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THE REAPING (YA fantasy)


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#1 HeatherBlue

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 12:28 PM

LATEST REVISION IS AT POST #93!!!

 

I know this isn't the best draft, but someone told me my old query letter was terrible, and I just want some advice on what I can do with the new one. Thank you everyone!

 

Dear (agent's name),

 

Rafe, an eighteen year old Nephilim, decides to take matters into his own hands after the Angels have given up on his missing brother, Caleb. His plan to infiltrate the Plague - a physical manifestation of the disease - is the only way he can think of to find his lost brother, the only known enemy to the Nephilim.

 

Madeleine, another Nephilim at the compound, is willing to stay by his side as he searches, and they both band with the rest of the Nephilim and Fallen Angels to exterminate the Plague, not knowing that they are the ones that have stolen Caleb. Their Guardian duties require them to eliminate the threat - the Plague kill humans for them to transform into more Plague. Madeleine finds her own lead in a church’s priest, though she is unaware that Jonathan is Death and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, and is leading himself on to his own death, but Madeleine’s fire is something that interests him more than dying.

 

The Reaping is a 100,000 word young adult fantasy novel. It is the first in a trilogy, but it can work as a standalone if need be. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.



#2 lnloft

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 01:38 PM

Hey, we all gotta start somewhere.

I know this isn't the best draft, but someone told me my old query letter was terrible, and I just want some advice on what I can do with the new one. Thank you everyone!

 

Dear (agent's name),

 

Rafe, an eighteen-year-old Nephilim I know what a nephilim is, because I watch the show Supernatural, but I wouldn't count on everyone else knowing, so you might add a clarifier that he's half-angel, half-human, decides to take matters into his own hands after the Angels have given up on his missing brother, Caleb. His plan to infiltrate the Plague - a physical manifestation of the disease What do you mean THE disease? Bubonic plague? Or just disease in general? - is the only way he can think of to find his lost brother, the only known enemy to the Nephilim. Couple things: One, you need a stronger hook than this. Maybe start by playing around with the inciting incident. So if, hypothetically, the story gets kicked off by Rafe's angel parent showing up and being like, "Yo, your brother is super hard to find, and also a jerk, so we're done, and you should be too," maybe start the hook as something like, "Rafe's sleep was interrupted by the appearance of his father, Steve the Angel, who informed him the agents of Heaven were done searching for Rafe's missing brother Caleb." Hypothetically. Because I'm sure that's how angels talk in your story, and I'm sure there's one with the classic angel name of Steve. Moving on. Anyway, what I just wrote isn't even a great hook because it's got three character names in it, and that can be pretty overwhelming for a reader. But hopefully you get what I'm trying to show you, of start playing around with making a hook based off your inciting incident and see where that takes you.

 

My other point that I wanted to make about this opening paragraph is that I'm super confused. Why does he think infiltrating the Plague will help him find Caleb? I still don't really get what the Plague is, either. And why does he want to find Caleb if Caleb is Nephilim Enemy #1? For that matter, why is Caleb Nephilim Enemy #1? And I was kinda assuming Caleb was a nephilim himself, although I suppose they could be half-brothers. Oh, and why have the Angels given up? You know the context for all these things, but we don't.

 

Madeleine, another Nephilim at the compound Compound? What compound?, is willing to stay by his side as he searches, and they both band with the rest of the Nephilim If all of the Nephilim are helping, then I'm not seeing why Madeleine is singled out. I mean, obviously she's a main character, we can't see WHY that is right now and Fallen Angels And, whoa, they're partnering with Fallen Angels? But aren't they baddies? to exterminate the Plague Why are we exterminating the Plague? I didn't get a sense that it was necessarily evil, just a thing. And again, this falls into not really understanding what it is. You say it's a physical manifestation, but what does that actually mean? As a person? A building? A weird cloud?, not knowing that they are the ones that have stolen Caleb Who is "they" here? Fallen Angels? The Plague? And since when was Caleb stolen? Also, is this something the characters only find out later in the book? Because if so, we probably don't need it revealed here. Their Guardian duties Whose Guardian duties? And what are Guardian duties? require them to eliminate the threat - the Plague kill humans for them to transform into more Plague Again, I don't have a clear idea of what the Plague is, although now I'm starting to think it's a group of people. Madeleine finds her own lead in a church’s priest, though she is unaware that Jonathan Who's Jonathan? is Death and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, and is leading himself on to his own death Well, if he's going to die, then is that really a problem?, but Madeleine’s fire is something that interests him more than dying. So, first paragraph makes me think that Rafe is our main character, but we never get his name in this paragraph, and in fact he completely disappears by the end, and we're focused on what Madeleine is doing. So who's the main character, Rafe or Madeleine? If they both kinda share equal billing in the story, then still just pick one and stick to it.

 

The Reaping THE REAPING is a 100,000 word young adult I'm a person who writes big fat books. And I'm a person who reads big fat books. So I'm not going to tell you that your book is too long. But I will just give you a heads-up that 100,000 words is a bit of a honker for YA. And that'll probably make agents less likely to bite. So just be aware fantasy novel . It is the first in a trilogy, but it can work as a standalone if need be. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Alright, as you can probably determine, my big issue right now is that I come out with way too many questions from this. Some of these things you can probably just cut out, and others you can then expand on, and unfortunately I can't tell you which is which because I don't know your story. So I'd start by focusing on that. One of the things to keep in mind is that sometimes we don't need to know the name for everything. For example from my own experience writing a query: in my book the main character is has certain abilities, and someone with those abilities is called a nihilempath. And in my first draft, people were super confused by this new word. So I cut it, and now just say she has abilities, and people can learn about the term used when they read the actual book. Not saying that's necessarily what you need to do, but it's always worth keeping in mind as you work through things. On one last note, do be aware that you have four characters named in this query. Be wary of doing that. Most queries don't go above two or three, because it can just get overwhelming. The big problem for you came up when you started referring to Jonathan without warning. At this point I'm assuming he's the priest, but still... Make sure you don't clutter us up with too many new terms and character names. We'll have plenty of time to get to know it all in the book.

 

I think hidden under all of this you have what sounds like a cool story, so don't despair. You just need to chip away at this until it shines through. Good luck!


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#3 HeatherBlue

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 08:19 PM

I know this isn't perfect either, but I just want to see what is missing before I go on editing this to perfection. Thanks! (Also, I can't believe I made it seem like Caleb was the enemy. That was supposed to be the Plague. Sorry.) I really appreciated the critique. It helped a lot!

 

Revision #1:

 

Madeleine is a very driven girl, and getting no results from the Angels in their search for her missing friend have pushed her to come up with her own plan: to infiltrate the Plague - humans turned into venomous creatures that can transform others into more Plague. It is the only way she can think of to find him, because they are the only known enemy to the Nephilim.

 

As the Nephilim - Angel/human hybrids - exterminate the Plague, they are unaware that they are the ones that have taken her friend. Their Guardian duties of the Angels require them to eliminate the threat of the Plague. Madeleine finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is Death and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, leading himself to his own death by getting his number up as the Plague kill more and more humans. But Madeleine’s fire is something that interests him more than dying.

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000 word young adult fantasy novel. It is the first in a trilogy, but it can work as a standalone. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#4 jaustail

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 12:00 AM

JMO:

 

Madeleine is a very driven girl, and getting no results from the Angels in their search for her missing friend have pushed her to come up with her own plan: to infiltrate the Plague - humans turned into venomous creatures that can transform others into more Plague(very long sentence and has a lot of information. break this into two more more sentences). It is the only way she can think of to find him, because they are the only known enemy to the Nephilim.

 

As the Nephilim - Angel/human hybrids - exterminate the Plague, they are unaware that they are the ones that have taken her friend. Their Guardian duties of the Angels require them to eliminate the threat of the Plague. Madeleine finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is Death and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, leading himself to his own death by getting his number up as the Plague kill more and more humans. But Madeleine’s fire is something that interests him more than dying.(write this from madelien's pov)(madeleine is your main character but she isn't doing much in the query. she seeks help from the angels who refuse her. then she seeks help from jonathan and doesn't do much after that. also i didnt get a good sense of madeleine's age. i think this is a scrap and redo.)

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000(hyphen) word young adult fantasy novel. It is the first in a trilogy, but it can work as a standalone. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#5 HeatherBlue

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 11:47 PM

I would like to see what people think about this draft. 1. I have taken out the name "the Plague," 2. I am unsure about specifically saying what a Nephilim is in my query. I'm just not sure how to slip it in smoothly (the Angel/human hybrid part), 3. I want to make sure that "the lost Nephilim" sounds like the friend she is looking for, 4. I would of course also love to hear anything that anyone else notices that I can't see yet. Thank you!

 

Revision #2:

 

There are venomous creatures walking the night. With human faces they can take just one bite to a human to create more of them, and Madeleine - an eighteen year old Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid) - has a plan to infiltrate their ranks. This is not following the Angel’s plan to kill them, but following her own plan to find her missing friend. She thinks they’ve taken him. They are the only known enemy to the Nephilim.

 

Madeleine follows the Angels out every night to fulfill her Guardian duties as they exterminate the threat, but she is always wanting for more, even as she searches for the lost Nephilim. As she slips away from her friends each night, she finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is Death and the reason the threat exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, leading himself to his own death by getting his number up as his creations kill more and more humans. But Madeleine is something that interests him more than dying, and she is hungry for something that exists inside him, even if he is unaware that the possibility is still there.

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel. It is the first in a trilogy, but it can work as a standalone. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#6 noellbernard

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 01:14 PM

I have always been told to start with the main character, not the setting because we care about the main character. The first paragraph should be: Who is the MC, what do they want, what is stopping them from getting it. Right now, you have who, and kind of what she wants, but what's standing in her way isn't very concrete.

 

There are venomous creatures walking the night. With human faces they can take just one bite to a human to create more of them, and Madeleine - an eighteen year old Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid) - has a plan to infiltrate their ranks. This is not following the Angel’s plan to kill them, but following her own plan to find her missing friend. She thinks they’ve taken him. They are the only known enemy to the Nephilim. You have a lot going on in these last two sentences. I think you need to focus on streamlining the important bits in paragraph one. You have the friend, the creatures, the main character, some angel. There's just too much here.

 

Madeleine follows the Angels out every night to fulfill her Guardian duties as they exterminate the threat this is super vague. exterminate what threat? What Guardian duties? Is she following the Angels to protect them?, but she is always wanting for more, even as she searches for the lost Nephilim. As she slips away from her friends each night, what friends? Why are we suddenly talking about friends? she finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is Death and the reason the threat exists. What threat? Actual death or just like... her form of death? This is a bit confusing. Jonathan is a fearful creature, leading himself to his own death by getting his number up his number up? What number? What does this number have to do with anything? as his creations kill more and more humans. But Madeleine is something that interests him more than dying, and she is hungry for something that exists inside him, even if he is unaware that the possibility is still there. Wait. What just happened? You went from her infiltrating ranks in order to save her friend to suddenly a romance? The main point of this plot is not here. 

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel. It is the first in a trilogy, but it can work as a standalone. (Do not word it this way. You should say 'young adult fantasy novel with series potential.' Stating it's supposed to be a series can be a turn-off for many agents.) Thank you for your time and consideration.


Any advice you're willing to offer on my query would be greatly appreciated: Thread Here! Thank you!

 

Feel like some literary chat? Join my weekly blog discussions at MNBernard Books!

 

Want to read some dark fairytales? Check out my short story in OWS Ink's anthology, Mirrors & Thorns!


#7 HeatherBlue

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 11:11 PM

I know this one still isn't written perfectly, but I would like to know how the content is, and of course any other tips are welcome. The wording of my hook isn't right, but I'm thinking that the content of it is closer to what it should be, and then hopefully I can work on making it prettier sounding than it is. I would love any tips on how to personalize toward specific agencies. Also, my word count will probably go down before I send this, so anyone worried that it may be too long, it probably won't be that much when I actually send it. Thanks! (And I really am sorry about how badly the hook is worded, still working on it. I just hope the content is right, or at least close)

 

Revision #3:

 

Madeleine’s ex-boyfriend is missing, and as an eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid), she has a plan to infiltrate the ranks of the creatures she thinks took him.

 

Madeleine’s Guardian duties with the other Nephilim and Angels require them to eliminate these creatures in order to save humans. The Nephilim and Angels are the Guardians of the earth, and the Plague are venomous beings, roaming the night with human faces. It only takes one bite to a human to create more of them. As she slips away from the Nephilim and Angels each night after the hunt is over, she finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, leading himself to his own death as his creations kill more and more humans. The more they kill, the closer he is to his true death. But the closer she gets to him, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing.

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#8 dinosaurinhats

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 12:55 AM

Madeleine’s ex-boyfriend is missing, and as an eighteen-year-old Nephilimwhich is an Angel/human hybrid, she has a plan to infiltrate the ranks of the creatures she thinks took him. This is a bit clunky and vague---i recommend changing the wording to explain what creatures, and why she thinks that. 

 

Madeleine’s Guardian duties is this a status rank? If so, make sure that's clear. Otherwise, it reads odd. with the other Nephilim and Angels require them to eliminate these creatures once again, 'these creatures' is vague in order to save humans explain why the creatures are a threat/why humans need saving. The Nephilim and Angels are the Guardians of the earth, and the Plague are venomous beings, roaming the night with human faces Are these the creatures? If so, put this information much closer to the front. It clarifies things a lot. It only takes one bite to a human to create more of them.Aha! Here, I'm assuming, is the threat you were talking about! Put this up closer to the front also. This is good stuff--it clarifies a lot of what you're talking about. As she Madeleine slips away from the Nephilim and Angels each night after the hunt What hunt? is over, she finds her own lead in a priest what kind of priest? regular priest? or a magical one? named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, leading himself to his own death as his creations kill more and more humans. This strays from Madeline, who is the core of the story. Try rewording it. The more they Who's they? kill, the closer he is to his true death is true death a good thing or bad thing?. But the closer she gets to him Jonathan, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing.

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

You have a very interesting plot here! I can see that you have a very complex storyline with many moving parts, which is why you're having difficulty to condense it into a query---thats totally understandable! I think mostly it's a matter of chronological order. The first few sentences were very confusing to me, but then once you clarified it later on, things made much more sense. I think after a few more drafts, you'll be well on your way to a solid query! 

Best of luck!! If you could find the time to return the favor and check out my letter, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much! 

http://agentquerycon...e-mirrored-box/



#9 noellbernard

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 02:49 PM

Madeleine’s ex-boyfriend is missing, and as an eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid), she has a plan to infiltrate the ranks of the creatures she thinks took him. (I'm not a huge fan of this sentence. It doesn't have enough stakes for me. Why does Madeleine care about her ex-boyfriend? How is being a Nepilim going to help her infiltrate ranks of X [you don't state who the creatures are in this first paragraph and you may want to.])

 

Madeleine’s Guardian duties with the other Nephilim and Angels require them to eliminate these creatures in order to save humans. (This doesn't connect with the first sentence at all. And it should. If you jump to a new idea in your 2nd paragraph, you lose the reader/agent.) The Nephilim and Angels are the Guardians of the earth, and the Plague are venomous beings, roaming the night with human faces. It only takes one bite to a human to create more of them. (This sentence reads awkward and I think you could implement the introduction of the Plague into why they are bad. One sentence to sum it up.) As she slips away from the Nephilim and Angels each night after the hunt is over, she finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, (This is the first point you tell us about her attempt to find her ex-boyfriend. Whom I still don't understand why she's trying to find him.) though she is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, leading himself to his own death as his creations kill more and more humans. The more they kill, the closer he is to his true death. (I don't what 'true death' means and unless he is a POV character, I'm not sure you should include this piece. You're getting a little too focused on Jonathan if he isn't a POV.) But the closer she gets to him, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing. (There are no stakes in this query. We know who Madeline is and what she wants: her ex-boyfriend for some reason, but I have no idea what happens if she doesn't find him/save him/etc. I need to know what's at stake. Why does her ex-boyfriend matter to her? Without this piece, I don't care.)

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Is this story told in two differing POVs? Jonathan and Madeleine or just Madeleine? The way your query is set up, I keep getting the feeling that Jonathan has a POV as well.

 

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to answer. :)


Any advice you're willing to offer on my query would be greatly appreciated: Thread Here! Thank you!

 

Feel like some literary chat? Join my weekly blog discussions at MNBernard Books!

 

Want to read some dark fairytales? Check out my short story in OWS Ink's anthology, Mirrors & Thorns!


#10 HeatherBlue

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 08:06 PM

I would like to note that my story is told from 3 POV's, but I am focusing mostly on Madeleine because I don't want to scatter my query letter with different main characters. If I tell this from Jonathan's POV instead of Madeleine's it makes it seem like my book is not YA, because he is a little bit older than they are. The other main characters are YA age. I tried to write 'which is an Angel/human hybrid,' but it just didn't sound right. The wording of this draft isn't perfect, I know, but I'm just putting things out there to see what's missing and to see what needs to be eliminated. Also, I somehow need to write that they are Guardians in the query so that I can lead into her running away from them after the hunt to find Jonathan (on accident). Unless you guys think I can leave out the Guardian sentence with it still sounding like enough is there. It's also leading people to believe that Madeleine herself is infiltrating the Plague, but she is actually getting her friend to do it. I just feel like bringing him into the query will be too many people, and I also feel like a lot of book synopses for published books read like that as well - you think the story is the synopsis, but books never read like you think they will from a synopsis. :smile:  You guys can let me know what you think. Thank you!

 

Revision #4:

 

Madeleine’s ex-boyfriend is missing, and as an eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid), she has a plan to infiltrate the Plague - venomous beings roaming the night with human faces. It only takes one bite to a human to create more of them, and if she does not find her ex in time, he could end up dead.

 

Madeleine and her ex may have broken up, but he’s one of her best friends and she is willing to do anything to bring him back alive. Madeleine and the other Nephilim and Angels are the Guardians of the earth and they are required to eliminate the Plague in order to save humans. As Madeleine slips away from the Nephilim and Angels each night after the hunt for the Plague is over, she finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. The closer Madeleine gets to Jonathan, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing.

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#11 noellbernard

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 08:32 PM

I would like to note that my story is told from 3 POV's, but I am focusing mostly on Madeleine because I don't want to scatter my query letter with different main characters. If I tell this from Jonathan's POV instead of Madeleine's it makes it seem like my book is not YA, because he is a little bit older than they are. The other main characters are YA age. I tried to write 'which is an Angel/human hybrid,' but it just didn't sound right. The wording of this draft isn't perfect, I know, but I'm just putting things out there to see what's missing and to see what needs to be eliminated. Also, I somehow need to write that they are Guardians in the query so that I can lead into her running away from them after the hunt to find Jonathan (on accident). Unless you guys think I can leave out the Guardian sentence with it still sounding like enough is there. It's also leading people to believe that Madeleine herself is infiltrating the Plague, but she is actually getting her friend to do it. I just feel like bringing him into the query will be too many people, and I also feel like a lot of book synopses for published books read like that as well - you think the story is the synopsis, but books never read like you think they will from a synopsis. :smile:  You guys can let me know what you think. Thank you!

 

Revision #4:

 

Madeleine’s ex-boyfriend is missing, and as an eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid), (I still need to know why being a hybrid helps her in her plan to infiltrate the Plague. You make it sound like 'because she is Nephilim, she'll be able to do this.' but I don't know WHY.) she has a plan to infiltrate the Plague - venomous beings roaming the night with human faces. It only takes one bite to a human to create more of them, and if she does not find her ex in time, he could end up dead.

 

(I generally hate re-writing for people because I don't know your story, but I think this is something along the lines of information you need in the first paragraph.) Eighteen-year-old Madeleine's responsibility as a Nephilim (Angel-Human hybrid) is to eliminate the Plague and protect humans. Except these venomous beings who don human faces, roam the night, and infect humans with a single bite may have kidnapped her ex-boyfriend. To save him, she'll have to infiltrate the Plague's ranks... without her fellow Nephilim finding out.

 

Madeleine and her ex may have broken up, but he’s one of her best friends and she is willing to do anything to bring him back alive. (These two sentences do not connect.) Madeleine and the other Nephilim and Angels are the Guardians of the earth and they are required to eliminate the Plague in order to save humans. As Madeleine slips away from the Nephilim and Angels each night after the hunt for the Plague is over, she finds her own ('her own' suggests that other people are searching for her ex-boyfriend as well. Are they?) lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. The closer Madeleine gets to Jonathan, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing. (there are no stakes here. I need to know what happens if Madeleine fails to find her ex-boyfriend. I need to know the consequences hanging in the balance. Otherwise, none of this matters.) 

 

(I think you could cut from Jonathan's introduction 'lead to a priest named Jonathan.' to a paragraph about Jonathan. Like: "However, Jonathan is more than a priest. He's actually one of the four horsemen. Death, to be specific, and he's the reason the Plague exists." But again, my words and your voice may be different. And this is your query. :) )

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. This story is told from multiple perspectives. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

ALWAYS tell the agent somewhere in your query that is has multiple POVs. You don't put it in the hook section of the query, but you need to add it somewhere.

 

Let me know if you have any questions and again, my re-writes are just examples of what information could go where. Remember, it's always YOUR query and you make the final decision. :)


Any advice you're willing to offer on my query would be greatly appreciated: Thread Here! Thank you!

 

Feel like some literary chat? Join my weekly blog discussions at MNBernard Books!

 

Want to read some dark fairytales? Check out my short story in OWS Ink's anthology, Mirrors & Thorns!


#12 NGrzesik

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 10:05 PM

Revision #4:

 

Madeleine’s ex-boyfriend is missing, and as an eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid) I have an idea for how this could be better worded: "...and as an eighteen-year-old angel and human hybrid, known as a Nephilim, she has a..." , she has a plan to infiltrate the Plague - venomous beings roaming the night with human faces. It only takes one bite to a human to create more of them, and if she does not find her ex in time, he could end up dead. Clarity is a little rough in this first paragraph. Nowhere is the connection between Madeleine's ex-boyfriend and the Plague made, and from the last sentence I'm assuming she thinks they're what took him. Somewhere in the first couple of sentences this needs to be made. Maybe focus on ex-boyfriend being taken by the Plague / what the Plague is in the first sentence, and save Madeleine being revealed to be an angel-human hybrid for the next. 

 

Madeleine and her ex may have broken up, but he’s one of her best friends and she is willing to do anything to bring him back alive. Madeleine and the other Nephilim and Angels are the Guardians of the earth Earth and they are required to eliminate the Plague in order to save humans What, or who, requires them? What happens if they don't eliminate the Plague? What'll happen then? I think talking about why the Plague should be eliminated would automatically justify them requiring their elimination. As Madeleine slips away from the Nephilim and Angels each night after the hunt for the Plague is over, she finds her own lead in a priest named Jonathan, though she is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. The closer Madeleine gets to Jonathan, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing.

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Other than Madeleine's ex-boyfriend, what are the stakes? Also, what's stopping Madeleine from getting to her ex-boyfriend? But keep at it and I wish you the best of luck in editing your query!


If you found my suggestions to be helpful, I'd appreciate if you took a look at my query for Ruptured Sky. Thanks. 


#13 HeatherBlue

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 08:20 PM

Thank you for all the help! I love it and appreciate it so much! So in this draft I am a little unsure about the amount of times I use the words 'Nephilim' and 'Angel' (especially the word 'Angel') in the second paragraph. Any tips to smooth that out would be awesome, unless it's only me noticing it, but I don't think so. I want to say that I am sorry that I'm not critiquing back, but the reason for that is that I don't know anything about query letters! I appreciate the help on mine so much, and maybe I will be able to critique others once I have understood mine some more. I just want to make sure that I have everything in my query letter, and I know it still needs some smoothing, but I love the improvements from my first! Thank you!

 

Revision #5:

 

Eighteen-year-old Madeleine is searching for her missing ex-boyfriend whom she thinks has been kidnapped by the Plague. These venomous beings roam the night with human faces - and it only takes one bite to create more of them. With her extra strength and speed as a Nephilim (Angel-human hybrid), she has a plan to infiltrate them.

 

Madeleine and her ex may have broken up, but he is still an important part of her life. Along with the other Nephilim and the Angels, she is eliminating the Plague as they attempt to poison as many humans as possible. They haven’t been able to pinpoint the location of the Plague’s home, so every night they hunt these creatures. As Madeleine slips away from the Nephilim and Angels, she finds her own lead in a priest because the Angels have failed in their attempt to find her ex. She is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. The closer Madeleine gets to Death, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing. If she does not find him in time, he could end up dead, but he is not the only one that could be lost in the process.

 

THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. This story is told from multiple perspectives. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#14 lnloft

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 03:32 PM

Thank you for all the help! I love it and appreciate it so much! So in this draft I am a little unsure about the amount of times I use the words 'Nephilim' and 'Angel' (especially the word 'Angel') in the second paragraph. Any tips to smooth that out would be awesome, unless it's only me noticing it, but I don't think so. I want to say that I am sorry that I'm not critiquing back, but the reason for that is that I don't know anything about query letters! I appreciate the help on mine so much, and maybe I will be able to critique others once I have understood mine some more. I just want to make sure that I have everything in my query letter, and I know it still needs some smoothing, but I love the improvements from my first! Thank you!

 

Revision #5:

 

Eighteen-year-old Madeleine is searching for her missing ex-boyfriend whom she thinks has been kidnapped by the Plague. Hmm. Well, the first thing that jumps out at me is that this sentence doesn't flow particularly well. It just runs a little long without any break. The second is that I only have any context for the Plague because I read an earlier draft of your query. While you do immediately provide a bit of a follow-up in the next sentence, it's already a bit confusing. For someone who just jumps into this, they're going to look and think, "How is someone kidnapped by a disease?" And then they're not necessarily going to put two-and-two together when they start reading the next sentence. These venomous beings roam the night with human faces - and it only takes one bite to create more of them. With her extra strength and speed as a Nephilim (Angel-human hybrid), she Madeleine has a plan to infiltrate them. I'm thinking it might be better to get the fact that she's a Nephilim out there right in the first sentence. As is, I'm also still not feeling a strong enough hook here. We've got a half-angel hybrid as the main character: that's cool. Get that right in our face. And then SHOW her doing something cool. "Angel-human hybrid Madeleine has had enough of people telling her that her missing ex-boyfriend is going to be fine, when clearly he's not. She's pretty sure he's been kidnapped by [descriptive description the Plague] known as the Plague. And if no one else will help, then she's going to get him him herself." I'm just spitballing with that, but play around. Make it aggressive. Madeleine is pissed that her boyfriend is missing. She wants to DO something about it. Show us that.

 

Madeleine and her ex may have broken up, but he is still an important part of her life. Along with the other Nephilim and the Angels, she is eliminating the Plague as they attempt to poison as many humans as possible. Aside from Madeleine being a subject in both sentences, there is absolutely nothing linking the two. Feels a bit of a non sequitur. Also, if they're all eliminating the Plague already, the Plague doesn't sound like a huge threat. Also also, how are they eliminating the Plague? They haven’t been able to pinpoint the location of the Plague’s home, so every night they hunt these creatures. As Madeleine slips away from the Nephilim and Angels, she finds her own lead in a priest because the Angels have failed in their attempt to find her ex. Again, flow isn't great in this sentence. She is unaware that he is one of the four horsemen - Death - and the reason the Plague exists. I guess I always get a little confused by queries telling us something that the MC is "unaware" of. I do realize that your story has multiple POVs, so it's possible that the READER will be aware of this fact before Madeleine is, but I still feel like why are you telling us this if the character doesn't know it yet? So what does Madeleine know right now? Does she start realizing that there's something about this priest that is off? You can still play up the mystery of that in the query. The closer Madeleine gets to Death, the closer she is to finding out that he is the reason her ex-boyfriend is missing. Again, Madeleine doesn't know this, so why do we? If she does not find him in time, he could end up dead, but he is not the only one that could be lost in the process. What's this last piece mean? Bit of vague stakes.

 

Told through multiple perspectives, THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. This story is told from multiple perspectives. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Improved from the first draft I read. Couple biggest problems: 1) There feels like there's a bit of a disconnect between the pieces. The Plague is set up as the big bad, but then just kinda fades away into oblivion and doesn't feel like that much more of a threat. We've got a set-up at the beginning of paragraph 2 about how the Angels and Nephilim are working hard to stop the Plague, and that just falls through and we get nothing more on it. 2) I want the writing itself to be punchier. There's definitely a few sentences in there (couple that I highlighted) that are a little long and thus lack flow. Maybe just focus for the moment on getting short, to-the-point sentences in there first, and then allow yourself to go back and spruce it up.

 

I don't think the second paragraph has too many iterations of the word "Angel". Even looking for it, it didn't really stand out, so I wouldn't worry too much there.

 

I'd also say that you can go ahead and put the boyfriend's name back in. You did a good job of paring the characters down, but now that Madeleine is the only named character in there, it gives you leeway to get another, and it reads a little awkward at times to just be constantly referring to "her ex-boyfriend".

 

Regarding critiques for other people's queries: I get why you're hesitant, but even as you work through figuring out your own query, that doesn't mean you don't have valuable things to say to other people. It's a lot easier to pick out flaws in someone else's work than your own, even if it's simple stuff like, "I'm confused by this," or, "I don't like how this sentence sounds," or, alternatively, "I like how this sentence sounds." Those are valid critiques as well. And I feel that critiquing other queries can help you with your own, making it easier to pick out things that work and don't work and then giving you a better idea of how to implement those things back to your own query. You're not under any obligation to critique anyone else and I'm not trying to guilt you or anything like that, but I thought I'd offer this food for thought.

 

Good luck with the revisions.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#15 HeatherBlue

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 07:27 PM

Lets see how this one goes. I know I still need to work on sentence flow, but I'd like to see what anyone thinks. Thanks for all the critiques! It gets better and better every time! I was also wondering if it's okay to say that you like the energy of a literary agency? I know some agencies like these personalized, but I am unsure what personalization would be appropriate for each one. I know they usually say it, but I also want to present it the right way as well. And I am unsure if I need to personalize if they don't specifically say to. Thanks!

 

Revision #6:

 

Eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel-human hybrid) Madeleine is displeased with the Angels’ nonexistent results to find her ex-boyfriend, Caleb. She’s pretty sure he’s been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague. She knows the Angels have been looking, but if they can’t follow through in their search, Madeleine will figure out a way to find him herself.

 

Along with the other Nephilim and the Angels, Madeleine is helping to eliminate the Plague. These creatures go around biting people to transform them into even more Plague. They haven’t been able to pinpoint the location of the Plague’s home, so every night they kill as many of them as they can. Madeleine slips away in the night once the fight is over, and as she does she finds her own lead in a priest. He is the only one present in the church where Caleb’s scent was last found. She is wary, but also drawn to him, and wondering all the time what his presence has to do with Caleb, if at all. Without tipping off the priest about her agenda, she must weasel her way in to his mind and what he might know. If she does not find Caleb in time, he could end up dead. If Caleb has somehow been kidnapped into the home of the Plague, she could get him back and wipe out the threat altogether, saving not only Caleb, but many humans as well.

 

Told through multiple perspectives, THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#16 pinkatailmon

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 08:08 AM

Lets see how this one goes. I know I still need to work on sentence flow, but I'd like to see what anyone thinks. Thanks for all the critiques! It gets better and better every time! I was also wondering if it's okay to say that you like the energy of a literary agency? I know some agencies like these personalized, but I am unsure what personalization would be appropriate for each one. I know they usually say it, but I also want to present it the right way as well. And I am unsure if I need to personalize if they don't specifically say to. Thanks!

 

Revision #6:

 

Eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel-human hybrid) Madeleine is displeased with the Angels’ nonexistent results to find her ex-boyfriend, Caleb. She’s pretty sure he’s been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague. She knows the Angels have been looking, but if they can’t follow through in their search, Madeleine will figure out a way to find him herself. (This is a little long and repetitive. This might be better: "Eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel-human hybrid) Madeleine is displeased with the Angels. Her ex-boyfriend Caleb has been missing for (how long?) now, but they can't seem to find him." )


 

She’s pretty sure Caleb has been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague. (Move this sentence here) Along with the other Nephilim and the Angels, Madeleine is helping to eliminate the Plague. (This sentence is a bit clunky. Maybe simply mention that both the angels and Nephilism are trying to eliminate the Plague) These creatures go around biting people to transform them into even more Plague. They haven’t been able to pinpoint the location of the Plague’s home, so every night they kill as many of them as they can. Madeleine slips away in the night once the fight is over, and as she does she finds her own lead in a priest. He is the only one present in the church where Caleb’s scent was last found. She is wary, but also drawn to him, and wondering all the time what his presence has to do with Caleb, if at all. Without tipping off the priest about her agenda, she must weasel her way in to his mind (Does she have the power to do that?) and what he might know. If she does not find Caleb in time, he could end up dead. If Caleb has somehow been kidnapped into the home of the Plague, she could get him back and wipe out the threat altogether, saving not only Caleb, but many humans as well.

 

Told through multiple perspectives, THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Personalization is usually a good thing, but if you really can't think of anything to say, then drop it. Also, it's be a good idea to mention some comparison titles at the end, preferably books that have been published in the last 3 years. Hope this helps!



#17 smoskale

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 07:45 PM

Revision #6:

 

Eighteen-year-old Nephilim (Angel-human hybrid) Madeleine ​I wold break this down: "18-year old Madeline is Nephillim--an Angel-human hybrid. She is furious with the Angels' failure to find her ex-boyfriend. Caleb. BTW, why does she care about her ex-boyfriend? Is "displeased" really the way to describe her feeling? If it is, it's not going to do favors for the query. is displeased with the Angels’ nonexistent results nonexistent results is what I would put into a scientific article, not into a fiction query. Words are your tools. Hone them, make everyone do the job for you. to find her ex-boyfriend, Caleb. She’s pretty sure he’s been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague. She knows the Angels have been looking, but if they can’t follow through in their search, Madeleine will figure out a way to find him herself. All this is fine, except it's not exciting beyond the fact that she is half-angel. It goes splat after that.

 

Along with the other Nephilim and the Angels, Madeleine is helping to eliminate the Plague. Wait, what happened to her going to find Caleb? Why do you switch to the Plague? Focus on one choice of your MC. These creatures go around biting people to transform them into even more Plague. They who is they? Last sentence was about the Plague, so "they" is assumed to refer to the Plague. haven’t been able to pinpoint the location of the Plague’s home, so every night they kill as many of them and who is them? as they can. Madeleine slips away in the night once the fight is over, and as she does she finds her own lead in a priest. What do you mean here--she finds her own lead in a priest? I am confused. He is the only one present in the church where Caleb’s scent was last found. She is wary, but also drawn to him, and wondering all the time what his presence has to do with Caleb, if at all. Without tipping off the priest about her agenda, she must weasel her way in to his mind and what he might know. If she does not find Caleb in time, he could end up dead. If Caleb has somehow been kidnapped into the home of the Plague, she could get him back and wipe out the threat altogether, saving not only Caleb, but many humans as well.

I would eliminate the priest and the Plague to start. Focus on Madeline, and her wanting to find Caleb. Write your query about that, and do it so the beginning is grabbiing, Madeline is interesting, and her choice is difficult. Use short sentences (10-15 words max)

 

Told through multiple perspectives, THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Mine is at http://agentquerycon...st-13/?p=348781

 



#18 HeatherBlue

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 02:11 PM

I am most unsure about comparing my book to others, but I tried in this one. I am also unsure of telling the agency why I want to work with them. If it doesn't work the way I wrote it, I will just delete it. These critiques really helped, and I understand now to hone in on only Madeleine and her search for Caleb. But I don't think it's possible for me to completely eliminate the Plague in my query because they are the reason why he is gone and I want her suspicions of them known. Pretty much she has two leads - the church where his scent was last found, and the Plague. I have called Caleb 'one of her best friends' in this revision since I have had a lot of people ask me why she still cares about her ex. I understand the question, but he is one of her good friends, not just her ex, so I said that instead. Let me know how it sounds! I appreciate all the feedback! Thank you!

 

Revision #7:

 

Eighteen-year-old Madeleine is Nephilim—an Angel-human hybrid. She is frustrated with the Angels’ failure to find one of her best friends, Caleb. She knows putting her own life in danger is a risk. But the threat of death will not stop her in her determination to find him.

 

Madeleine’s plan is to find the church Caleb’s scent was last found. She thinks he’s been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague - an enemy to the Nephilim. Madeleine is worried that these creatures are torturing him, or that he might be dead already. But if there’s a chance that he’s still alive, she has to keep looking for him. If Caleb has somehow been kidnapped into the home of the Plague, she has a chance to get him back. The church could be the lead in his search that she has been looking for.

 

Told through multiple perspectives, THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy with series potential. It would appeal to fans of Vampire Academy and The Mortal Instruments. I am drawn to the energy of this agency, and it is a great desire of mine to work with you. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#19 morgan.spraker

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:33 PM

I am most unsure about comparing my book to others, but I tried in this one. I am also unsure of telling the agency why I want to work with them. If it doesn't work the way I wrote it, I will just delete it. These critiques really helped, and I understand now to hone in on only Madeleine and her search for Caleb. But I don't think it's possible for me to completely eliminate the Plague in my query because they are the reason why he is gone and I want her suspicions of them known. Pretty much she has two leads - the church where his scent was last found, and the Plague. I have called Caleb 'one of her best friends' in this revision since I have had a lot of people ask me why she still cares about her ex. I understand the question, but he is one of her good friends, not just her ex, so I said that instead. Let me know how it sounds! I appreciate all the feedback! Thank you!

 

Revision #7:

 

Eighteen-year-old Madeleine is Nephilim—an Angel-human hybrid. She is frustrated with the Angels’ failure to find one of her best friends, Caleb. I feel like this could be stated with a little more flair. Why is he missing? Why aren't they searching for him? Is she just frustrated, or does she have a "if you won't find him, then I will attitude?" You may not have to answer all these questions directly, but they'd be good to keep in mind.She knows putting her own life in danger is a risk. But the threat of death will not stop her in her determination to find him. The wording here is a little convoluted - I would go with something like "The threat of death won't diminish her determination to find him"

 

Madeleine’s plan is to find the church Caleb’s scent was last found. Is found the right word here? She thinks he’s been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague - an enemy to the Nephilim. Madeleine is worried that these creatures are torturing him, or that he might be dead already. Why does she have reason to believe this? But if there’s a chance that he’s still alive, she has to keep looking for him. If Caleb has somehow been kidnapped into Kidnapped into? Would "being held in" work better? the home of the Plague, she has a chance to get him back. The church could be the lead in his search that she has been looking for. This isn't a strong last impression to give agents. I'd rework it into something with a bit more of a punch

 

Told through multiple perspectives, THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy with series potential. It would appeal to fans of Vampire Academy and The Mortal Instruments. I am drawn to the energy of this agency, and it is a great desire of mine to work with you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

This isn't bad! But I was definitely left with a lot of questions that I felt needed answers to make the query make more sense. The second paragraph is a little muddled and I feel you need more detail and world building overall. I do like the concept a lot :)



#20 HeatherBlue

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 09:19 PM

I have two versions of the second part this time. Thank you for all the critiques! Let me know what's missing, if it should be rearranged, etc. Thank you! So I have my hook/first paragraph, and then I have two versions of the second part of the query, and then I have my closing paragraph. Thanks!

 

Revision #8:

 

Caleb is missing.

 

Madeleine can’t let him go. Not like the others have. With mixed Angel-human blood, this eighteen-year-old girl knows she can do better than the Angels in their search to find Caleb. She knows putting her own life in danger is a risk as she pursues him. But the threat of death won’t diminish her determination to find him.

 

Version One of second part (two paragraphs):

 

Madeleine’s plan is to find the church the Angels have already searched. His scent has led them there, but then it stops. They don’t know how his scent has disappeared, but it’s not enough to stop Madeleine. She thinks he’s been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague - an enemy to the Nephilim. Madeleine is worried that these creatures are torturing him, or that he might be dead already. The Plague are known for their killing nature. 

 

​(I think maybe this should be at the beginning, the first half of this paragraph, let me know) Madeleine is anxious and restless - sitting through class, working her way through fight training, staying inside the bounds of the Angels’ rules. She is pushing the boundaries even as she is forced to stay in. And she is trying not to get sidetracked by her own life. Because if there’s a chance that he’s still alive, she has to keep looking for him. If Caleb is somehow being held in the home of the Plague, she has a chance to get him back. The church could be the lead in his search that she has been looking for. As long as she stays alive long enough to find him.

 

Version Two of second part (one paragraph and different from the two paragraph version):

 

Madeleine’s plan is to find the church the Angels have already searched. His scent has led them there, but then it stops. They don’t know how his scent has disappeared, but it’s not enough to stop Madeleine. She thinks he’s been kidnapped by venomous beings known as the Plague - an enemy to the Nephilim. Madeleine is worried that these creatures are torturing him, or that he might be dead already. The Plague are known for their killing nature. But if there’s a chance that he’s still alive, she has to keep looking for him. If Caleb is somehow being held in the home of the Plague, she has a chance to get him back. The church could be the lead in his search that she has been looking for, as long as she stays alive long enough to find him.

 

Told through multiple perspectives, THE REAPING is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy with series potential. It would appeal to fans of Vampire Academy and The Mortal Instruments. I am drawn to the energy of this agency, and it is a great desire of mine to work with you. Thank you for your time and consideration.






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