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Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #15 Pieces of Elysium

REVISION #1 
Since facing exile to Earth, the dumping ground for mythological misfits, Ingrid performs odd jobs to make ends meet. Formerly a Valkyrie, she now works as transport security, cracking skulls with her chimera-bone mace. It’s boring, but steady - until she agrees to protect Lacie LaVerre, an ordinary human, from an undead contract killer.

Lacie moves in with Ingrid for round-the-clock protection and promptly hogs the remote, uses her toothbrush, and drinks all the wine. Ingrid would like nothing more than to ditch her and this crappy job, but there’s one small problem: Lacie is also sweet, smart, and might be the first woman Ingrid’s fallen for in 500 years. She needs to decide quickly, because a shadowy figure named CatterNine wants Lacie dead, and he's perfectly willing to go through Ingrid first.

She doesn't know it, but Lacie is the key to opening the doorway from Earth to Elysium, something all the immortals exiled here would desperately like to control – or destroy. Following a trail through an underworld of cynical cupids, sasquatch squatters, and pyromaniac dryads, Ingrid must choose between protecting herself and risking her immortal life to save a woman she hardly knows. Otherwise, it won’t be her world that falls to pieces, but all existence.


Original
[Mr./Ms., name]

I’m writing to introduce my 95,000-word novel, PIECES OF ELYSIUM, a quirky adult urban fantasy. I chose to query you because [tailored explanation].

For the last 500 years since being exiled from the immortal realm of Elysium to Earth, the cosmic dumping ground for mythological misfits, Ingrid has been pulling odd jobs to make ends meet. Because her former job title was “Valkyrie,” this mostly involves cracking skulls with her chimera-bone mace. It’s boring but steady work – at least until she agrees to an unusual request to protect an ordinary human, Lacie LaVerre, from an undead contract killer.

It takes Ingrid about five minutes to regret her decision. Lacie may be beautiful, rich, and successful, but she's also whiny, moody, and a total pain in the ass. She’s the worst kind of roommate – the one who uses your toothbrush, drinks all the wine, and hogs the remote. Ingrid would like nothing more than to ditch her and this crappy job, but there’s one small problem: Lacie might also be the first woman Ingrid’s fallen for in 500 years. She'll need to make up her mind quickly, because a shadowy figure named CatterNine wants Lacie dead, and he's perfectly willing to go through Ingrid first.

She doesn't know it, but Lacie is the key to opening the door between Earth and Elysium, something all the immortals exiled here would desperately like to control – or destroy. Following a trail through abandoned strip malls and crumbling industrial parks, the gray zones of our world inhabited by a motley crew of cynical cupids, sasquatch squatters, and pyromaniac dryads, Ingrid will have to use every resource at her disposal to stop the man out to kill Lacie. Otherwise, it won’t just be Ingrid’s world that will fall to pieces, but all existence.

With its strong narrative voice, PIECES OF ELYSIUM will appeal to fans of SANDMAN SLIM, and the diverse cast of mythological characters will draw in those who enjoyed AMERICAN GODS.

As per your submission guidelines, I have included the first [X] pages below. I am happy to send additional materials at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

[Contact information]

8 comments:

L. Blankenship said...

- Put the length and genre at the end, not the beginning.
- The first sentence takes a long time to get to the point. "For 500 years, Ingrid has been pulling odd jobs to make ends meet."
- Why are they roommates?
- Given that description, why on earth is Ingrid sticking around, let alone falling in love?
- You don't actually need to explain the above two points -- those things are getting in the way of you explaining the central problem (Ingrid has to protect her client), the complication (falling in love) and what Ingrid needs to do. (what does she need to do? what will it cost her?)

storymultiverse said...

Thanks for your critique! I appreciate your comments. It's very helpful to get an outside perspective. I will say though that I've heard mixed things on the genre/length at the beginning or end, including two query crits by agents who said they prefer it at the top. I'm guessing it probably varies from agent to agent and editor to editor.

Charity Bradford said...

It does depend on the agent/editor. That's why it's so important to read what they want and anything they've ever said about queries.

Otherwise I agree with L.

I also like that you compared the story to others.

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Nearly all of this is your words. I've deleted phrases that I believe are unnecessary. Word count down to 221.

Since facing exile to Earth, the dumping ground for mythological misfits, Ingrid performs odd jobs to make ends meet. Because her former job title was Valkyrie this mostly involves cracking skulls with her chimera-bone mace. (*why* skulls need cracked would be more interesting. Security? Guarding someone? Guarding someThing?) It’s boring but steady work. Until she agrees to protect Lacie LaVerre, an ordinary human, from an undead contract killer.

It takes Ingrid five minutes to regret her decision. Lacie may be beautiful, rich, and successful, but she's also a pain in the ass. She’s the worst kind of roommate – the one who uses your toothbrush and hogs the remote. Ingrid would like nothing more than to ditch her and this crappy job, but there’s one small problem: Lacie might also be the first woman Ingrid’s fallen for in 500 years. She'll need to make up her mind quickly, because a shadowy figure named CatterNine wants Lacie dead, and he's perfectly willing to go through Ingrid first.

She doesn't know it, but Lacie is the key to opening the door between Earth and Elysium, something all the immortals would desperately like to control – or destroy. Following a trail through abandoned strip malls and crumbling industrial parks, Ingrid will use every resource at her disposal to stop the man out to kill Lacie. Otherwise, Ingrid’s world won’t be the only casualty but all existence.

Liz A. said...

LOL. I want to read this.

Perhaps a bit shorter?

Tiffanie Lynn said...

This is way too wordy. I couldn't even finish it. Huntress's "version" was much easier to read through.

storymultiverse said...

Thanks for your advice and comments, everyone! I've integrated your critique and cut it down to 215 (thanks, H!), while focusing more on the main conflict (thanks, L!).

You all are awesome. I'm so glad I submitted!

mshatch said...

I agree with what L said:
"Put the length and genre at the end, not the beginning.
- The first sentence takes a long time to get to the point. "For 500 years, Ingrid has been pulling odd jobs to make ends meet.""