Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Query Critique #1

Thank you for this opportunity to share with you my story, Storm Shadow, an 80,000 word paranormal romance. The book is part Practical Magic meets The Twilight Zone, and part The Sixth Sense meets Rebecca.

Don’t thank me. I didn’t give you an opportunity and it sounds sniveling. Be strong right up front. There’s no need to thank me, because your story is so good I should be thanking you for giving me the chance. Try: Enclosed is Storm Shadow . . .

This book is way too many things. The only reason you compare your book to someone or something is to give your reader an easy description. I have no idea what kind of book this could possibly be. If your book is part something and something it can only be two somethings. I also think that it’s stronger to say Storm Shadow, an 80,000 word paranormal romance, is Practical Magic meets Rebecca (although I can’t see how that would work). Using the word “part” makes it sound like they aren’t fit or blended together.

Faith Carmichael never intended to get stuck on the interstate in the worst thunderstorm of the century (who does?), but when her car blows a tire she's forced to wait out the storm. The rain is so heavy, she can barely see the overpass in the distance. When the storm finally eases, she gets out to change her tire, and finds a set of Samaritans who seem to appear out of nowhere to help her continue on her way.

She arrives in the sleepy little town of Badger Creek, the birthplace and now the final resting place for her paternal grandmother, a woman she barely remembers from her childhood. She hadn't planned to attend the funeral when she first heard about it, but a call from her grandmother's lawyer explained it was imperative for her to go to the funeral and be at the bequest afterward.

The good people of Badger Creek mourn the passing of Lynella Rose Carmichael. But as the storm returns and grows into a fury, they prepare to welcome their new weather witch, and are quite prepared to do
anything to keep her.

Isn’t this your entire hook here? The two paragraphs preceding this feel like backstory. In fact, I would delete them. They add nothing. If you’re comparing your book to Practical Magic, Twilight Zone, and Sixth Sense, I need to know in the next paragraph how it compares.

Why don’t you try something like, “Strange events start occurring the minute Faith Carmichael arrives at her grandmother’s funeral. The townspeople seem intent . . .,” and since I don’t understand how the paranormal fits in, I’ll have to leave it to you here.

At present the book is only half finished, but I was curious if you thought it had merit. Thank you for your time.

If you don’t think it has merit why should I? Agents aren’t in the job to critique ideas or work, we read submissions ONLY to find new clients. If you want advice on your idea or a critique, join a writer’s group.

And don’t thank an agent for her time. Your time is just as valuable as mine. Simply let me know that you look forward to hearing from me. Stay strong. Think car salesman.


Check back Thursday for the next query critique.