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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Query Critique - Forever

Original format - 
First, do no harm. It’s an oath Blake Ryan took to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

One of them, Aleria had changed that. They’d spent centuries hunting each other, and the day she had him at her mercy, she gave it. She set him straight and let him loose. Even though everyone she cares about wants him to die. He hasn’t let her down yet. And she never returned to kick his ass.

Thanks to regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, he’s led a quiet life since WWII. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Then Aleria’s wheeled into his hospital ward after a plane crash, and his carefully controlled life teeters on the edge of disaster. Her life is vibrant. Basically, crack to immortals like him. All it would take for her to be killed is for someone immortal to recognize her. Likely, given that she’s infamous in Ryan’s old circles and there are more immortals in New York City than one would think.

She can’t even remember her name, let alone defend herself. Deserting her when she needs help isn’t an option.

Ryan will have to unleash his inner monster to protect her from those who want her dead. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

FOREVER is an Adult Urban Fantasy, complete at 41,000 words.

I’m a published author of a YA Epic Fantasy novel under the pseudonym M. Gerrick. (The Vanished Knight, published by Etopia Press.)

Critique - 

First, do no harm. It’s an oath Blake Ryan took to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousandth year life sucking souls out of other immortals.
Oh, heck yeah.
Suggestion: “First, do no harm. The oath Blake Ryan took to become a doctor seemed out of place [or another attribute]. And so ironic given that he’d spent most of his thousandth year sucking souls out of other immortals.”

One of them, the immortals, Aleria had changed that. They’d spent centuries hunting each other, and the day she had him at her mercy, she gave it. She set him straight and let him loose. Even though everyone she cares about wants [I’d change this to ‘wanted’, IMHO]  him to die. [Or, “...his death”] He hasn’t let her down yet. And she never returned to kick his ass. Okay, this last sentence barfed me out of the story. Total confusion.

Thanks to regular shots of morphine to keep that keeps his inner monster at bay, he’s led a quiet life since WWII. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.
*actual chills here. Zowie. Good job*

Then Aleria is wheeled into his hospital ward after a plane crash, and his carefully controlled life teeters on the edge of disaster.
Suggestion: “Then a nurse [orderly?] wheels Aleria into his hospital ward...”

Her life is vibrant. Basically, crack to immortals like him.
Sentence structure needs cleaned up a bit. Suggestion: Her life is vibrant. To immortals like him, her soul is like crack to a druggie.

All it would take for her to be killed death is for someone an immortal to recognize her. Likely, given that she’s infamous in Ryan’s old circles and there are more immortals in New York City than one would think. This last sentence needs a major overhaul. Suggestion: And since she is infamous in Ryan’s old circles, that prospect is more likely than not.

She can’t even remember her name, let alone defend herself. Deserting her when she needs help isn’t an option.

Ryan will have to unleash his inner monster to protect her from those who want her dead. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.
*falling down and panting*

FOREVER is an Adult Urban Fantasy, complete at 41,000 words.

I’m a published author of a YA Epic Fantasy novel under the pseudonym M. Gerrick. (The Vanished Knight, published by Etopia Press.)

Summary: A fantastic query with a life all its own. My suggestions are In-My-Humble-Opinion only and not carved in stone. Use accordingly.

Conclusion: hell yes, I’d read more. Sincerely drooling here.



8 comments:

Stephen Tremp said...

Its great to have a critique. We can't go it alone. Good luck with everything.

Misha Gericke said...

Thanks lots! I definitely like the changes you suggested. I'll definitely work at least most of them in. ;-)

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Or as a great sage told me once, "Well, I don't do *everything* you say." - Marcy

Liza said...

I had a little confusion with the two Aleria references. In the second one, perhaps you could include something that grounds things in time. "Fifty years later, Aleria returns to his life when she is rolled into his hospital ward...

Intriguing story!

Charity Bradford said...

I see a lot of great potential here, but I'm also confused about many more things.

1st paragraph--I got that he has lived at least 1000 years. If so, maybe you could say, "Ironic, given that he'd spend most of the last thousand years sucking the souls out of other immortals."

2nd paragraph--This is where you lost me. There is a lot of "vagueness" here. Are there two groups of immortals at war with each other or just natural enemies? How did she "give it" and "set him straight"? None of that means anything to me but I'd like to know. Obviously something happened to change him. I need to know what it is so I can understand who he is.

3rd paragraph--love it!

4th paragraph--gets all wordy again. Suggestion:
"That peace is shattered when [nurse, orderly, whatever] wheels Aleria into his hospital ward. Her vibrant life force wakes his hunger, but [why is he determined not to kill her?]"
I'm also confused why other immortals want to kill her.

5th paragraph--I like this but think you can combine it with the next paragraph.

And my big problem with the last paragraph is I don't know WHY his inner monster wants her dead. If I knew from earlier, I'd love this paragraph.

Yes, TONS of potential and an intriguing story idea. I just need some specifics. :)

Matthew Keith Reviews said...

Possibly more you need or want here, but --- here you go anyway :-)

First, do no harm. It’s an oath Blake Ryan took to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

I love this first paragraph. Great hook. The only thing I might change is to put quotes around the oath. To me, doing so would make the oath more personal to Blake and set the idea that he’s generally good guy, which at this point is what I’m assuming in spite of his soul-sucking.


One of them, Aleria had changed that. They’d spent centuries hunting each other, and the day she had him at her mercy, she gave it. She set him straight and let him loose. Even though everyone she cares about wants him to die. He hasn’t let her down yet. And she never returned to kick his ass.

This is a confusing paragraph. I think I “get it” after a re-read, but I’m not completely sure so forgive me if my suggestions don’t speak toward what you’re trying to convey. It's still a little clunky... sorry :-)

“That all changed the day he and Aleria, another immortal, finally squared off. They’d been hunting each other for centuries in a never-ending battle for each others’ souls. That day, Blake found himself at Aleria’s mercy but instead of taking his life, she gave it. In spite of Blake’s notoriety among immortals, she set him free.”

Thanks to regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, he’s led a quiet life since WWII. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

I like this one. Clear, to the point. Might consider moving the word “now” to the start of the paragraph, but I don’t know that it would make a huge difference.

“Now, thanks to regular shots of morphine he is able to keep his inner monster at bay. Since WWII, his thrills have come from saving lives, not taking them.”


Then Aleria’s wheeled into his hospital ward after a plane crash, and his carefully controlled life teeters on the edge of disaster. Her life is vibrant. Basically, crack to immortals like him. All it would take for her to be killed is for someone immortal to recognize her. Likely, given that she’s infamous in Ryan’s old circles and there are more immortals in New York City than one would think.

Good paragraph. For clarity, might consider starting with:
“That is, until the day Aleria is wheeled into his hospital…”
Another suggestion:
“… Ryan’s old circles and New York City contains its fair share of immortals.”


She can’t even remember her name, let alone defend herself. Deserting her when she needs help isn’t an option.

I’d use her name at this point.
“Aleria can’t remember her name, nor can she defend herself in such a fragile state. For Ryan, deserting her is not an option.”


Ryan will have to unleash his inner monster to protect her from those who want her dead. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

My suggestion would be to combine the last paragraph with the one before it. It all speaks to the same subject of Ryan feeling compelled to defend Aleria.
“Aleria can’t remember her name, nor can she defend herself in such a fragile state. For Ryan, deserting her is not an option—but to do that, he’ll have to unleash his inner monster. And that’s a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.”

Gina Gao said...

This seems great to me. Can't say I have any advice that hasn't already been said by others before me.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Misha Gericke said...

Thanks for the great tips, all!