Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

Romance - THE GLOW UP


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 09 January 2018 - 07:50 PM

Hello! I'd greatly appreciate receiving query critiques and will gladly critique in return.

 

Current Draft:

Dear Agent,

 

 

Will Cunningham is blindfolded for the best kiss of his life. Now he’s on the hunt for the soul-shaking mystery prince, and his new friend Ansel has agreed to lend Will his million-dollar wardrobe to catch the unknown boy’s attention.

 

Cian Zyrnes is Will’s first love from high school – and his first hate. Will believes Cian feigned a crush on him as a hurtful prank, and then ensured Will’s grudge was eternalized by outing him to Will’s homophobic mother. Cian believes Will rejected him after he got down on one knee in a public love confession. Now that they’re reunited in college, he’s determined to get a second chance. But when he sees Will wearing Ansel’s clothes, he concludes his first love and his best friend must be dating.

 

Misunderstandings abound between the two, but they have bigger problems to solve: Ansel’s father is selling their favorite LGBT dance club. To save Licentious, they need to attract buyers, and that starts with spreading awareness through a sexy charity calendar. Will’s penchant for crossdressing makes him the perfect model, while Cian is happy to build his photography portfolio. For the photoshoots to work, though, Will needs to show Cian his old scars, forcing him to confront a past he doesn’t think he’s strong enough to face. 

 

My contemporary gay romance​, THE GLOW UP, is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a standalone with series potential, a college-centered version of Santino Hassell’s The Five Boroughs.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best,

me

 

-----

 

I worked as a literary agent's assistant for a year so my critiques come from a smidgen of experience (doesn't mean my query is good). This is my first time on the other side of the slush pile!

 

------

Dear Agent’s Name,

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted playboy. Here are the rules of his game: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He’ll wipe your tears away if you fall in love with him, but he won’t go on a date. His reason is straightforward. A boy from his hometown stole his heart and never gave it back. That boy hates him for reasons he’ll never know, but time and distance haven’t soothed Cian’s wounds.

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later. At Renard College, he’s going to cross-dress and pole-dance and boy-kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: The cruellest boy he knows is going to the same school.

Back in grade school, Cian protected him, adored him, and talked to him when no one else would. Then Cian threw it all in Will’s face, humiliating him in front of Cian’s wrestling team and outing him to Will’s homophobic mother. It would be a lot easier to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and treating Will with the exact kindness that once won Will’s heart.

The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

THE GLOW UP is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series that has room for a wide range of relationships, including f/f and m/m/f. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

me



#2 Nessa

Nessa

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 160 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast
  • Publishing Experience:THE BRIDGE (Harmony Ink Press)
    Blue Marble Review
    Local & national undergrad lit mags
    Guest blogs
    Zines

Posted 09 January 2018 - 10:55 PM



Hello! I'd greatly appreciate receiving query critiques and will gladly critique in return. I worked as a literary agent's assistant for a year so my critiques come from a smidgen of experience (doesn't mean my query is good). This is my first time on the other side of the slush pile!

 

------

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance​[M/M is typically used for romance marketed toward (heterosexual) women. Leave your genre at "contemporary romance" and let the query show that it's about two men falling in love.], THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. 

 

Cian Zyrnes ​[Interesting name.] is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted​[Weird word choice.] playboy. Here are the rules of his game: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He’ll wipe your tears away if you fall in love with him, but he won’t go on a date. His reason is straightforward. A boy from his hometown stole his heart and never gave it back. That boy hates him for reasons he’ll never know, but time and distance haven’t soothed Cian’s wounds.​[I understand the message, but I'm not liking how it flows. It reads choppy.]

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later​[Assuming he's the guy who stole Cian's heart; however, I wonder if you could remove that mentioning from above and just introduce it in this paragraph. I'll add to the suspense.]. At Renard College, he’s going to cross-dress and pole-dance and boy-kiss​[Do all these words need hyphens?] until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: The cruellest boy he knows is going to the same school.​[This refers to Cian, but it still reads as vague.]

 

Back in grade school, Cian protected him, adored him, and talked to him when no one else would. Then Cian threw it all in Will’s face, humiliating him in front of Cian’s wrestling team and outing him to Will’s homophobic mother. It would be a lot easier to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and treating Will with the exact kindness that once won Will’s heart.​[I'm not feeling the backstory. I think this paragraph would be more interesting if you stay in real time.]

 

The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. ​[Maybe introduce this in the previous paragraph to create a lead in.]He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.​[I like this ending.

 

THE GLOW UP ​[Include the meta data at the start of the query or at the end. Not both.] is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series that has room for a wide range of relationships, including f/f and m/m/f​[I don't know what this means.]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

me


I love dogs


#3 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 10 January 2018 - 01:02 AM

DRAFT TWO (feel free to edit draft one if you think it's the better of the two)

 

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance​, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios.

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted​ playboy. His rules are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind, but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date. Cian Zyrnes is the perfect boyfriend material, and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why.

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later​. At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian Zyrnes, his cruellest high school bully, is going to the same school.

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible.​ The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

Best regards,

me



#4 AmberA

AmberA

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 59 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 10 January 2018 - 07:43 PM

 

DRAFT TWO (feel free to edit draft one if you think it's the better of the two)

 

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance​, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios.

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted​ playboy. His rules are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind, but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date. Cian Zyrnes is the perfect boyfriend material, and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why. (  Stellar hook) 

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later​. At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian Zyrnes, his cruellest high school bully, is going to the same school.

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible( How is that bad? Not sure it follows the second sentence. I wonder how Cian became openly gay? What made him tell the world? Maybe add a sentence during the intro ) .​ The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion ( He likes Cian??)  is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

Best regards,

me

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your feedback on my query. Your storyline is good. I suggested very minor changes that can be solved with a sentence or different word choice. Other than those little issues, you have a really good query in your hand! Hope this helps (: 


Would appreciate critiques on my YA- VENGEANCE query: http://agentquerycon...edits/?p=350461


#5 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:53 PM

Thank you all so much for your feedback!

 

------

DRAFT THREE

 

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios.

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted playboy. His rules are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind, but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date. Cian is the perfect boyfriend material, and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why.  

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later. At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian, the homophobe who outed him in high school, is going to the same school.

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible. Will’s still head over heels for a boy who seems oblivious to having hurt him. The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

me



#6 sereneew

sereneew

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 78 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:09 PM

Thank you all so much for your feedback!

 

------

DRAFT THREE

 

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios.

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted ( maybe a different adjective... Maybe 'kind-hearted' or say that .... 'sweetest playboy' so remove most.) playboy. His rules are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind, but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date. Cian is the ideal boyfriend perfect boyfriend material, and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why.  

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later​ (This confuses me. Not sure what his childhood has to do with this...) . At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss ( not sure if you did that on purpose lol, maybe kiss boys) until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian, the homophobe who outed him in high school, is going to the same school. ( This calls for drama ) 

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible. Will’s still head over heels for a boy who (hurts him? not sure what you mean by having hurt him) seems oblivious to having hurt him. The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

me

 

 

 

Your query is getting there and Ohh this seems interesting. But I hope the boy who kissed will isn't Cian, because by reading your query I'm not sure you want agents to already know your story, it gives no suspense. I might be wrong, but even then... I'm  intrigued by Cian. I want to know how a homophobe turns gay. 


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#7 julialynn

julialynn

    Julia Lynn Rubin

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 368 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:16 AM

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary LGBTQ+ [or gay] romance, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios. [Move this to the end, and delete the last sentence. You want to SHOW that in your query rather than telling the agent, and as your query is quite short right now, you have a lot of room to filter that in]

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted playboy [Is this his reputation on campus, or is this the author's POV?]. His rules for hooking up are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind [You can show me this through things he does, like, give an example of how he's sweet and kind], but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date [Why? Does the idea terrify him? Is he anti-monogamy? Flesh him out a bit]. Cian is the perfect boyfriend material [why?], and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why [Is he sought after by a lot of boys on campus? This is where I'd add something like: But he's hiding the real reason because...but written better than that :P]

 

[This isn't a bad opening, but it could be fleshed out a lot. Adding specific details about the characters, the plot, and WHY they do what they do will help flesh this out. Right now it feels a bit thin, but there's definitely potential here.]

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later [who told him this? Add something about what he endured as a child. Again, specifics matter. They help get us invested in the story and characters]. At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian, the homophobe who outed him in high school, is going to the same school. [This obviously contradicts the fact that Cian is "the most sweet-hearted playboy," though this is a different POV and I recognize that. But if Cian is a known playboy on campus, wouldn't Will know that Cian is also gay? How many years apart are they in school?]

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible [So Cain is no longer a "known homophobe." I would just say that Cian was homophobic towards him and outed him in high school, and now, Will is shocked to see that he's the new resident gay playboy]. Will’s still head over heels for a boy who seems oblivious to having hurt him. The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.​ 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

me

 

So right now, I'm missing some forward momentum. You've got a good set-up, some romantic tension, and two interesting characters. But you can go deeper! Flesh this out, and give me a reason to want to read the whole manuscript. WHY is Cian like this? WHY is Will so into him? Who makes the first movie? Spoil the agent! They want to know what to expect.

 

You're doing great! Keep going :)


YA Author of BURRO HILLS (Diversion Books, March 20, 2018) ♔ 

image.jpg

 

http://www.julialynnrubin.com

follow me on Twitter


#8 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 11 January 2018 - 05:06 AM

 

DRAFT FOUR

 

Thank you everyone!

 

Here's a different, more serious take on the same book: 

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary gay romance​, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios.

 

Will Cunningham grew up in a cramped hovel, where the always-blaring TV blocked out the dysfunction of his histrionic mother. At Renard College, he aims to drown his problems in a sea of happy rich kids. He wants to be the first in his family to earn a degree, make real money, and maybe even work in New York’s Garment District. Unfortunately, his past follows him in a triad of panic attacks, nightmares, and the boy he believes rejected him in high school.

 

Cian Zyrnes is not over his first love. Renard College offers him a string of unsatisfying one night stands, but when he stumbles into Will at a campus party, he wants a second chance. Older now, he realizes that Will isn’t easily hurt so much as already hurting, and a boy like that isn’t ready for a healthy relationship.

 

The knots in Will’s stomach need more than love to be untangled. Surrounded by friends, a therapist, and a quirky pastor, Will and Cian don’t know the antidote, but together they’re going to find it.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best,

me

 

 



#9 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:41 PM

bump



#10 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:46 AM

 

 

 

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary LGBTQ+ [or gay] romance, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios. [Move this to the end, and delete the last sentence. You want to SHOW that in your query rather than telling the agent, and as your query is quite short right now, you have a lot of room to filter that in]

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted playboy [Is this his reputation on campus, or is this the author's POV?]. His rules for hooking up are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind [You can show me this through things he does, like, give an example of how he's sweet and kind], but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date [Why? Does the idea terrify him? Is he anti-monogamy? Flesh him out a bit]. Cian is the perfect boyfriend material [why?], and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why [Is he sought after by a lot of boys on campus? This is where I'd add something like: But he's hiding the real reason because...but written better than that :P]

 

[This isn't a bad opening, but it could be fleshed out a lot. Adding specific details about the characters, the plot, and WHY they do what they do will help flesh this out. Right now it feels a bit thin, but there's definitely potential here.]

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later [who told him this? Add something about what he endured as a child. Again, specifics matter. They help get us invested in the story and characters]. At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian, the homophobe who outed him in high school, is going to the same school. [This obviously contradicts the fact that Cian is "the most sweet-hearted playboy," though this is a different POV and I recognize that. But if Cian is a known playboy on campus, wouldn't Will know that Cian is also gay? How many years apart are they in school?]

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible [So Cain is no longer a "known homophobe." I would just say that Cian was homophobic towards him and outed him in high school, and now, Will is shocked to see that he's the new resident gay playboy]. Will’s still head over heels for a boy who seems oblivious to having hurt him. The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.​ 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

me

 

So right now, I'm missing some forward momentum. You've got a good set-up, some romantic tension, and two interesting characters. But you can go deeper! Flesh this out, and give me a reason to want to read the whole manuscript. WHY is Cian like this? WHY is Will so into him? Who makes the first movie? Spoil the agent! They want to know what to expect.

 

You're doing great! Keep going :)

 

Somehow my eyes swept past your critique before. Thank you so much! This was really helpful. I can't find a query of yours posted, but if you have anything to critique, please let me know!



#11 darsenault

darsenault

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:51 AM

Thank you all so much for your feedback!

 

------

DRAFT THREE

 

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios.

 

Put this paragraph at the end of the query, and start with the story. And don't talk about the series at all- you're querying The Glow Up, not the series.

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted playboy. His rules are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind, but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date. Cian is the perfect boyfriend material, and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why.  

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later. At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian, the homophobe who outed him in high school, is going to the same school.

 

"boy kiss" stopped me in my tracks. Kiss boys might be what you mean. Never pass up a good verb.

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible. Will’s still head over heels for a boy who seems oblivious to having hurt him. The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

This paragraph is where your query should start, because this is where your story starts. If you need background, try to fit it in the cracks between the action. This paragraph is really good: I can see both characters, the goal, the decision, and the stakes. But if you take out the two paragraphs of background, you have all that extra room to expand on what's important. 

 

It would probably be best to write the whole query about Will. Even if your story uses Cian's perspective, it's clear that the story isn't about him, because the choices and stakes all revolve around Will.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

me



#12 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:10 AM

 

 

 

Thank you all so much for your feedback!

 

------

DRAFT THREE

 

Dear Agent’s Name,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary m/m romance, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. The series has room for a wide range of relationships, including lesbian pairings and romantic trios.

 

Put this paragraph at the end of the query, and start with the story. And don't talk about the series at all- you're querying The Glow Up, not the series.

 

Cian Zyrnes is Renard College’s most sweet-hearted playboy. His rules are simple: He’ll give it to you rough if that’s how you like it, but he doesn’t do second nights. He's nurturing and kind, but steadfastly refuses to go on a real date. Cian is the perfect boyfriend material, and he's perpetually single. No one can figure out why.  

 

Will Cunningham was once told that bad childhoods can be made up for later. At Renard College, he’s going to cross dress and pole dance and boy kiss until his entire life is one carefree party. There’s just one thing in his way: Cian, the homophobe who outed him in high school, is going to the same school.

 

"boy kiss" stopped me in my tracks. Kiss boys might be what you mean. Never pass up a good verb.

 

It would be a lot easier for Will to forget his painful past if Cian weren’t his dorm-floor neighbor. Worse, Cian is now openly gay, and more than a little irresistible. Will’s still head over heels for a boy who seems oblivious to having hurt him. The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game. He’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find the anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

This paragraph is where your query should start, because this is where your story starts. If you need background, try to fit it in the cracks between the action. This paragraph is really good: I can see both characters, the goal, the decision, and the stakes. But if you take out the two paragraphs of background, you have all that extra room to expand on what's important. 

 

It would probably be best to write the whole query about Will. Even if your story using Cian's perspective, it's clear that the story isn't about him, because the choices and stakes all revolve around Will.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

me

 

I would be so grateful if you could critique the most recent draft (first post - confusing, sorry). Thank you so much for your insight! I'm glad to critique any future drafts of your query (or anything else you've posted).



#13 darsenault

darsenault

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:22 AM

Hello! I'd greatly appreciate receiving query critiques and will gladly critique in return.
 
Current Draft:
Dear Agent,
 
I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary gay romance​, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. 

 

Put this paragraph at the end. Start with your story.
 
Will Cunningham grew up in a cramped hovel, where the always-blaring TV blocked out the dysfunction of his histrionic mother. At Renard College, he's determined to find happiness, fully armed with a sewing kit, thrift shop stilettos, and cheap perfumes. His crossdressing takes him to Licentious, a barely-off-campus club that offers him the glamorous, queer friend group he always craved. Unfortunately, his problems can't be drowned in a sea of happy rich kids. His past follows him in a triad of panic attacks, nightmares, and the boy he believes rejected him in high school.
 
Cian Zyrnes is not over his first love. Renard College has given him a string of unsatisfying one night stands, but when he stumbles into Will at Licentious, he wants a second chance. Older now, he realizes that Will isn’t easily hurt so much as already hurting, and a boy like that isn’t ready for a healthy relationship.
 
The knots in Will’s stomach need more than love to be untangled. Surrounded by dance-aholic friends, an ancient therapist who's seen it all, and a quirky feminist pastor, Will and Cian don’t know the antidote, but together they’re going to find it.

 

I think you took a step backward with this draft. You took out the most compelling part, "The only thing that distracts Will from his conflicted passion is chasing after the mystery boy who gave him a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss during a party game." And replaced it with a whole lot of backstory. We want to know who the characters are, but that's only the first question. 
What happens?
What choice do our characters have to make?
What are the stakes around that choice?

From what I've seen in your other drafts: "Will lives in dread that the bully that outed him in highschool, Cian, is only going to ruin college as well. But after a blindfolded kiss during a party game, that very bully- a freshly out playboy- might have another idea. While Will struggles to escape the effects of a humiliating path, Cian..." - okay, I'll admit this isn't a very good paragraph, and likely doesn't represent either of your characters well, but it does dive straight into the conflict of the story.

 

All good stories are about choices, and both of your characters seem to have plenty to make. Start by telling us about them. The stakes they see around those choices should do the work of telling us what their personalities are like.

 

I highlighted in red every line that I think has something to do with the crux of the plot. Keep those, rework the others. Your story sounds like it's really good, and your characters seem strong, so let their actions do the talking!
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Best,
me

 
-----
 
I worked as a literary agent's assistant for a year so my critiques come from a smidgen of experience (doesn't mean my query is good). This is my first time on the other side of the slush pile!



#14 smithgirl

smithgirl

    smithgirl

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 535 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:03 AM


Dear Agent:

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary gay romance novel​, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. It  novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone novel with series potential. in a potential series. Usually this goes at the end, although some people go with the beginning.

 

[insert catchy hook]

 

Will Cunningham grew up in a cramped hovel, where the always-blaring TV blocked out the You can't block out dysfunction with sound. Dysfunction has no sound per se.  his dysfunctional,  histrionic mother's rants. At Renard College, he's determined to find happiness, fully armed with a sewing kit, thrift shop stilettos, and cheap perfumes. His crossdressing takes him to Licentious, a barely-off-campus club that offers him the glamorous, queer friend group he always craved. Unfortunately, his problems can't be drowned in a sea of happy rich kids. His past follows him in a triad of panic attacks, nightmares, and the boy he believes rejected him in high school.

 

Cian Zyrnes is not over his first love. Renard College has given him a string of unsatisfying one night stands, but when he stumbles into Will at Licentious, he wants a second chance. Older now, he realizes that Will isn’t easily hurt so much as already hurting, I really like this distinction. and a boy like that isn’t ready for a healthy relationship.

 

The knots in Will’s stomach need more than love to be untangled. Surrounded by dance-aholic friends, an ancient therapist who's seen it all, and a quirky feminist pastor, Will and Cian don’t know the antidote, but together they’re going to find it.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best,

me

 

So I agree with darsenault that this query feels like a lot of backstory. You need to start with a hook, then dive right into the action. Also, it's best to write your query with just one POV (even if your book as multiple POVs). I think the exception to this rule is genre romance, but you are not writing romance. I would recommend re-doing the query just from Will's POV. It's just that you have so few words in a query, it's hard to make two characters engaging. Focus on Will, be very specific (avoid lists like you have at the end of your query). Include the most essential elements; discard the rest. End with a clear statement of the states -- the necessary choice(s).

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

 



#15 Terry P

Terry P

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:46 PM

Current Draft:

Dear Agent,

 

I am currently seeking representation for my contemporary gay romance​, THE GLOW UP, which is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a first-person, dual-POV standalone in a potential series. 

 

I agree with smithgirl that you need a catchy hook here. Perhaps you could capture the moment Will and Cian run into each other in Licentious. Write it in the present tense, and give us a hint of the impending drama between them. We want to feel we're on the precipice of a relationship that has much at stake.

 

Will Cunningham grew up in a cramped hovel, where the always-blaring TV blocked out the dysfunction of his histrionic mother. "Dysfunction" and "histrionic" are generalizations. Be more specific.  At Renard College, he's determined to find happiness, fully armed with a sewing kit, thrift shop stilettos, and cheap perfumes. His crossdressing takes him to Licentious, a barely-off-campus club that offers him the glamorous, queer friend group he always craved. Unfortunately, his problems can't be drowned in a sea of happy rich kids. His past follows him in a triad of panic attacks, nightmares, and the boy he believes rejected him in high school. I like his character.

 

Cian Zyrnes is not over his first love. Renard College has given him a string of unsatisfying one night stands, but when he stumbles into Will at Licentious, he wants a second chance. A little confusing. I had to read it twice to get why Cian, not Will, wants a second chance.  Older now, he realizes that Will isn’t easily hurt so much as already hurting, (I like that distinction)and a boy like that isn’t ready for a healthy relationship. This sort of takes the air out of the drama for me. I think you want to concentrate on the "will they or won't they make it together" tension.

 

The knots in Will’s stomach need more than love to be untangled. Surrounded by dance-aholic friends, an ancient therapist who's seen it all, and a quirky feminist pastor, Will and Cian don’t know the antidote, but together they’re going to find it. 

 

In this draft, Will is the more important character, so I would present Cian in Will's POV in the query.  It could lend mystery to Cian's character, and we'll be eager to find out if Cian really can help Will deal with his pain.  Question: what's at stake if Will can't overcome his problems? If their love's at stake, say it.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best,

me

 

I hope this helps! I love the premise of the book.

 



#16 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:51 PM

Thank you everyone! You all have such helpful insights. Here's my next draft, this time only from Will's POV:

 

Dear Agent,

 

 

Will Cunningham grew up in a cramped hovel, where the always-blaring TV failed to cover up the pain caused by his mother’s Borderline Personality Disorder. At Renard College, he's determined to find happiness, fully armed with a sewing kit, thrift shop stilettos, and cheap perfumes. His crossdressing takes him to Licentious, a barely-off-campus club that offers him the glamorous, queer friend group he always craved. Unfortunately, his problems can't be drowned in a sea of happy rich kids. His past follows him in a triad of panic attacks, nightmares, and a boy he never wanted to see again. 

 

Cian Zyrnes was Will’s first love – until he outed Will to Will’s mom. Now they’re dorm neighbors, and no one can stop telling Will how he’s exactly Cian’s type: small, blond, and perfect for pinning down. A ginger playboy with a penchant for wrestling, Cian should be his enemy until they die. Too bad Will still loves him. 

 

To redirect his feelings, Will shares a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss with a mystery boy during a party game. Now he’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find his anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

My contemporary gay romance​, THE GLOW UP, is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a standalone with series potential, a college-centered version of Santino Hassell’s The Five Boroughs.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best,

me



#17 darsenault

darsenault

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:24 AM

So before I dive into the query, I want to highlight what Terry said above:
"I agree with smithgirl that you need a catchy hook here. Perhaps you could capture the moment Will and Cian run into each other in Licentious. "

 

That's your hook. That's where your story starts. 

 

"Will Cunningham is blindfolded for the best kiss of his life. He doesn't realize that the pair of magnificent lips on the other side belong to Cian Zyrnes- his first love that turned high school into a living hell by outing him well before he was ready to admit he was gay."

 

Maybe that's not the best hook. Okay, it's definitely not the best hook. But it starts with the action, introduces both characters, AND sets up the conflict. Now you can move into the stakes, which ultimately are your backstory. 

 

Make sure to talk about what they're doing and what decisions they need to make. If you can do this exclusively from Will's perspective, that's for the best. 
 

Thank you everyone! You all have such helpful insights. Here's my next draft, this time only from Will's POV:

 

Dear Agent,

 

 

Will Cunningham grew up in a cramped hovel, where the always-blaring TV failed to cover up the pain caused by his mother’s Borderline Personality Disorder. At Renard College, he's determined to find happiness, fully armed with a sewing kit, thrift shop stilettos, and cheap perfumes. [This red highlight might be too generous. I might even suggest cutting this sentence, and using it as detail for a more action-oriented one.] His crossdressing takes him to Licentious, a barely-off-campus club that offers him the glamorous, queer friend group he always craved. Unfortunately, his problems can't be drowned in a sea of happy rich kids. His past follows him in a triad of panic attacks, nightmares, and a boy he never wanted to see again. 

 

Cian Zyrnes was Will’s first love – until he outed Will to Will’s mom. Now they’re dorm neighbors, and no one can stop telling Will how he’s exactly Cian’s type: small, blond, and perfect for pinning down. A ginger playboy with a penchant for wrestling, Cian should be his enemy until they die. Too bad Will still loves him. 

 

There's a tantalizing suggestion here that you're going to tell us about plot, but instead you do a lot of describing the characters instead. As usual, highlighting the action in red.

 

To redirect his feelings, Will shares a soul-shaking, blindfolded kiss with a mystery boy during a party game. Now he’ll kiss his way through all the boys on campus to find his anonymous prince – all the boys, that is, except for Cian Zyrnes.

 

My contemporary gay romance​, THE GLOW UP, is complete at 92,000 words. The novel is a standalone with series potential, a college-centered version of Santino Hassell’s The Five Boroughs.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best,

me

 

Pigeon, I know exactly how you feel writing this draft. So many of my early drafts were like this. "But the story doesn't make sense if you don't know ______ about ______."

 

The story isn't supposed to make sense here. All you need to do is tell us what's happening, and what the stakes are. 

 

Even if you don't love the hook I wrote up top, try starting with it anyways for your next draft. If you start with the action, and stay with the action, I think you'll find its easier than you expect to avoid lengthy descriptions and backstory.

 

You've got this- your story is good, just fit it in the query!



#18 pigeononthemoon

pigeononthemoon

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:28 AM

 

 

So before I dive into the query, I want to highlight what Terry said above:
"I agree with smithgirl that you need a catchy hook here. Perhaps you could capture the moment Will and Cian run into each other in Licentious. "

 

That's your hook. That's where your story starts. 

 

"Will Cunningham is blindfolded for the best kiss of his life. He doesn't realize that the pair of magnificent lips on the other side belong to Cian Zyrnes- his first love that turned high school into a living hell by outing him well before he was ready to admit he was gay."

 

Maybe that's not the best hook. Okay, it's definitely not the best hook. But it starts with the action, introduces both characters, AND sets up the conflict. Now you can move into the stakes, which ultimately are your backstory. 

 

Make sure to talk about what they're doing and what decisions they need to make. If you can do this exclusively from Will's perspective, that's for the best. 
 

 

Pigeon, I know exactly how you feel writing this draft. So many of my early drafts were like this. "But the story doesn't make sense if you don't know ______ about ______."

 

The story isn't supposed to make sense here. All you need to do is tell us what's happening, and what the stakes are. 

 

Even if you don't love the hook I wrote up top, try starting with it anyways for your next draft. If you start with the action, and stay with the action, I think you'll find its easier than you expect to avoid lengthy descriptions and backstory.

 

You've got this- your story is good, just fit it in the query!

 

BLESS YOU for your hook example. Because I honestly just gave up and decided my story has no hook, no real premise, and no stakes. Ha.

 

I'm going to take a breather from this and come back. Thank you!



#19 darsenault

darsenault

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:35 AM

 

BLESS YOU for your hook example. Because I honestly just gave up and decided my story has no hook, no real premise, and no stakes. Ha.

 

 

 
First, you're welcome for the hook suggestion, and I'm glad you like it.
 
Second: If I didn't think you had a strong premise, I wouldn't be telling you to edit your query. I'd send you back to your MS.
 
It might help you to write out a list of the actual events in bullet point. You wrote a list of "what matters" on my query, and it was a big help in focusing my thoughts. I think you understand what matters for your story, but you aren't seeing how 'what matters' connects to 'what happens.'
 
Don't be afraid to give away more of the story. Does Will confront Cian? Do they end up accidentally kissing again? Obviously they don't kiss the one time and go their separate ways- so what happens when they are forced to engage once more? Will most likely will feel some sort of indecision, so explain the two options he's thinking at that moment- I think that will show you your stakes.


#20 smithgirl

smithgirl

    smithgirl

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 535 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:01 AM

Darsanault's hook is really quite good.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users