Beta Reader Group discussion

24 views
Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > Query Letter Feedback: Dark NA Urban Fantasy

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments First, that's a blurb, not a query. You need comps at a minimum, so the agent has an idea of where you think yours should go on the shelf.

Your story reads like a fantasy; I see no scifi elements at all.

Second, I'm not sold on your blurb. It feels incomplete and fragmented. Eventually I learn she was bitten by a werewolf on the way home, but not sure you hold that reveal. I'm not sure "She’s a werewolf, doesn’t mean she’s a monster" is a complete sentence. The same with "That is until Xavier." Why wouldn't Katie 'follow through' with tracking him? Why is not tracking him putting their lives at risk?

If she "knows something else is up" then getting a clue she's right seems incongruous to me. Maybe 'evidence to prove to others' makes more sense.

Why is it 'too late' when she gets the cryptic warning? If the missing werewolf was hung, just say so.

Her acquaintance is targeted how? Why is running and hiding not an option? I assume biting means turning them into a werewolf, but why is that an assumption that the victim would automatically change their allegiance? "The man" is the acquaintance? Gunned down by blood thirsty beasts? Why not torn limb from limb and perhaps eaten? Otherwise what does 'blood thirsty' add?

So Xavier, a life-long friend whom she put her entire pack (?) at risk, suddenly wants to hurt Katie by kidnapping her brother, who is presumably not a werewolf. This needs some explanation.

While you have lots of white space, which is good, you clock in at 246 words when the supposed sweet spot is 100-150.

If you like, PM me and I can send you a link with some suggestions for crafting a blurb.

Good luck!


message 2: by Sarah (last edited Mar 21, 2018 09:51AM) (new)

Sarah Mahon | 10 comments Hi Keith!

Thanks for replying and for your great feedback!
I originally chose sci-fi as the werewolves are based on science and not on magic. But that's one aspect I've been bouncing back-and-forth between. Maybe I'll go with Urban Fantasy seeing as you pointed it out.

----------------------
Here's the new one!
----------------------

Dear [x]
[Personalised line of why I’m getting in touch]

Katie O'Connell’s life changes when she’s bitten on her way home from a Halloween party.

After being taken in by a pack, Katie thinks she has it all figured out and desperately tries to hold onto a normal life. She’s a werewolf, doesn’t mean she’s a monster, right?

THE MOONLIT GALLOWS is a 102,000 word Dark Urban Fantasy novel and the first in a planned trilogy. Competitive titles would be the DARKNESS RISING series by Kelley Armstrong or ALPHA and OMEGA series by Patricia Briggs.

I’m a Journalism graduate with my articles being published online and In print, and I run an award-winning blog in my spare time.

----

Any better? Missing something?


message 3: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Your blurb went from too long to too short. I'll PM you with a link to my blog regarding crafting blurbs.

I like the additions, and think they turn it into a query.

Something that's important to keep in mind, agents/publishers love the _potential_ for a series, but generally don't like to commit to one at the beginning. It's best (so I've read) that your debut novel have a clean ending and can function stand-alone.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mahon | 10 comments I can't stop editing this thing now, grrrr. Here's a new version.

Dear [x]
[Personalised line of why I’m getting in touch]

THE MOONLIT GALLOWS is a 102,000 word Dark Urban Fantasy novel about Katie O'Connell’s when she’s bitten by a werewolf. Competitive titles would be the DARKNESS RISING by Kelley Armstrong or ALPHA and OMEGA by Patricia Briggs.

After being taken in by a pack, she thinks she has it all figured out. She’s a werewolf, but that doesn’t mean she’s a monster. Because of her naivety she puts everyone she loves at risk; even herself. Unknown to her, she’s fallen in with [**], one of most dangerous and manipulative werewolf packs.

What makes THE MOONLIT GALLOWS unique is that it’s based in Ireland and has dark subject matter and dark theme. With characters manipulating one another to get what they want. In the end pushing one of the pack member so far that he get's himself killed.

I’m a Journalism graduate, who has had articles published online and in print, and run an award-winning blog in my spare time.

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

Sincerely,
[name]

** = i just don't want to give out the name.


message 5: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Please don't delete your old posts, it confuses anyone who reads it later. Other people can benefit from the experience you go through.

Here is my attempt:


THE MOONLIT GALLOWS, 102K Dark Urban Fantasy.

Katie O'Connell’s bitten by a werewolf.

Then, after being taken in by a pack, she thinks she has it all figured out. She’s a werewolf, but that doesn’t mean she’s a monster.

However, because of her naivety, she puts everyone she loves at risk; she’s fallen in with one of most dangerous and manipulative werewolf packs.

THE MOONLIT GALLOWS is based in Ireland and has dark subject matter and dark theme. Characters manipulate one another to get what they want. Competitive titles would be the DARKNESS RISING by Kelley Armstrong or ALPHA and OMEGA by Patricia Briggs.

I’m a Journalism graduate, who has had articles published online and in print, and run an award-winning blog in my spare time.

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


The blurb is now only 62 words. I would have added from your original version, but you deleted it. You should add more, but don't pad for padding sake, put in what's important to the character, stakes and obstacles.


message 6: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mahon | 10 comments Oh, sorry! I didn't even think of the first post as helping you. I just wanted to keep working in the last few takes.

Okay, how about if I added information about the characters?

THE MOONLIT GALLOWS is a 102K-word dark urban fantasy.

Katie O'Connell is bitten by a werewolf.

After being taken in by a pack, she thinks she has it all figured out. She’s a werewolf, but that doesn’t mean she’s a monster.

However, because of her naivety, she puts everyone she loves at risk; she’s fallen in with one of the most dangerous and manipulative werewolf packs:

There’s scar-ridden Linn, who saves Katie from biting her boyfriend; by pummelling her with a steel bar. Katie has a strange pull to her that she can’t explain; it’s only around her that she can feel at ease.

Then there’s the dark and secretive duo of Ciaran and Dominic, the ring-leaders who keep everyone in line. Ciaran has lost touched with his humanity a long time ago and his fanaticism with werewolfism is siding with being unhinged. Dominic is on a level playing-ground as Ciaran, but instead of being unhinged he has managed to keep more grounded and having empathy for the people around him.

Engaged couple, Susi and Karl, are the newest members before Katie and are using one another in a twisted tag-team to earn more kills and bites for themselves. But the burden of what he’s doing starts to weight heavy on Karl and his facade starts to slip.

THE MOONLIT GALLOWS is based in Ireland and has dark subject matter and a dark theme. Characters manipulate one another to get what they want.

Competitive titles would be the DARKNESS RISING by Kelley Armstrong or ALPHA and OMEGA by Patricia Briggs.

I’m a Journalism graduate, who has had articles published online and in print, and run an award-winning blog in my spare time.

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

--------

Any better? Too much info on characters? I feel like I'm not talking enough about the plot now... -sigh-


message 7: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments You need to keep your focus on the main character, her challenges and obstacles.


message 8: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments The blurb for back-of-the-book is the same blurb that goes into your query.

Be sure to get an editor to look at it, I believe you're missing some commas.


message 9: by Sarah (last edited Mar 22, 2018 02:33AM) (new)

Sarah Mahon | 10 comments I couldn't find anything that said it was the same blurb you put in your query. It's something slightly different.

Yea, I know about the commas. This is only the first go at this particular query, just wanted to get the bones of it down.

Thanks for all your help!


message 10: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I've actually never thought about it and always assumed it would be the same. I see the query as adding to the blurb, with comps, author background and anything else that might cause an agent/publisher to take a gamble.

I assume (hope) that other people read these threads, so say some (hopefully) obvious stuff so they realize the necessity.

Good luck!


back to top