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INFINITY (Adult Romance) revised 6/14


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#1 jpfranco

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 07:34 PM

*Newest version always here*

 

Tweaked 6/14

 

I realize that dual POV in a query is frowned upon, however, I really don't think it works without mentioning Mario and the dreams, as Melanie has no conscious knowledge of what's going on with the reincarnation aspect.

 

 

 

Melanie and Mario are falling in love, and not for the first time. They have loved and lost each other in lifetime after lifetime.

 

Melanie is having doubts about her new marriage to Jim. What she doesn’t realize is that their struggle is an echo that reaches back over centuries of multiple incarnations. Jim has never been able to tame the fierce spirit underneath her dutiful nature.

 

Meeting Mario further complicates things for Melanie. Disturbed by her attraction to him, she tries to deny it, as her husband’s mistreatment escalates into verbal abuse. She honors her wedding vows, afraid to admit even to herself how much she wants Mario. Jim has an iron grip on Melanie, and she’s not even sure she has a right to escape it.  But her loyalty may cost Melanie her life. Jim has killed her before. He may kill her again, if she can’t embrace her wild soul and break free of Jim.

 

Mario is intrigued by Melanie, despite her awkward and flustered behavior when she rides up to him on her flashy Appaloosa. The attraction is instant, but it’s more than Melanie’s appearance. The pull he feels to her isn’t new, he’s felt it before, though those memories are part of his soul, not his conscious mind. He dreams of her that night, his subconscious reminding him of their past in the form of dreams that turn to nightmares.

 

The dreams always end the same way: with Melanie’s death. When Mario realizes that the dreams that have been plaguing him are visions of their past lives together, it’s of little comfort. In the past, Mario has tried to save her, and lost her. He is tortured by the thought of losing her again, but he fears his involvement in the past may have helped cause her death.

 

Infinity is a dual POV romance novel. The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.



#2 Springfield

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 07:48 PM

The connection Melanie and Mario feel for one another is instant and intense, but neither of them can fathom how deep it goes, and what lies ahead of them in the path that they are compelled to go down, one that is rooted in a history beyond their current lifetimes.

 

Melanie’s attraction to Mario further complicates her feelings about the new and unhappy marriage she is mired in, a marriage that her best friend would be happy to see the end of. Melanie’s favorite escape from her troubles with her marriage is riding her horse, but now that Mario is often at the stable, training another boarder’s horse, Melanie finds herself in a new struggle- against the strong feelings she has for Mario. This all reads as if I know things about these people -- further complicates? Her horse? The stable? A new struggle? Her best friend would be happy to see the end of her marriage? What is happening? Start from the beginning as if the person reading this has not read your book.

 

Mario gets glimpses into their previous lives in his dreams starting the day he meets Melanie, dreams that end as nightmares from which he wakes with feelings of grief and horror that he cannot reconcile. The dreams are a mystery to Mario, plaguing him until he starts to question his sanity. Mario respects Melanie’s marriage, but he can’t help wanting her, and he resigns himself to playing whatever role in her life he can. When the meaning of the dreams becomes clear in a soul-shattering epiphany, Mario realizes how profound that role is.  The beginning is interesting, but the end is vague.

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word romance novel Is this paranormal? That's VERY long for a romance. about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

The story of Melanie and Mario will appeal to women in general, and animal and horse lovers in particular. The nature of multiple lives, and the varied cultures and experiences the characters have give it appeal to people from many different backgrounds, as well as spiritually minded people, and anyone interested in the intriguing concept of reincarnation.

 

Reincarnation is a topic I have been fascinated with since I became aware of it. My experience with the metaphysical extends to working with psychics in a new age store, and I have read voraciously on the topic of reincarnation. I have also had a lifelong passion for horses, and have combined my love of these two things with my love of writing to create this, my first novel. 

 

If you have comps, they go here.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I'm confused. This is a genre romance, so Character character problem stakes.



#3 lnloft

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 08:06 PM

The connection Melanie and Mario feel for one another is instant and intense, but neither of them can fathom how deep it goes, and what lies ahead of them in the path that they are compelled to go down, one that is rooted in a history beyond their current lifetimes. SUUUUUPER long sentence, particularly for an opening line. It's overwritten and all over the place.

 

Melanie’s attraction to Mario further complicates her feelings about the new and unhappy marriage she is mired in, a marriage that her best friend would be happy to see the end of. Melanie’s favorite escape from her troubles with her marriage is riding her horse, but now that Mario is often at the stable, training another boarder’s horse, Melanie finds herself in a new struggle-  This should be a dash, not a hyphen, and even then it doesn't make grammatical sense. against the strong feelings she has for Mario.

 

Mario gets glimpses into their previous lives in his dreams starting the day he meets Melanie, dreams that end as nightmares from which he wakes with feelings of grief and horror that he cannot reconcile. The dreams are a mystery to Mario, plaguing him until he starts to question his sanity. Mario respects Melanie’s marriage, but he can’t help wanting her, and he resigns himself to playing whatever role in her life he can. When the meaning of the dreams becomes clear in a soul-shattering epiphany, Mario realizes how profound that role is.

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word This is long for a debut romance. romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

The story of Melanie and Mario will appeal to women in general, and animal and horse lovers in particular No. I am a woman and an animal lover, and this will not appeal to me. That's not a knock on your story, that's my preference on genre. But it will not "appeal to women in general". If you're going to say who it will appeal to, be more specific, usually by means of picking some comparative titles.. The nature of multiple lives, and the varied cultures and experiences the characters have give it appeal to people from many different backgrounds, as well as spiritually minded people, and anyone interested in the intriguing concept of reincarnation.

 

Reincarnation Since when has reincarnation had anything to do with this story? is a topic I have been fascinated with since I became aware of it. My experience with the metaphysical extends to working with psychics in a new age store, and I have read voraciously on the topic of reincarnation. I have also had a lifelong passion for horses, and have combined my love of these two things with my love of writing to create this, my first novel. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Usually I'll do more line-by-line critiques, but this is honestly so all over the place that I don't even know what to say. You're writing in grand statements that have very little meaning, especially as we don't have proper context. Simplify. Melanie is trapped in an unhappy marriage but meets Mario. And then...? I really don't know what's going on beyond that. Show us who the characters are, what they want, what's in the way, and what's at stake if they don't get it. And simplify the sentences, too. You've got a lot of long, grandiose sentences that are hard to follow. Simplify, simplify. Good luck.


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


#4 RosieSkye

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 12:47 AM

The connection Melanie and Mario feel for one another is instant and intense, but neither of them can fathom how deep it goes, and what lies ahead of them in the path that they are compelled to go down, one that is rooted in a history beyond their current lifetimes.  (Holy run on sentence, Batman!  This just kind of meanders without saying anything concrete.)

 

Melanie’s attraction to Mario further complicates her feelings about the new and unhappy marriage she is mired in (she's newly married and is already unhappy? What's the time period here?  Is this an arranged marriage or something?), a marriage that her best friend would be happy to see the end of. (Who's her best friend?) Melanie’s favorite escape from her troubles with her marriage is riding her horse, but now that since Mario is often at the stable, training another boarder’s horse, Melanie finds herself in a new struggle- against the strong feelings she has for Mario. (This isn't really going anywhere.  She's in an unhappy marriage, and is struggling with her attraction to another man.  You don't need a paragraph to say that.)

 

Mario gets glimpses into their previous lives (huh? You just sort of toss this in as though it's commonplace) in his dreams starting the day he meets Melanie, dreams that end as nightmares from which he wakes with feelings of grief and horror that he cannot reconcile. The dreams are a mystery to Mario, plaguing him until he starts to question his sanity. Mario respects Melanie’s marriage, but he can’t help wanting her, and he resigns himself to playing whatever role in her life he can. When the meaning of the dreams becomes clear in a soul-shattering epiphany, Mario realizes how profound that role is. (So what actually HAPPENS here?  He has bad dreams while he pines for her, and finally has an epiphany about something.  But what do they DO?  What's at stake?)

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word (this is a bit on the long side for a debut romance) romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

The story of Melanie and Mario will appeal to women in general, and animal and horse lovers in particular.  The nature of multiple lives, and the varied cultures and experiences the characters have give it appeal to people from many different backgrounds, as well as spiritually minded people, and anyone interested in the intriguing concept of reincarnation.  (Don't make blanket statements. Provide current comp titles so agents will get a feel for how to position this in the marketplace.)

 

Reincarnation is a topic I have been fascinated with since I became aware of it. My experience with the metaphysical extends to working with psychics in a new age store, and I have read voraciously on the topic of reincarnation. I have also had a lifelong passion for horses, and have combined my love of these two things with my love of writing to create this, my first novel. (Previous publishing credits are the only thing an agent is really interested in at this stage.)

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

I think you need to flesh out your query and really expand on what happens in your story.  Right now it doesn't feel like your two main characters even have that much interaction.  If they have a connection that crosses lifetimes, you need to spell that out much more clearly.

 

Good luck!



#5 jpfranco

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 08:57 AM

Thanks for all of the input. I suppose I need to scrap this whole thing and start over. I know it's long for romance, I know, I know. I really appreciate the advice, and I'll post my new one once I get it done. I'm trying to find a way to state that it's about reincarnation without a boring, flat, statement like: this is about reincarnation. I thought a history rooted beyond their current lifetimes did the trick, but evidently it did not, soooo... back to the drawing board. 



#6 RosieSkye

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 11:56 AM

Thanks for all of the input. I suppose I need to scrap this whole thing and start over. I know it's long for romance, I know, I know. I really appreciate the advice, and I'll post my new one once I get it done. I'm trying to find a way to state that it's about reincarnation without a boring, flat, statement like: this is about reincarnation. I thought a history rooted beyond their current lifetimes did the trick, but evidently it did not, soooo... back to the drawing board. 

 

 

Part of the problem is that that phrase is stuck at the end of a meandering run-on sentence, so by the time the reader gets to it, he's already lost.  Reincarnation is a big deal, so while you don't have to say "this is about reincarnation," you do need to introduce the idea clearly.  "Mario believes that people are born over and over again, and when he gets glimpses into his and Melanie's past lives (however he does this - you'll want to clarify that, too) then XYZ happens."



#7 jpfranco

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 03:16 PM

I hope this is an improvement

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life.

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. The friendship that begins developing between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death.

 

Mario’s life got a lot more interesting when a woman with wild red hair and fiery green eyes rode into it on a flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with death and heartbreak. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort,  

because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over.

 

INFINITY is an 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#8 galian84

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 08:12 PM

I hope this is an improvement

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life. (This is definitely a better hook)

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider (why won't she consider divorce?). The friendship that begins developing between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be (There's some kind of transition missing here. How did Melanie meet Mario?). Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving and leaves Melanie feeling abandoned. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death (interesting, but vague. How will it result in her death?).

 

Mario’s life got a lot more interesting when a woman with wild red hair and fiery green eyes rode into it on a flashy Appaloosa. (Try to keep this in present tense. I'm assuming the woman is Melanie, but it's not very clear) His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with death and heartbreak (whose death and whose heartbreak?). When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort, because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over. (Okay...but what are the stakes? Is he going to try and save her? Feels like an awkward end to your query letter)

 

INFINITY is an 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hi JP, fresh eyes here. First off, I love, love, love the premise of your story, and it sounds like something I would read. Problem is, I know what's going on, but I have no idea what the characters are going to do about the problem (Melanie dying over and over). Otherwise, I think you're getting there. Hang in there and good luck!!



#9 jpfranco

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 11:41 AM

Hi JP, fresh eyes here. First off, I love, love, love the premise of your story, and it sounds like something I would read. Problem is, I know what's going on, but I have no idea what the characters are going to do about the problem (Melanie dying over and over). Otherwise, I think you're getting there. Hang in there and good luck!!

Thank you sooo much. This is so helpful. It's so hard to get all the things in there and still keep it short. I've tried again though. 

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life.

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. She might be able to bury her feelings for Mario, if she wasn’t always running into him. Riding her horse is her escape from the world, but Mario is frequently at the barn, training a difficult mustang.  The friendship that develops between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. The more she pulls away from Jim, the tighter he closes his grip on her. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death.

 

Mario’s life gets a lot more interesting when Melanie, with her wild red hair and fiery green eyes, rides into it on her flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with Melanie’s death. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort, because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over. In their past lives, Mario has tried to save her, and lost her.  He must decide if it’s worth the risk to try to save her again, or if it was his own interference in the past that led to her death.    

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#10 PureZhar3

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:10 AM

The connection Melanie and Mario feel for one another is instant and intense, but neither of them can fathom how deep it goes, and what lies ahead of them in the path that they are compelled to go down, one that is rooted in a history beyond their current lifetimes.​This would be interesting if it wasn't so vague that it could apply every story ever (slight exaggeration, but it is pretty vague)

 

Melanie’s attraction to Mario further complicates her feelings about the new and unhappy marriage she is mired in, a marriage that her best friend ​Mario? would be happy to see the end of. Melanie’s favorite escape from her troubles with her marriage is riding her horse, but now that Mario is often at the stable, training another boarder’s horse, Melanie finds herself in a new struggle- against the strong feelings she has for Mario. ​Wait. You said Mario complicated things, then you said at the stables she finds the new struggle of resisting her feelings for Mario?

 

Mario gets glimpses into their previous lives in his dreams starting the day he meets Melanie, dreams that end as nightmares from which he wakes with feelings of grief and horror that he cannot reconcile. The dreams are a mystery to Mario, plaguing him until he starts to question his sanity. Mario respects Melanie’s marriage, but he can’t help wanting her, and he resigns himself to playing whatever role in her life he can. When the meaning of the dreams becomes clear in a soul-shattering epiphany, Mario realizes how profound that role is. ​You absolutely need to explain this all to us. It isn't intriguing if we aren't "in the know". If you're afraid of giving away the ending of the book, backtrack and focus on earlier stakes. Also, I would start with his strange dreams and then weave in all the other stuff (their mutual attraction, stable times, Melanie's faulty marriage)

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

The story of Melanie and Mario will appeal to women in general ​no, it will not. If you say this, an agent will assume you don't know your audience (all women is quite a vast category). I would suggest looking into comp titles and use those in place of this entire paragraph, and animal and horse lovers in particular. The nature of multiple lives, and the varied cultures and experiences the characters have give it appeal to people from many different backgrounds, as well as spiritually minded people, and anyone interested in the intriguing concept of reincarnation.

 

Reincarnation is a topic I have been fascinated with since I became aware of it. My experience with the metaphysical extends to working with psychics in a new age store, and I have read voraciously on the topic of reincarnation. I have also had a lifelong passion for horses, and have combined my love of these two things with my love of writing to create this, my first novel. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

​The biggest issue I see with this is its lack of specificity. You need to dig in and focus on what makes your book different - it seems to be reincarnation, so draw that element out. 


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#11 PureZhar3

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:13 AM

My bad: I seem to have done an old version. You may want to note in the original post that there is a revision below, or you will find people doing what I just did. Let me go do the newest version


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#12 PureZhar3

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:16 AM

Thank you sooo much. This is so helpful. It's so hard to get all the things in there and still keep it short. I've tried again though. 

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life.

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. She might be able to bury her feelings for Mario, if she wasn’t always running into him. Riding her horse is her escape from the world, but Mario is frequently at the barn, training a difficult mustang.  The friendship that develops between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. The more she pulls away from Jim, the tighter he closes his grip on her. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death. ​This is all good, but I can't help but feel that it could be tightened - that said, it's good as is. You may want to indicate a bit more why it would result in her death, too.

 

Mario’s life gets a lot more interesting when Melanie, with her wild red hair and fiery green eyes, rides into it on her flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with Melanie’s death. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort, because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over. In their past lives, Mario has tried to save her, and lost her.  He must decide if it’s worth the risk to try to save her again, or if it was his own interference in the past that led to her death. ​Fascinating!!

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

​This is far better! I like this a lot :) I don't really have much to improve. Great job!


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#13 jpfranco

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:30 AM

My bad: I seem to have done an old version. You may want to note in the original post that there is a revision below, or you will find people doing what I just did. Let me go do the newest version

Thank you so much for taking the time to critique for me. I have made a note in the original post. I really appreciate your feedback. 



#14 mkuriel

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 03:26 PM

I hope this is an improvement

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation (redundant), but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life. I love long sentences with lots of fun ideas - ensure that whoever receives this does too; Or turn it into two sentences as a kindness. Highlighted Melanie's name because I suggest exploring the idea that he could threaten both their lives. Also, if it fits the tone, an 'Again.' at end this hook might elicit a chuckle. I added both when I read it.

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. (if this doesn't match her voice or tone - or some other reason for it - you can cut the wordiness by rephrasing to: ...but Melanie loathes divorce.) The friendship that begins developing between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death.  (Most of sentences in this paragraph are constructed in exactly the same way. Honestly, though, probably a 'problem' only a writer would notice. You don't need the comma in the last one.)

 

Mario’s life got a lot more interesting when a woman with wild red hair and fiery green eyes rode into it on a flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with death and heartbreak. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort, because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over.

 

INFINITY is an 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Solid query. Short summary: Karma sucks. Again.

 

There are a lot of sentences that lead up with a full thought, are spliced with a comma - sometimes unnecessarily - and then concluded with the 'so what' judgement. Nothing wrong with it provided you use the style choice for deliberate effect. It does, however, get repetitive.

 

Moment of candor; first time through, I didn't notice the sentence construction thing. I did when I put my critic hat on. I cheered - actually cheered (at work, it was a scene but work's boring) when the first sentence of Mario's bit didn't hold to the same structure. Then groaned when it came back. This is probably why I couldn't read these things professionally - I'd start picking apart style choices and miss content.

 

Also, and this is a personal preference, your characters don't leap of the page at me. You have standard protagonist one and standard protagonist two and douche antagonist who live life after life in the same time fractal. The idea by itself might carry the query but breathing some life into the text by capturing their voices would add some pop and sizzle. Which is a tough balancing act. Good luck!

 

Hope that helps, return the favor if so inclined.

 

http://agentquerycon...rent-ao-4-5-18/



#15 jpfranco

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 07:11 PM

Solid query. Short summary: Karma sucks. Again.

 

There are a lot of sentences that lead up with a full thought, are spliced with a comma - sometimes unnecessarily - and then concluded with the 'so what' judgement. Nothing wrong with it provided you use the style choice for deliberate effect. It does, however, get repetitive.

 

Moment of candor; first time through, I didn't notice the sentence construction thing. I did when I put my critic hat on. I cheered - actually cheered (at work, it was a scene but work's boring) when the first sentence of Mario's bit didn't hold to the same structure. Then groaned when it came back. This is probably why I couldn't read these things professionally - I'd start picking apart style choices and miss content.

 

Also, and this is a personal preference, your characters don't leap of the page at me. You have standard protagonist one and standard protagonist two and douche antagonist who live life after life in the same time fractal. The idea by itself might carry the query but breathing some life into the text by capturing their voices would add some pop and sizzle. Which is a tough balancing act. Good luck!

 

Hope that helps, return the favor if so inclined.

 

http://agentquerycon...rent-ao-4-5-18/

Thank you so much. I went back and picked up on the sentence structure, which is usually something I try to vary. Ugh. This is why it's so good to have someone else look at it. Invaluable. Thank you. 



#16 BadgerFox

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 07:06 AM

(Advance warning: I'm wordy and not good at brevity, so please don't be alarmed at sheer volume of comments! I can go into too much thorough detail on tiny points sometimes, it's not necessarily an indication that there's things drastically wrong with your query :)

 


After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life. [could this be split into two shorter sentences? The actual content is good and there's nothing grammatically wrong, it's just this long sentence is 5 clauses and a little harder to read. Two punchy sentences instead of one lengthy one would really make the opening pop]

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. The friendship that begins developing between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death. [I understand this kind of plot complication - an abusive previous relationship - is par for the course in the romance novel genre, but if I'm looking at it critically rather than just accepting romance novel tropes uncritically...Melanie seems to have two problems here rather than one, and one seems much bigger than the other. One problem is that Jim doesn't love her. The other problem is that Jim appears to be turning violent and trying to kill her. The second one seems much more immediate and in need of attention than the first, but it feels like you're running the two dilemmas together like they're the same thing?

Again, I know within the genre the answer to both problems is still going to be 'Mario', but after you've dropped the bombshell that Jim is potentially homicidal, I now can't concentrate on reading on because I'm internally screaming at Melanie 'CALL THE POLICE! Have you SEEN the US intimate-partner-violence homicide stats lately?! We have to get you help at the nearest women's shelter...screw your love life, you're in immediate physical danger!' Perhaps, if the stakes are so high, rewriting this first paragraph to reflect stronger emotions? Melanie seems to be quite complacent about her potential impending death - I understand that victims of abusive relationships can often use these kinds of psychological tactics to themselves, to cope with their situation, where they minimize or deny the danger because they don't feel there's an alternative, but if that's what Melanie is deliberately doing then you, as omniscient narrator, maybe need to say so. I also think we need more explanation on why Melanie doesn't want to divorce. Again, I know folks in abusive situations often have good reason why they're not just able to walk out the door and leave a violent partner, but, again, maybe you should describe this in more detail. Make Melanie less passive if you can, suggest her reacting to her circumstances more. Agents are often looking for rounded female characters with inner strength, and Melanie's coming off as a bit of a fainting, passive, damsel-in-distress here. Right now this paragraph just feels like it's not taking the potential danger seriously. Having high stakes is fine, but the disproportionate character response TO these stakes isn't quite working]

 

Mario’s life got a lot more interesting when a woman with wild red hair and fiery [I get the impression you're trying to give but this is not the right adjective for a pair of eyes. Mull it over on Thesaurus.com for a substitute] green eyes rode into it on a flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with death and heartbreak. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort,  

because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over.[ok, that's really interesting. Cool twist. These are great stakes and you should absolutely keep this description of them in. Again, though, you could capitalize on these very high stakes with a little more sense of urgency. As above, Mario's response seems oddly muted and accepting. It's a bit of an understatement to say that finding out the love of your life has been repeatedly brutually murdered is 'not comforting'. Can we have another short sentence on something like what emotional effect this has on Jim, how he plans to leap into action to help the situation, a suggestion of what Melanie can do to free herself from the cycle, maybe? You have enough room in your word count for a tad more detail, and I think it would hook an agent's interest even more effectively.]

 

INFINITY is an 108,000 word romance novel [bit on the long side for a romance. If you're at all able to give the MS another editing pass and shave another few thousand off, you will increase your chances. I know it's really tough, especially if you've already edited a bunch, but from past experience querying long MSes, you add another few potentially interested agents for every 1000 words you chip off a too-long MS] about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence.[Normally it's advised not to put in much about theme, as opposed to plot and characterisation, as the idea in a query is to make it clear through the description that it's a novel with these sorts of themes BUT I think you can get away with a little here, if you trim the scored-out bit :) It's nicely-phrased and it feels like it fits.]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think what you need to do to polish up this query can be done in just one or two revisions; it's a couple of straightforward fixes. You've got the overall shape of the query down well, the stakes are clearly articulated and the plot is laid out well without confusing elements. The only problems are the oddly muted emotions from the characters, which feel disproportionate to the serious problem they have.

 

I genuinely think you're getting close quite quickly, and that your finished version shouldn't be too far off this. I like the visuals you create around Melanie (though her own thoughts on Mario's appearance and self seem strangely absent?). And I completely failed to notice the thing about samey sentence construction (though that's not to say an agent might not) :P

(If you're of a mind to return favours, a link to mine's in my signature below :) )


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

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#17 Aightball

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 11:17 AM

Thank you sooo much. This is so helpful. It's so hard to get all the things in there and still keep it short. I've tried again though. 

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life. I'm not digging this opening.  It sounds interesting, with the multiple lives, but I think your stronger start is down here.

 

---> Start Here instead: Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. --> Can this be cut? She might be able to bury her feelings for Mario, if she wasn’t always running into him. Riding her horse is her escape from the world, but Mario is frequently at the barn, training a difficult mustang.  The friendship that develops between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. Is this important at this juncture?  It seems to me that you want to keep the flow by having this ---> Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. The more she pulls away from Jim, the tighter he closes his grip on her. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death. come next.  Also, I'd consider cutting the last sentence here, because I think your strong ending is "...closes his grip on her."

 

Mario’s life gets a lot more interesting when Melanie, with her wild red hair and fiery green eyes, rides into it on her flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with Melanie’s death. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort, because along with it comes the realization that Jim, Melanie's current husband, has been killing Melanie her over and over I think you need a stronger word here.  How long has he been killing her? Years? Decades? Centuries? Give us something strong here. . In their past lives, Mario has tried to save her, and lost her.  He must decide if it’s worth the risk to try to save her again, or if it was his own interference in the past that led to her death.    

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Good morning!

 

I'm getting my query critiquing chops back under my belt, so I hope my comments were helpful.  I think you've got an interesting story here and I like the idea of love that has spanned lifetimes.

 

I think you can give this more punch.  Look at your word choices and see where you can strengthen things. Instead of saying 'a lot more', what else can you do to make that a stronger sentence?  Things like that can really make a query pop or not.  Also, look at how you structure the query.  Keep like elements together and make sure it all makes sense when you read it.  The best thing anyone ever taught me is to read it aloud or have someone or a program read it aloud.  You'll be amazed at how different it all sounds when you do that.

 

Best of luck and I'm excited to see your next revision!


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#18 RosieSkye

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 12:38 PM

Thank you sooo much. This is so helpful. It's so hard to get all the things in there and still keep it short. I've tried again though. 

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life. (You introduce both reincarnation, and a potentially murderous husband in the same sentence.  You should break this up, or develop a hook that's less wordy.) 

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. (Why? This is important, because abuse is almost always seen as a legit reason to divorce.) She might be able to bury her feelings for Mario, if she wasn’t always running into him. Riding her horse is her escape from the world, but Mario is frequently at the barn, training a difficult mustang.  The friendship that develops between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. (We already know she wishes this - no need to repeat it.) Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. (Again, you've already told us Jim is a shite husband.) The more she pulls away from Jim, the tighter he closes his grip on her. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head (cliche), and it might result in her death.  (I'm not sure what Melanie is ever actually doing here.  She doesn't want to divorce or have a physical affair, so I'm not sure what events are going to come to a head.)

 

Mario’s life gets a lot more interesting when Melanie, with her wild red hair and fiery green eyes, rides into it on her flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with Melanie’s death. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort, because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over. In their past lives, Mario has tried to save her, and failed lost her.  He must decide if it’s worth the risk to try to save her again, or if it was his own interference in the past that led to her death. (Interesting conundrum here!)   

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Hope this helps!



#19 BrookeJS

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:29 PM

Thank you sooo much. This is so helpful. It's so hard to get all the things in there and still keep it short. I've tried again though. 

 

After loving and losing each other in life after life, Melanie and Mario have found each other again in this incarnation, but Melanie’s husband stands between them, threatening not only their love, but also Melanie’s life.

 

Less than a year into her marriage to Jim, Melanie is already having doubts. His drinking and verbal abuse started on their honeymoon, but divorce is something Melanie is loath to consider. She might be able to bury her feelings for Mario, if she wasn’t always running into him. Riding her horse is her escape from the world, but Mario is frequently at the barn, training a difficult mustang.  The friendship that develops between Melanie and Mario is strictly platonic, but in her heart she wishes it didn’t have to be. Jim doesn’t do their marriage any favors by staying out drinking all night, leaving Melanie feeling abandoned. The more she pulls away from Jim, the tighter he closes his grip on her. The war Melanie is fighting with her emotions is going to come to a head, and it might result in her death.

 

Mario’s life gets a lot more interesting when Melanie, with her wild red hair and fiery green eyes, rides into it on her flashy Appaloosa. His attraction to her is instant and takes a turn for the mysterious when he begins having dreams about her the night after he meets her. The dreams change, but they always end the same way: with Melanie’s death. When Mario realizes that the dreams are visions of past lives they’ve lived together, he finally understands his attraction to her. The knowledge is of small comfort, because along with it comes the realization that Jim has been killing Melanie over and over. In their past lives, Mario has tried to save her, and lost her.  He must decide if it’s worth the risk to try to save her again, or if it was his own interference in the past that led to her death.    

 

INFINITY is a 108,000 word romance novel about love that spans lifetimes, the parts we play in each other’s lives, and the connection between humans that transcends our earthly existence. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

As someone who grew up with an abusive father and has been, unfortunately, in a few abusive relationships I think it is imperative to your query that you emphasis Melanie's distress. She wants to leave but she can't​. Jim is so verbally abusive he has brainwashed her into believing she is useless without him. She would never survive. She needs him. He has made her dependent. This is the hallmark of abuse, especially verbal and emotional. The spouse convinces the victim that they love them so much, that their outbursts are the ​victims fault. If only the ​victim ​would change. This needs to come through in your query, otherwise I think each one of us are reading this wondering why Melanie is such a doormat that she refuses to leave. Drive that home and then it makes more sense that when the abuse starts getting worse it's actually harder ​to leave - the fear is paralyzing. I've been there. It's a terrifying, horrible, place to be. If you have any dichotomy of her being somewhat level headed, confident, etc, then the abuse leading into homicide is going to fall short. She's a battered woman (this life and the past), embrace that. I have a similar theme in my book - breaking the cycle of abuse - and that seems to be a theme you are striving for as well. If Melanie and Mario are going to break their own cycle then they have to do something different - I'd hazard a guess that those are your stakes? Also, why is Melanie so against divorce (even with instances of abuse?) Even in religious cultures abuse is typically solid grounds. 

 

That all being said I'm a sucker for love across time and I understood your plot from your very first query. But, is your book from 2 different point of views? If not, then I think it'd be a good idea to stick with one voice for this query. You seem to have a stronger voice with Mario, so perhaps that's something to consider. I love the premise you have going on and I'd probably really enjoy your book. I hope this helps!


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=356112

If you could spare a moment I would really appreciate critiques on my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=355669

 


#20 jpfranco

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 02:07 PM

As someone who grew up with an abusive father and has been, unfortunately, in a few abusive relationships I think it is imperative to your query that you emphasis Melanie's distress. She wants to leave but she can't​. Jim is so verbally abusive he has brainwashed her into believing she is useless without him. She would never survive. She needs him. He has made her dependent. This is the hallmark of abuse, especially verbal and emotional. The spouse convinces the victim that they love them so much, that their outbursts are the ​victims fault. If only the ​victim ​would change. This needs to come through in your query, otherwise I think each one of us are reading this wondering why Melanie is such a doormat that she refuses to leave. Drive that home and then it makes more sense that when the abuse starts getting worse it's actually harder ​to leave - the fear is paralyzing. I've been there. It's a terrifying, horrible, place to be. If you have any dichotomy of her being somewhat level headed, confident, etc, then the abuse leading into homicide is going to fall short. She's a battered woman (this life and the past), embrace that. I have a similar theme in my book - breaking the cycle of abuse - and that seems to be a theme you are striving for as well. If Melanie and Mario are going to break their own cycle then they have to do something different - I'd hazard a guess that those are your stakes? Also, why is Melanie so against divorce (even with instances of abuse?) Even in religious cultures abuse is typically solid grounds. 

 

That all being said I'm a sucker for love across time and I understood your plot from your very first query. But, is your book from 2 different point of views? If not, then I think it'd be a good idea to stick with one voice for this query. You seem to have a stronger voice with Mario, so perhaps that's something to consider. I love the premise you have going on and I'd probably really enjoy your book. I hope this helps!

First of all, thank you so much for your input. I'm responding here not to defend my work, but to let you know, in case you stumble upon a new version of this query, why I didn't put your suggestions to work here. The thing is, Melanie is not a victim of anything but her own convictions. She's really not a battered woman. In fact, I expect readers to wonder why she hasn't left Jim. She's making a choice to stay with him. His abuse is subtle at first, and only escalates after Mario comes into the picture. Melanie and Jim are locked in a pattern that has repeated itself over multiple lifetimes, and that is what has her tied to him. 

 

It is a dual POV, which is why I included him in the query. Thanks again for your time! Evey critique helps!






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