Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Mania--Query Letter

One of our readers submitted two versions of a query letter. Feel free to make comments, but please keep them constructive.

Critique Archive 0021:


Version 1

Dear xxxx,

When Samantha Van Skyhawk learns her family secret, her life is in terrible danger—and her unlife may just be beginning.

This is the premise of my young adult paranormal novel, Darkness Within which is completed and is approximately 45,000 words in length.

Samantha’s dad is a vampire and soon her blood will change. She flees with her mom and brother to Shadow Falls to find the spell to kill the fervent vampire blood When Samantha encounters Brent, a human with the most bewitching smile, things get complicated. She doesn’t have time for a romance not with the daunting task of defeating a vampire who has been around for centuries. Then Samantha meets Drake, a totally hot vampire, who claims she belongs with him; the darkness within her completely agrees. She must fight her incredible urge to be with Drake and the yearning within her soul to become what she fears most—a monster that kills. Will she save herself and those she loves or will she embrace the night forever?

I am a member of Romance Writers of America and the League of Utah Writers. I have been honored with being named 2006 Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Darkness Within was awarded second place in the League of Utah Writer’s YA book category. I have four contemporary romances published by Champagne Books. Each book has been on the Champagne Books best selling book list. All of them have received amazing reviews. I have had articles and short stories published for the young adult market.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this novel. I would be happy to send you the complete manuscript at your request. I have included a SASE for your convenience. I will look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,


Author



Version 2

Dear xxxx

Samantha Van Skyhawk’s world collapsed when she found out her family secret—her dad is a vampire and soon her blood will change.

This is the premise of my young adult novel, Darkness Within.

Her dad a vampire? Had her mom completely lost it? Vampire didn’t exist outside of Hollywood movies, did they? Not only that but her mom tells her she is a witch which makes her brother, Josh, and her one fourth vampire and one half witch. Up until the night her mom took her and Josh and fled, Samantha had always thought she was just an ordinary teenage girl.

Now they must go to Shadow Falls to find the spell to kill the fervent vampire blood that surges through them before it turns them into the undead When Samantha encounters Brent, a human with the most bewitching smile, things get complicated. As cliché as it sounds he makes her knees go weak, but she doesn’t have time for a romance not with her world crashing down and the daunting task of defeating a vampire who has been around for centuries. Then Samantha meets Drake, a totally hot vampire, who claims she belongs with him; the darkness within her completely agrees. She must fight her incredible urge to be with Drake, the brilliance of the night and the darkness within her soul yearning to become what she fears most. There are also the humans who fear those with “special powers” not to mention the other creatures roaming Shadow Falls; werewolves. And then there is the whole new girl factor at Shadow High School where no one seems to like her. She had once thought surviving her senior year would be hard and keeping up her GPA for college, but now that looks like a cake walk compared to all of this.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America and the League of Utah Writers. I have been honored with being named 2006 Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Darkness Within was awarded second place in the League of Utah Writer’s YA book category. I have four contemporary romances with Champagne and each one has been on the Champagne Books best selling book list. All have received amazing reviews. I have had articles and short stories published for the young adult market.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this novel. I would be happy to send you the complete manuscript at your request. I have included a SASE for your convenience. I will look forward to hearing from you.

4 comments:

Fiauna said...

Now, I am no query expert--in fact, I have no query successes to share--but this looks good to me. It's all there, the hook, the plot, the accolades from past experience.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I'm no expert, either, so take this with a grain of salt. As I read them, I liked the second one best until it said "as cliche as it sounds." My understanding is that agents/editors frown on cliche, so it seems you wouldn't want to point that out--unless you're saying it tongue-in-cheek, but if you are, make sure it can't be taken any other way.

If you're anything like me, as you're proof-reading your brain automatically fixes any problems. Take another look, there are a few punctuation oversights.

It sounds like an interesting book. Good luck!

Terresa said...

lovely, this looks great. don't get nervous or anything but I'm seriously taking notes here. ;) And I subscribed to your blog to boot!

Kimberly said...

Intriguing story concept. I have to echo the commenter who pointed out that there are some punctuation errors.

I've never written a query in my life, so please take this with the ole grain of salt.

I'd avoid using terms like "hot" in your query letter.

The first letter wasn't bad, but the plot was a bit confusing. All of a sudden you're mentioning some vampire that has to be killed. What's that about? The second version seemed to have too much info in it and it all got jumbled for me.

It sounds like you have a compelling story full of conflict, and I think tightening things up a bit more would reflect that better to whoever you send queries to. Good luck!