve to begin with. No one has ever made him feel so human, he'll be damned if he lets her risk her life, or their unborn child's. But his dearest Kate, indomitable as ever, proves herself preternaturally cunning, and Darius can't help but love her for it. Then the Ripper snatches her, at the behest of an ancient werewolf.

 

Tracking and killing the Ripper becomes all the easier, but the werewolf evades its fiery death at Darius's blade. Darius finds Kate, alive and unharmed. Until the fevers start. The night terrors. The random, violent episodes. Not until the monster within manifests is Kate's affliction laid bare: an arcane form of lycanthropy, one only a True Ancient, a purebred werewolf could inflict.

 

Darius frantically scours every scrap of lore he can decipher, desperate for a cure never known to exist. Then Kate's monstrous affliction breeds atrocity, and their son's traumatic birth begets fear. And Darius finds himself wondering if he has the strength to break his own heart. 

 

Until the ancient werewolf that turned her becomes the key to her salvation.

 

[BOOK INFO]

 

 

Thoughts? Written at random. 

 

JJW



#143 inkandcocoa

inkandcocoa

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 22 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented, industry insider
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I've worked as a literary assistant reading over 900 query letters in the last 4 months (for one agent). I've seen a good portion of the cliches in the book and love helping writers refine their query letters. My goal is to work in the industry as an agent or editor one day, and maybe publish a book or two of my own along the way.

Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:40 AM

 

Autumn, 1888, Darius Carlyle hunts down a berserker London's newspapers and penny dreadfuls immortalize as 'Jack the Ripper.'

 

After nearly two centuries steeped in slaughter hunting werewolves and their ilk, the Ripper is just another kill. Everything changes when his wife follows him. Kate, the woman with a spark that almost spites her mortality, the woman Darius doesn't deserve to begin with. No one has ever made him feel so human, he'll be damned if he lets her risk her life, or their unborn child's. But his dearest Kate, indomitable as ever, proves herself preternaturally cunning, and Darius can't help but love her for it. Then the Ripper snatches her, at the behest of an ancient werewolf.

 

Tracking and killing the Ripper becomes all the easier, but the werewolf evades its fiery death at Darius's blade. Darius finds Kate, alive and unharmed. Until the fevers start. The night terrors. The random, violent episodes. Not until the monster within manifests is Kate's affliction laid bare: an arcane form of lycanthropy, one only a True Ancient, a purebred werewolf could inflict.

 

Darius frantically scours every scrap of lore he can decipher, desperate for a cure never known to exist. Then Kate's monstrous affliction breeds atrocity, and their son's traumatic birth begets fear. And Darius finds himself wondering if he has the strength to break his own heart. 

 

Until the ancient werewolf that turned her becomes the key to her salvation.

 

[BOOK INFO]

 

 

Thoughts? Written at random. 

 

JJW

I don't mind this version, Jeff, but it's a lot more "telling" than showing (you sound like you're simply stating facts of the book instead of drawing the reader in, which your #135 letter does better. I think it'll come down to rearranging a bit of the 135 to make more sense (the letter should start with the opening moments of the manuscript--unless you start the MS and have a flashback), and adding in some of the details that you've got in your brief letter above. Don't be afraid to look at some of the posts in the Successful Queries forum and judge length of the letters. You're not limited to a certain number of paragraphs (just ideally keep it all on one page, single-spaced) and sometimes going longer and then cutting out the fluff from there can be more helpful than attempting to keep everything brief from the start.

 

But my advice would be to smash the two letters together (use 135 as the skeleton and sprinkle in some of the bits and pieces from #141).

 

- Hannah


If you've got the time, check out my query for a Sci-Fi Western, BEAST.

I'm also looking for a couple beta readers for conceptual edits on the project (DM me if interested).


#144 gigigriffis

gigigriffis

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 57 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationEurope
  • Publishing Experience:Eleven travel guides (self-published for speed reasons). Featured in Forbes, New York Times, Get Lost Magazine, Huffington Post, etc.

Posted 22 May 2017 - 12:57 PM

Autumn, 1888, Darius Carlyle hunts down a berserker London's newspapers and penny dreadfuls immortalize as "Jack the Ripper."

 

After nearly two centuries steeped in slaughter, hunting werewolves and their ilk, the Ripper is just another kill.  <-- These two lines feel like they're missing something. Who exactly is Darius? How is he multiple centuries old? And why is he hunting down werewolves? I want to see more motivation here. Was his kid killed by a werewolf? Is it the family business - killing werewolves? I don't think we need a lot of exposition, of course, but I feel like I need more context on the protagonist.

 

Everything changes when his wife follows him. Kate, the woman with a spark that almost spites her mortality, the woman Darius doesn't deserve to begin with. No one has ever made him feel so human, he'll be damned if he lets her risk her life, or their unborn child's. But his dearest Kate, indomitable as ever, proves herself preternaturally cunning, and Darius can't help but love her for it. Then the Ripper snatches her, at the behest of an ancient werewolf.

 

Tracking and killing the Ripper becomes all the easier, but the werewolf evades its fiery death at Darius's blade. Darius finds Kate, alive and unharmed. Or so it seems(?) Until the fevers start. The night terrors. The random, violent episodes. Not until the monster within manifests is Kate's affliction laid bare: an arcane form of lycanthropy, one only a True Ancient, a purebred werewolf, could inflict.

 

Darius frantically scours every scrap of lore he can decipher, desperate for a cure never known to exist. Then Kate's monstrous affliction breeds atrocity, and their son's traumatic birth begets fear. And Darius finds himself wondering if he has the strength to break his own heart. <-- That's interesting. I assume you're implying he might have to kill his son and wife if he doesn't find a cure? If so, perhaps make it a little clearer so I'm 100% sure that this is the conflict.

 

Until the ancient werewolf that turned her becomes the key to her salvation.

 

[BOOK INFO]

 

 

Thoughts? Written at random. 

 

JJW


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#145 JeffJustWrites

JeffJustWrites

    Ethimékto

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Seeking agent for a New Adult epistolary dark fantasy/horror novel.

Posted 22 May 2017 - 03:55 PM

Hey Gigi, sorry I missed your critique. I've answered a few of those questions in previous versions of the query, but I've decided that curiosity is the best route to go in terms of Darius's past. Explaining the whole Wolven/werewolf dichotomy is too much for a query, and better suited for the synopsis. Focusing the query on Darius/Kate keeps the pitch taut, and (I hope) keeps the agent reading.

That said, I keep editing haha..

UPDATE: I've removed references to Darius's son in the letter. There's too much going on, and the focus of THIS story is Darius/Kate. Tobias I'm saving for the sequel haha


Dear :

[PERSONALIZED PREFACE]

Darius Carlyle is an affront to the human condition. Over a century and a half steeped in slaughter, hunting werewolves has made Darius as much a predator as the monsters he kills.

How Darius went so long without love is at once entirely understandable and utterly unanswerable. The life he leads is ill-suited for love. Yet Katherine Harrow possesses an inimitable spark that refuses to be limited. And Kate's fearless acceptance of the good man she knows Darius to be, whether he feels he deserves it or not, convinces him to take the one chance he never has.

Autumn, 1888, Darius catches word of a berserker London's newspapers immortalize as 'Jack the Ripper.'

To Darius's surprise–and dismay–Kate follows him, bent on helping investigate the Ripper's slew of murders. Hunting with Darius, however, brings out a resourcefulness and cunning in Kate Darius had never known, and loves her all the more for. Then Darius's worst fear is realized: The Ripper takes her captive, at the behest of an ancient werewolf with a personal vendetta against Darius. The hunter tracks the Ripper, kills it, rescues his beloved–but the werewolf evades its death at Darius's blade. Darius's worst fear is then exceeded when he realizes Kate has been cursed with an arcane form of lycanthropy. One which only a purebred, a True Ancient, could inflict.

Darius's self-doubt waxes as Kate's humanity wanes with each full moon. Scouring every ancient scrap of lore he can decipher, Darius is desperate for a cure never known to exist. But when his dearest Kate's monstrous affliction overwhelms her, Darius finds himself wondering if he has the strength to break his own heart.

THE PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF DARIUS CARLYLE is a standalone "romantic" horror/thriller, complete at 92,000 words. The work is transcribed and includes select facsimiles from Darius's handwritten journal. This novel would appeal to readers who enjoy the depth of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the breadth of Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf Trilogy. Per your submission guidelines I have provided a synopsis and the first # pages of the manuscript. I very much appreciate your time and consideration.

Kindest regards,
JJW

#146 Keledron

Keledron

    Here to help!

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 136 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Mentality Magazine columnist, Gamespot.com featured community reviewer, Editor-In-Chief of Uncharted Frontier EZine

Posted 23 May 2017 - 06:22 AM

I think your most recent post is probably your most solid version. It's properly focused on Darius and Kate, and clearly lays out the stakes at hand.

 

Frankly, I'd try this one out with a few agents. There's always that chance that we edit and re-edit too much. I think you have this where it should be. I'd tweak any grammatical issues others find, but I wouldn't change it much from here out. It's pretty close to done! There's a comma or two I'm not sure about (the whole sentence with the facsimiles may not need any commas but see what others say.)

 

Well done man! This really has come a long way!


Any critiques on my current query for A Wizard Deceived would be highly appreciated, and I would gladly critique yours in return!

 

http://agentquerycon...rd-deceived-uf/

 

Synopsis critiques would be SO APPRECIATED!!

 

http://agentquerycon...izard-deceived/

 

Follow Merlin's journey to publication!

 

http://scribblersepic.livejournal.com/

 

 

 


#147 JeffJustWrites

JeffJustWrites

    Ethimékto

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Seeking agent for a New Adult epistolary dark fantasy/horror novel.

Posted 23 May 2017 - 05:30 PM

Thanks man. Now the deep breath before the plunge...

#148 KitCampbell

KitCampbell

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Three novels published through Turtleduck Press, short stories all over the place. Readying to dip my toes back into the agent search pool.

Posted 24 May 2017 - 09:49 AM

Good luck!



#149 KitCampbell

KitCampbell

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Three novels published through Turtleduck Press, short stories all over the place. Readying to dip my toes back into the agent search pool.

Posted 26 May 2017 - 09:49 AM

Ha! Fine. :P

UPDATE: I've removed references to Darius's son in the letter. There's too much going on, and the focus of THIS story is Darius/Kate. Tobias I'm saving for the sequel haha


Dear :

[PERSONALIZED PREFACE]

Darius Carlyle is an affront to the human condition. Over a century and a half steeped in slaughter, hunting werewolves has made Darius as much a predator as the monsters he kills. (Nice.)

How Darius went so long without love is at once entirely understandable and utterly unanswerable. The life he leads is ill-suited for love. Yet Katherine Harrow possesses an inimitable spark that refuses to be limited. And Kate's fearless acceptance of the good man she knows Darius to be, whether he feels he deserves it or not, convinces him to take the one chance he never has.

Autumn, 1888, Darius catches word of a berserker London's newspapers immortalize as 'Jack the Ripper.'

To Darius's surprise–and dismay–Kate follows him, bent on helping investigate the Ripper's slew of murders. Hunting with Darius, however, brings out a resourcefulness and cunning in Kate Darius had never known, and loves her all the more for. Then Darius's worst fear is realized: The Ripper takes her captive, at the behest of an ancient werewolf with a personal vendetta against Darius. The hunter tracks the Ripper, kills it, rescues his beloved–but the werewolf evades its death at Darius's blade. Darius's worst fear is then exceeded when he realizes Kate has been cursed with an arcane form of lycanthropy. One which only a purebred, a True Ancient, could inflict. (Definitely better! Everything's explained nicely. My one nitpick would be the second to last sentence, which seems a bit wordy. Maybe it could be something along the lines of "And worse--Kate has been cursed...")

Darius's self-doubt waxes as Kate's humanity wanes with each full moon. Scouring every ancient scrap of lore he can decipher, Darius is desperate for a cure never known to exist. But when his dearest Kate's monstrous affliction overwhelms her, Darius finds himself wondering if he has the strength to break his own heart.

THE PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF DARIUS CARLYLE is a standalone "romantic" horror/thriller, complete at 92,000 words. The work is transcribed and includes select facsimiles from Darius's handwritten journal. This novel would appeal to readers who enjoy the depth of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the breadth of Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf Trilogy. Per your submission guidelines I have provided a synopsis and the first # pages of the manuscript. I very much appreciate your time and consideration.

Kindest regards,
JJW

I have no major fixes! It's sounding pretty good. :D






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users