Aug 15, 2010

Query- Between

Lindsey Waters never spent much time thinking about death. It’s not that things were so rosy, given her parents’ bitter divorce, the pressure of finals, and a figure that was more blob than beauty. But whatever she expected, it wasn’t the handsome young Scotsman who appeared at her side the night she died in a car accident.

Aiden MacRae has been transporting souls from earth to heaven for the last 300 years, while he waits for the one whose love will redeem him. He introduces Lindsey to the realm in between where they relive memories together in vivid detail: the brutal Jacobite rebellion of 1719 that led to Aiden’s death, a ball at the Palace of Versailles before King Louis XIV, and even an outing to Seattle in the 21st century.

But even as she’s falling for him, heaven’s siren song is intensifying, pulling Lindsey away. Aiden is unable to go with her, for reasons he is unwilling to divulge.

When she is revived at the scene of the accident, Lindsey is left to pick up the pieces of her old life and find out if love really can transcend all boundaries.

Between, a YA crossover novel, is complete at 80,000 words. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.


Sincerely,

Cyndi Tefft

8 comments:

froggfeathers said...

I don't have much to say. It looks good from here. I was confused at first that the memories they were sharing were his, not hers. Seemed sort of odd, but it didn't cause a problem for me. I figured it out quickly enough.

My only other mild concern is that the whole memory sharing section didn't pop out like it would be an exciting read. Maybe because that section in your query lacked emotional connection. It was well written, though, so I wouldn't change much if you change it at all.

Nice job and good luck.

Nathalie said...

The first sentence is a bit awkward for me. I don't think it ties into the paragraph. Yes, we find out she was in a car accident and her life was almost lost, but did she have a premonition about it and that's why her thinking about death would be relevant?

I truly love, love, love the third and fourth paragraphs. You create vivid pictures and entice the reader to want to take a closer look. Bravo and job well done.

Mesmerix said...

I really like this story concept. I also think the line, "heaven's siren song" is very compelling for the conflict.

The first paragraph, however, is not intriguing to me. It lacks the punch of the rest of the query.

Have you considered rewriting and starting with, "Lindsey never expected to meet a Scotsman after she died." And then moving on to the, "Aiden MacRae has been transporting souls..." bit?

From this query, I'm more interested in Aiden than I am Lindsey. She doesn't grab me as unique. Mention something that makes her different? The sample pages that I read are MUCH more engaging than the query, and I was drawn right into Lindsey as a strong-willed, independent female character. That spoke to me where your 1st paragraph description did not.

I hope this critique helps you. Your story is very engaging and the sample writing was wonderful.

Scribbler to Scribe

Andy Brokaw said...

First off, nice premise. :)

I agree about the first paragraph being a weak point and think Mesmerix's fix is a good one. I also agree Aiden seems much more interesting than Lindsey but I don't know what to do about that as I don't know her. :)

I'm unsure if 'crossover' counts as a genre rather than a marketing concept. To me, this sounds like a YA paranormal romance with crossover potential. That might be worth asking an agent or intern about if you haven't already.

Nate said...

My self-education on queries tells me this is too long and involved, but the concept is FANTASTIC! I would LOVE this book, and I'm a 40-year old married guy! No joke!

Your mechanics are better than 95% of the queries I've seen and your content is compelling. Just try to condense the five paragraphs into three:

The 1st should be your already-sharp hook.

The second is your "Main character A (Lindsey) wants outcome(s) B (her Scottish love IN her old life), but complications C (death, time, and her dubious "Eternal Reward") in the way" book description.

The third is your brief cook's bio - why this winning concept is best executed by YOU, its mama and not some dork like me.

Repeat after me...hook-book-cook, and keep repeating it until your hook's a sentence or two, your pitch is 140-180 words in one or two paragraphs at most, and the whole thing's under 300 words in 3-4 paragraphs with a LOT of white space around them (or until you go postal and get yourself all the editing time you'd ever want/need, courtesy of the penal system).

Think "tease" - not "sleepover date."

Oh, and remember me when you're famous!

pensees said...

All,

Thanks for your input! I revised the query with your suggestions and posted it on Amie Cortese's blog for her query contest. This is what she said:

"This was my second runner-up! I LOVED the formatting of this query, and the opening line is a perfect hook: “Eighteen year old Lindsey Waters never expected to meet a handsome young Scotsman the night she died.” Excellent!

I didn’t like that there are no author credentials, though, and that the genre and word count come at the very end of the letter (which makes me spend more time looking for them than actually focusing on your pitch). I don’t care for paranormal romances at all, but this query was so well written that I would have really looked forward to the sample pages!"

Woohoo! Yay! *dances around the room* Thanks again. :)

Cyndi

Mesmerix said...

Cyndi: Congratulations! I'm glad that some of our suggestions helped.

I wanted to take a moment and comment about the word count/genre and author credentials that Amie criticized. This is entirely a personal thing.

Query Shark blog recommends putting WC & genre at the end. See here.

As for credentials, Query Shark also covers that by saying, "If you have credentials, mention them. If you don't just leave this blank. You don't need credentials to write a novel."

So, before you go and change things, I wanted you to be aware of this. These are trivial bits in a query, and you should do whatever you think is best.

Best of luck!

pensees said...

Mesmerix,

Thanks for the info. When I read her comment about the word count and genre, I felt the same (that they should go at the bottom). I've read enough agent blogs that say it's alright to leave the credentials part blank if you have none. We are definitely on the same page!

Now, to finish editing the darn thing so I can get my newly-polished query out there!

Cyndi