Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Mania--Query

One of our readers submitted 2 query letters for critique. Feel free to make comments, but please keep them constructive.

Critique Archive 0025:

#1

A female Prophet. A Transmigrator. A Seeker, a Weaver and a Unifier. These are the elements of reincarnation. When Jane enters her Junior year of High school she's expecting the same old routine: boring classes and continued harassment from the female bullies, the Termies. Little does she know, that's the least of her worries. What Jane will soon learn is that her new love interest, Alexander Anderson, has secrets from his past. As a Transmigrator, he recalls his former lives and has come for Jane in one last attempt to fulfill the prophecy. With the help of the other elements of reincarnation, Jane will discover her own hidden strengths and find her long lost Eden buried beneath the depths of the reservoir. Unfortunately, it all comes at a cost.

This novel, for young adults, is complete at 83,000 words. It should appeal to a broad range of readers, including fans of The Hourglass Door and The Time Traveler's Wife. It combines elements of fantasy, the paranormal and romance.

My writing experience includes a self-help article about advocating for special needs children at www.iser.com and two soon-to-be published religious self-help articles at www.bellaonline.com

May I send you a copy of The Reservoir for your review?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Amie Borst


#2

She's a prophet, but is completely unaware. When Jane enters her Junior year of High school she's expecting the same old routine: boring classes and continued harassment from the female bullies, The Termies. Little does she know, that's the least of her worries. What Jane will soon learn is that her new love interest, Alexander Anderson, has secrets. He is a Transmigrator, a reincarnated spirit that recalls his past lives. With the help of the other Elements of Reincarnation, the Seeker, the Weaver and the Unifier, Jane will discover her own hidden strengths and find her long lost Eden buried beneath the depths of the reservoir. Unfortunately, it all comes at a cost.

This novel, for young adults, is complete at 83,000 words. It should appeal to a broad range of readers, including fans of The Hourglass Door and The Time Traveler's Wife. It combines elements of fantasy, the paranormal and romance.

My writing experience includes a self-help article about advocating for special needs children at www.iser.com and two soon-to-be published religious self-help articles at www.bellaonline.com

May I send you a copy of The Reservoir for your review?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Amie Borst

7 comments:

Becky said...

I thought both queries were strong, but I liked the first one best. I thought the opening was good, it made it clear that the Transmigrator was one of the elements of reincarnation. With the second version, I had to read it twice for it to click (I read the second one first--I tend to do things backwards!).

I would have liked to know more about this prophecy that brings Alexander after her. It sounds like a key point but all we get is "the prophecy." Then again, it's not mentioned at all in the second query, so maybe I got that wrong. If it isn't key, maybe changing it to "a prophecy" or "in the hopes of fulfilling a prophecy" or something along those lines might be helpful.

It sounds like a great story. Good luck--I'd love to read it someday!

Kim said...

I am already interested in the story. I only have one comment, and it might be more of a question. I'm still very new to the writing world, so I may have it wrong. When you say "this should appeal to..." I wonder if you should say "this WILL appeal to..."

They way I look at it, the word "should" is already creating some doubt as to whether it will interest people. Be confident and assume that it will interest them.

Anyone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong, like I said, I'm new to this all, and I've never done much critiquing. I wish you the best of luck.

Mary Campbell said...

I like the first one better. I think it is stronger and defines the elements of reincarnation better. Sounds intriguing. Confused by the "finding her Eden buried beneath the depths of the reservoir" line. I guess that means she is looking for peace beyond all the difficulties in her life, but it justs seems too deep for a teenager.

folksinmt said...

Just to confuse you, I liked the second query better.

Both are good, but the second one hooked me.

Should you mention time traveler's wife if its not YA? Seems like you should only reference books in the same genre.

Good luck! Sound like a good book.

onelowerlight said...

I might be going out on a limb with this, but I didn't like either query letter. What the heck is a transmigrator? A weaver? A unifier? And why are the bullies called Termies? Cryptic references like these make me worry that the writer is so stuck in her imaginary world that she has no idea how to guide people into it. Add to that several cliche phrases ("little does she know," "secrets from his past" "hidden strengths" "long lost eden"), the sketchy publishing credits (was she paid for that article on iser.com? I've "published" fanfiction on a major RPG fan site, but I'll never list that as a pub credit) and I'm left with the impression that this person is an amateur.

I should add, as a disclaimer, that I'm not an editor--I'm an aspiring writer, much like this person. I do, however, work with The Leading Edge as a volunteer editor (I read slush, do dev edits and copy edits, and review books).

Annette Lyon said...

My biggest concern is that we don't really know what the stakes are. The premise of the story in both letters ends with "it all comes at a cost."

WHAT cost? If we don't know what's at stake, we're not going to care.

D L Shipley said...

I like #1 but start with 'When Jane...'

I read it that way and it really grabbed me! I'll learn about all the other details when I become a 'follower' of your tale.

If this is a real title, I'll be watching for it.