Writing, promotion, tips, and opinion. Pour a cuppa your favorite poison and join in.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Query Workshop 11--Finding Meara

Title: Finding Meara
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Revision 1

Dear Agent,

Twenty-six year old Hazel Michelli lived her dream life, full of easy money and cool Denver parties, until a winged creature kidnapped her and took her to the Realm, a parallel land where magic and monsters exist.  But the creature screwed up – she isn’t the girl named Meara he sought.

Narrowly escaping back to Colorado, Hazel’s reality becomes crazier still. She learns the creature got the wrong girl for the right reason. She’s adopted and her birth family is dysfunctional with a capital “D”. 

Meara is her much younger half-sister.  Her mother is a murdered Earth force magician,and her father, Lucian Rosen, a sadistic Life force magician, desperate to sacrifice one of his daughters to maintain immortality. The Earth force magic in Hazel’s blood provides the added bonus of unrestrained power with which he could take over the Realm, and moves Hazel to the top of the sacrifice list.

All Hazel wants is to forget the Realm and reclaim her comfy life, but Meara remains in danger, and Hazel’s the only one who can return to the Realm to save her.  Hazel races between the two worlds, searching for the little girl while attempting to stay one step ahead of Lucian.  Their lives, and the future of Realm, leave her no room for failure.

FINDING MEARA is an adult contemporary fantasy complete at 80,000 words similar in style to Janet Evanovich’s Wicked series.

In 2011, two of my short stories, The Copier and Phantom Deposit, were published in the print anthologies Daily Bites of Flesh 2011, and Steamy Screams, respectively.  My contemporary fantasy short story, Bear Hug, was published in the February 2012issue of the online journal, Hogglepot.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Dear Agent,

At the tender age of twenty-six,Hazel Michelli has achieved her dream life. A bull’s-eye intuition wins her easy money through online horse races; she lives in a penthouse apartment, and gets invited to all the cool parties around Denver.

Her idyllic existence begins to unravel the day a winged creature mistakes her for a girl named Meara and kidnaps her from her apartment.  Taken into the Realm, a parallel land where magic and monsters exist, she’s horrified to learn her sadistic father sent the creature to recapture Meara, who turns out to be Hazel’s four year old half-sister. He needs a daughter to sacrifice in his quest for immortality and unrestrained power.  Unfortunately, Hazel becomes his preferred choice.

After narrowly escaping back to Denver, Hazel wants to forget the Realm and reclaim her comfy life.  She could go into hiding until the sacrificial window closes, but Meara is still out there. Daddy dearest is searching for the little girl, and Hazel is the only one who can return to the Realm to save her. Sure, Hazel can have her old life back, but at what cost?

I am a school social worker and a married mother of two young boys.  In 2011, two of my short stories were published in print anthologies (The Copier in Daily Bites of Flesh: 2011 and Phantom Deposit in Steamy Screams).  My urban fantasy, Bear Hug, was published in the February 2012 issue of the online journal, Hogglepot.

FINDING MEARA is an Urban Fantasy, complete at80,000 words.

Thank you for your time and attention,


Suzi said...

"apartment, and gets" You can take the comma out.

"for a girl named Meara and kidnaps her from her apartment" If you want to cut down on word count, you could take out 'from her apartment'

"Sure, Hazel can have her old life back, but at what cost?" Something about the first part of this line bothers me. I think it's because it feels so very casual--because of the sure. But it's not. It's a life/death situation for the sister.

What happens if Dad does get the unrestrained powers? Right now I feel like the biggest issue is that Hazel doesn't want Meara to die. But if she does get sacrificed, will there be more trouble because of the powers the father will have? Do the stakes involve everyone else or just Meara?

Good luck!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Thanks, Suzi! Darn commas! You totally picked up on some things I was waffling about. (again with the waffling!) Thanks for some great insight!

Charity Bradford said...

I'm a ditto on everything Suzi said. Also the word tender makes me think younger than twenty-six--just saying.

We do need to know what the real stakes are here. What happens when daddy gets those powers? That will give us a better idea about what compels Hazel to search for Meara.

When it comes to your personal information, I don't know that they care about your job or that you are a mom unless it directly relates to the story. The rest is great though.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Thanks, Charity! Now there's another vote for further clarity on the stakes lets me know I better get it fixed!

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

I think it looks pretty good, Lara. A lot of time editors read the first page or so of the manuscript to see if they are interested, and they may never even get to the synopsis. So sad, but often true. We go to all that work, and the synopsis gets dissed. But they are a necessary evil, darn it!

Huntress said...

ACK! I didn't make it to your query yesterday and now I'm sure this crit will confuse you.

I love the original. I wouldn't change it. Pulleeeeeze don't change it.

My suggestions: cut '...at the tender age of twenty-six' and let your next words establish her age; living in a penthouse, going to the horse races.

I sincerely don't care for the revision at all. Too much happening in the first paragraph. Your story flows much better in the original.

Pulling your hair out yet? LOL

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Thanks, Cindy!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I have written so many different versions, one more is no big deal!

What I'm wondering is if the original has voice? And do you think I need to include something about the future of the Realm?

What if I took paragraph four of the revision and replaced paragraph three of the original with it? It seemed to be a stronger paragraph to me.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just send a query to the agent/publisher and ask them if it was good to them? :)

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Oops - and if I need to clarify why Hazel is the preferred sacrifice, I could add a line like "Because of the Earthforce magic in her blood, which would allow her father to take of the Realm, Hazel is moved to the top of the sacrifice list." Just tack it on to the end of the second paragraph of the original. But that makes the entire query around 300 words...

Ink in the Book said...

I love the revision! I think it's great:)
But if I were choosing, number is my favorite. I'm undecided about age. It goes make sense that the query may not need her 26 year old age stated.

Great work Lara!

Ink in the Book said...

How silly of me. Excuse my big typo up there^^! That should say number *one* is my favorite!