August 12, 2011

The hook, the pitch and the query 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 8:33 am
Tags: , ,

I’ve revamped my query and attempted to show as much of the story as possible without losing some of the mystery or being too long. What do you guys think?

Before legends became a whisper of memory, humans and Tuatha dé Danaan shared the Earth. But the human population grew, pushing the Fae to the borders of the world until they had but one choice left: leave Earth or lose themselves. Most chose to follow their queen to Tír na nÓg, but a few remained, mixing with humans to create a race of half-breeds.

Allie Jones is a Walker, one of the few who brave the void that lies beyond the borders of our universe. She tries to pass for human in modern-day London when a message from Stockton, king of the half-breeds and Allie’s father, forces her back in touch with her supernatural roots.

Stockton sends Allie after a rag-tag team of Londoners that seem to have nothing in common except a three year tenure at Latymer Upper-school, fifteen years ago. But as Allie uncovers their plot to break into Tír na nÓg and overthrow the queen of Fae, she also learns that this plot is tied to her past, and that Stockton chose to send her after these men for a reason.

Allie is torn between love for her father and the need to discover what she really is, but with the half-breeds standing on the brink of war, Allie must choose between who she was raised to be and what she was born to become, with both Earth and Tír na nÓg hanging in the balance.

Thank you for taking the time to look at my query for the 92.000 word paranormal thriller A PROMISE OF VIOLENCE. I’m a Montreal based author and have previously published poetry, two academic articles and a master’s thesis. I’ve worked as a translator, editor and journalist.

A full manuscript is available upon request. I look forward to hearing from you.



  1. The plot summary seems short enough, and to the point. You present the main character and the main conflicts in an easy to understand manner, so that’s all good. I’ve got two-three comments off the top of my head, though:

    1: ‘Before legends became a whisper of memory’ is a fine, poetic line, but reminds me a bit too much of the opening of LOTR. ‘History became legend, legend became myth’, and so on. You don’t want me to be thinking of Tolkien when I read your query. 🙂

    2: I think I’d put the specs first, and not last. Putting the ‘92.000 word paranormal thriller’ bit in the ‘thank you’ sentence seems a bit clumsy. I think it would be better to include this info in the heading of your query, or close to it. Leave it as technical info and don’t attempt to weave it into your text, as it were.

    3: What’s the wow-effect? What is it about your novel that’s different? What will I remember after reading it, and mention when I talk to friends about it? What is it you truly believe makes your work different than all the other hundreds of paranormal thriller scripts they get? If you have an answer to that question, make sure you put that in the query. If you don’t: find it. 🙂

    Good luck!!

    – Asbjørn

    Comment by Asbjørn — August 12, 2011 @ 9:01 am | Reply

    • Thank you! Great pointers.

      1: I’ve been struggling with my first line, and I’m not in love with it so will revise.
      2: Fair enough. Won’t mind putting it first.
      3: I have an answer, but I don’t think I can put it into 10 words or less. There are no heroes or bad guys in my tale, not really. It’s about real people who’re put in a difficult situation. They all do what they think is best, and it has terrible consequences. The stand-out thing about my book is that it shows how lines between enemies are drawn, and how perception is all that separates good from evil. Do you see any point in my query where I can elegantly put that in?

      Comment by nascentnovelist — August 12, 2011 @ 9:27 am | Reply

      • What you said under point 3 in your last comment made me want to read your novel much more than the actual query you posted above does.

        Comment by Marianne — August 12, 2011 @ 10:25 am

      • Yeah. I think Asbjørn’s point 3 is the reason why all agents so far have responded with “good, but didn’t hook me enough”. Now I just gotta get that into the actual query somehow. Ideas?

        Comment by nascentnovelist — August 12, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  2. Nice to see a better query. These are just my first comments. I’ll come back again. You have 5 sections. Section 4 is good, presenting the conflict of Allie and the consequences. Literary agents are looking for “the conflict”. You have extra words that are not needed. In a query every word count. For example .. you can start
    “Humans and Tuatha .. shared the earth, but the human population grew, pushing the Fae ..”
    The first words of “Before legends … memory” can be eliminated. Instead of saying Latymer Upper School, you can just say School. No need to mention 3 years and 15 years in school. The number of years is too detailed for a query, and really not relevant. Make it shorter.
    Now I understand what your book is all about, so the query convey the message. I’ll come back during the weekend.

    Comment by giora — August 12, 2011 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  3. Here Martine is my suggestion (Section 4 is not clear enough. Please write for me again the conflict. Is it about Allie loyalty to the Queen of the Fae and her love for herfather who wants to destroy the Queen?)

    Set in modern London, my 92,000 word paranormal thriller “A Promise of Violence” will appeal to readers wishing to read about real people put in difficult situation, and how perception is all that separates good from eveil.

    Humans and the Fae shared the earth, but the human population grew, pushing the Fea to the borders of the world. Most of the Fae left with their Queen to another world, but few remained, mixing with humans to create half breeds.

    Allie Jones is a Walker, tries to pass for a human when her father, the king of half breeds forces her back in touch with her supernatural roots.
    When he sends her after a team of Londoners, Allie discover their plot to
    overthrow the Queen of the Fae.

    Allie …

    Thank you for reading my query. My publications includes poetry and academic artices. My education includes a Master degree. I worked as a translator, editor and a journalist.

    Martine …
    Montreal, Canada

    Comment by giora — August 12, 2011 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  4. You can re-write it here as a comment, and we can go back and forth improving it till it is much better. I don’t know what is a “Walker”. If a Walker is a half-breed then better just say … Allie Jones is a half breed who tries to pass for a human …”
    I forgot to mention that you end your query like this

    “…. and worked as … a journalist. Enclosed are the first pages of my novel”

    Then below your name and Montreral, canada you paste the first 5 pages of you novel inside the e-mail. That is very important for the literary agent to see your style of writing in addition to your query. If they like the query and first 5 pages they’ll ask for the next 50 pages.

    Comment by Giora — August 13, 2011 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

    • Thank you so much for the offer. I have a deadline for a secondary project this Tuesday, so I won’t have time to do any work on this before then, but I’ll get back to you after. 🙂

      Thank you again for the input!

      Comment by nascentnovelist — August 14, 2011 @ 12:33 am | Reply

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