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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Query Workshop 9--The Curse Merchant

Title: The Curse Merchant
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Dorian Lake has spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, twisting karma for jilted divorcees, vengeful fathers, or anyone who could pay his modest fee. But when a corrupt soul monger horns in on both his territory and his personal life, will his brilliance and his charisma be enough to save his career… and his soul?

Dorian’s unscrupulous rival, Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back.  Dorian must weigh the prospect of winning back her affections against the sinister trade of soul-trafficking. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how dark he is willing to paint his soul in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation – a task made difficult when he discovers that the last two years of his life have been a lie.

Complete at 81,800 words, THE CURSE MERCHANT is an urban fantasy novel that propels the reader into the trials of a charming man in a bastard's profession, while raising the question of where one's ethical line should be crossed.

5 comments:

storymultiverse said...

Good overall. A few suggestions:

1. I think you could do a little more to establish Dorian's character. This is important given that the picture you initially paint (a revenge facilitator) is not a flattering one, yet you clearly want to contrast him to his unscrupulous rival.

2. The last line of the first paragraph sounds like a hook you would ordinarily end a query with, but instead you transition to the second paragraph. Maybe you could put it at the end?

3. Your hook in paragraph two caught me off-guard a bit. Why have the last two years of his life been a lie? I wasn't sure.

4. Generally speaking, you can round up or down to the nearest thousand for your word count.

5. "While raising the question of where one's ethical line should be crossed" is a bit awkward-- what about "and how far we're willing to push the boundaries of our morality."

Charity Bradford said...

I think this is so very close to perfect. It's hard to pick thing to comment on.

I think you could take out "unscrupulous" in paragraph 2 since they are both in the same trade. This removes the comparison. Also, you don't need the comma after "soul to Osterhaus and has only..."

Why is the question between winning her back and his trade? If he wins her back, how does it end his career?

The line about his life being a lie is intriguing to me even if it does feel slightly out of place.

Finally, I'd just drop everything after "bastard's profession."

Huntress said...

Excellent!
The last line was a humdinger, btw. (Note to younger generation, go look it up)

My only comment is about the hook. Questions in a query are, um, questionable. Use them with care. Otherwise, I say fantastic hook.

jpsloan said...

Thanks for the input, everyone! Time to buff this pitch to a high polish.

mshatch said...

Re: ...when a corrupt soul monger horns in on both his territory ...

I could be wrong but I think this should be 'hones in on,' not horns. And you could reword the last part this way: "But when a corrupt soul monger horns in on both his territory and his personal life, his brilliance and charisma may not be enough to save his career - or his soul." and so avoid the question.

My only other comment is that story's comment about making Dorian more likeable is a good one, imo.