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Death for Sale (Adult Urban Fantasy) (Update on post #6)

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#1 Aightball

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 09:51 AM

This is quite rough...I always struggle with the stakes of my novel (and as this is a WIP heading into revisions before heading to my writer's group, the stakes may change as I go) so any advice there is always, always, always welcome!  There are two versions of this query, but I think this is stronger, so it's what I'm starting with.  I will be sure to crit other queries and feel free to point me in the direction of yours if you have one =). 

 

Death is for sale.  Carla knows this first hand: she’s a Deather and in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head.  

 

Carla doesn’t like the money making side of the business and is glad her mandatory year of work is ending.  Death, however, has other plans.  He swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he retires.  She calls his bluff and he finally admits the truth: her great-great-great-grandmother broke a major rule over a hundred years ago as a Deather and Carla’s family has paid for it ever since.  Now, Carla must take over as The One True Death and crossover a family member to right this wrong.  When she refuses, Death finds her an opponent and says there will be a fight to the death; the dead one becomes Death.

 

When the final fight ends in a draw, Carla is faced with having to cross her opponent, who is her brother, over or be killed herself.  When a ghost wanders in and changes all the rules, Carla will have to decide if she’s ready to become The One True Death or if she’s willing to let the family curse live on.

 

DEATH FOR SALE is adult urban fantasy complete at ____ words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#2 Jemi

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:26 PM

 

Death is for sale.  Carla knows this first hand: she’s a Deather and in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head.  (Not bad at all! I'd tighten a little maybe... Carla knows death is for sale. As a deather, she's paid to bring over the souls.... (I have a question I'm not sure needs answering yet... Who pays her? Why?))

 

Carla doesn’t like the money making side of the business (why? most of us like money :smile:) and is glad her mandatory year of work is ending (oh! interesting!! leaves me with good questions and wonderings).  Death, however, has other plans.  He swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he retires.  She calls his bluff and he finally admits the truth: her great-great-great-grandmother broke a major rule over a hundred years ago as a Deather and Carla’s family has paid for it ever since. (the last few sentences seem like a lot. could you tighten again... due to a misbehaving ancestor, instead of being free Carla has to take over as...) Now, Carla must take over as The One True Death and crossover a family member to right this wrong. (I like that twist!) When she refuses, Death finds her an opponent and says there will be a fight to the death; the dead one becomes Death. (I think we need to know a bit more here - it seems a bit abrupt with the wording somehow but I'm not sure how to tweak it. Maybe it's the 'finds her an opponent' ... might work better with 'sets her up against' or 'forces her into a battle' or something that sounds more ominous)

 

When the final fight ends in a draw, Carla is faced with having to cross her opponent, who is her brother (another intriguing twist! maybe put this earlier with the introduction of the fight - I think I'd put all the fight business into its own paragraph), over or be killed herself.  When a ghost wanders in and changes all the rules, Carla will have to decide if she’s ready to become The One True Death or if she’s willing to let the family curse live on. (not sure if you need the ghost bit here - it sounds like that's pretty far into the story so you can probably leave it off with the brother. those are pretty big stakes!)

 

 

 

Intriguing story you've got!

I think some of the query could be tightened up a bit to showcase the twists and turns of the story.

Hope some of that helps - if not, feel free to ignore it - you'll know your story best after all!

Good luck, this sounds fun!!



#3 Aightball

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 09:12 AM

Intriguing story you've got!

I think some of the query could be tightened up a bit to showcase the twists and turns of the story.

Hope some of that helps - if not, feel free to ignore it - you'll know your story best after all!

Good luck, this sounds fun!!

 

Thank you!  My writer's group is eating this story up (which is a change from previous works which they've liked but not loved), so I'm extra excited.  I definitely see what you're getting at in the final paragraph and I agree!  I will get some revisions done over the the next day or so and see what I can tighten! =)


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#4 callalilly

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:55 PM

Hi. Below are suggestions for you to use of throw out. :) What I found is that you have mandatory details in the query -there's more telling than showing going on in my opinion. I therefore tried out a few sentences that I think might show more while keeping your basic info and query there. Again, throw out if you don't think any of what I said is good.

 

This is quite rough...I always struggle with the stakes of my novel (and as this is a WIP heading into revisions before heading to my writer's group, the stakes may change as I go) so any advice there is always, always, always welcome!  There are two versions of this query, but I think this is stronger, so it's what I'm starting with.  I will be sure to crit other queries and feel free to point me in the direction of yours if you have one =). 

 

Death is for sale. And no one knows this better than Carla -she’s a Deather, in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head. 

 

(I wanted to try out the hook something like this: "Death is for sale -and business is booming. Carla knows this better than anyone being a Deather in charge of bringing people over, and at a thousand dollars a head, it's hard to complain." I kinda like it, but it's your query.)

 

Carla's mandatory year of work is ending, and for that she's thankful -regardless of being paid well, it takes a toll on her having to claim people's lives. Carla doesn’t like the money making side of the business and is glad her mandatory year of work is ending. Death, however, has other plans.  He swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he retires (Perhaps another type of word than "retires". I understand it of course, but there's something comical in picturing Death donning a Hawaiian shirt and taking off for the beach. I think your book has more serious undertones and therefore feel that this sentence should reflect that seriousness. BUT again, just in my opinion)She calls his bluff and he finally admits the truth: Carla's been a Deather long enough to have seen all of humanities corruption though -lying is after all, a business of it's own -and knows when she's being lied to. Fact is, her great-great-great-grandmother broke a major rule over a hundred years ago as a Deather and Carla’s family has paid for it ever since (Here I'd say explain more -what was the rule? Is Carla headed towards making the same mistake? And how did Carla's family get involved in all of this in the first place?).  Now, Carla must take over as The One True Death and crossover a family member to right this wrong.  When she refuses, Death willingly changes the game, finding her an opponent that she must fight to the death. Win and she'll gain her freedom, die and she become Death itself (or himself?).

 

When the final fight ends in a draw, Carla is faced with having to bring her opponent, who also just happens to be her brother, over to Death, or be killed herself. Carla's options are grim until a ghost intervenes, changing all the rules (what are these rule changes? And how can a ghost change rules over Deaths rules?). Carla will have to decide if she’s ready to become The One True Death or if she’s willing to let the family curse live on.

 

DEATH FOR SALE (Cool title!) is adult urban fantasy complete at ____ words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Great query. I think you're on the right track. A lot of what I wrote, was just things I might try -you know your book best though, so take what you want. I hope I've helped -this sounds like such a cool tale.



#5 Aightball

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 05:06 PM

Hi. Below are suggestions for you to use of throw out. :) What I found is that you have mandatory details in the query -there's more telling than showing going on in my opinion. I therefore tried out a few sentences that I think might show more while keeping your basic info and query there. Again, throw out if you don't think any of what I said is good.

 

Great query. I think you're on the right track. A lot of what I wrote, was just things I might try -you know your book best though, so take what you want. I hope I've helped -this sounds like such a cool tale.

Thank you!

 

I really like the business is booming line!  I will definitely take these suggestions into consideration when I dive into revisions this weekend =)!


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#6 Aightball

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 05:17 PM

Here is a revision I've been working.  Trying to make things clearer and cut the wordiness =).  Thoughts?

 

Death is for sale.  And no one knows this better than Carla--she’s a Deather and in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head.  

 

Carla is glad her mandatory year of work is ending; she’s tired of making money off people’s grief.  Death, however, has other plans.  He swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he steps down.  She calls his bluff and he finally admits the truth: her great-great-great-grandmother became a Deather when her husband died. A few months later, she broke a major rule: don’t send people back to be reborn.  To right this wrong, Carla must take over as The One True Death and cross over a family member.

 

When she refuses, Death sets up a fight against her brother; whoever dies first becomes Death. When the fight ends in a draw, Carla realizes she has two choices: kill her brother or be killed herself.   

 

DEATH FOR SALE is adult urban fantasy complete at ____ words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#7 mkuriel

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 11:03 AM

Here is a revision I've been working.  Trying to make things clearer and cut the wordiness =).  Thoughts?

 

Death is for sale.  And no one knows this better than Carla--she’s a Deather and in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head.  

(This hook doesn't hook for me because I can assign too many meanings to it. "Death is for sale" makes her sound like a hitman or could personify Death into a hooker. The phrase "bringing people over" could mean like the boatman over the river Styx or killing them. Being in charge of something doesn't always mean you actually do it. So I've no firm idea of who Carla is or why I should care. I suggest you write plain and concretely what it is she does. Such as: Carla kills people and takes them to Death. Carla commands killers for hire and ensures Death collects their souls. After your premise makes sense in simple terms, you can turn it into a hook.)

 

Carla is glad her mandatory year of work is ending; she’s tired of making money off people’s grief.  Death, however, has other plans.  He swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he steps down.  She calls his bluff and he finally (yes, this adverb conveys the passage of time, but the sentence reads better without it... besides, calling someone's bluff will remind most readers of poker and the results are usually immediate) admits the truth: her great-great-great-grandmother became a Deather when her husband died. A few months later, she broke a major rule: don’t send people back to be reborn. (this is vague. who did she send back?) To right this wrong, Carla must take over as The One True Death and cross over a family member. (the red makes no sense. I understand becoming Death... but if someone else takes over, then they're not "The One." I'm picking at nits, but every word counts in a query.)

 

(Again, not sure exactly what "cross over" means here... Also, unless Carla is her great-great-great-grandmother reborn, this complication amounts to forcing someone else to atone for another's sins. It makes your protagonist a passive victim of Death's arbitrary will.)

 

 

When she refuses, Death sets up a fight against her brother; whoever dies first becomes Death. (Makes no sense. Death is timeless. It could wait for either to die from old age. What's driving the plot?) When the fight ends in a draw, Carla realizes she has two choices: kill her brother or die. be killed herself. (eliminate passive voice and the contradiction: the fight isn't over if she still has to choose whether or not to kill her brother.)  

 

DEATH FOR SALE is adult urban fantasy complete at ____ words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Vagueness is death in a query.

 

I barely have a grip on who the MC is or what she wants. Why is she the MC? 

I can't tell who's driving the plot. It reads as though Death has trouble managing its minions. 

 

I suggest focusing on simple, concrete sentences. Simple nouns, verbs, clauses. Make your point. Move on. 

 

Thanks for your feedback on Three Generations, hope this helps!



#8 W.P.

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 05:46 AM

Death is for sale. ((great hook!)) And no one knows this better than Carla--she’s a Deather and in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head.  ((interesting concept, but it reads a bit too wordy? Maybe something a bit simplified. "Death is for sale: a thousand dollars or more a head." could be the first paragraph, and then "Carla is a Deather, in charge of bringing people over." could be the first sentence of the second paragraph. That way your main hook "death is for sale" shines even more.))

 

Carla is glad her mandatory year of work is ending; she’s tired of making money off people’s grief.  Death, however, has other plans.  He Death swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he steps down. (("character has other plans" is a bit vague and almost cliche, and since it was unnecessary, I think removing it would improve the flow)) She calls his bluff and he finally admits the truth: her great-great-great-grandmother became a Deather when her husband died. A few months later, she broke a major rule: don’t send people back to be reborn.  To right this wrong, Carla must take over as The One True Death and cross over a family member. ((I feel like most of this paragraph is indirect dialogue. I don't think we need it. I think this too could be simplified. Something like this, "Carla is glad her mandatory year of work is ending since she's tired of making money off people's grief. But Death won't let her go, as Carla finds that her great-great-great-grandmother became a Deather only to bring back her late husband, breaking a major rule. To right this wrong, Carla must take over as The One True Death and cross over a family member." Not the greatest example, but it shows that it can be simplified.)

 

When she refuses, Death sets up a fight against her brother; ((poor Carla)) whoever dies first becomes Death. When the fight ends in a draw, Carla realizes she has two choices: kill her brother or be killed herself.   ((When you said "draw" it sounded like you were revealing the climax of the novel, and it removed the hook-y feel from it.))

 

DEATH FOR SALE is adult urban fantasy complete at ____ words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Very interesting premise! I think the query needs to be a bit less wordy and more concise, but I like the focus on family. I think one thing that could be added is characterisation; Carla is a sort of blank at this point. This happens to me when writing queries, I'm so focused on describing the premise and plot that the characters tend to lose their spotlight. But just by giving us one or two details about Carla (her dreams or interests or morals) we can imagine her in our own minds. :)

 

Thanks so much for critiquing my query! I really appreciate it. :)



#9 Aightball

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 09:48 AM

Death is for sale. ((great hook!)) And no one knows this better than Carla--she’s a Deather and in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head.  ((interesting concept, but it reads a bit too wordy? Maybe something a bit simplified. "Death is for sale: a thousand dollars or more a head." could be the first paragraph, and then "Carla is a Deather, in charge of bringing people over." could be the first sentence of the second paragraph. That way your main hook "death is for sale" shines even more.))

 

Carla is glad her mandatory year of work is ending; she’s tired of making money off people’s grief.  Death, however, has other plans.  He Death swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he steps down. (("character has other plans" is a bit vague and almost cliche, and since it was unnecessary, I think removing it would improve the flow)) She calls his bluff and he finally admits the truth: her great-great-great-grandmother became a Deather when her husband died. A few months later, she broke a major rule: don’t send people back to be reborn.  To right this wrong, Carla must take over as The One True Death and cross over a family member. ((I feel like most of this paragraph is indirect dialogue. I don't think we need it. I think this too could be simplified. Something like this, "Carla is glad her mandatory year of work is ending since she's tired of making money off people's grief. But Death won't let her go, as Carla finds that her great-great-great-grandmother became a Deather only to bring back her late husband, breaking a major rule. To right this wrong, Carla must take over as The One True Death and cross over a family member." Not the greatest example, but it shows that it can be simplified.)

 

When she refuses, Death sets up a fight against her brother; ((poor Carla)) whoever dies first becomes Death. When the fight ends in a draw, Carla realizes she has two choices: kill her brother or be killed herself.   ((When you said "draw" it sounded like you were revealing the climax of the novel, and it removed the hook-y feel from it.))

 

DEATH FOR SALE is adult urban fantasy complete at ____ words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Very interesting premise! I think the query needs to be a bit less wordy and more concise, but I like the focus on family. I think one thing that could be added is characterisation; Carla is a sort of blank at this point. This happens to me when writing queries, I'm so focused on describing the premise and plot that the characters tend to lose their spotlight. But just by giving us one or two details about Carla (her dreams or interests or morals) we can imagine her in our own minds. :)

 

Thanks so much for critiquing my query! I really appreciate it. :)

Thank you!

 

You've got some excellent suggestions in here and I will definitely carry those into my upcoming revisions :D.  I'm looking forward to your revision as well!


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#10 EllieFirestone1

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 12:30 AM

Here is a revision I've been working.  Trying to make things clearer and cut the wordiness =).  Thoughts?

 

Death is for sale.  And no one knows this better than Carla--she’s a Deather and in charge of bringing people over, a thousand dollars or more a head.  This is a great hook, but I think you could use a little clarification about what "bringing people over" means. Over to the afterlife, or what?

 

Carla is glad her mandatory year of work is ending; she’s tired of making money off people’s grief.  Death, however, has other plans.  He swears there’s a prophecy that says Carla has to take over for him when he steps down.  She calls his bluff and he finally admits the truth: her great-great-great-grandmother became a Deather when her husband died. A few months later, she broke a major rule: don’t send people back to be reborn.  To right this wrong, Carla must take over as The One True Death and cross over a family member. I think you could skip the bit about Death's bluff about the prophecy -- it's kind of distracting when you could focus on the real problem. 

 

When she refuses, Death sets up a fight against her brother; whoever dies first becomes Death. When the fight ends in a draw, Carla realizes she has two choices: kill her brother or be killed herself. Is Carla's brother a Deather too? If not, what qualifications does he have to become Death?  

 

DEATH FOR SALE is adult urban fantasy complete at ____ words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I love this concept! I think the query just needs a couple more tweaks to really drive it home.







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