Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stop! Query time!

No new writing today, but I did write the query for Bell-Men. It is, if I may say so, a marvel of obfuscation. The bald, ugly truth of Bell-Men is that it's about an elf who goes into the world of scary monsters that turn out to be humans in order to save another elf from vampires. Also, there are fairies. No one in the universe would want to read a book described that way, though, not even me. Thus, my query (which still needs polishing, but you get the idea):

When security guard Cam Reeves is hired to trace an abducted woman, she thinks it will be a straightforward job. Instead, she finds that the woman has been taken to the world of the bell-men--nightmare creatures from old legends. Cam's always been a little superstitious, but she never really believed in the bell-men. Now she's not sure what else might be true.

The more she digs, the more she discovers that her world isn't as peaceful as it seems. The ruling Thanes maintain a spell to keep the bell-men exiled, a spell that requires blood sacrifices on each full moon. Worse, one of the Thanes has turned rogue and is behind the abduction Cam is investigating.

With the ruling Thanes willing to kill Cam to keep their secrets, and the rogue Thane wanting to take her captive for his own schemes, Cam reluctantly crosses into the bell-men's world to escape both and find the abducted woman. But even here, things aren't what Cam expected. The bell-men are victims, not monsters. Cam has to choose which side to fight for--assuming she can survive to fight at all.

See? No mention of elves, fairies, or vampires. Now I just need to write the synopsis.


Fox Lee said...

"Also there is nudity."

Sex sells! ; )

Cate Gardner said...

Oh god, I hate queries.

The thing that hooked me about Bell-men was the fact that the monsters the protagonist is afraid of turn out to be humans, but I noticed that part was missing from your query. I do think it would add extra umph to it.

BT said...

I've read that your query should clearly spell out the genre - without clearly spelling it out. Mentioning nothing about elves drops this query into the mystery/thriller genres and agents may go no further because they handle fantasy.

Also - if Cam is a security guard, why would she be hired as a PI? I'm guessing she moonlights or has a personal stake in it but you don't touch on that.

Last thing - should bell-men have a capital B?

K.C. Shaw said...

Natalie--In that case, this is a potential bestseller!

Cate--I thought that made it sound stupid and trite. I think that's because you approach the idea as a horror writer, where monsters-as-humans are probably fairly rare, and I approach it as a fantasy writer, where monsters-as-humans are a low-grade cliche (and elves are even worse).

BT--Darn, I hadn't even thought of the genre thing. On the other hand, I've got a spell and monsters, so hopefully that'll help show it's fantasy. Cam is hired to find the woman because she saw her being abducted in the first place--the query only kinda-sorta follows the plot.

Darn, with your comment and Cate's I have to go back and rethink this one.

Richard said...

Goodness; almost sounds like Avatar. Heh.

K.C. Shaw said...

ARGH, don't say that!


Jamie Eyberg said...

We all feel your query pain. So few words, so many ideas to convey.

K.C. Shaw said...

Synopses are even worse--you have to tell the whole story in, like, three pages! And not have it sound stupid, insane, or boring! I'm sure there are good synopses-writers out there, but I'm not one of them.

Danielle Birch said...

Synopses are horrible little suckers. I feel your pain too and hope some inspiration swings your way to whip the words into shape for the query and the synopsis.

K.C. Shaw said...

Thanks! I did a little work on it today, but I still have a long way to go.

LMEighmy said...

I would definitely read this! :D

K.C. Shaw said...

Then the query works. I updated it and hopefully it's even better now too.