Writer's Paradise discussion

43 views
Story help/ Writing advice > Hunted Query Letter Critique--SECOND DRAFT, please check it out!

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Hey everyone,

I just finished writing a query letter for my novel, Hunted. Please read it and then give me suggestions on how to improve it!! Thanks. :D


Dear _______: ((I don't know what agent I'm sending it to yet))

What would you do if you had to choose between the woman you thought you loved – and your entire career?

A nineteen-year-old man named James faces this and many other impossible challenges in my young-adult novel, Hunted. Hunted is a completed, modern-day urban fantasy set in the busy streets of Albany, New York, and consists of 121, 268 words.

Vampire Hunter No. 2197 – a.k.a. James – is beginning to realize that being a superhuman with kick-ass magic powers and sword-fighting skills is not all that it's cracked up to be. With forbidden feelings towards Sylfaen, the vampress he's supposed to kill, and the blood of his best friend dirtying his hands, he suddenly finds himself in a mess bigger than the job description could have ever implied. Hunted is a novel about one man's struggles to find his identity, escape the consequences of the horrible murder he's committed, and decide on which side he really belongs – as war rages on in the world around him.

I have written one novella and many short stories. I am working on a few novels, but Hunted is the only one that is finished. I have published many articles in my school newspaper, and I have had many stories featured in the school newsletter.

Thank you for your time and consideration. The full manuscript is available upon request.

Sincerely,
Sella


message 2: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments Yay Sella!!! ^_^ Ahhh I'm so excited you're going to try to get Hunted published ... XD XD XD

Okay, good query letter!! Luv it! But I have some annoying nitpicky advice, so here's what I've got:

- You might already know this, but just to make sure, you're going to have to make some changes depending on the specific agent you choose. Like, you have to point out why you chose this agent specifically. Of course it could be something very simple like, "My book is an urban fantasy, and I understand that you represent urban fantasy." Something like that.

- Hmm ... I think the hook like you have is a little iffy. I think you might want to make it clearer that it's a vampire book, right in the first line. You know what I mean?

- You don't necessarily have to have the exact word count, especially since it'll probably change as you edit the book. So You could probably round it up ... or down ... I don't think it matters.

- Uh, not sure it's a good idea to use the word "kick-ass" in a formal letter. lol. I guess it depends on the agent, but I wouldn't risk it. Could you use another word maybe?

- You kind of fit a lot of plot into one sentence here: "With forbidden feelings towards Sylfaen, the vampress he's supposed to kill, and the blood of his best friend dirtying his hands, he suddenly finds himself in a mess bigger than the job description could have ever implied." It's like, wait wait what?! You might want to slow it down a little, explain just a teensy bit more. Like, say something like "His forbidden feelings towards Sylfaen ... lead to a mess bigger than the job description implied – including the murder of his best friend" or something like that. Also, you don't mention a thing about Jade, and she's a pretty important part of the story. Maybe put in a sentence or two about her?

- Also, in one of the last couple of paragraphs, you should mention: a) the specific audience you're aiming for – what gender? what specific age group? and b) what books Hunted relates to; say what books it's similar to, but specify why it's original, too.

- It's okay to admit that you're inexperienced. Honestly I think it would be better to just admit that you haven't been published. I don't think you're supposed to mention school publications in query letters, although I'm not sure about that ... maybe you should look that up.


Yeah, I think that's all. XD Hope it helps!!


message 3: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Thanks for all the advice Brigid!! It's really helpful!! :D

Just a few comments...

-"Hmm ... I think the hook like you have is a little iffy. I think you might want to make it clearer that it's a vampire book, right in the first line. You know what I mean?"
Yeah, but the thing is, I don't want it to sound like all those other vampire books, you know?

-"You don't necessarily have to have the exact word count, especially since it'll probably change as you edit the book. So You could probably round it up ... or down ... I don't think it matters."
Oh, okay. So, saying that it's "currently" the exact word count isn't enough? I should round it? Ok.

-"and b) what books Hunted relates to; say what books it's similar to, but specify why it's original, too."
Hmm...really? I read somewhere that you're NOT supposed to compare your novel to any famous books out there, because then it's like saying "MY book can be as good as this!" and the agent will think you're too cocky.

-"It's okay to admit that you're inexperienced. Honestly I think it would be better to just admit that you haven't been published. I don't think you're supposed to mention school publications in query letters, although I'm not sure about that ... maybe you should look that up."
So much contradicting information!! Aggh!!! I read somewhere that school publications count ... *tears hair out* Which one is true?!?!

Lol. Again, thanks for all your help, Brigid! :D


message 4: by Kenzie, Help feed the hungry. Donate to 30 Hour Famine! (new)

Kenzie | 1305 comments Mod
I read the thing about not comparing your work to others published work. Let me see if I can find where for you....

*searches*


message 5: by Kenzie, Help feed the hungry. Donate to 30 Hour Famine! (new)

Kenzie | 1305 comments Mod
Not to contradict you or anything, Brigid, but I found a few things for Sella.

Okay, the thing about not using swear words, well, some agents are okay with it like this one: "...I remember that he wrote about one character and the "museum of fucked-up things." That one line stuck with me. I thought it was very specific and evocative. I think that's what makes the best query letters." - DANIEL LAZAR

Oh, and about comparing your book to other books, it's OKAY, but don't go on and on. Give one maybe two examples if need be, but don't go overboard.


message 6: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments Yeah that's what I was saying. Don't say that your book is EXACTLY like another book, but you have to make it clear that your book is relevant, you know what I mean? Like, you should say how your book differs from other books, but how it has a few similarities w/other books. But, like Kenzie said, don't go on and on about it, because no one wants to publish a book that's exactly like another book that's already out there.

And the thing about swearing: It's probably not a big deal, it's just that you never know. You don't know what kind of person the agent is, whether they'll be offended by it or not. But if you want to take that chance, it'll probably be fine. I just thought I'd mention it.


message 7: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Okay, that makes sense! Thanks for all the help and advice. :D I'll probably take out the swearing, just in case it offends the agent...


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

it's always okay to play it safe right? :D


message 9: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments better to be safe than sorry ... hehe wow that's such an old-person saying. lol


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

lol but it's true!!


message 11: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin lol! :D yeah, it's true. XD


message 12: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments lol


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

"better to be safe than sorry. "
*few minutes later*
"Oh! I'm sorry for (Place something here.)"

FAMOUS LAST WORDS!
- what cliff?
- I wonder what this does.
-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (This one is sad because I say that all the time.)
- OH! SHINY! (This one 2.)
- huh?
- look a button. *sits on it*

tell me if you have more! Sorry! random post!


message 14: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Lol that's random! I had this one friend at my old school who we always exchanged "famous last words" to each other that we made up on the spot. A few of my favorites were:

-"Mommy, look what I can do!"
-"Oopsies!!"
-"Preetty coolors."
-"Here, kitty kitty!"
-"Let's drive!"
-"What's that?"
-"Is this edible?"

hahaha XD


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

:D


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

lol thank you!


message 17: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments LOL


message 18: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin heehee XD


message 19: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Okay, I wrote a second draft of the hunted query letter. Please read it and tell me if there still is anything needing fixing, or if it's good to go!



Dear (name of agent here),

What would you do if you had to choose between the one you loved – and your entire career?

What would you do if the one you loved was a vampire – and you were assigned to kill it?

A nineteen-year-old man named James faces this and many other impossible challenges in my young-adult novel, Hunted. Hunted is a completed, modern-day urban fantasy set in the busy streets of Albany, New York, and consists of about 120 thousand words.

Vampire Hunter No. 2197 – a.k.a. James – is part of an organization of vampire killers. His job seems simple – go out into the world, use the training he's received over the last ten years, and exterminate the predators. But James is beginning to realize that being a superhuman with awesome magic powers and sword-fighting skills is not all that it's cracked up to be.

To his horror, James begins to fall for Sylfaen – the vampress he's supposed to kill – and he procrastinates killing her again and again. Unfortunately, he has a Vampire Hunter girlfriend, Jade, who is oblivious to what he's doing. James is overwhelmed with guilt for the forbidden feelings he's nursing behind Jade's back, but he can't bring himself to stop.

A crazy whirlwind of events leads to James abruptly bearing the blood of his best friend on his hands. Suddenly, James finds himself in a mess bigger than the job description could have ever implied.

Hunted is a novel about one man's struggles to find his identity, escape the consequences of the horrible murder he's committed, and decide on which side he really belongs – as war rages on in the world around him.

Hunted is similar to books such as Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, or Vampire Kisses, by Ellen Schreiber, because it shares the theme of vampires. However, it is also very different from these books, because unlike Twilight and Vampire Kisses, it doesn't focus on the forbidden love between vampires and humans, but rather how that forbidden love is wrong, and the kind of trouble it can lead to.

Readers of both genders can enjoy Hunted. Hunted will appeal from ages 12 to 18.

I have written one novella and many short stories. I am working on a few novels, but Hunted is the only one that is finished. None of my work has been published.

Thank you for your time and consideration. The full manuscript is available upon request.



Keep in mind that I'm going to add a line that says why I chose whatever agent I'll pick (i.e. if the agent specializes in fantasy, then I'll say that my book is fantasy, so that's why I've chosen this agent ... etc).

Please give me feedback! Is it ready or not? :D


message 20: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments Much better! :) But there are still a few awkward sentences ... Sorry for being annoying about this >< lol

- Firstly, there are a lot of dashes that I think could be colons or commas.

Ex: "His job seems simple – go out into the world ..." --> "His job seems simple: go out into the world …"

" … decide on which side he really belongs – as war rages on in the world around him." --> " … decide on which side he really belongs, as war rages on in the world around him. "

- Also, there are some sentences that are a little confusing. It's better to keep sentences concise. Like "A crazy whirlwind of events leads to James abruptly bearing the blood of his best friend on his hands" could really just be "A crazy whirlwind of events leads to James killing his best friend".

- Don't end sentences with prepositions! "the kind of trouble it can lead to" --> "the kind of trouble to which it can lead".

- A couple of parts are repetitive.

"but rather how that forbidden love is wrong" --> "but rather how forbidden love is wrong"

"Readers of both genders can enjoy Hunted. Hunted will appeal from ages 12 to 18." --> "Readers of both genders, from ages 12 to 18, can enjoy Hunted."

- Avoid adverbs, especially ones like "also" and "very", because they just make sentences more wordy and distract from the point. Ex: "it is also very different" --> "it is different". Well, actually you should choose strong verbs over adjectives, so it could even be a simple "it differs".

- Over all, great letter! :) It's just a matter of taking out unnecessary words and editing out some awkwardness here and there. Hope my advice helps and that it's not too nitpicky … >_<


message 21: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Thanks, that's really helpful! :D I'll fix those things, and then I'll look for an agent. :D

So, just making sure ... the part where I compared Hunted to other books was fine? Also, are the two leads okay?


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Honestly, I wouldn't go so into depth about your story. Because sometimes, the agents/publishers want to see something short and simple, and others want to know more. So idk, do what you want :D


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Honestly, I wouldn't go so into depth about your story. Because sometimes, the agents/publishers want to see something short and simple, and others want to know more. So idk, do what you want :D


message 24: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Annie Mae wrote: "Honestly, I wouldn't go so into depth about your story. Because sometimes, the agents/publishers want to see something short and simple, and others want to know more. So idk, do what you want :D"

Well, I had it way shorter before (look at the first post in this topic) but Brigid thought I should expand, so I took her advice ...


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

yeah, i know. Sometimes though too much isn't that great. But honestly, this one is much better.


message 26: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin Annie Mae wrote: "yeah, i know. Sometimes though too much isn't that great. But honestly, this one is much better."

Really? Okay, good. Thanks. :D


message 27: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments Sella wrote: "Annie Mae wrote: "Honestly, I wouldn't go so into depth about your story. Because sometimes, the agents/publishers want to see something short and simple, and others want to know more. So idk, do ..."

oh sorry ... it's fine if you want to make it shorter, i just thought you should mention jade. but idk, it depends on what the specific agent wants.


message 28: by Sella (last edited Jun 22, 2009 03:12PM) (new)

Sella Malin No, I like it longer ... well, I'll see what the agents I find want. :D But I agree, it was way too short before ...


message 29: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ | 1015 comments mmkay whatever you think is best!! :)


message 30: by Sella (new)

Sella Malin yay :D


message 31: by Daisy (new)

Daisy | 1803 comments *happy birthday plays*

My B-day is tomorrow and the party goes until the 28th!

Please attend in GreenDaisy's Grand Gelatinous Globe

feel free to feed (click) on some of the younger dragons


back to top