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Author Topic: New "Eye of a Shadow" Query Letter
XD3V0NX
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This is longer than my previous query letter's, but that's only because I go more in depth with what it's about. Query letters are a pain, as many people might already know. This has got to be like my 100th attempt. Well, that's over exaggeratting.

Oh, and I already know that it's on the "long side", but I don't plan on sending Eye of a Shadow out right away. In fact, I might just take it apart and make it a Trilogy all on its own. Just thought you all should know that.

Anyway, here's my new Query letter....Just let me know if it makes sense, is 'hooking', or anything else that comes to mind.

Thanks.
________________________________________________________________

Devon Chamberís life changes when Professor Lee is murdered at Kingsbridge University.

When Hicks, the new substitute with a strange red glass eye, takes over, Devonís life undergoes the worst: the easy life he had with Lee is gone. The assignments become harder, the tests more dreadful, and the worst part is each and everything they do in that class is timed. Soon, the class of ten starts disappearing; Hicksís red eye stalks him at every turn; and the suspicion of Hicks being the killer grows.

It turns out, Hicks isnít a killer. He was brought back to life by Dr. William Creed fifty years ago. Heís there on a mission to drive a class of students mad through deadly mind games. If a student failsóhe or she will be driven to insanity. Itís how his power grows. Itís how heís still alive. Hicks uses his students worst fears against them; he controls their minds, makes them see unexplainable images. Itís likely that Devon and his best friend, Kameron Ramos, are next.

Devon fears they wonít survive the entire semester, especially after Serenity Arklay, the smartest and hottest thing Kameron and Devon ever seen, arrives, and Kameron canít keep his eyes off her. She doesnít seem in the least bit human, either. She finishes everything in as little as five minutes without breaking a sweat. And he knows Hicks has something to do with it.

Now Devon tries keeping Kameron focused. But thereís something hypnotic about Serenity that Devon himself is hardly able to resist.

What Devon doesnít know is Hicks has other plans for Kameron. Hicks knew from the beginning heíd be caught and killed by FBI Agents eventually. Kameron failed right after Hicks is eliminated. Hicks needs a host to continue his mission. And Kameron is that host.

Kameron starts getting angrier, showing a side of him neither he nor Devon saw coming. Soon, he loses himself completely and is possessed by Hicks. The only way to stop Hicks, Devon soon realizes, is to kill Kameron Ramos.

EYE OF A SHADOW is my 209,000 horror novel.

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

Best Wishes,

Devon Williams

[This message has been edited by XD3V0NX (edited May 25, 2010).]


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TrishaH24
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Hey Devon,

The first line, where you talk about the agent, I just want to make sure you know that you have to have something very specific to that agent, simply because an agent doesnít want to get a mass email you sent out to a thousand people. Because believe it or not, when an agent comes in to the office in the morning, their inbox is full of 2 am, drunk email queries that were sent out to every agent from Writerís Marketplace. If you show you checked them out first, theyíll keep reading. Also, some agents donít want you to start with this line. Some want you to start with the story. But since I think youíre going with Nathan Bransfordís query format, youíre in the clear.

This line:

ďDevonís life undergoes the worst:Ē

doesnít actually mean anything. His life can undergo the worst change or the worst transformation or the worst overhaul. It canít undergo ďthe worstĒ because undergo implies there will be an action to ďundergoĒ. Does that make sense? Iím sure someone else can explain it better, but I hope it makes at least a little sense.

ďand the worst part is each and everything they doÖĒ

This should be

ďand the worst part is each and every thing they doÖĒ

There needs to be a space between ďeveryĒ and ďthingĒ because what you are really saying is ďeach thingĒ and ďevery thingĒ. If Word tells you thatís wrong, ignore it.

ďand the suspicion of Hicks being the killer grows.Ē

This is the first time you mention that Hicks might be the killer. Which throws me off a little because I didnít know anyone thought he was.

While Iím willing to suspend my disbelief for even the most unusual concepts, the idea that Hicks was brought back from the dead and is STILL alive because he drives others insane is hard to swallow. Iím not saying it canít happen, I just donít understand how one thing can really lead to another. Is it magic? Is it some weird, newly discovered science? Yes, you want a query to be concise, but you also want it to be believable.

Also, Iíd just say Devon and his best friend, or Devon and his best friend Kameron. Adding too many names (Devon Carey, Hicks, Kameron Ramos) in a query can get confusing. If I donít need to know Kameronís last name in the query, leave it off. (Itís okay to put Devonís last name because heís the title character.)

Same goes for Serenity. No last name.

I think you are cramming too much into the query. I understand this is a looong book, and needs a little more time to explain than, say, a 50,000 word novel. But if you cut some of the parts out (like the part where Hicks knows he is going to be killed by FBI) and stick with the bare bones (like: Hicks needs a new host and he has settled on Kameron. Devonís best chance to stop Hicks is to kill his best friend) you would be better off.

Overall, I think you have a good skeleton of a query. You just need to trim some of the fat, so to speak. The ending is great--the word count, genre and your name is all you need. If I were you, I'd fix this up a little and submit it to Query Shark. See what she has to say.

Good luck!

Trisha


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MAP
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Hi Devon,

The idea of a professor trying to drive his students mad is a little humorous to me only because I have been on both sides of the classroom. I know it seems like professors are trying to drive you mad, but really we are only trying to challenge you, LOL. But I do think this is an interesting story.

The problem with this query letter is that it gives too much of the story away. I have a feeling that I have seen all of your twists and turns.

A query letter is like the blurb on the back of the book. You only want to give enough to make the reader interested in reading more. The entire plot is given in the summary.

Here are my suggestions, take them or leave them.

quote:
Devon Chamberís life changes when Professor Lee is murdered at Kingsbridge University.

When Hicks, the new substitute with a strange red glass eye, takes over, Devonís life undergoes the worst the worst what??: the easy life he had with Lee is gone. Cut the italicized part it adds nothing. The assignments become harder, the tests more dreadful, and the worst part is each and everything they do in that class is timed. Soon, the class of ten starts disappearing (I think you need to expand on this. Are the students dropping out of the class or are they disappearing as in no one knows what happened to them. There is a big difference there, and needs to be explained.; Hicksís red eye stalks him at every turn; and the suspicion of Hicks being the killer grows. Are there murders on campus? Because disappearing students doesn't necessarily mean they are being murdered. This needs to be further explained as well.

It turns out, Hicks isnít a killer. He was brought back to life by Dr. William Creed fifty years ago. Heís there on a mission to drive a class of students mad through deadly mind games. If a student failsóhe or she will be driven to insanity. Itís how his power grows. Itís how heís still alive. Hicks uses his students worst fears against them; he controls their minds, makes them see unexplainable images. Itís likely that Devon and his best friend, Kameron Ramos, are next. This is not from Devons perspective and it is one of your twists in the book. Cut this entire paragraph, leave us with the mystery of who or what Hicks is.

Devon fears they wonít survive the entire semester, especially after Serenity Arklay, the smartest and hottest thing Kameron and Devon ever seen, arrives, and Kameron canít keep his eyes off her. She doesnít seem in the least bit human, either. She finishes everything in as little as five minutes without breaking a sweat. And he knows Hicks has something to do with it.

Now Devon tries keeping Kameron focused. But thereís something hypnotic about Serenity that Devon himself is hardly able to resist.

What Devon doesnít know is Hicks has other plans for Kameron. Hicks knew from the beginning heíd be caught and killed by FBI Agents eventually. Kameron failed right after Hicks is eliminated. Hicks needs a host to continue his mission. And Kameron is that host. Cut this paragraph too, for the same reasons as above.

Kameron starts getting angrier, showing a side of him neither he nor Devon saw coming. Soon, he loses himself completely and is possessed by Hicks. Cut what I italicized; it isn't from Devon's perspective. Instead say something like, "Devon fears Kameron is being possessed by Hicks, and the.." leads into the last sentence The only way to stop Hicks, Devon soon realizes, is (I think you should leave a little mystery here, change to "might be") to kill Kameron Ramos.


Good luck with this.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited May 25, 2010).]


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