Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Blossoming Query

Dear [Agent Name Here],

[Personalized Message Here]

For ten years seventeen-year-old Deyan Morrow’s meds have been hiding signs that she’s a Iyles—a breed of humans hunted for their menacing red eyes and history of violence—even from herself.

Being a popular cheerleader in a gossip-obsessed town, Deyan's gloves are the only thing keeping her from being a total outcast; that and the haze inducing meds she takes to stop what she thinks are night terrors. The vivid nightmares have left her walls and hands battered beyond repair and Deyan with a secret too embarrassing to ever reveal. Hiding among the campus elite, to create the illusion of a social life, is no longer an option when Tony joins the group. His charm and persistence breaks through the haze, releasing emotions she’s never been able to access. While she struggles with the possibility of being with him and keeping her scars secret, a hunter among her friends waits for a sign that she’s who they’re looking for.

When a campus prank almost exposes her to the school, Deyan’s fury causes her eyes to finally change, exposing the truth to her enemies and the family secrets her med’s were meant to protect. By the time Deyan realizes what she really is, it might be too late.

Complete at 73,000 words, UNDISTURBED, is a young adult paranormal with mystery, romance, and suspense.

NEW VERSION (4-21-11) The last line needs work, but I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Dear [Agent Name],

[Personalized Message Here]

Seventeen-year-old Deyan Morrow thinks her medication of ten years is treating her sleeping disorder, when it’s really hiding signs that she’s not entirely human.

Deyan would know that her eyes turn red when her emotions overwhelm her, if the pills she takes to stop her night terrors weren’t preventing her from feeling anything other than uber-calm. But something changes when Tony joins her social circle. Whenever she’s around him she feels—well that’s just it, she feels—for the first time she’s not just a girl hiding her night terrors and the bruises her hands and bedroom wall have gained from them. But just as Deyan’s learning to peek out of her shell, she becomes the target of some pretty twisted pranks.

Notes threatening to expose her begin showing up on her door step, which she assumes is about her hands, but it really has to do with the fact that she’s an Iyles, a cursed society feared for their menacing eyes and unnatural strength. Rumors coupled with the violent actions of a few are what led to the creation of Iyles hunters, forcing the Iyles to hide or be captured; and one has their eye on Deyan. The more she falls for Tony, the closer she is to losing everything.

Complete at 73,000 words, UNDISTURBED, is a young adult paranormal with mystery, romance, and suspense.

Please comment on anything you like, don't like, or just don't get. I've learned that critiques can only make your work better.


  1. 'an lyles' how do I pronounce that? Why is it 'an'? Confusing.

    Why are her gloves the only thing keeping her etc.? What gloves? You're jumping in like we already know this stuff. Why would gossip affect her? How can she be a cheerleader if she's in a druug haze?

    Come across like a lot of disparate, seemingly unrelated info.

    What is she hiding by being with the campus elite?

    I get the general idea, but not the specifics of what she's worried about (not her powers since she isn't aware of them) and exactly what being a lyles entails or why anyone would want to hunt her kind. All stuff I feel I would need to know from the pitch.

    hope that helps.

    Moody Writing

  2. It seems a bit short. I've often heard that queries should be longer, but it comes across as an intriguing premise.

  3. I know I've already had my turn at the query ;) but reading this version, I do wonder if red eyes are the only thing different about these people. And if so, I don't see why anyone would hunt them.

    I like this sentence in particular: "While she struggles with the possibility of being with him and keeping her scars secret, a hunter among her friends waits for a sign that she’s who they’re looking for." For me, that really lets me know what's at stake if she falls for him.

    Good job!

  4. Awesome comments. I've done a little tweaking as a result.

    Please keep um coming :o)

  5. Actually, I'm on the opposite side from William. Thought it was long. Queries aren't supposed to tell the whole story- just pique interest.

    I'd leave off the last summary paragraph, especially that bit about "may be too late" since it's cliche and I don't really think it adds anything. "The hunter waits" is a much more suspenseful point to go out on.

    I'd rephrase "the only thing". The gloves are not the only thing, since her meds are also making normal life possible.

    I don't know if this only the summary bit, but there doesn't seem to be the personalised paragraph. It can go at the beginning or end, but I prefer at the end. Just a bit about yourself and why you chose the agent.

  6. Thanks Claire. I like that idea of cutting the last para. I like hunter waiting part way more.

    Yes i purposely left out the personalized part of the letter.

    Thanks again

  7. Just a couple of things:

    I have no idea why her gloves are saving her from being an outcast? (My mental image at that stage is that she has super-cool Michael Jackson sparkly gloves that everyone thinks are cool?). Wouldn't that be contact lenses, given that her only affliction in the query at that point is red-eye? :)

    In that second para, you have a semi-colon that should, perhaps, be an em dash as the two parts of the sentence cannot stand alone as they are, and the latter part doesn't explain the former part.

    You might want to break that second para into more manageable pieces.. I can see three natural breaks that might make it easier on the eye, and easier to read.

    I'm not sure what scars she has that are secret? Also the last 'meds' doesn't need a possessive apostrophy.

    Just my 2c... free advice is worth what you pay for it ;-)

    Good luck!

  8. Hm. I have a lot of questions here; Mostly I feel like you're just jumping in with a lot of information that you might be assuming your reader already knows. What is a lyles? What is she taking meds for in the first place? How is the gossip important in the larger scheme of things? And how can she be a cheerleader if she's always wearing gloves? My advice would be to try to read this with clear eyes, pretending you don't have any other information.

    Ack. Hope that helps.


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