By repeated request we’ve started Workshop Wednesday. It will definitely play out through 2011, and beyond that we’ll just have to see. We’ve received well over 200 queries at this point, but we are choosing at random, so don’t be afraid to participate as per the guidelines in our original post.
For anyone wanting to comment, we ask that you comment in a polite and respectful manner, and we ask that you be as constructive as possible. If you can be useful to the brave souls who submitted their query and comment on the query, that’s great. Please keep any anonymous tirades on publishing or other snarky comments to yourself. This is and should remain an open and safe forum for people to put themselves and their queries out there so that everyone can learn. I’m leaving comments open and open to anonymous posters, as I always have; don’t make me feel the need to change that policy.
And for those who have never “met” Query Shark, get over there and do that. She’s the originator of the query critique, the queen, if you will.
I’ve said this before, but it is always best to address a specific agent in your query letter. Otherwise, it looks like you’ve sent your query out blindly to as many agents as you could, without researching to align yourself with an agent you believe is ideal for you and your books.
Thanks to her grifter mother and nomadic childhood, paranormal investigator Lizzy Lozada has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullshit. So when suspected murderer Wade Collins pleads not guilty by reason of demonic possession, Lizzy makes it her own personal mission to blow his devil-made-me-do-it defense all to hell.
This is interesting. I love that Lizzy has a great backstory, and that you’ve incorporated that without going into too much detail (it is backstory, after all). I love the paranormal investigator hook. I even like that you’ve used the word “bullshit”—it adds a certain cynicism to your voice and I’d like to hear more of that. The cynicism, not the swearing, necessarily.
But the paragraph didn’t entirely work for me. Why does Lizzy try to blow Wade’s defense? I don’t have a handle on her motive. Is she commissioned by the police? Did she see the case on TV and become impassioned because it reminds her of something in her past? Is she doing this to prove a point to someone? I need to know that she’s not just an annoying piggy-backer on police investigations, but rather that she has a legitimate reason for horning in on the case.
But debunking the urban legends surrounding Holbrooke House, the now-derelict boarding house where Collins lived as a child, won’t be easy, especially with rival investigator Jesse and his ragtag gang of ghost-hunting ruffians claiming squatter’s rights.
I’m still intrigued. I like this idea—the paranormal investigators working against each other for the same cause, Jesse’s ruffian posse, the boarding house. Everything here is working for me. On a less important note, though, this sentence is distractingly long.
Here’s another sentence that’s distractingly long:
Lizzy and Jesse share a history steeped in attraction, frustration, and self-preservation, the latter of which has Lizzy less than thrilled at the prospect of spending the night with a man who’s as sinfully seductive as the devil himself. Too bad for Lizzy, she doesn’t have a choice. Because she and Jesse aren’t the only ones with unfinished business, and the house they’re in knows something they don’t:
History is about to repeat itself…for the last time.
THE HAUNTING OF HOLBROOKE HOUSE is a paranormal romance complete at 75,000 words. Chapters or a synopsis are available upon request.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
This was a respectable query.