Sunday, July 6, 2008


Dear Query Shark:

Tearsah Slaughter was the girl voted most likely to succeed in high school. Too bad nobody told her at what. Now here she was, a wanted outlaw in America, when she’d just been a simple college junior back home in Australia. In the 85,000 word paranormal Rahzer, high school was the turning point for this lycan day dreamer turned mercenary.

What? You've got so much stuff crammed in this paragraph I'm lost already. Clearly the important stuff is she's a mercenary on the run from the law. I'm betting she wasn't born that way (just a guess) so you can leave out all that stuff about "most likely to succeed" unless of course she shot her high school home ec teacher or something.

The cliques in her high school were the aloof, model thin Vampiras who all hung together with waist length, frizz free hair. They always wore the coolest clothes and got dropped off in stretch hummers or limos. Next were the Valkyries and the Amazons. They were the best female athletes, running the basketball, archery and volleyball teams.

And what does this have to do with being a mercenary? Also, even though you're using Vampiras to describe the cool chicks, you're describing something we already recognize as cliche.

While the harpies and nymphs vied for the title of most likely to become professional escorts, the changelings were the most two faced. A few humans hung tough. From these cliques her motley group of friends called themselves the “Reckoning” crew and sleep overs included gossip, make up, and musings on where they’d be in ten years. Their goal?. To have many lovers and to save the world, looking fierce.

You've got character soup here. I don't know what to focus on, what's important, and I don't see a plot anywhere at all.

Only fighting zombie debt collectors and zapping ghouls who treat human fingers like KFC isn't glamorous. But first Tearsah has to escape from her American crime lord fiancé, then teach him the wrath of an unwilling contract bride. No means no, mofo.

Zombie debt collectors! I do love that phrase! But wait..crime lord finance? Where did he come from? Unwilling contract bride? I'm so confused here I might actually let the zapping ghouls munch on me.

I’m an educator, and this character was graphic novel at first, that I retooled.
Sample pages are available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Unless this was published as a graphic novel, you don't need to mention it.

I'm confused about what's important, what the conflict is and what the stakes are. This is list of ingredients for cake, not the finished cake ready to taste. Back to the kitchen!


talpianna said...

I think this is actually a paranormal, and "lycan" in the first paragraph is short for "lycanthrope." Real werewolf implies real vampires, harpies, nymphs, etc.

But I'm so confused I wouldn't bet on it. said...

Sorry, but I agree with Janet. There's too much going on here to get any real sense of what the story is about.

EB said...

The first paragraph throws too much stuff in there. The clique paragraph is boring, both in description and sentence structure.

"To have many lovers and to save the world, looking fierce." How truly and utterly not interesting. You've tried to set the Reckoning crew apart from the other, shallow cliques. But apparently looking fierce is the emphasis for the Reckoning-ers (?). That don't make for a very deep pool.

The crime lord fiance and "no means no, mofo" are whiplash-worthy non sequiturs.

What is the PLOT?

"I’m an educator, and this character was graphic novel at first, that I retooled." I trust you're not teaching our children grammar.

Liana Brooks said...

Um........ is the book about her in high school or afterwards?

As for the characters, I'm not excited. This sounds like it started life as a high school revenge comic where the geeks look cool in the end and all the "cool" girls get their comeuppance. That theme has been done to death and unless you're writing YA (you didn't say) you aren't going to net a lot of readers with this.

P.S. This also reminds me of the Monster High series...

Lehcarjt said...

Ditto to the last commentator. I kept wondering why all the High School stuff was important. The story takes place way after high school, right? I'd much rather have the set-up be about her as a mercenary and the situations that led to her current conflict.

Katherine said...

I'm choking on my own pedantry here but for an Australian college = high school. I had the impression from the first sentence she'd finished high school (and most in Australia don't do the Voted-Most-Likely-To thing) so that's a stumbling block.

I could get over the college/university point if not for the fact the Australian system doesn't do freshman-sophomore-junior-senior either.

I know, I know, it's meant for a US market. I'll shoosh now.

MAC said...

Thanks for the input everyone.
I'll resubmit with changes, and leave off the high school history. I think contract bride turned mercenary was seriously lost in the query.

I am a realist. Long way to go, but I'm enjoying the journey.

Unknown said...

Whoa...I'm not even sure what the genre is, let alone what the plot is! Does the story focus on high school life, or after? When you mention Vampiras, do you literally mean vampires? If you're building a whole new world, you've got to let the reader in the query know.

Petronius Jablonski said...

I'm not defending this particular book, but whence the obsession with plots & conflicts? Only the worst books have them. For instance, what's the "plot" of SUTTREE? What's at stake? It's as great as any American novel and all synopses beyond "stuff happens" are pretentious.