Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Mania--Query Letter

One of our readers has submitted a query letter for critique. Please offer only constructive comments.

Critique Archive #51

Dear [Agent],

300 years ago Ciara Lovel refused to marry Giovanni Berlusconi to be with another man.

Giovanni, now known as Charley Bersley, wants her all the same after three long centuries. Relentlessly he seeks to get back at Ciara for not wanting him the same way he lusts after her.

Ciara is a talented violinist in this life. She desperately tries to find work after she took a break from playing professionally seven years ago. Though, performing is her calling. But after she witnessed the death of her father and her ex-agent Charley Bersley sexually abused her, an involuntary break was necessary.

Finally offered an arrangement in her birth city Vienna, Ciara flies to Austria and almost immediately after her arrival is sucked into a web of lies and mysterious incidences.

Someone breaks into her hotel room, sabotages her newfound career as a professional violinist, and attempts to drive her off the road. Ciara cannot get rid of the feeling that someone has deliberately been trying to lure her to Vienna and that she was now exactly where they wanted her to be.

To complicate matters, she is unwillingly attracted to the producer of the arrangement. A gorgeous subject of the male species, named Raphael O’Malley. She feels as if she knows him intimately, but laughs at her feelings because she doesn’t believe in stupid things like karma, fate and that kind of stuff.

Ciara’s own past is going to prove her wrong as she faces the product of the man that has been unknowingly stalking her for the past 300 years. She must protect her family from harm and this time around, keep the one man she has ever loved alive.

I read in Writer’s Digest that you’re interested in paranormal romance. BUTTERFLY is my 100,000 word debut novel and I think that it might interest you.

I’m a violinist and was born in Vienna, Austria. Currently, I’m living in Salt Lake City and working on my next novel.

I’d be glad to send you my complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
[Author]

4 comments:

Crazy Redhead said...

Three hundred (300), a number, should be spelled out because it is the first word in the sentence; otherwise, it wouldn't matter. Easy to fix too!

The summary of the plot needs to be condensed. It took me awhile to realize the MC transforms and lives a long time. Make it more clear from the beginning.

I am confused about who the MC's love is. Charley? He sexually abuses her, so I don't see how he would be her love. If it is him, explain why he hurt her and if there is a healing process.

Good luck with this! I hope the comments help.

Crazy Redhead said...

Oops. Charles is the villain.

BPatterson said...

I'm assuming this is a paranormal, but if these people are going to be super long-lived, maybe a note explaining whether you're talking reincarnation or vampires or Methuselah's long-lost descendants would be helpful. I spent most of the query wondering how these people were living so long and what the gimmick was.

Also, in the first paragraph, you mention that Ciara refused Giovanni for another man she loved, but then we never hear what happened to that other man.

Also, the "Though, performing is her calling" is a sentence fragment.

Also, "the product of the man that has been unknowingly stalking her" is clunky phrasing. What product? It sounds like he made a robot to get her. He seems like he's been pretty knowingly stalking her, if he's been working on it for the last 300 years.

I love the details about the violin and Austria, and congratulations on being brave enough to toss this out there for public viewing. I haven't managed to get that far yet. :)

Rebecca McKinnon said...

I'm a little confused. Have Giovanni and Ciara both been reincarnated? Is Giovanni immortal? Sometimes, as an author, we think we're explaining something, but we know it so well it doesn't occur to us that other people might not "get" exactly what we're saying.

I love the music aspect, and knowing you're a violinist I don't automatically cringe at all the things so many authors have gotten wrong b/c they didn't consult an actual musician. That alone makes me want to read it!

I feel that, since this is a query and should be succinct, you should condense the synopsis to 2-3 short paragraphs. I've seen some agents/editors who say not to spend more than 1 paragraph on it (after your hook). Just make sure your query fits the specific agent's requirements.

Hope something here is helpful to you. Good luck!