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STERNENDACH: A VAMPIRE ROMANCE IN VERSE (Paranormal coming-of-age)


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#1 LadyInque

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 03:01 PM

Hello, everyone. I'm new and this is my first query letter. (But not my first draft. I wouldn't do that to you.) Here goes.

 

 

STERNENDACH: A VAMPIRE ROMANCE IN VERSE is a paranormal coming-of-age story written in 250 Pushkin sonnets. It is complete at 24,000 words.

 

In 1897, hunter Athanasius Heller slew the vampire Graf of Sternendach. Seventy years later, Athanasius’s descendant Kunigunde holds a diamond pendant in her hands and hates how she and her family are trapped by the consequences of that bloody deed. Her grandmother Luzia, canny hunter and Heller clan matriarch, has told her how the New Graf killed Athanasius, and then bound the rest of the family in a treaty: Hellers don’t kill vampires, and vampires don’t kill humans. If either side breaks faith, it will mean war.

 

Kunigunde is nineteen, and soon it will be her job to keep the peace. She has studied. She has trained. And she has fallen in love with the Graf, who gave her the diamond, access to his magnificent library, and a spectacular view of the stars from the highest tower of his castle.

 

Luzia still nurses dreams of revenge. However, a stash of old letters discovered in the Graf’s library reveal to Kunigunde a very different story than what she’s believed all her life. Will she defy her grandmother’s wrath and her family’s traditions to be with the one she loves, or will she fulfill her duty to become his enemy?

 

I am a recovering academic who thought writing my first novel in prose would be too difficult. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#2 Springfield

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 05:30 PM

Hello, everyone. I'm new and this is my first query letter. (But not my first draft. I wouldn't do that to you.) Here goes.

 

 

STERNENDACH: A VAMPIRE ROMANCE IN VERSE is a paranormal coming-of-age story written in 250 Pushkin sonnets. It is complete at 24,000 words.

 

In 1897, hunter Athanasius Heller slew the vampire Graf of Sternendach. Seventy years later, Athanasius’s descendant Kunigunde holds a diamond pendant in her hands and hates how she and her family are trapped by the consequences of that bloody deed. Her grandmother Luzia, canny hunter and Heller clan matriarch, has told her how the New Graf killed Athanasius, and then bound the rest of the family in a treaty: Hellers don’t kill vampires, and vampires don’t kill humans. If either side breaks faith, it will mean war.

 

Kunigunde is nineteen, and soon it will be her job to keep the peace. She has studied. She has trained. And she has fallen in love with the Graf, who gave her the diamond, access to his magnificent library, and a spectacular view of the stars from the highest tower of his castle.

 

Luzia still nurses dreams of revenge. However, a stash of old letters discovered in the Graf’s library reveal to Kunigunde a very different story than what she’s believed all her life. Will she defy her grandmother’s wrath and her family’s traditions to be with the one she loves, or will she fulfill her duty to become his enemy?

 

I am a recovering academic who thought writing my first novel in prose would be too difficult. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

So...if the entire thing is just a series of sonnets, why is the query not in verse?

 

Believe me, I'm all for a standard query, but you're not querying a novel, and it's not in prose to boot, so the pool of agents interested in this is going to be SUPER limited to begin with and if the entire damn thing is in verse, I think you just kind of have to put the query into verse. 

 

Sixteen people might come along and disagree with me, but writing a query as if you're pitching a novel when you're decidedly not seems odder to me than going the way you're going.



#3 MICRONESIA

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 07:10 PM

Hello, everyone. I'm new and this is my first query letter. (But not my first draft. I wouldn't do that to you.) Here goes.

 

 

STERNENDACH: A VAMPIRE ROMANCE IN VERSE is a paranormal coming-of-age story written in 250 Pushkin sonnets. It is complete at 24,000 words. Neat idea! But I agree with Springfield. I want to SEE your chops! If you can't write poetry worth a dang, this whole thing falls apart.

 

In 1897, hunter Athanasius Heller Start with your main character. slew the vampire Graf of Sternendach. Seventy years later, Athanasius’s descendant Kunigunde holds a diamond pendant in her hands and hates how she and her family are trapped by the consequences of that bloody deed. I get lost in this sentence. Break it up. There's also not a whole lot of voice so far. It feels like you're just giving us facts. Her grandmother Luzia, canny hunter and Heller clan matriarch, has told her how the New Graf killed Athanasius, and then bound the rest of the family in a treaty: Hellers don’t kill vampires, and vampires don’t kill humans. If either side breaks faith, it will mean war. 

 

Kunigunde is nineteen, and soon it will be her job to keep the peace. She has studied. She has trained. And she has fallen in love with the Graf, who gave her the diamond, access to his magnificent library, and a spectacular view of the stars from the highest tower of his castle. Choppy, awkward sentence. Also, I'm confused. The Graf is... over seventy years old? He's a vampire, right? And, oh yeah, she's in love with him? It seems like a weird thing to just throw in there, since we know so little about these characters. K in particular.

 

Luzia I'm lost in names. still nurses dreams of revenge. However, a stash of old letters discovered in the Graf’s library reveal to Kunigunde a very different story than what she’s believed all her life. Too vague to be meaningful. Will she defy her grandmother’s wrath and her family’s traditions to be with the one she loves, or will she fulfill her duty to become his enemy? Avoid rhetorical questions in a query.

 

I am a recovering academic who thought writing my first novel in prose would be too difficult. Actually pretty funny. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

This is pretty confusing. But again, yeah, you're gonna have problems querying a poem.



#4 lnloft

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 07:20 PM

Springfield has an interesting thought. I assume you know that no matter what you've got a really tough sell on your hands, but it might be worth trying to prove you can actually be a poet. But it'll be tough to clearly explain your story clearly in poem form as well. Either way, what I noticed straight away from what you have right now is that you have way too many names. You've got, what, five named characters, and two of them have the same name? I think? You know your story; we don't. Don't bog us down by throwing too many names out at us. Good luck.


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#5 LadyInque

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 07:29 PM

Yeah, I agree on the too many name things. Yeesh, I need to fix that.

 

I've been advised to query this like it's a regular novel. I worry that putting the query in verse would be entirely too precious.



#6 MICRONESIA

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 07:34 PM

I worry that putting the query in verse would be entirely too precious.

 

But a book wouldn't be?



#7 Tree

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:47 AM

Hello, everyone. I'm new and this is my first query letter. (But not my first draft. I wouldn't do that to you.) Here goes.

 

 

STERNENDACH: A VAMPIRE ROMANCE IN VERSE is a paranormal coming-of-age story written in 250 Pushkin sonnets. It is complete at 24,000 words.  Since you've written book of poetry, I don't know if a traditional query is the way to go, even though the poems together tell a single story. If I were you, I'd research how to query poetry books as opposed to novels to see if there are differences are with an eye to incorporating elements of both. The idea reminds me of Some Other Garden by Jane Urquhart - maybe check its blurb for ideas?

 

In 1897, hunter Athanasius Heller slew the vampire Graf of Sternendach. Seventy years later, Athanasius’s descendant Kunigunde holds a diamond pendant in her hands and hates how she and her family are trapped by the consequences of that bloody deed. Her grandmother Luzia, canny hunter and Heller clan matriarch, has told her how the New Graf killed Athanasius, and then bound the rest of the family in a treaty: Hellers don’t kill vampires, and vampires don’t kill humans. If either side breaks faith, it will mean war. Too many characters, as someone mentioned upthread. It's very confusing. What does the pendant have to do with anything? What's a New Graf? Is Graf a title or a name? 

 

Kunigunde is nineteen, and soon it will be her job to keep the peace. She has studied. She has trained. And she has fallen in love with the Graf, who gave her the diamond, access to his magnificent library, and a spectacular view of the stars from the highest tower of his castle.  

 

Luzia still nurses dreams of revenge. However, a stash of old letters discovered in the Graf’s library reveal to Kunigunde a very different story than what she’s believed all her life. Will she defy her grandmother’s wrath and her family’s traditions to be with the one she loves, or will she fulfill her duty to become his enemy? Maybe it's just me but I can't stand rhetorical questions. I find it more powerful if the dilemma is plainly stated. Also she's not defying her grandma's wrath. She's defying her grandma and risking grandma's wrath by doing so. 

 

I think you can make the stakes higher and more obvious. What does being his enemy entail? Just not spending time with him? Or does she have to do something in opposition to him, something that will hurt him?  What does Grandma's wrath look like? My grandma's wrath is her getting a little snippy with us. I assume this wrath is a bit scarier ... be specific to build a picture of what is at risk for her.

 

I've read this three times and am confused about who everyone is and what's happening. I think you need to clarify and focus. 

 

I am a recovering academic I think "recovering [profession]" has become a bit cliche who thought writing my first novel in prose would be too difficult. Seems like you are going for self-deprecating but I don't think a query letter is the place for that. You're selling yourself and your talent. Don't be shy about it. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Hope this is helpful!



#8 MICRONESIA

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:53 AM

The long-poem-horror-novella reminds me of Something in the Potato Room by Heather Cousins. That's another one to look at. How was it queried/marketed?



#9 Kelz1990

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 10:19 AM

Hello, everyone. I'm new and this is my first query letter. (But not my first draft. I wouldn't do that to you.) Here goes.

 

 

STERNENDACH: A VAMPIRE ROMANCE IN VERSE is a paranormal coming-of-age story written in 250 Pushkin sonnets. It is complete at 24,000 words. (I would put this toward the end - you can just start with your story)

 

In 1897, hunter Athanasius Heller slew the vampire Graf of Sternendach. Seventy years later, Athanasius’s descendant Kunigunde holds a diamond pendant in her hands and hates how she and her family are trapped by the consequences of that bloody deed. Whos' the MC here? Her grandmother Luzia, canny hunter and Heller clan matriarch, has told her how the New Graf killed Athanasius, and then bound the rest of the family in a treaty: Hellers don’t kill vampires, and vampires don’t kill humans. If either side breaks faith, it will mean war. You might want to limit the amount of characters you put in your query to two at most.

 

Kunigunde is nineteen, and soon it will be her job to keep the peace. (Okay, so she's the MC) She has studied, . She has trained. And she has trained, and even fallen in love with the Graf, who gave her the diamond, access to his magnificent library, and a spectacular view of the stars from the highest tower of his castle. (I'd recommend using semicolons here instead of commas)

 

Luzia still nurses dreams of revenge. However, a A stash of old letters discovered in the Graf’s library reveal to Kunigunde a very different story than what she’s believed all her life. Will she defy her grandmother’s wrath and her family’s traditions to be with the one she loves, or will she fulfill her duty to become his enemy?

 

I am a recovering academic who thought writing my first novel in prose would be too difficult. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

If you'd like to return the favor, here's a link to my query. See Post 10 for the latest revision: http://agentquerycon...ion-in-post-10/



#10 Springfield

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 10:58 AM

Yeah, I agree on the too many name things. Yeesh, I need to fix that.

 

I've been advised to query this like it's a regular novel. I worry that putting the query in verse would be entirely too precious.

 

Advised by whom?

 

It's not a regular novel; it's not a novel at all.

 

It's on the line of short story/novella territory.



#11 LadyInque

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 09:47 AM

Advised by whom?

 

It's not a regular novel; it's not a novel at all.

 

It's on the line of short story/novella territory.

I was advised by Janet Reid on her blog.

 

If Rakoff's Love, Dishonor is a novel, then this is a novel. Mine would actually take more pages than his to print.



#12 Springfield

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 11:48 AM

I was advised by Janet Reid on her blog.

 

If Rakoff's Love, Dishonor is a novel, then this is a novel. Mine would actually take more pages than his to print.

 

I...

 

You're not David Rakoff.

 

If the Shark says to query it like a novel and you want to, go nuts, but I notice you didn't mention to her that it's nowhere NEAR novel length. Most of the ones on the list she suggests to you that I glanced at are novel-length, or they're classed as poetry. 






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