Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1316 would like feedback on the following version:

Dear Evil Editor:

Hugh, a hungry vampire [Why call him hungry? I get hungry every day, or at least I would if I didn't snack constantly, but I don't refer to myself as a hungry human.] who can't remember much of his past, or why he buried himself in a park in Beverly Hills, is found by Oliver before losing consciousness. Oliver, also a vampire, gives Hugh a place to stay and invites him on an adventure. A bottle of sacred blood is [can be?] theirs by way of a map Oliver stole over a century ago. The blood gives machines intelligence, humans immortality, and turns vampires into gods with no need for human blood. The chance to find the bottle happens once every 150 years, when the map's ink reappears for 30 days. [If the map was available 150 years ago, and 300 years ago, and 450 . . . how does anyone know the blood wasn't already found?]

But Hugh and Oliver aren't the only ones looking for the bottle. Scientists with sleeping androids designed to replace humans, freemasons desperate for immortality, and a nasty coven of vampires have maps, too. 
[With this many maps in play, it seems like a lot of people would have made copies so they could keep looking for the bottle after the ink disappeared.]  [Nowadays that map would be all over the Internet.] 

Oliver has wanted to be a god for centuries, but Hugh does not. He cares about rescuing Leila, another vampire who helps him [ease his worried mind.] remember who he is. Just as he's getting to know her again, a more powerful vampire [This world seems to be overrun with vampires.] kidnaps her hoping she'll marry him. [No one's gonna marry a vampire who kidnaps her. He should have stalked her until he could casually run into her at the blood bank.] He will exchange her freedom for the bottle, or a fight, but Hugh knows he'll lose. [Not clear what that sentence means. He will grant her freedom in exchange for the bottle would be clear. No need for the fight.] Time is not on Hugh's side as he comes up with a risky plan to reach the bottle first, and save the woman he loves.  

SOME KIND OF ETERNAL is a 72,000-word paranormal novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I think I'd leave the blood giving machines intelligence out of the query. You can still say the scientists want the bottle to study the blood's properties instead of bringing up their androids. We're already buying into vampires, gods, and magic ink; let's not go overboard. Besides, our phones are already smarter than we are; we can do without blood that makes our blenders smarter too. I know the vampires and freemasons can just drink the blood, but what about the blender? Do you just pour in the blood and push the CRAM button?

Is the conflict between Hugh and Oliver after they find the bottle? Hugh wants to trade it for Leila and Oliver wants to use it to become a god? Does Oliver need the whole bottle or just a few drops? If it takes a whole bottle, that means only one freemason can become immortal and only one vampire can become a god and only one blender can become self-aware. If a couple drops is enough, everyone can have what they want.


Anonymous said...

The only plot progression we seem to get is Hugh coming up with a plan, the rest of everything mentioned seems to be setup.

I would suggest maybe condensing the setup a little more and putting in more about this plan and how it unfolds.

St0n3henge said...

I really don't believe there are half a dozen magical maps floating around out there. These kind of relics are extremely rare by nature. If everyone who wants one has one it starts to sound like a comical farce and I'm pretty sure you're not going for that.
If they're only copies, that's problematic, too. If all these people had copies they could search for the bottle at any time, and there wouldn't be a "race" for the bottle. They could miss each other by months or years.
You might consider having only one map and making that the MacGuffin. Then everyone would be after the map but the plot would go forward pretty much the same.

You mention a more powerful vampire, and I think this is where the query loses focus. Are Oliver and Hugh actually in conflict? Is this a Han/Luke thing, with Oliver as Han and Hugh more like Luke? What does Oliver do? Does he decide to help Hugh with the Leila situation? He just kind of drops out at the end there.

Anonymous said...

I was assuming the vial o' blood only became available every 150 years due to planetary/dimensional alignments, means of production, or its guardian going to sleep or something so I didn't think much about the maps. Now that you've mentioned it, though, I do hope there's a reasonable explanation.

CavalierdeNuit said...

Thank you EE for the critique! I'm going to use your editing suggestions if you don't mind. Think a children's book about a vampire blender that eats a family's fruits and veggies, but leaves the sugary stuff would be a hit? It would teach kids that not even vampire blenders want cookies or sugary cereals!

Anonymous, most successful queries I've read on the Internet end with what the protag has to do, but leave it up to the agent/reader to find out what that plan is and how it unfolds. There is a plot twist: Leila is the new vessel for the sacred blood and is bound for a ritual sacrifice. Going to include this in the query rewrite.

AA, I've changed the MacGuffin to the map, and that's a much better idea. Oliver has the only copy. Oliver is a lot like Han: older and wiser, and Hugh is more like Luke. Oliver is going to stubbornly do what he wants, and Hugh can join him or not.

Anonymous, there is only one map now.