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Friday, June 13, 2014

Query Critique - No Title

Original - 

Once upon a time an angel and a demon conspired to save an innocent. Tried and convicted, they and their accomplices are sentenced to the worst of fates: to live as mortals, doomed to repeat the same lives over and over again throughout history.

Peace Murray doesn’t remember this yet, although she does have some pretty strange dreams sometimes, especially the one about the drowned girls. It doesn’t help having a father who wishes she didn’t exist and an ache in her heart for the twin and a mother she never knew. All she wants is a normal life like her best friend, but when she returns home from camp, everything changes after she receives a mysterious text: ‘Do you know what you are?’

Peace has no idea what this means but before long she discovers there’s a reason she doesn’t have a normal life. She’s a demon.

Mal doesn’t remember who he was either but he knows one thing, he’s sick to death of his father’s drunken ravings about some supposed war between Heaven and Hell and his cryptic clues about the past. It all comes to a head when his father conjures up something impossible and directs Mal to The Marble Cemetery where he finds a vault with his and his twin’s name on it – from 1814.

Escaping to St. Auburn’s Academy can’t come soon enough, but no sooner does he arrive than he meets Peace, the daughter of the Reverend who rents out rooms to boarders in this small town. Peace makes no secret of her dislike for him and Mal’s happy to return the favor – until he discovers the grave she frequents which just happens to have her name on it with some eerily familiar dates.

But the worst discovery is yet to come: they are both fated to die before their seventeenth birthday and begin the cycle again. Now the only way to solve the mystery of their existence and avert their fate is to work together to remember what they’ve forgotten.

My Critique –


Once upon a time(comma) an angel and a demon conspired to save an innocent. Caught, tried and convicted, then they and their accomplices (I’d leave out ‘their accomplices’. Stay with the couple to keep it simple) are (since you started the query as backstory, I’d stay in the past) sentenced to the worst of fates(my personal preference is to end the sentence) To live as mortals, doomed to repeat the same lives over and over again throughout history.

Peace Murray doesn’t remember this yet, (love this) although she does have some pretty strange dreams sometimes, especially the one about the drowned girls. It doesn’t help having a father who wishes she didn’t exist and an ache in her heart for the twin and a mother she never knew. All she wants is a normal life like her best friend (period) But when she returns home from camp,(is this significant? If not, I would cut) everything changes after   Then she receives a mysterious text: ‘Do you know what you are?’

Peace has no idea what this it means (period) But before long she discovers there’s a reason why she doesn’t have a normal life. She’s a demon.

Mal doesn’t remember who he was either but he knows one thing, he’s sick to death of his father’s drunken ravings about some a supposed war between Heaven and Hell and his cryptic clues about the past. (a very interesting but very long sentence) It all comes to a head when his father conjures up something impossible and directs Mal to The Marble Cemetery where (is this info needed?) he finds a vault with his and his twin’s name on it – from 1814. (holy crap. I definitely want to know more.

Escaping to St. Auburn’s Academy can’t come soon enough, (i have no idea what this academy is or provides. Maybe you can tell me why he needs to go there and leave out ‘can’t come soon enough. Or, use this example: Escape from his abusive father leads him to meet an annoying girl named Peace, daughter of the Reverend who...) but no sooner does he arrive than he meets Peace, the daughter of the Reverend who rents out rooms to boarders in this small town. Peace makes no secret of her dislike for him and Mal’s happy to return the favor – until he discovers the grave she frequents which just happens to have her name on it with some eerily familiar dates.

But the worst discovery is yet to come: they are both fated to die before their seventeenth birthday and begin the cycle again. Now the only way to solve the mystery of their existence and avert their fate is to work together to remember what they’ve forgotten.(OutFreakinStanding)

Although it is a bit long for a query, I want to know more. This seems a little chaotic though. The first paragraph, the hook, is great. It gives just the right amount of backstory to the rest of the query. TMI might be your downfall here. I don’t think I need to know what St. Auburn’s Academy is; just that Mal escapes his intolerable home life. Do I need to know that Peace went to camp or just that she received a mysterious text?

Note to the followers of UnicornBell:
This author is one of the most prolific, imaginative writers in my wide circle of friends and acquaintances. Her worlds vary from Pure D sci-fi to the supernatural. 

I pray that when I grow up, I can be just like her.




2 comments:

Misha Gericke said...

I think you need to break the sentences up more.

Other than that: I'd cut out the first paragraph and work it into the query.

I'd also focus around one of the main characters. Pick the one with the inciting incident, goal, conflict and stakes standing out most completely.

We don't need so much detail here. What you should be going for is the most basic of information told in voice, so that you can keep agent attention to the end, or to the point where he/she wants to read the excerpt.

Good luck!

Liz A. said...

I'm interested. I want to read this one.

That said, I'd also cut the first paragraph. Start with Peace Murray. Then (with an eye to making this shorter, otherwise, keep as is), I'd leave out Mal's story on its own. Relate Mal to Peace as Mal finds Peace at that grave.

Unless you just do Mal's story and have Peace come in as the foil. Then the last two paragraphs can mostly stand as is.

Yeah, that might be better. Cut the first three paragraphs. Keep the last three paragraphs mostly as is, except wind in the bits from the first three paragraphs that are necessary for understanding.

Well, that's my two cents...