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INTO THE INFERNO (YA Urban Fantasy) - Will critique back!


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#1 TheBest

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:05 PM

New Query in post #72! - http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=357950

 

While querying my last book, I had time to write something completely new! This is my first, very rough attempt at a query letter for INTO THE INFERNO. I'd love to get your opinions! Is it awkward? Clunky? What would turn agents off?

 

Thanks!
Critique me, and I'll brutally critique you.

 

 

 

There are monsters among us -- the Rosicrucians are the ones who deal with them. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco. The Rosicrucian society is struggling to keep up.


For high school geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Rosicrucians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the ankh's magic for a whole lot more than scoring a hot date to prom.

 

The Rosicrucians apprehend Paul, but before lopping off his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. And the society can use that.

 

The Rosicrucians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s passivism.

 

The two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reins supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is a type of barbecue sauce. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. Picture “The Dresden Files” meets “Percy Jackson.”

 

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing. I hope you enjoy my first [xx] pages.



#2 jaustail

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:21 PM

JMO:

 

 

There are monsters among us -- the Rosicrucians(this made me think the Ros are the monsters. how about: There are monsters among us and then there are fire breathing Rosicrucians who slay the monsters.) are the ones who deal with them. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco. The Rosicrucian society is struggling to keep up.(show the monsters and the Ros... is it like gargoyle or like vampires and werewolves? do the Ros use magic wands or super strength to fight the monsters?)

 

For high school geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’(I guess he steals or takes it without telling others and hopes to return it soon.. I'm not sure the Rosi would let such a valuable thing like Ankh unsupervised) an ancient ankh from the Rosicrucians(how does Paul find one Rosi?) to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush,(the crush doesn't come later so remove this from here. it also doesn't move the plot ahead) fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the ankh's magic for a whole lot more than scoring a hot date to prom.(what does he plan on doing with the magic? show it.)

 

The Rosicrucians apprehend Paul(it seems the Rosi aren't much care about remaining hidden from humans), but before lopping off his head off(the proximity of 'off' sounds odd to me. maybe reword), they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. And the society can use that.(how can the society use that? what's an underworlder? what special power does he have? is he immortal? can he speak with the dead?)

 

The Rosicrucians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice(if she's so strong, why not send her to retrieve the ankh instead of paul?) to be Paul’s babysitter(maybe: Alice to make sure Paul doesn't try to run away or to make sure Paul completes his task). She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s passivism.

 

The two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reins supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is a type of barbecue sauce. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!(not sure Paul would care about porn given his current situation)

 

 

I think the book is full of action. The query needs work. I didn't get strong a sense of the enemy. Maybe simplify this.

 

Link to my revised query is in my signature in case you want to have a look.



#3 IslaCaribbe

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 01:43 PM

There are monsters among us, and the Rosicrucians are the ones who deal with them. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco, and the Rosicrucian society is struggling to keep up.

 

For high school geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Rosicrucians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, he doesn't own his crush fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the ankh's magic for a whole lot more than scoring a hot date to prom.

 

Okay if this ankh is so powerful, why would it be easy enough for some high schooler to steal? Unless Paul was set on stealing it and planned for it and everything- in which case, you should explain how he was planning it and worked hard and succeeded rather than glazing over how he ended up with it in his possession. Also you should mention how he knew it existed. If they're some secret society, how did he know they had something powerful and how to use it?

 

The Rosicrucians apprehend Paul, but before lopping off his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. (This break makes it really choppy) And the society can use that.

 

The Rosicrucians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s passivism.

 

Having off with his head and Alice in the same paragraph is too much of a reference to Alice in Wonderland for me. It's been done.

 

The two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reins (reins vs reigns...) supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is a type of barbecue sauce what?. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue what?, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! I don't get this prom joke. I would end on something else.

 

 

 

Are you married to the term "Rosicrucian"? It's very long and difficult to read in my opinion.

 

Overall it's clear there's a good story here. I would lose the italics. And what's the deal with Paul finding out he's a changeling? Does he not have parents? If he's adopted/homeless/in the foster care system/with parents who lied to him his whole life, that would be worth mentioning most likely.


Check out my query if you have time: A Goddess Calls


#4 TheBest

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 06:21 PM

Thanks so much! That's really helpful.

 

Does anyone else, like IslaCaribbe, think 'Rosicrucian' is too much of a mouthful? I was going for a really popular secret society. If anyone else thinks it's too much, I'll change them to the "Hellfire Club" another, slightly less relevant, secret society. Also, any other query advice?

 

Critique me, and I'll mercilessly critique you back!!

 

Thanks!!!

 

 

There are monsters among us. Demon brokers trade souls, vampires feed in the shadows, and creatures of magic go bump in the night. The Rosicrucian society was formed to bump back. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco. The Rosicrucians are struggling to keep up.

 

For high school geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Rosicrucians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the magic for a whole lot more than just scoring a hot date to prom.

 

The Rosicrucians apprehend Paul, but before lopping off his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. That makes him a potential go-between for the society and the supernatural.

 

The Rosicrucians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s passivism.

 

The two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing. I hope you enjoy my first [xx] pages.



#5 Ireth

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 06:47 PM

Thanks so much! That's really helpful.

 

Does anyone else, like IslaCaribbe, think 'Rosicrucian' is too much of a mouthful? I was going for a really popular secret society. If anyone else thinks it's too much, I'll change them to the "Hellfire Club" another, slightly less relevant, secret society. Also, any other query advice?

 

Critique me, and I'll mercilessly critique you back!!

 

Thanks!!!

 

 

There are monsters among us. Demon brokers trade souls, vampires feed in the shadows, and creatures of magic go bump in the night. The Rosicrucian society was formed to bump back. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco. The Rosicrucians are struggling to keep up.

 

For high school geek (how old is he? Age is important for a YA query) and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Rosicrucians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the magic for a whole lot more than just scoring a hot date to prom. (Be specific about what the demon wants to use it for.)

 

The Rosicrucians apprehend Paul, but before lopping off his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. That makes him a potential go-between for the society and the supernatural.

 

The Rosicrucians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s passivism.

 

The two journey deep into the Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness (why is this italicized?) is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom(might be just me, but I think you should use a period instead. An exclamation mark comes off as unprofessional.)

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing. I hope you enjoy my first [xx] pages. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

If you'd like to return the critique, my query for Winter's Queen could use a fresh pair of eyes. :D


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#6 giffordmac

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:07 PM

RE: name of secret society.

 

I think that the actual Rosicrucian society (which is not a secret society, but is devoted to "the study of the elusive mysteries of life and the universe", and open to anyone who wants to join) would probably object to your characterizing them as people who chop heads off. If for no other reason, I would change the name to something else.

 

Best of luck!


“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ― Elie Wiesel

 

~~~

 

 

 

 


#7 lsprochnow

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 09:26 AM

Thanks so much! That's really helpful.

 

Does anyone else, like IslaCaribbe, think 'Rosicrucian' is too much of a mouthful? I was going for a really popular secret society. If anyone else thinks it's too much, I'll change them to the "Hellfire Club" another, slightly less relevant, secret society. Also, any other query advice?

 

Critique me, and I'll mercilessly critique you back!!

 

Thanks!!!

 

 

There are monsters among us. Demon brokers trade souls, vampires feed in the shadows, and creatures of magic "creatures of magic" reads a bit clunky. When I hear 'go bump in the night' I think of monsters and scary things. Creatures of magic doesn't come across as that intimidating go bump in the night. The Rosicrucian society was formed to bump back. Nice. I don't think it's too much of a mouthful, either But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco Similar to my earlier feedback. 'Supernatural refugees' doesn't sound threatening enough, but apparently they are if the Rosicrucians are battling them. I would consider describing them in a way that sounds immediately threatening. The Rosicrucians are struggling to keep up.

 

For high school geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul 'But when ever-curious Paul' reads awkwardly. I would reword ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Rosicrucians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the magic for a whole lot more than just scoring a hot date to prom. I like this paragraph a lot. Sets the stakes and gives a good idea of the antagonist

 

The Rosicrucians apprehend Paul, but before lopping off his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. Does Paul know this? That makes him a potential go-between for the society and the supernatural.

 

The Rosicrucians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s passivism. You lost me a little here. I like the part about the ultimatum, but why would Paul being assigned a badass to help him be a bad thing? If I had a life or death situation, I would sure as hell want a badass chick helping me out. And the Rosicrucians don't seem that passive, so I'm not sure where that's coming from.

 

The two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! I would consider taking out this last part and adding something with more meat

 

I think this query is off to a good start. The beginning was solid, but I think the last couple paragraphs need a bit of work. Good luck and keep it up! Would appreciate it if you would take a look at my query and leave some brutal feedback!

 

http://agentquerycon...ing-ya-fantasy/

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing. I hope you enjoy my first [xx] pages.



#8 ARDavis

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 09:40 AM

While querying my last book, I had time to write something completely new! This is my first, very rough attempt at a query letter for INTO THE INFERNO. I'd love to get your opinions! Is it awkward? Clunky? What would turn agents off?

 

Thanks!
Critique me, and I'll brutally critique you.

 

 

 

There are monsters among us -- the Rosicrucians are the ones who deal with them (like what another poster suggested, this makes it seem like the Ros guys are the monsters). But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco (I feel like this could be a bit more clear so you introduce the stakes right away). The Rosicrucian society is struggling to keep up.


For high school geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby (I actually feel like the query would best start from here. In the next sentence you can be like "But when the ever-curious Paul 'borrows' an ancient ankh from a monster hunting society known as . . ." or make it less wordy). But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Rosicrucians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the ankh's magic for a whole lot more than scoring a hot date to prom. (I love this line. It made me smile)

 

The Rosicrucians apprehend Paul, but before lopping off his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. And the society can use that. (I think you can cut this altogether to be honest. It doesn't really explain how the society can use that knowledge to their effect and I think it slows down the pacing of your letter. I think the way the next paragraph starts is just fine.) 

 

The Rosicrucians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home (by patch things up, you mean save the world or . . .?), or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s passivism. (How are they passive if they are actively trying to thwart the supernatural creatures?)

 

The two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reins supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is a type of barbecue sauce. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! (I feel like this section could be stronger overall. I don't think you need "a world where" twice. I think you can raise the stakes more here. Also, I am loving the thought that demons crash the high school prom.)

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. Picture “The Dresden Files” meets “Percy Jackson.”

 

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing. I hope you enjoy my first [xx] pages.

 

Other than a few things I marked, I found this letter to be very strong. You have a great voice so far, and I think having more of it in this letter would really help it stand out. It's clear there is a strong story here, you just need an equally strong letter to go with it! I hope I was able to help a little (I'm simply crap at query letters/summaries in general). Good luck! 

 



#9 IslaCaribbe

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:48 AM

RE: name of secret society.

 

I think that the actual Rosicrucian society (which is not a secret society, but is devoted to "the study of the elusive mysteries of life and the universe", and open to anyone who wants to join) would probably object to your characterizing them as people who chop heads off. If for no other reason, I would change the name to something else.

 

Best of luck!

 

Oh that's a real society? Yeah, you'll want to change that name. You don't want them coming after you, because of defamation of character or something. Make up your own name! You wrote a book, you're obviously creative haha


Check out my query if you have time: A Goddess Calls


#10 TheBest

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:08 AM

Thanks for all the great feedback! I've taken some of it, and churned out this new query. I've also got a new name for the society. What do you all think? If it doesn't have a ring to it, I'll pick a new one. The name, like the letter, is totally subject to change. 

 

As always, Critique me, and I'll brutally critique you.

 

Thanks!

 

Dear Agent,

 

There are monsters among us. Demon brokers trade souls, vampires feed in the shadows, and paranormal beasties go bump in the night. The Osmandian society was formed to bump back. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco. The Osmandians are struggling to keep up.

 

For sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Osmandians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the Ankh's magic for a whole lot more than just scoring a hot date to prom.

 

The Osmandians apprehend Paul, but before lopping his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. Paul’s magic and utter ignorance of both sides make him an ideal go-between for the society and the supernatural.

 

The Osmandians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the society assigns the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Osmandian’s tolerant approach to changelings.

 

Together, the two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is seasoning for meat. The duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#11 MICRONESIA

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:26 AM

Oh that's a real society? Yeah, you'll want to change that name. You don't want them coming after you, because of defamation of character or something. Make up your own name! You wrote a book, you're obviously creative haha

 

LOL. The Rosicrucians have been around for centuries. After The Da Vinci Code, I doubt they're too touchy anymore.



#12 jaustail

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:35 AM

JMO:

 

Dear Agent,

 

There are monsters among us. Demon brokers trade souls(with whom? this doesn't give clear picture), vampires feed in the shadows, and paranormal beasties go bump in the night(this isn't scary). The Osmandian society was formed to bump back. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco. The Osmandians are struggling to keep up.

 

For sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh from the Osmandians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the Ankh's magic for a whole lot more than just scoring a hot date to prom.

 

The Osmandians apprehend Paul, but before lopping his head off(make me fear for Paul. like: The osmandians grab Paul and slam him to the wall. They are about to feed him to rabid dogs/cut off his head with a burning sword when they discover...), they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder(what is this? we don't know what's this) raised among humans. Paul’s magic and utter ignorance of both sides make him an ideal go-between for the society and the supernatural.

 

The Osmandians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the society assigns the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Osmandian’s tolerant approach to changelings.

 

Together, the two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is seasoning for meat. The duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!(prom is anti climax. remove that.)

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Overall it's good. But i didnt get strong sense of the demon who stole the ankh. i must be as scared as the main character.



#13 egavin

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:48 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback! I've taken some of it, and churned out this new query. I've also got a new name for the society. What do you all think? If it doesn't have a ring to it, I'll pick a new one. The name, like the letter, is totally subject to change. 

 

As always, Critique me, and I'll brutally critique you.

 

Thanks!

 

Dear Agent,

 

There are monsters among us. Demon brokers trade souls, vampires feed in the shadows, (I think you could cut this first sentence down some. Demons and vampires feels kind of generic, but I love the "go bump in the night" part". Maybe just something like: "When things go bump in the night, the Osmandian society is here to bump back"?) and paranormal beasties go bump in the night. The Osmandian society (I like the sound of it) was formed to bump back. But with social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco. The Osmandians are struggling to keep up.

 

For sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast (This is minor, but occult makes me think of the mysticism we have in our world—tarot cards and ouija boards and whatnot. That sort of confuses the fact that magic is (I assume) a very real part of everyday life in Paul's world. Is there any other descriptor that would work?) Paul Bernelli, magic was just a hobby. But when ever-curious Paul ‘borrows’ an ancient ankh (It might be clearer to just call it an amulet, or whatever the ankh actually is) from the Osmandians to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh, and his crush, fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the Ankh's magic for a whole lot more than just scoring a hot date to prom. 

 

The Osmandians apprehend Paul, but before lopping his head off, they discover that he’s a changeling -- an underworlder raised among humans. (I'm not sure why but this sentence feels a little strange to me. I think it's because "before" kind of implies they found out he was a changeling, then chopped his head off anyways. ) Paul’s magic and utter ignorance of both sides make him an ideal go-between for the society and the supernatural.(Why does his ignorance help?)

 

The Osmandians present Paul with an ultimatum: retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the society assigns the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Osmandian’s tolerant approach to changelings. (I'm wondering if you could cut Alice out of the query completely? The query seems to work fine without her, and it's less details to keep track of.)

 

Together, the two journey deep into Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is seasoning for meat.  <-(Love this) The duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! (This does feel anticlimatic)

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Overall it's looking pretty good! The voice is strong and snappy, and everything's clear. I'd agree with jaustail though — some more details about the antagonist would be nice.



#14 TheBest

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 05:23 PM

So I redid the query, with less details and more pop. What do you all think? Do you like this version better?

 

Like always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you!

 

Thanks!!!

 

 

When sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli ‘borrows’ an enchanted ankh to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh and his crush fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the ankh to conquer San Francisco instead of just scoring a hot date to prom.

 

The demon-hunting Rosicrucian society discovers the blunder and decides to shanghai Paul, revealing that the teen is a “changeling," an underworlder raised among humans. With social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco -- The Rosicrucians need all the help they can get.


The society presents Paul with an ultimatum: use his magic to retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s tolerant approach to changelings.

 

The two journey deep into the Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series.

 

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#15 galaxyspinner

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 06:45 PM

When sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli ‘borrows’ (use double quotes) an enchanted ankh to move up the school pecking order, he lets the ankh and his crush fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the ankh to conquer San Francisco instead of just scoring a hot date to prom. (I feel like this could be tightened into something much stronger; the ankh is kind of an unneeded detail here, especially since your reader might not know what to picture when they see that word. You could probably do well with simply talking about a kid who dabbles in the supernatural in an effort to be popular and ends up releasing a demon on San Francisco)

 

The demon-hunting Rosicrucian society discovers the blunder and decides to shanghai Paul, revealing that the teen is a “changeling," an underworlder raised among humans (kind of the opposite of a traditional changeling). With social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco (I'm wondering if this would be good hook material; it's a pretty engaging idea)-- The Rosicrucians need all the help they can get.

 

The society presents Paul with an ultimatum: use his magic to retrieve the ankh and patch things up back home, or off with his head. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s tolerant approach to changelings.

 

The two journey deep into the Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness (I'm not sure that your use of italics would come off well to an agent; it may be best not to use them) is seasoning for meat (good line). Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! (nice button)

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series.


Are you an actress looking for a comedic monologue? Check out Lady Parts: 50 Monologues for Funny Actresses.

 

Critique my query: Buccaneers of the Wild Blue


#16 TheBest

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:48 PM

So I redid the query, with more voice and less mega-awkwardness. What do you all think? Do you like this version better?

 

Like always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you!

 

Thanks!!!

 

In a desperate attempt to score a date to prom, sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli “borrows” an enchanted ankh. But when Paul lets the ankh and his crush fall into the hands of a power-hungry demon, the teen is shanghaied by the demon-hunting Rosicrucian society.

 

The society reveals that Paul is a “changeling," an underworlder raised among humans, and presents him with an ultimatum: help retrieve the ankh or off with his head. With social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco -- The Rosicrucians need all the help they can get.

 

To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s tolerant approach to changelings.

Paul and Alice journey deep into the Underworld, where danger lurks behind every corner and kindness is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series.

 

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#17 Timejockey

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 09:58 PM

So I redid the query, with more voice and less mega-awkwardness. What do you all think? Do you like this version better?

 

Like always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you!

 

Thanks!!!

 

In a desperate attempt to score a date to prom, sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli “borrows” an enchanted ankh. But when Paul lets the ankh and his crush fall into the hands of a power-hungry demon, the teen is shanghaied by the demon-hunting Rosicrucian society. (I feel like the significance of ankh needs clarified in some way since it's so focal to the story. Also, it foes from Paul trying to get seemingly any date to referencing specific crush, so you might want to rework that)

 

The society reveals that Paul is a “changeling," an underworlder raised among humans, and presents him with an ultimatum: help retrieve the ankh or off with his head. With social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco -- The Rosicrucians need all the help they can get. (there is something that feels off here too. I like the idea of Paul being coerced into retrieving the ankh, but do the Rosicrucians want it back to help with the refugees or do they want Paul's help?)

 

To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s tolerant approach to changelings. (are they that tolerant if they want to behead him?  :^)

Paul and Alice journey deep into the Underworld, where danger lurks behind every corner and kindness is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! (I like how you end this, and maybe emphasizing the awkward high school angle more in this)

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series.

 

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 Mind you take this all with a grain of salt since I am no expert, but those are the immediate points that stood out for me when I read it. I think there is a good story here, but it doesn't feel like it comes across well enough in its current format. 

Good luck!



#18 BadgerFox

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 05:29 PM

 

 

In a desperate attempt to score a date to prom, sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli “borrows” an enchanted ankh [Good opener. Nice to be oriented to the heart of the issue so early on.]. But when Paul lets the ankh - and his crush - [consider using hyphens here, they may change up the pacing. Although I do possibly like hyphens more than I should..] fall into the hands of a power-hungry demon, the teen is shanghaied by the demon-hunting Rosicrucian society.

 

The society reveals that Paul is a “changeling," an underworlder raised among humans, and presents him with an ultimatum: help retrieve the ankh or it's off with his head. With social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco - [one hyphen, no capitalization, or they sound like a 1970's rock band] Tthe Rosicrucians need all the help they can get.

 

To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s tolerant approach to changelings.[This mostly makes sense so far, but the Rosicrucians haven't seemed that tolerant because they want behead Paul. Is there a way to slip in a prior reference to their having a liberal politial stance on this issue before this point, so it doesn't sound so jarring? Or rephrase it so it's explained better here at this part?]

Paul and Alice journey deep into the Underworld, where danger lurks behind every corner and kindness is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! [Great ending line :D It makes me smile.]

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series.

 

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

This is looking good so far, I feel :) Slight clarification needed at one point but it's minor. A little adjustment of punctuation and vocabulary in a few places might make it even smoother. But as is, this makes sense, it's concise and well-explained, it has a lovely touch of humour and the stakes feel clear. I would hope that sending this to an agent would get you a good response.


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#19 LeeAllan

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 06:13 PM

Hi,

You have a very good premise and interesting query. I am not a fantasy reader, so please take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Thanks!

 

 

In a desperate attempt to score a date to prom, sixteen-year-old geek and occult enthusiast Paul Bernelli “borrows” an enchanted ankh. (Who does he borrow it from? Wouldn't the person he borrowed it from come asking for it? How does an enchanted ankh make is easy to score a date?) But when Paul lets the ankh and his crush fall into the hands of a power-hungry demon (What kind of demon? Can you describe him in a word or two?), the teen is shanghaied by the demon-hunting Rosicrucian society.

 

The society reveals (to whom? To Paul?) that Paul is a “changeling," an underworlder raised among humans, and presents him with an ultimatum: help retrieve the ankh or off with his head. With social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco -- The Rosicrucians need all the help they can get.

 

To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice (Does Paul know Alice? Is she a neighbor? Or is she a Rosicrucian?) to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s tolerant approach to changelings.

Paul and Alice journey deep into the Underworld,(How do they get there?) where danger lurks behind every corner and kindness is seasoning for meat. Together, the duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom! (I don't think the exclamation mark is needed.)

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series.

 

I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

From your query I don't see what special powers the enchanted ankh has. It must have some power that it important to the story, but this doesn't come through to the reader. What important event will happen when the ankh is retrieved?

 

I think you could flush out this query with some more detail. You do have 250 words to play with. You don't describe his crush at all, and it appears that she is important to the story.

 

 

I'd be very grateful if you'd critique my 4th edit of my query, Love, Cats, and Assassins, which is the 11th post of the thread. Thank you!

http://agentquerycon...-other-queries/



#20 TheBest

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:32 PM

Thanks for all the spectacular feedback! I have rewritten my query, and posted it below. Is it too long? Do you all think its ready to be sent to agents?

Thanks! As always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you.

 

When sixteen-year-old overachiever and amateur occultist Paul Bernelli “borrows” an enchanted ankh to conjure up a social life, he lets the ankh and his crush fall into the hands of a demon. A demon who plans on using the ankh to conquer San Francisco instead of scoring a hot date to prom.

 

The demon-hunting Rosicrucian society discovers the blunder and shanghais Paul, revealing that the teen is a “changeling,” a magically-inclined underworlder raised among humans. With social upheaval in the underworld, hordes of supernatural refugees are worming their way into modern-day San Francisco -- The Rosicrucians need all the help they can get. To make matters worse, the Rosicrucians assign the kickass, no-nonsense Alice to be Paul’s babysitter. She doesn’t exactly appreciate the assignment, or see eye-to-eye with the Rosicrucian’s tolerant approach to changelings.

 

Despite a looming scholarship deadline, Paul puts his bright future on hold to unravel his underworld roots and rescue his crush, although she may not be who she claims, or even want rescuing.

 

Together, Paul and Alice journey deep into the Underworld, a world where might makes right and cunning reigns supreme. A world where danger lurks behind every corner, and kindness is seasoning for meat. The duo will face vicious vampires, sadistic witches, high intrigue, and worst of all: the dreaded prom!

 

INTO THE INFERNO is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series. I currently study at Cornell University with a focus on creative writing.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.






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