Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Face-Lift 1366

Guess the Plot


1. Jeremy loves little children . . .  a little too much.

2. Open it and step through into a place very different from where you are now. But don't close it behind you or you might never find your way back. Also, a lesson about homonyms. 

3. When the body of Instagram influencer Adore Habibi is found floating in the water tank at the Airport Hilton, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, she didn't get into that tank by herself, and two, so this is what his daughter means when she says she wants to be on Instagram--and he'll be damned if he lets that happen.

4. The true love of Eros, Psyche, died before he could reveal himself to her. Lost to despair, love dies in the world. Yet when a woman is born hundreds of years later who resembles Psyche, has his love returned? Or is a trick of the gods to return true love? 

5. Liz feels a sudden ache in her heart, consuming her. To cure herself, she prepares to jump into a freezing river. But then a 400-year-old German redhead shows up, and everything changes. Also, an adorable vampire.

 6. Adore Stevens always wanted a career in veterinary medicine. Unfortunately, the animals she heals all fall madly in love with her, making their owners jealous enough to stop visiting the clinic where she interns. Can she convince hunky head vet Damian Falstaff she's worth it or does her true calling lie with militant environmentalists? 

7. In this retelling of the Cinderella tale, Adore, the stepsister who'd been presumed lost in infancy, reappears just in the nick of time - and she's gorgeous. Prince Charming slams the door in Cinderella's face and whisks Adore away to the castle - but how long before he finds out she's a vampire? 

Original Version

Dear Agent ___

My YA Urban Fantasy novel, 'ADORE,' is 92,000 words, Present Tense, and set in 1994, in [a] small mountain town in Australia. [No need to capitalize "urban fantasy" or "present tense."] 

Liz Morton, 14, gets home from school and immediately knows something is wrong. A sudden ache in her heart pulls inside her chest, consuming her. Desperate for a solution [Solution isn't the right word. If it's just the physical sensation bothering her, "remedy" might work. If it's emotional/mental, etc: "Desperate for relief."] Liz follows her instincts and walks to the river where she plunges her hands into the water hoping the cold will shock the feeling out of her. When nothing works and the sun sets, Liz comes out from behind the trees and meets a vampire. [I thought she was at the river's edge. Now it sounds like she's in the woods.] [Is there something magical about this river? If I thought putting my hands in cold water was what I needed, I'd fill a bowl with water and add some ice, not go to the nearest river.] He stands in the centre of the clearing exactly where sh [she] envisioned her solution would be. [If she envisioned her solution at the center of this clearing, why didn't she go there first instead of trying the river and other things that didn't work? When I feel a hunger in my stomach, and I envision the solution being a trip to Dunkin Donuts, I don't head straight for Abercrombie and Fitch.] 

Nat says he knows exactly how Liz feels. Nathaniel Tillack is a 122 year old vampire starving himself for Longsleep, the only escape from the longing he feels, that is caused by his ‘permanent feeling’. Incompletion, [Incompletion, comma? Is that supposed to be there? Are you saying the vampire "permanently feels" incomplete? He's looking for someone who completes him? Someone like Liz? If so, a colon after "feeling" and a period after incompletion, although a better idea is to just end the sentence after "the longing he feels."] 

Hosting Nat’s feeling, Liz must scramble to survive empathizing with a vampire. [Empathizing usually doesn't involve hosting feelings; just understanding them. Of course there was that Star Trek TNG where the empath took on the emotions of other people. Is that what's going on here?] [Also, "scramble" doesn't seem like the right word. Maybe "struggle"?] Nat is a comfort and relief, but when 400 year old German red-head Isaskia Braun shows up when Liz is alone under the bridge about to jump into the river to cure herself as a last resort, [If Nat provided comfort and relief, why does she need this last resort?] Isaskia flips things [What things?] on it’s ["It's" means "it is." You meant "its," except that's wrong too, as "things" is plural, so you want "their."] head. Nat isn’t all he seems, and Liz must decide who to trust as she searches for a way to stay alive. 

Can Liz find the solution? Or was Liz the solution all along. [You're asking if the solution to the ache in Liz's heart was Liz?] 

Thankyou [Thank you] for your time,


Is it explained why Liz doesn't consult her parents or a doctor or WebMD before deciding plunging her hands into a river will take care of everything?

Nat was standing exactly where her "solution" was expected to be, and he provides comfort and relief, yet Liz is still searching for a way to stay alive? Is she hosting his feelings permanently? And this is killing her? None of this is clear from the query. 

Liz was already looking for relief from the aching in her heart before she met Nat. Is that still her goal? Or has her goal changed to escaping from hosting Nat's feelings? I would think that in 92,000 words, there's more happening than Liz searching for a cure to the vague way she feels. Tell us the story.

Even if the plot were described with crystal clarity, there are too many minor errors to expect someone to want to read the book, as they'll assume the book has annoying errors on every page. 


khazarkhum said...

Is Liz so suicidal that even finding the solution to her dilemma isn't enough? Or are Nat and the redhead just manifestations of her inner turmoil? And why is she suicidal, anyway?

InkAndPixelClub said...

You can lose a good chunk of the first paragraph. We don’t need to know that Liz is just getting home from school. The heart pains are the interesting thing, so get them in the first sentence. We also don’t need to know that she instinctively feels she should put her hands in an icy river to stop the sensation, goes and puts her hand in the river, and doesn’t get any relief. If she did something that would definitely relive normal chest pains and that didn’t work, that could be interesting and useful information. But it's not helpful to know that Liz has a weird idea for how to fix her problem that doesn’t do anything.

What we DO need to know is that Liz has a vision of the solution to her pain being found in the clearing In the woods, then she goes there and finds a vampire. The vision should be mentioned first; we want to be up to date on what Liz knows and experiences, not finding out about her visions only after they come true.

The second paragraph is a mess of terms that I don’t understand: Longsleep, permanent feeling, Incompletion. Even without the punctuation confusion, I’d be lost. Nat is starving himself for what I’m guessing is some kind of vampire hibernation, but I don’t know why he wants to go into the Longsleep or how this explains Liz's chest pains. If I had to guess based on this and the following paragraph, I’d say that Liz has somehow become connected to Nat and is experiencing his body's physical reaction to Nat starving himself of blood. But I shouldn’t have to guess and even that doesn’t explain how this happened.

What is Nat doing that gives Liz comfort and relief? If you explain what he does and how it does and does not help Liz, it'll make more sense that she’s still seeking a cure.

Why does Liz think throwing herself into the river will cure her? I suspect it’s related to her instinct to put her hands in the icy river before, but that didn’t do anything.

The sentence starting with “Nat is a comfort....” is much too long. You'll probably want at least one sentence on how Nat does and doesn’t help Liz, one for Liz deciding to jump in the river, one to introduce Isaskia, and one to explain what s/he is up to.

It’s not clear what danger Liz is in. She has the chest pains, but that’s it so far as we know. If there’s more to it than occasional bad heartburn, you need to say so.

Anonymous said...

Age 14 is on the young side for the protagonist of a YA novel. Most seem to be more in the 16-18 range.

Even if this is just a practice query, try to make it as clean spelling/grammar-wise as you can. If this wasn't a hurried effort and is the best you can do, you may need someone else to go through your book and help you fix the problems.

As for the query itself, we need a bit more of WHY things happen.

You say Liz wants to take care of chest pains? Are these actual pains like from a heart attack? Unexplained emotional turmoil? Something like an anxiety attack?

Her solution of putting her hands in a river makes no sense whatsoever. Why does she try this? Does she try anything else before deciding nothing works?

Your next paragraph seems to be using jargon that might make sense in your book but which we don't have enough context to understand. I think what you are saying is that Liz's pain is caused by some kind of magical/psychic link to a vampire (Nat) who is starving himself in order to either commit suicide or put himself in a coma. If that is correct try saying it that way with shorter sentences. If not, you need to explain what the actual problem is in short sentences understandable by someone who hasn't read your book.

Next, how/why is Nat a comfort and relief? Is it because Liz now has an explanation for her pain or is there something else? If she is now comforted, or even if she isn't, why is she trying to jump into the river? How exactly does Braun change things for Liz? Saying he does so doesn't help unless we understand what the change is.

You need more specifics about the situation, what Liz wants to accomplish, how she plans on accomplishing it, what she's up against, and what's at stake.

St0n3h3ng3 said...

You're not ready to query yet.

The writing just isn't good enough. If you don't know what's wrong with "Nathaniel Tillack is a 122 year old vampire starving himself for Longsleep, the only escape from the longing he feels, that is caused by his ‘permanent feeling’. Incompletion,"
You just aren't there yet.

Mister Furkles said...

Sadly, StOn is right. Lots of practice is needed. Fortunately, there is a book that guides you to those practices: Spellbinding Sentences by Barbara Baig. Three other things (because all lists should have exactly three items): join a good crit group; read especially well written and popular novels and think about how they are constructed; take a writing class at the local community college.

Writing well is a craft, so don't give up. Becoming a better writer will aid you in several aspects of life, even if you never make the NYT best seller list.

Iamanoldvampirechild said...

Mister Furkles, I've actually had a lot of practice in regards to writing fiction. Queries are another story, which is why I am here. Again, obvs.

Iamanoldvampirechild said...

I think my internet cut out before, as I thought this had posted, so I'll post again.

Thanks for all the awesome feedback everyone ( And EE ofcourse, I've taken your edits on board, and noted the holes in my query. Loved the Guess the plot, made me lol...a lot.

Thank you, good points. And insightful of you, yes Nat is suicidal essentially so Liz is too. Yeah, Nat and Isaskia are real. Thanks for the feedback it was helpful

Ink and Pixel Club

Thanks for you long review, everything if your first paragraph I agree with , I have other versions unlike this one and I did worry about all the problems you mentioned. Gotcha on the whole tell us chronologically, and leave out the cosmology thing. Thanks...was coming to that conclusion myself.


Thanks I'll remove river bit as though it makes sense in novel it's best to leave it out as no room to explain it.


You're not really there yet as a minion. Not constructive at all, I'm aware I'm not there yet or I wouldn't be here...obvs.

I think I need to write a 'teaser' kind of query synopsis because my cosmology is too complicated to go into so the less I say the better. I'll get re-writing. Thank you kindly

St0n3henge said...

Not so obvs, actually. Not to me, anyway.

Did your grammar check on your spellcheck somehow not catch that you left an extra word and dangling comma after a sentence? How did YOU not catch it? How about thankyou? My spellcheck is underlining it in red right now. Did you not run it through spellcheck or proofread carefully? At all?

These skills are not specific to query writing. Details are important. If you want to convince anyone you're a writer, don't send off a business letter to someone who may be able to help you further your career without looking at it first.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

The present tense is not a selling point.
At best, it's something you hope the reader doesn't notice you've done.

Anonymous said...

Your first paragraph killed it for me. Something wrong, hands in cold water, then she meets a vampire?

As she drenched her hands in icy water to get rid of the soul pain that over came her, MC comes to consciousness when she realizes she was face to face with a what appeared to be a blood sucker. So vampires were real. Son of a gun.

You can condense, hit harder, get to the point. So with Sir Evil.

Needs tightening, hardening. Kind of wishy washy start. Writing is difficult, yours needs more elbow grease.

Don't give up, just figure out how to manage it better,