Sep 10, 2010

Query: BOUND (1st revision)

Click here to read the original query.

First off, you'll note a drastic change in POV here. The book is told from both Grant and Morana's POV (as they are both the protag's).

Secondly, you'll notice a title change in the last paragraph.


Dear (NAME)

Morana Lewis discovers everything she knew about life is a lie, right down what species she is. Everything she learns, she tries to ignore, but one thing remains persistent—her bloodlust—because she’s half vampire.

Her struggle between vampire instincts and human morals ends when she falls into the hands of a full blood vampire and is forced through the transition—the process that brings her vampire traits out by drinking their blood. With her vampire traits fully asserted, everything in life is a new experience. In a moment of self-discovery, she exchanges blood with her vampire captor, binding herself to him. She feels the hollow void of his emotions, every physical sensation he feels, and experiences his memories every time she takes blood from him.

As his lengthy past unfolds before her, she learns there’s a reason for her existence, a reason he knew about because he was part of the vampire council that wants her back. Morana accepts that she’s half vampire, bound to an emotionless void of a being, and craves blood, but not that she’s a pawn in an attempt to evolve the vampire species.

Morana must find balance within the turmoil, decide whom she can trust and elude the councils’ servants who’ve been sent for her, because something tells her she’s more than anyone conceives.

THE LAST SCION, an 87,000-word adult urban fantasy novel, is set against the backdrop of brutal murders rocking Seattle shoreline and explores evolution and its fragility.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jodi Henry

4 comments:

Mesmerix said...

Jodi: This is better! Way better. I'm not confused anymore.

There are some word choice problems though and a lack of character voice that will establish reader empathy. This should be your next focus in cleaning up the query.

Here's the specifics:

1) "hollow void of his emotions" repeated in "emotionless voice of a being". The repetition is bad, but also its overwritten. Can't you call him simply callous? Unfeeling? Cold? One adjective would do a lot to cut down on the overwriting.

2)"a reason for her existence" is very vague. I think you meant this to be the mysterious hook that makes me want to read more, but all it does is leave me unsatisfied. I also don't buy it. I mean, this reason must be really good because she can believe she's a life-drinking vampire, but not that she's a pawn? Really? I'd believe I was a pawn of some high and mighty shmuckity before I believed I could accept being a bound, blood-sucking, half-vampire.

3) "something tells her shes more" what? Didn't you just tell me that she learns "the reason"? Now there's something more? This seems very gimmicky. Be clear and precise in your plot points rather than trying to entice with vague language.

4) The biggest concern I have with this is that Morana doesn't seem to do anything. Instead she has things done to her. That's a sign of a weak protag, one not interesting to the reader.

You need to make Morana the subject rather than the object. I did this exact same thing in my first query draft and got called out on it.

Why should I like Morana? You've given me nothing to hang my heart on. Why do I care that she's been taken?

Reader empathy is established through voice. You need to add some of that in here. A trick I used to do this was to write the query in 1st person PoV as if my main protag was telling me the story. Then I switched it to 3rd and edited some things out that no longer made sense in 3rd. Doing this rocked my query world and may be a helpful exercise for you.

So, I was more interested in reading about the PI because his voice caught my attention. But, I was confused about what happened. Here I'm clear on what's going on, but the voice doesn't get me.

You're getting closer. Keep going. I think THE LAST SCION is the kind of book I'd like to read, but I'm not seeing in yet in the query.

Best of luck!

Scribbler to Scribe

Zee Lemke said...

Morana does sound like a better character to work with. Having read the other version, I'm slightly concerned that your male protag is a stalker while your female protag appears to be a drug addict in an abusive relationship. However, that doesn't really matter. If your book is good enough I'd like it anyway.

I'm going to do a thing here that I've been tempted to do on other people's queries (including my own). Here are the verbs of which Morana is the subject:

Discovers, knew, is, learns, tries, is, falls, is forced, exchanges, feels, experiences, takes, learns, accepts, is, is, must (find, decide), is.

Those are not exciting verbs. She's just sitting there. You can get a lot more into your sentences if Morana actually does things, because the objects of those sentences are going to be specific things in your setting. At the moment, we could be in the US, in Ravenloft, in 1920s Transylvania. Once she's stealing cars to finance her blood habit or summoning demons to solve the mystery of her breeding, you have a setting and an idea what the novel's like.

Mesmerix said...

My comment disppeared on this one too. What's going on? Does the blogosphere hate me now? :(

Here's the repost:
---------
Jodi: This is better! Way better. I'm not confused anymore.

There are some word choice problems though and a lack of character voice that will establish reader empathy. This should be your next focus in cleaning up the query.

Here's the specifics:

1) "hollow void of his emotions" repeated in "emotionless voice of a being". The repetition is bad, but also its overwritten. Can't you call him simply callous? Unfeeling? Cold? One adjective would do a lot to cut down on the overwriting.

2)"a reason for her existence" is very vague. I think you meant this to be the mysterious hook that makes me want to read more, but all it does is leave me unsatisfied. I also don't buy it. I mean, this reason must be really good because she can believe she's a life-drinking vampire, but not that she's a pawn? Really? I'd believe I was a pawn of some high and mighty shmuckity before I believed I could accept being a bound, blood-sucking, half-vampire.

3) "something tells her shes more" what? Didn't you just tell me that she learns "the reason"? Now there's something more? This seems very gimmicky. Be clear and precise in your plot points rather than trying to entice with vague language.

4) The biggest concern I have with this is that Morana doesn't seem to do anything. Instead she has things done to her. That's a sign of a weak protag, one not interesting to the reader.

You need to make Morana the subject rather than the object. I did this exact same thing in my first query draft and got called out on it.

Why should I like Morana? You've given me nothing to hang my heart on. Why do I care that she's been taken?

Reader empathy is established through voice. You need to add some of that in here. A trick I used to do this was to write the query in 1st person PoV as if my main protag was telling me the story. Then I switched it to 3rd and edited some things out that no longer made sense in 3rd. Doing this rocked my query world and may be a helpful exercise for you.

So, I was more interested in reading about the PI because his voice caught my attention. But, I was confused about what happened. Here I'm clear on what's going on, but the voice doesn't get me.

You're getting closer. Keep going. I think THE LAST SCION is the kind of book I'd like to read, but I'm not seeing in yet in the query.

Best of luck!

Scribbler to Scribe

RCWriterGirl said...

The first line of this query is quite intriguing. Unfortunately, it falls apart after that.

I think Zee is right in that your verbs are bland. Another problem is there aren't enough details about the story. Everything is really general. "A moment of self discovery" is not very specific. That could be anything.

Your story may be very interesting, but I don't know enough about it from this query to tell. I think you need to focus on what is at stake for Morana. She's half-vampire and somehow other people hope to use this to their advantage? Unless you give me a reason to, I don't care. You haven't given me a reason to care about Morana because she's described in generalities as is everyone in this query.

Give us some specifics and tell us what's at stake for the title character so we care enough to read on.