Monday, October 11, 2010

Query Redacted

Alright, so I've been trudging away at this query letter for months.

There are so many sources out there for query letters. Every single one of them tells you to do it differently. So what did I do? I read everything I could get my hands on. I went through the AbsoluteWrite forums and ready every critique on every query letter for pages upon pages. I read blogs - Nathan Bransford, QueryShark, Kristie Nelson. I read books. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote again. The key is putting as much effort into that letter as you did the book.

My book, itself, has been edited more times than I can even count. I did the same thing with my book as with the query - read every book I could find, took notes on what they did wrong (or right, of course) and went back and edited accordingly. I read genres that had nothing to do with the thriller or paranormal genre. I read romance books (which is how I found Kate Johnson... which is how I greatly improved my dialogue) - I read literary, I read YA - Seriously everything I could get my hands on. 

So what happened. After all that time, all that dedication, what happens now? 

Now I just hope that I did a good enough job. Is Martyr going to be the book that makes all my dreams come true? Sigh. I can only hope. If not, I'm kind of resolved with it, honestly. I mean, I have learned SO much from this book. As I'm starting new projects, I can already tell that I'll have much less editing to do. My writing is stronger. My new books will be better. I can only hope that I've done enough work on this one to weed out all of the initially weak parts.

So, in a mass, that's what this entire year has taught me. Everything I know about the writing craft. So even if this book doesn't make it to publishing, I've lost anything but a year of my time. 

Life hasn’t granted her many chances for friendship. Evelyn Harper would kill for the only friend she has. Or die for her. Whichever comes first.

Born with telepathy and mind control, she is no one’s damsel in distress. Evelyn has learned to save herself from everything life has to throw at her. Whether that be her drug abusing mom or a sexually abusive plague of potential step-fathers. She wasn’t, however, prepared for anyone like Chloe. Acerbic by nature, Evelyn finds herself drawn to the woman, touched by her frivolous thirst for life.

When Chloe’s father goes into debt with a powerful mafia family, members of his household start turning up dead. Scared her friend could be next, Evelyn goes on the offensive. With her knack for survival and a supernatural arsenal, Evelyn promises to pick the members off one by one. That is, if she isn’t killed in the process.

So, SO?  :)

Anyway, that's all I had to tell you all today. Once I get that query hashed out, I'll be posting some first chapter goodies.

Hopeful query submission date: October 22nd. 

<3, Bethany


  1. I don't know cuz I'm not an expert. It looks fine to me. I'll come back and read it and see if I can find something.

    Hopefully someone else might be able to help too.

  2. Well, here's what struck me initially. You start off talking about friendship, and you lead us to the fact that Evelyn has this one friend who she'd kill or die for, but then you back off and make us wait while you introduce Evelyn's powers, whereas my mind was thinking right away, "Okay, but who's this friend?" By the time you get to naming Chloe, it's four or five sentences later. I think if you're going to lead right off about Evelyn and her friend she feels so strongly about, then Chloe might warrant mention BEFORE you tell us about Evelyn's mind abilities.

    Does that make sense?

  3. Absolutely it does. I got too much into the backstory and didn't introduce it right.

    I'm pulling this for now - will post a rewrite and first chapter soon.

    Thanks a bunch, J.M.!

  4. Oh yeah, and though there's nothing wrong with your first sentence, let me be bold and suggest something with more punch that names Evelyn from the get-go, something like, "Evelyn Harper always found it difficult to make friends." Or maybe better yet, "Making friends was never easy for Evelyn Harper." Or a variation, "Making friends had never been easy for Evelyn Harper."

    Then you could launch into "After she found herself drawn to Chloe, touched by this acerbic woman's frivolous thirst for life, Evelyn knew she had found a friend for life. And there was no way she would ever let anyone come between them. She would kill for Chloe. Or die for her. Whichever came first."

    I have more ideas, but if I'm taking this in the wrong direction, I certainly don't want to step on your toes! :-)

  5. Wow. My toes are just fine, suggest away.

    I'm having so much problem with this letter. I can't write short stories worth a damn. I can write an entire novel through the backstory in all throughout - but when it comes to this, I can't just tell my story.

    As a vague definition - here is what the book is about. Evelyn starts the book off by "hearing" Chloe getting kidnapped. Evelyn wards the attacker off and the women get to know each other as they search for the people behind the attack. Halfway through - they end up at Chloe's parents house for a summer vacation and end up witnessing some murder action. They're both scared and angry. They come back to their lives and there's another attack. It's action all the way through with hardly any backstory.

    In other words, I can't get my query to show that. This is draft 360-something. I'm not kidding. I can use all the help I can get.

    Feel free to email me, if you'd like at BethanyRay.Goodman at gmail.

  6. I'm losing steam here on good ol' Eastern Standard Time, but I'll e-mail you tomorrow. Thanks for the comment on my blog, too!! Small world and all that...