Nov 4, 2009

QUERY - THE UNCOMMON ONE

Dear [Agent name],

When vampire, and bar owner, John Pennington saves Sarah Daugherty from the hands of a serial killer, he discovers she is more than she appears and affects him like no other human has before. Her scent is intoxicating and her touch causes a rush of warmth he never thought possible. He leaves her, though, without any knowledge of him or his deed, thinking that would be the end of it. But when she shows up in his bar, he finds he’s more enchanted by her presence and when she asks him out, he decides to risk dating for the first time in his vampire life. It’s when he tries to read Sarah’s thoughts and fails that he decides to end a relationship that barely begun. Sarah doesn’t give up that easy. She loves the way her heart flutters when he touches her. But unable to convince him with her words, it’s her absence that awakens John and he acquiesces, keeping his identity a secret.

As John and Sarah grow to care for one another, attacks against Sarah’s property, and Sarah herself, make John wonder who would want to hurt her. Could it be Sarah’s abusive ex-husband or John’s female vampire friend who he recently found out has feelings for him? And while Sarah suspects the serial killer, John would have to expose what he is to alleviate her fears. Before he can find the source behind the attacks, John must decide whether he can risk losing the only person he’s ever loved by telling her what he is.

THE UNCOMMON ONE is a Paranormal Romance of 109,000 words. Set in the non-exotic location of Dayton, Ohio, it’s a love story in modern times. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Stacy McKitrick

5 comments:

Suzan Harden said...

Stacy, if this your first stab at a novel and query, it's pretty freaking good.

Only two things I can say about the query itself - shorten paragraph one and leave off the sentence "This is my first novel."

One other thing I want you to think very hard about--and please understand I LOVE vampire novels, both writing and reading--how can you set your story apart from the Tanya Huffs/Stephanie Meyers/Charlaine Harris-es of the world? The reason I say this is because I see nothing here that sets it apart from the other Twilight-wannabes.

This is NOT a slam of your writing because it sounds like a great story. Just something I've hit and I don't want to see the same happen to you when you start submitting.

Congratulations, though! This is the best brand-new query I've seen in a while!

Best wishes on your submissions!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Stacy, I think your query reads very well, but like Suzan said, be REALLY careful about the twilight thing.

I couldn't help but think about twilight in the first paragraph (and that was before I read Suzan's comment): vamp runs across human girl who affects him like no other, girls smell is intoxicating, he can't read sarah's thoughts, he wants to break it off but girl doesn't want to let him go (if you change the names to Edward and Bella, you wouldn't have to change any of the other words to describe Twilight.)

I'm sure your book is very different from twilight, but you can't tell from this query. With the glut of vampire stories out there, you have to differentiate yours. I would cut anything that could be construed as derivative and focus on the unique things about your story.

Also, I think you can cut the second to last paragraph--setting is not so important and saying it's a modern love story is redundant. YOu also don't have to mention that it's your first novel (I made that mistake the first time I queried, too.) Just say The Uncommon One is a paranormal romance complete at 109,000 words. That's all you need.

Good luck!

Rick Daley said...

I agree with the others that you need to demonstrate what makes your story stand out from TWILIGHT. The main thing I notice is that this is from the male POV, but rumor has it Stephanie Meyer is working on the TWILIGHT story from Edward's POV, so you may want to focus on something else.

One thing that may be the right angle is that this is not a YA book. Perhaps if you highlight that this isn't teenagers it might cats the story in a different 'light?

Sorry for the bad pun. Sometimes I can't stop myself.

Stacy McKitrick said...

This is great - I love the feedback. Something I haven't been able to get, yet. Maybe if I started the first paragraph with:

"There is a myth among vampires about a rare human that cannot be read or controlled and is attractive to all vampires of the opposite sex. A myth that vampire, and bar owner, John Pennington knows nothing about."

The book is actually in both John & Sarah's POV, but the conflict is mostly with John. There's also a bit of suspense in it, with who's attacking Sarah and why, but I was trying to capitalize on the romance part without being too wordy.

I appreciate all the advice, though!

RCWriterGirl said...

I agree with the others. This really sounds just like Twilight, and I'm not sure you're going to get many bites on this unless you can separate it from the vampire pack.

Even with your suggested fix, I think the story still comes back to vampire who is totally attracted to a human whose thoughts he can't read. And when you say it like that, it sounds just like Twilight (Edward loves Bella, the one human whose thoughts he can't read; he tries to leave her, but can't. He's too drawn to her).

I don't want to be discouraging, but if you don't get many agents coming after this, I think it's more a reflection that they don't think the story is original enough (at this point in time), and not a reflection of your query.

Overall, I thought the query did a good job of explaining the story in an enticing way.