Monday, August 2, 2010

Critique Party #6

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Our goal is to help each writer make their page stronger.


[Contact Info]

Dear Dream Agent,

I'm seeking representation for THE SPIRIT-HUNTERS, a young adult steampunk complete at 80,000 words.

When her brother vanishes at the train station, Eleanor Fitt – a stubborn and na├»ve young lady-of-leisure – must leave the confines of corsets and courtesy to get him back.

It's 1876, and Philadelphia is hosting the Centennial Exhibition. It's also hosting rancid corpses that refuse to stay dead. When one of those decomposing bodies delivers a hostage note for Eleanor's scholarly brother, she resolves to do anything to get him back. But to face the armies of Dead that have him, she'll need a little help.

The Spirit-Hunters, a three-man team hired to protect the Centennial Exhibition, have different backgrounds and different skills, but they work together under a single goal: return the Dead to where they belong. Yet, what had begun as an easy job with only a handful of shambling bodies has escalated beyond the teams' abilities, and time is running out. Whoever rules the Dead is losing control of his power, and when the leash finally snaps, Philadelphia will be overrun with ravenous corpses.

From the steampunk lab of the Spirit-Hunters to the emptied cemeteries of Philadelphia, Eleanor must follow the clues – and the bodies – to find her brother and stop the Dead before it's too late.

I'm an active member of RWA, SCBWI, the Online Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop, and YALitChat. I avidly read your blog daily [or insert some relevant comment for specific agent...] Thanks so much for your time.

Best regards,

Susan Dennard

6 comments:

Holly Dodson said...

Susan, I can't even find anything to comment on. This is a really strong query! Great job.

LTM said...

Hi, Susan!

Wow, I'm not really up on my steampunk, but this sounds like a crazy-fun book! The Spirit-Hunters remind me a little of Ghostbusters... :D In a good way!

One copyedit: the team's abilities...

Otherwise, this is a good, strong query. I'd expect you to get some requests from this!

Good luck~

Susan said...

Hey, thanks guys! You've just made my day bright! (despite the thunderstorms outside). :D

KO said...

Susan- very cool WIP!

I definitely have some questions about how the world works, what is going on, etc-- but in the GOOD way. In the sense that I want to know more/read more. You strike a great balance between giving a taste of the plot, but not overwhelming the reader with details that drag down the pace.
well done.
the only word I stumbled on:
"what had begun as an easy job with only a handful of shambling bodies"
could be changed to "what began"-- but I am no grammarian. It wouldn't stop me from reading more.

Alicia Gregoire said...

I couldn't find anything majorly wrong with the query. I'd like to see how the Spirit Hunters tie in with Eleanor because you talk about Eleanor but then you jump into them without any transition. Do they help her get her brother back?

And, it's a matter of style choice, but I'm a fan of moving the title, genre, and word count to the end of the query.

This sounds like an excellent story!

Laura Ann Dunks said...

Fantastic as ever, Susan. The only problem I can find is that the paragraph about the Spirit Hunters, I think you need to mention the fact that Eleanor is working with them. Just to transition the leap a little more smoothly.

I cannot find anything else. Best of luck!

Laura
~X~