Jan 24, 2010

Query- Near Edgware (Revision 3)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.

Dear Agent

Sixteen-year-old, Jess Trainer, does not understand why Caleb Ridgeway hands linger even while he tries to push her away, the attraction she feels for him is chemical and gut-clenching and it drives her to the brink of stalker status.

Jess shocks everyone when she explains the differences she sees between the Ridgeways, they test her visual acuity. But when the brothers know the details of lessons they did not attend, Jess realises they have abilities beyond any normal range. She finds Caleb does not share their most intimate moments with his brothers. After Alex Ridgeway causes Jess’ accident during school’s Orientation Day, Caleb begins to explain why their relationship cannot develop, until the arrival of the Headteacher silences him.

Jess abuses her position on the Year Book Committee to dissect the Ridgeway’s files in school. In their previous school data and the bizarre meanings of their names, she finds two possible reasons why Caleb and his brothers might choose to isolate themselves to the fringes of all social circles. Given the choice between private school snob and werewolf, as the explanation for Caleb’s anti-social behaviour, the second option seems more desirable.

As far as a study of a little-known subculture goes hers is enjoyable, if unscientific. When her persistence fades to long-distance adoration Caleb decides to trust her, not with his secret, but with his heart. Their relationship plunges Jess into the seething war of attrition being fought in the woodland around Woodford between human hunters, once-human werewolves and those born Were. Jess finds this reality hard to stomach, she loves someone who is neither human nor wolf - he is Were.

Caleb explains he is bound to guard and protect everything living alongside the largest Were pack in the United Kingdom in the Weald, near Edgware.

When one of Caleb’s pack allows the feral Were inside their home, it is Jess who, sensing something is wrong, gets inside and finds the dying, the injured and Caleb who has been tortured. With most of the pack patrolling the woods Jess runs to call them back, pursued by hellish humans. She uses her wits to kill one and finds the motivation to turn her balletic karate moves into a lethal force. She holds a vigil, unseen in the dark, while a larger pack than she’d ever met meets to bury the dead.

With only one of the feral Were unaccounted for, everyone has to deal with the aftermath of the attack. Caleb is so traumatised, violent and withdrawn the pack fear he may never recover. Despite their attempts to stop her, Jess locks herself in the room with Caleb to coax him from the brink of madness. She helps him remember the time before the pain, guides him back to reality and to their love.
This book can stand alone but it has series potential.

I teach where supply teachers fear to tread, so added a counselling qualification to my college degree. I build relationships and enable children to overcome barriers to learning. There are many would-be writers but fewer who understand young people as well, or would be as comfortable speaking to them en-masse. My experience of delivering sex-education sessions with up to sixty pre-teens is some foundation for selling my work to the target audience.

My novel entitled Near Edgware is a YA paranormal romance complete in 72,200-words.

I thank you for your time.


Unknown said...

I hoped to get back before this version got posted I've already been re-editing it based on other comments I've been reading.
I can't say it is genius - but it is shorter!

Holly said...

Hello, and good luck to you with your writing.

Two suggestions:

(1) Everything has to fit on one page. Right now the query runs to two pages or 565 words.

On the real letter you will need to add the agent's address plus your signature and contact information, so you have to factor in space for those, too.

(2) The first paragraph, a run-on sentence, tells me that you need work with the basics. You could even make the first sentence into three sentences. The comma after Jess Trainer’s name should be deleted.

The rest of the query shows you have a lot of passion for your story, but also has more grammar errors.

If your novel reads the same way, even if you love the story and enjoyed writing it, go over it again. Correct the run-on sentences and other grammar problems before you send your work to an agent.

Best wishes.

Anne Gallagher said...

Elaine-- I just finished reading all 4 posts and I pretty much get what you want to say in your query. I can hear your excitement for your book, the problem is you just go on and on about it, which is good, that shows you like it, the problem is, you have to be able to query is around 250 words or less.

Having just finished my own round of queries here, it's hard work to take in what everyone says and not go crazy.

So here is some uncrazy advice--

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for NEAR EDGWARE, a YA paranormal romance complete at 72,000 words.

Sixteen year old Jess Trainer does not understand why Caleb Ridgeway's hands linger, even while he tries to push her away. The attraction drives her to the brink of stalker status.

Jess shocks everyone when she reveals the Ridgeway brothers have abilities beyond a normal person, which is why Caleb says their relationship cannot develop. When she finds out he is part of a werewolf family she is plunged into the seething war of attrition being fought in the woodland between those born human and those born were. Caleb is traumatized so badly after the attack Jess fears he will never recover from the madness. Can Jess help him back to reality, back to a time before the pain, back to her love?

Thank your for your time and consideration. I would be happy to send you the synopsis and first three chapters.


This is what you basically want your query to say. Keep it short sweet, and simple. Jess's conflict, motivation, and goal.
I know you want the agent to "get it", but you don't want to overwhelm them with all kinds of deatail they don't need. When they read your query, you want them to say, "I want to read more" not "Oh I get this story". You want to tease them with a piece, not give them the whole cake.

I hope this helps and doesn't confuse. Good Luck

Sarah Ahiers said...

i agree 100% with Piedmont writer. She said exactly what i wanted to say. I haven't read the previous drafts (or if i have, i don't remember them) and i was very confused and lost reading this version, especially through the first two-three paragraphs.
I would work off of Piedmont's template, play around with that a bit and see what you can get.
It's hard work, but you can do it if you keep trying.
Good luck!

Guinevere said...

I also recommend something along the lines of Piedmont's example. You can't fit everything in a query letter; not even everything that is essential to the story. You have to choose the very most crucial elements and pack them in -- for instance, we don't need to know that Jess abused her position on the yearbook committee, just that she discovered something about the Ridgeway brothers and revealed it.

Also, you have to clean up the writing. You have some run-on sentences and it's hard to follow in places. Your story sounds amazing, but it's hard to follow as-is in this query. I think perhaps this goes back to the tendency to tell too much -- cut back the wordiness, and you'll have a much stronger query for what sounds like a fascinating tale.

gj said...

Piedmont offered a great example and solid advice.

Hannah said...

I read your other versions and this one has the most excitement but I agree with Piedmont and Falen. It should be short and sweet. Use Piedmont's query as a guideline.

YA paranormal romances are hot right now, keep it up!

DL Hammons said...


I agree with most of the comments here. I did not read the previous versions, but this one left me confused...which is definitely not a trait you want in a query letter. It is way toooooo long, and still doesn't communicate what the book is about. Cut it down to the main conflicts.

Keep at it!

Roni Loren said...

I agree with the others. Piedmont's version is much more to the point and clear. Work with tweaking that one. Good luck!