Query Letter Critique

Original Query Letter

 

Dear Agent, (do not know specific one yet- Sorry!)

 

Rosemary Bell, a grieving young widow, lost her husband to cancer and gives up her prestigious life as an artist. She moves to Pleasant Bay to mourn the death of her husband in peace and finds out her home is haunted by the eldritch ghost of Jonathan Fraser who craves vengeance for his untimely demise. He was murdered and he knows who the murderer is. She is gifted with the Sight and is the only one to see the ghost-and not fear him.

 

Rosemary turns to the local  townsfolk for information. She must come to terms for her feelings for Scott, her handsome helpful neighbor who just may be the One, and solve this mystery to free the ghost’s spirit. But in the sleepy town, some secrets are submerged deep and finding them is hard when one man will do anything to keep the truth hidden, even murder. Rosemary learns the price she will pay to free the ghost.

 

Ghost by the Bay is complete at 60,000 words. I believe my writing will find a market in the paranormal and Wiccan audience. The book is set in the small town where I grew up. I am a clairvoyant. I have a blog about developing psychic skills at (redacted). I have published in Circle magazine: Celebrating Nature, Spirit and Magic, Essential Herbal magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine: pagan songs and tales, Crone Newsletter Ezine as well as the Salt Lines anthology, and The Source Health and Wellness Journal.

 

(Contact info redacted)

 

Query Letter After I Got My Grubby Paws On It

 

Dear Agent, (do not know specific one yet- Sorry!)

 

Rosemary Bell, a grieving young widow, has just lost her husband to cancer and gives up her prestigious life as an artist. Funky tense switching She moves to Pleasant Bay to mourn the death of her husband in peace and finds out her home is haunted by the eldritch ghost of Jonathan Fraser who craves vengeance for his untimely demise. I struck out the above sentence because it was redundant. If her husband died we know she’s a widow, plus you go on to say she mourns her husband in the next sentence. He was murdered and he knows who the murderer is. She is gifted with the Sight and is the only one to see the ghost-and not fear him. I hate to say it, and prepare for brutal honestly here, but this is all presented in a sort of blasé fashion. This could be much more exciting, and an un-invested reader would care so much more were you to phrase things a bit differently. Say for example:

 

Rosemary Bell has just lost her husband to cancer. Numb from shock, she gives up her life as a prestigious artist in New York City to move to a quiet home in Pleasant Bay. She hopes the salt air and time away will clear her mind so she can grieve her husband properly, but her peaceful home on the ocean isn’t quite what she bargained for. Rosemary soon discovers the house is haunted by the eldritch ghost of Jonathan Fraser.”

 

Etc etc. It’s not perfect, but you get the idea: inject some more life into the words and give Rosemary some personality.

 

Rosemary turns to the local  townsfolk for information. She must come to terms for her feelings for Scott,<I think you need to introduce Scott before you mention she has to come to terms with her feelings for him. Also, the mention that he may be the one…I think it needs to be handled  a bit differently. In the last para we discover she’s a mourning widow, so it seems like she’s too easily and quickly forgetting her husband by moving on, let alone finding the one. her handsome helpful neighbor who just may be the One, and solve this mystery to free the ghost’s spirit. But in the sleepy town, some secrets are submerged deep and finding them is hard when one man will do anything to keep the truth hidden, even murder. Rosemary learns the price she will pay to free the ghost.  Stronger without this, imo.

 

Ghost by the Bay <This should be all in capital letters is complete at 60,000 words What is the category and genre? Adult mystery? This is important. Also, 60K is a tad short for adult but some agents may not mind that. I believe my writing will find a market in the paranormal and Wiccan audience. The book is set in the small town where I grew up. I am a clairvoyant. I have a blog about developing psychic skills at (redacted).   As interesting as this is, none of this is relevant to your book, so I would ditch it.  have published in Circle magazine: Celebrating Nature, Spirit and Magic, Essential Herbal magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine: pagan songs and tales, Crone Newsletter Ezine as well as the Salt Lines anthology, and The Source Health and Wellness Journal.

 

(Contact info redacted)

 

The basic elements are here: Who is the main character? What is her goal? What stands in her way, and what does she stand to lose if she fails? So you’re already way ahead of the game. The thing that’s missing here is voice. I’d like to see your character come alive in this letter so that we care what happens to her. I think you can do it!

 

Thanks so much for sharing this with me, and good luck with querying! 

Posted in query critique, query letter, writing advice

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