Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Try for a While

I bid on an auction for an agent critique on ebay. Irene Goodman is going to critique my first 50 pages, query letter and synopsis. While it's just a critique, I still want my work to be as polished as possible. This is going to be my last try for a while, because I know that I have a draft of another project to finish and when I get comments back for PF there is more work to do before I'm ready to query. Still, I find my heart pounding against a tough exterior as I make final changes. But I love the blog, because I could barely think straight when I started typing. So this is going to be my last try for a while, but can you give me one more look?
Thanks so much guys.
Dear Agent:
Eighteen year old Brandi O'Malley knows phantom flames want to whisk her next door neighbor, former friend, ultimate enemy and long-time love interest (whether she would admit or not) Laurent Stephens (also eighteen) away forever. But she can’t mention this because she would have to admit her family bears an ancient curse causing her to sometimes live in a moment that hasn’t happened yet. A moment that unfolds to be watched by all like a play.
Laurent torments Brandi in anyway that he can and with the help of his girlfriend, he does a good a job of it. When the handsome charmer, eighteen year old Damian Cooper, dances into Brandi’s life, Laurent’s actions go from cruel to protective. Laurent knows what he’s protecting her from. A secret he will never tell for fear of turning their love-hate relationship to pure hate.
Laurent must find a way to protect his girl next door from the menace he brought into her life without letting her find out exactly how he knows Damian. But Brandi has her own secret: the fire she watches Laurent disappear in every night.
If she's going to fight the flames, the secrets and lies must end. If she loses, the fire claims her love forever.
With your interest in young adult Phantom Fires, a young adult urban fantasy complete at 104,000 words, should appeal to you. I look forward to hearing back from you as I believe together we could both tell and sell a good story. You can reach me at or by phone at ___. Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoy Brandi's story.
Thank you,
Beth Fred


  1. And as I touch up what I thought would be last minute edits (b/c I knew this baby had a few rounds to go but thought it was decent) I JUST WANT TO CRY!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Take out the Young Adult before Phantom Fires. You say it twice, it's repetative. Also take out should appeal to you. And take out together we could tell and sell a good story.

    A good story stands on it's own.. Any agent will be able to judge the quality of your story just by reading it.

    Take out thank you for your time.. You use thanks shortly after that... Or you can take out thanks and sign it like this..

    Thank you for your time,
    Beth Fred

  3. So you've given us what' at stake--that's awesome. Your first sentence is a bit run on to me. Maybe cut into two. Maybe instead of "but she can't mention this..." you could change to just "Mentioning this ..." and finish out sentnce. I think your query is a great length and gives some good info, but I'd suggest tightening the sentences for a better effect.

    Awesome about your critique!! It is so worth it to have a pro's eyes pointing out what works and what doesn't. Best of luck!

  4. Hi Beth I'm from yali-chat. I do critiques alot in my critique group so I thought I might be able to help with some wording. It's just an idea,
    So,instead of saying But she can't mention this to her parents..
    Maybe try.. But she must keep her secret to herself because if she told her parents the truth...Maybe be alittle clearer as to why she can't tell her parents the truth. You could decribe shortly and to the point that they would never understand or think she's lost it.
    I love this story Beth I hope you come back to it in the future if you decide to move onto the next project.
    This idea is cool to me because it's different with the deal with the flames and Damian having a secret too spices things up a bit. This is a whole new take on fantasy. I haven't seen anyone try to write something like this before. We have vampire,zomby books, with all that gore this would be a great new change in the fantasy world. I know I said alot and you hardly know me but with everyone's help I think this story has potential,

  5. Hi Beth
    A few things: First of all, I would delete the parentheses--I am not a fan of them, as they distract. I always tell my students, if the info in the parens is important, find a way to incorporate it into the body of your query. If it's not essential, delete the lines.
    Secondly, "anyway" should be any way.
    Third, in your end-pitch to Diane, I would not use the term young adult twice, as it is repetitive--a no-no.
    Otherwise, good luck! I've met DG and she is a very smart and sweet person.

  6. Ooops, it's Irene not Diane. And I knew that!

  7. Hi Beth - don't lose heart!! *passes you a virtual tissue* I think you've got a fabulous concept here! :) I agree with the others about the young adult/young adult at the end. See if you can work your parentheticals into the text without having to use parentheses. I also might consider focusing on Brandi for the query. When you switched to Laurent, it kind of threw me. I've read that you should stick to one mc and that one mc's voice in your queries. I can see where Laurent's piece of the story is important overall, but perhaps you can switch it to Brandi's suspicions about what he might be thinking/doing. I hope that makes sense? Best of luck to you!!