Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Hatrack Groups » QUERY CRITIQUE GROUP

   
Author Topic: QUERY CRITIQUE GROUP
Layla Mikaela
Member
Member # 9466

 - posted      Profile for Layla Mikaela   Email Layla Mikaela         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To all fellow writers,

I'm almost done and ready to send the manuscript of my first novel out there in hopes of landing an agent. The only thing that I'm still not 110 percent sure about is how good my query letter really is.
Anyway, if you feel the same way and want to just through your query out there and see how much constructive criticism we can get together, feel free to post it below.
But before you do be a good chap and take a look at the queries posted before yours and leave a note of what you think.

Here's to better queries and a step closer towards realizing our dreams!

MY QUERY:

Dear Agent,

Three-hundred years ago Nadya refused to marry Giovanni Berlusconi to be with another man.
Giovanni, reincarnated as Charley Bersley in this life, wants her all the same after three long centuries. Relentlessly he seeks to get back at her for not wanting him the same way he lusts after her.

Ciara Lovel, Nadya’s reincarnation, is a talented violinist in this life and performing is her calling. She desperately tries to find work after she took a break from playing professionally seven years ago. But after she witnessed the death of her father and her ex-agent Charley Bersley sexually abused her, an involuntary pause 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 effects 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 ... 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 ... 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,
Layla Mikaela

Posts: 21 | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Layla Mikaela:
Dear Agent,

Three-hundred years ago Nadya refused to marry Giovanni Berlusconi to be with another man.
Giovanni, reincarnated as Charley Bersley in this life, wants her all the same after three long centuries. Relentlessly he seeks to get back at her for not wanting him the same way he lusts after her.


For love of another man might sound better. I'd lose the last sentence. I'm not sure it's adding anything.

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

Keep the first sentence. But I'd lose the rest and just say she's having trouble finding work.

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 effects 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.


Cut unknowingly. Otherwise good.

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

Also cut debut. No need to call attention to it.

I’m a violinist and was born in Vienna, Austria. Currently, I’m living in ... 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.


I think thank you for your time is probably sufficient. The Query Shark has occasionally been very ascerbic about hearing from her soon--as in that's likely to mean a rejection.

Sincerely,
Layla Mikaela

On the whole, I'd recommend rearranging so that the query starts with Nadya/Ciara, who I assume is the main character, rather than with Giovanni/Charlie, who seems to be the antagonist.
Posts: 3937 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll put in my MAGE STORM query again. It can always use another look.

quote:

Dear Agent:

Rell doesn't want magic. He doesn't dream of being a hero out of old legends or a mage. Certainly not a mage, after they all incinerated each other at the end of the Great Mage War. He'd just like not to be in his big brother's shadow for a change. Someone should have reminded him to be careful what he wished for.

A mage storm, composed of the ashes of the wizards killed in the War, strikes. The embers that fall like rain burn and destroy, threatening Rell's home and family. Rell is struck by a strange blue cinder that infects him with magic. The magic allows him to shelter his family from the fury of the storm, but that's when the real trouble starts.

His older brother is jealous of Rell's new status. His da expects Rell to bring back the useful magic he remembers from before the war. But Rell's magic responds more to his emotions than his thoughts. He can't figure out how to make it do what he wants. Frustration and anger only bring out one of the most dangerous aspects of his magic: fire.

His magic is even more dangerous than Rell knows. If he tries the wrong way to control it, he could end up adding his own ashes to the mage storms that scourge his world. He needs to find someone who can teach him.

MAGE STORM is a 56,000-word middle grade fantasy and potentially the first of a series. Readers of John Flanagan's RANGER'S APPRENTICE series will enjoy MAGE STORM. I have enclosed a synopsis per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.


Posts: 3937 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Layla Mikaela
Member
Member # 9466

 - posted      Profile for Layla Mikaela   Email Layla Mikaela         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks Meredith for your thoughts on my query. You've got some good points!
Here's your query:

Dear Agent:

Rell doesn't want magic. He doesn't dream of being a hero out of old legends or a mage. Certainly not a mage, after they all incinerated each other at the end of the Great Mage War. He'd just like not to be in his big brother's shadow for a change.


--> I'm not sure if you need to mention this last sentence. Sure, you mentioned again that his brother is jealous of Rell later, but other then that how is that important (I mean in the query). It might play a bigger part in the story, but in the query I don't think it's necessary. As your novel is a fantasy, you want to focus on your fantasy world and explaining it in simple terms so that the reader understands it (which you did great!). So, no need to confuse with further characters [Wink] .

Someone should have reminded him to be careful what he wished for.

A mage storm, composed of the ashes of the wizards killed in the War, strikes. The embers that fall like rain burn and destroy, threatening Rell's home and family. Rell is struck by a strange blue cinder that infects him with magic. The magic allows him to shelter his family from the fury of the storm, but that's when the real trouble starts.


--> This paragraph is where the actual story/plot starts and it's very interesting. YOu might want to start your query with that. You don't have to though cause it also works the way you already have it. Just a thought...

His older brother is jealous of Rell's new status. His da expects Rell to bring back the useful magic he remembers from before the war. But Rell's magic responds more to his emotions than his thoughts. He can't figure out how to make it do what he wants. Frustration and anger only bring out one of the most dangerous aspects of his magic: fire.

His magic is even more dangerous than Rell knows. If he tries the wrong way to control it, he could end up adding his own ashes to the mage storms that scourge his world.


--> This is good. Now, we can clearly see just what's at stake/what the actual problem is for the MC & the world he lives in.

He needs to find someone who can teach him.

MAGE STORM is a 56,000-word middle grade fantasy and potentially the first of a series. Readers of John Flanagan's RANGER'S APPRENTICE series will enjoy MAGE STORM. I have enclosed a synopsis per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.


Overall, I like it. It's a very compact, clean query.

Posts: 21 | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2