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Author Topic: BLOOD WILL TELL Query, another try
Meredith
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Well, the existing version of my query has gotten exactly one request for a partial. And I suspect that was more because I'd been to that writer's group meeting than because of the query. So, maybe it's time to try another version.

Still Newer Version:

quote:
Being a half-blood is inconvenient even on a good day, especially when the half you got from your mother is werewolf. Valeriah canít take wolf form but she is still driven by the full moon. Running helps; a tired werewolf is a good werewolf. Sheís found her niche, though, using her enhanced strength and instincts as a bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

When her cousinís life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. She doesnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve. She really doesnít expect to learn that she and Crystal are the last obstacles to a coup against the Council.

Valeriah hides Crystal in a suburb of Los Angeles while she tries to unravel the conspiracy, but she needs help to protect Crystal. She has to decide who she can trust. She wants to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystalís life, even though her instincts tell her that heís hiding something. Her only other choice is a member of the Council who has already turned his back on her once. What she doesnít know is that one of them is the killer.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 94,000-word urban fantasy novel. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.



Latest Version: Slight revision. Among other things, I'm not sure whether the reference to my blog belongs in the last paragraph or in the signature block.

quote:
Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Running helps; a tired werewolf is a good werewolf. However, her strength and instincts suit her perfectly as a bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

When her cousinís life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. She doesnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve. She really doesnít expect to learn that she and Crystal are the last obstacles to a coup.

When another attempt to kill Crystal nearly succeeds, Valeriah hides her in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. If sheís going to protect Crystal, she has to decide who she can trust to help her. Her instincts tell her to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystalís life, even though she knows heís hiding something. Her other choice is a member of the Council who has already turned his back on her once. What she doesnít know is that one of them is the killer.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel. If youíre interested, you can find more information about the characters and their world on my blog, MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

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


Last(?) Version:

quote:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Running helps; a tired werewolf is a good werewolf. However, her strength and instincts suit her perfectly as a bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

When her cousinís life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. She doesnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve.

When another attempt to kill Crystal nearly succeeds, Valeriah hides her in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. She has to decide who she can trust to help her keep Crystal safe. Her instincts tell her to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystalís life, but she knows heís hiding something. Her other choice is a member of the Council who has already turned his back on her once. What she doesnít know is that one of them is the killer who murdered her family and is now after Crystal. The other may love Valeriah enough to break her curse.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel. If youíre interested, you can find more information about the characters and their world on my blog, MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

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


Newest Version:

quote:

Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a formidable bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

When her cousinís life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. Itís nothing she hasnít done before, but never for someone she cared about. She doesnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve.

When a third attempt to kill Crystal nearly succeeds, Valeriah hides her in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. She has to decide who she can trust. Her instincts tell her to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystalís life, but she knows heís hiding something. Her other choice is a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer who murdered her family and is now after Crystal. The other may love Valeriah enough to break her curse.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel. If youíre interested, you can find more information about the characters and their world on my blog, MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

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


Newer Version:

quote:
Dear Agent:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a formidable bodyguard for the members of the Council of Magical Races.

When her cousinís life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. Itís nothing she hasnít done before for people she cared less about. She doesnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, a mystery she has spent eight years trying to solve.

Valeriah hides Crystal in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. She has to decide who she can trust. Her instincts tell her to believe the handsome stranger who has already helped to save Crystalís life, but she knows heís hiding something. Her other choice is a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer who murdered her family and is now after Crystal. The other may love Valeriah enough to break her curse.

BLOOD WILL TELL is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel. If youíre interested, you can find more information about the characters and their world on my blog, MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

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



New Version:

quote:
Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. She uses her werewolf strength and instincts as a bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm.

When her cousinís life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. Itís nothing she hasnít done before for people she cared less about. She doesnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers.

Hiding out in Los Angeles, she has to decide whether to trust the stranger, who has already helped to save Crystalís life once, or a man she knows who has already turned his back on her once. One of them has already tried to kill both Valeriah and Crystal. The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life.

BLOOD WILL TELL is an urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance, complete at 96,000 words. If youíre interested, you can learn more about Valeriah and some of the other characters on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis, and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

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


Slight Revision:

quote:

Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. Her werewolf strength and instincts make her a prized bodyguard for the elite and powerful of the magical realm.

When her cousinís life is threatened, Valeriah expects to face danger and even risk her life to save Crystal. Itís nothing she hasnít done before for people she cared less about. She doesnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers.

While trying to keep Crystal under wraps in Los Angeles, Valeriah has to decide whether to trust the stranger who has already helped to save Crystalís life. Her other choice is to put her faith in a man who has already turned his back on her once. One of them is the killer. The other may love her enough to break the curse she has lived under for most of her life.

BLOOD WILL TELL is an urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance, complete at 96,000 words. If youíre interested, you can find character sketches of Valeriah and some of the others on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

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


Old version, for reference:

quote:
Valeriah is half werewolf, unable to take wolf form but still inconveniently driven by the full moon. She uses her werewolf strength and instincts as a bodyguard for the elite and powerful of Chimeria, a world where magic takes the place of technology and the varied magical races vie for the power once held by the dragons.

When an unknown enemy tries to kill her cousin Crystal, Valeriah steps in to protect her. Forced onto the defensive because she doesnít know who wants Crystal dead, or why, Valeriah accepts assistance from Rolf, a stranger who has helped save Crystal once already. However, she suspects that he has his own reasons for being interested in the women and their inheritance.

After dodging a third attempt on Crystalís life, Valeriah decides their best hope is to escape Chimeria through one of the portals and try to hide out in Los Angeles. When Rolf reveals himself to be a dragon in disguise, their alliance almost falls apart. An unexpected assault on Valeriah pulls them back together and leaves a trail for them to follow, first to the man who attacked Valeriah and from him to the man, and the reason, behind it all.

And when a werewolf and a dragon go on the hunt together, their quarry better start to worry.

BLOOD WILL TELL is an urban fantasy novel with elements of paranormal romance, complete at 96,000 words. If youíre interested, you can learn more about Valeriah and some of the other characters on my blog, http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first chapter per the instructions on your website.

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



[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited June 10, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited June 10, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited June 14, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited June 15, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited June 24, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited July 11, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited August 03, 2010).]


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shimiqua
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It's better.
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Meredith
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Maybe I'm finally getting the hang of this?
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WouldBe
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It seems like the query would gain a little more energy by reordering, shortening, simplifying and making what you have more active. This is mostly your wording, rearranged a bit:

Valeriah is a bodyguard for the magical realm's elite and powerful. She has the strength of a werewolf and is driven by the full moon. The problem is, she's only half werewolf and can't take wolf form.

She stumbles into the schemes that led to the murders of her parents and brothers when she tries to save her cousin Crystal from <something or other>. In Los Angeles, she must decide between the help of two strangers. If she chooses wrong, Crystal will die. One stranger has saved Crystal and Valerie once and may love Valerie enough to break her lifelong curse. The other once tried to kill Crystal and Valerie.

Notes: in your third paragraph, some of the instances of 'she' and 'her' were a bit ambiguous. I was confused and may have gotten my second paragraph wrong. I left out "Hiding out" (in Los Angeles) because the MC is a half-werewolf bodyguard; it sounded a bit wimpy. May have been my imagination, but it seemed that you went out of your way to avoid revealing the gender of the strangers. You might consider giving the strangers names. I think the point of a query is to give the reader everything needed to decide whether to ask for more, so the link to the blog may not be received well; I've never seen this in any of the many sample queries I've read.

Good luck.


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Meredith
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Thanks.

quote:
It seems like the query would gain a little more energy by reordering, shortening, simplifying and making what you have more active.

Good reminder to go back and check for active voice. Sometimes what comes out first . . . isn't.

quote:
May have been my imagination, but it seemed that you went out of your way to avoid revealing the gender of the strangers. You might consider giving the strangers names.

Completely unintentional. They are both male and one isn't exactly a stranger, although not exactly a friend, either. I just didn't want to load the query with too many names. Valeriah is the MC, so necessary. Crystal's a common enough name not to cause anyone to trip over it and I needed to differentiate between the women.

quote:
I think the point of a query is to give the reader everything needed to decide whether to ask for more, so the link to the blog may not be received well; I've never seen this in any of the many sample queries I've read.

The point is to make them want to ask for more. Most of the agent blogs I've read recently really want to know that writers have a means of reaching out to potential readers--like a blog. A few still don't want to know about it or don't care. And some don't want to be referred to the blog to read sample chapters, etc. If they want it, they'll ask for it. I might need to be a little more specific about what's on the blog--character sketches, world building, etc. No sample chapters.


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Meredith
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Bump for revision.
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Meredith
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Bump for revision.
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MikeL
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Hi Meredith,

I like the new revision way better. It sets you in the scene of action. I do have a suggestion though. The sentence:

quote:
Itís nothing she hasnít done before for people she cared less about.
I might say it's part of her job, but I would focus on the fact that she does care this time.
Next, the sentence:
quote:
Valeriah hides Crystal in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy.
I would suggest using an attempt on Crystals life. I.E. 'After an attempt on Crystal's life, Valeriah is force to keep her hiding in LA.' You already mentioned the plot/conspiracy so I would skip that here.

Just a suggestion, hope it helps. BTW, I'd love to read more based on your intro.

P.S. your intro, I might add the word attractive to describe Valeriah.

[This message has been edited by MikeL (edited June 15, 2010).]


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Meredith
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Bump for still newer version.
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MikeL
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I think you might have hit it this time. It has a bit of that rub-your-hands-together-in-aticipation feel to it. Good stuff.
Unless someone says different I would probably send what you have. I like it.

Good luck, I hope you get a prompt responce.
Mike

P.S. Let us know if you do get it excepted/published etc...as I want to read your story.


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Meredith
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quote:
P.S. Let us know if you do get it excepted/published etc...as I want to read your story.

Thanks. Believe me, when that finally happens I will not be keeping it to myself.


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KayTi
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quote:
Itís nothing she hasnít done before, but never for someone she cared about.

Overall I think you've got a strong query, but this particular sentence caused me to stumble in every version. It's the double negatives, I don't know which way the sentence is telling me to lean. It's quite simple to fix, I think:

"She's done it before, but never for someone she actually cared about" (or lose the "actually") It makes the next sentence flow better, too, if you rearrange this one so it doesn't rely on the contraction "hasn't" and the double negative with "nothing."

Just some opinions. Good luck with this! Hope it carries you far!


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TrishaH24
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I understand why so many people are having trouble with the line

"Itís nothing she hasnít done before, but never for someone she cared about."

Thing is, I like this line. To me it expressed exactly what you wanted it to. But I think I'm in the minority on this one.

I think the newest version is absolutely your best. Good luck and I'm sure we'll see a post soon about which agent made an offer!


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MAP
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I really like this. I think it is your best query ever. Maybe you are getting the hang of it.

Just a couple of minor suggestions, but feel free to ignore them because I think this is great the way it is.

quote:
Itís nothing she hasnít done before, but never for someone she cared about.

I like this line, but I would like an expansion on it. How does doing this for someone she cares about make it different? I think you could use this to raise the stakes. She is an awesome body guard, but it is harder to do her job when she is protecting someone she loves. Does that make sense?

quote:
When a third attempt to kill Crystal nearly succeeds, Valeriah hides her in a suburb of Los Angeles until she can unravel the conspiracy. She has to decide who she can trust.

I don't see a connection between these two sentences. Why does hiding Crystal in LA make her have to decide who to trust? Maybe a sentence saying that she fears she can't protect Crystal on her own, so she needs help?

That is all I got, but honestly, if I was an agent, I'd ask for more.

Good luck.


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Meredith
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Bump for new version.
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Owasm
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Meredith,

Having read a draft, I can see improvement in your query letter, but I wonder if missing the external conflicts of the magical realm vs. the secular realm and the struggle for dominance of the magical realm should be mentioned. There is a backdrop to the story that makes it bigger than Valeriah's struggles with herself and keeping Crystal safe.

That adds quite a bit of drama that unfolds in the book (assuming the current version is still basically the same.) Valeriah, as strong as she is, operates unwittingly in that much larger backdrop. I don't think it comes through in the query well enough.


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Meredith
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quote:
Meredith,
Having read a draft, I can see improvement in your query letter, but I wonder if missing the external conflicts of the magical realm vs. the secular realm and the struggle for dominance of the magical realm should be mentioned. There is a backdrop to the story that makes it bigger than Valeriah's struggles with herself and keeping Crystal safe.

That adds quite a bit of drama that unfolds in the book (assuming the current version is still basically the same.) Valeriah, as strong as she is, operates unwittingly in that much larger backdrop. I don't think it comes through in the query well enough.


The story is pretty similar to what you read. If anything, that bigger conflict is stronger in the final draft.

You make a good point. This is what Valeriah thinks the conflict is--until she finds out who's really behind it. I'll have to think if there's a simple, short way to introduce that without going to another whole paragraph. I'll bet if I think about it, I can come up with something.

Mor important, I'm not sure I've brought the larger conflict out sufficiently in the synopsis and it really does belong there.


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Meredith
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Bump for newer version.
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Meredith
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Bump for new version.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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The "Still Newer Version" looks very good. The only suggestion I have is that you say something about Los Angeles being on another world, because that's a little confusing otherwise.

Maybe instead of "Valeriah hides Crystal in a suburb of Los Angeles" something like "Valeriah hides Crystal on another world in what happens to be a suburb of our Los Angeles" perhaps?


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PB&Jenny
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Shouldn't that read:
She didnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, instead of she doesn't?

Am I alone on this?

PB


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Meredith
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quote:
Shouldn't that read:
She didnít anticipate stumbling into the very plot that led to the murders of her parents and brothers, instead of she doesn't?
Am I alone on this?

PB


It's weird, sometimes. The convention for queries and synopses is present tense--even though the book is written in past tense.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited August 06, 2010).]


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axeminister
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OSC handed out his synopsis of Magic Street at the writing class. His synopsis was in present tense.

Axe


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PB&Jenny
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Thanks, didn't know that.
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