Sunday, June 17, 2012
Punch My Query - June 17th, 2012
HELLO! Many apologies for this delayed Punch My Query - sickness SUCKS. I’m back now though, so let’s get to Punching. Today’s query comes from Crystal and Erin ( @SnowmenWrite on twitter). Thank you for volunteering your query!
Aphrodite abducts Eros’ love forcing him to flee Mount Olympus.
Mariposa collides with a boy at a party who stares at her like he has seen a ghost.
(Okay, let’s start off with the good; this is a very unique opening. It should be formatted a little differently to stay more in a query-like mold, but overall it’s an abrupt but interesting way to draw attention!)
As their fates are woven together the hope in Eros’ heart is restored. (This is a little too vague here; whose ‘fates’? You have to be specific and mention the ‘who’ in the same sentence.) But Aphrodite’s jealous nature leads her to interfere once more (When did she ever interfere before? You‘re alluding to something that‘s never happened. I know mythology a bit, so I know she‘s pretty jealous, but the query has to read as if it makes sense to someone who has no idea of Greek mythology. You ensure maximum understanding and won‘t exclude an agent who may not know Greek mythos well), setting Mariposa up to betray him (how? Does Aphro make her kiss another boy? We need specifics). Now broken, (I think betrayed is the better word, here) Eros escapes back to Mount Olympus leaving Mariposa defenseless in the hands of Aphrodite.
(Wait - what happened to Aphro abducting Eros’ love in the first sentence of the query? Did Aphro send the girl down to earth? Reincarnated her and wiped her memories? Include that.)
To fight for a chance to get Eros back, Mariposa sets out to prove her worth by enduring excruciating tasks. (Who sets her on these tasks? Why does she want to get Eros back? You haven’t established that she loves him or that he loves her - I’m just not feeling their connection through your choice of words.) But when she is sent to the underworld (by who? Why? Did she do something bad?) her chances of survival are lost in the mouths (jaws maybe? Has more impact) of the three-headed hound that guard its gates (you can shorten this sentence, a lot of people know Cerberus). Eros must find a way to look past his shattered heart and find her before her fragile human life is eternally lost. (So who exactly is the hero? Do we follow the journey of Mariposa or Eros? This last sentence muddles things more than defines them.)
BROKEN EROS (cute play on words!) is our debut young adult mythological retelling (you need a genre here. Young Adult is not enough. Is it Fantasy? From what I’m getting, it’s paranormal romance, but since that term is so overused, you could go with Fantasy) completed at 79,000 words.
Overall, this is an above-average query. The sense of the stakes is woven throughout the book, if only because the stakes are romantic (ie, losing a love one, winning a loved one back, etc). I don’t get a strong sense of the characters or their love. It seems their love is supposed to be strong simply because they were *sparkles* meant to be *sparkles*. This is a common mistake in a lot of queries and easily fixed with a strong, voice-y sentence that tells of their dastardly mutual attraction.
The voice of the query is very stiff and formal, almost to the point of choking the story, but in this case I think it sort of works - this is a story about Greek gods of old, and old language was formal. If nothing else, this query gives a strong sense of the voice of the overall book, and that’s something you always want to strive for.
Let’s try to rewrite it in a different way, shall we?
537 BC - Aphrodite abducts Eros’ love, and he flees Mount Olympus. Thursday - Sixteen-year-old Mariposa collides with a boy at a party who stares at her like he’s seen a ghost.
(Put whichever age she is, I substituted sixteen. I feel it flows better as one sentence, and the italics help contrast what the original query left to a whole line of space.)
Now reunited, Mariposa and Eros find comfort in each other, and their love becomes stronger than ever. In jealousy, Aphrodite pulls the two apart by tricking Mariposa into betraying Eros. Eros, heart wounded, flees to Mount Olympus.
Determined to win him back, Mariposa descends into the Underworld with a guarantee from Aphrodite that if she survives the trials within, the Goddess of Love will admit her trickery to Eros. Winning Eros back may kill Mariposa, but her life without him is already like death.
BROKEN EROS is a completed 79,000 word YA/Fantasy retelling of the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros. (Do mention the specific myth you are retelling, please.)
Since I haven’t read the story, the query was a bit hard to put together. Overall I would detail more about the ‘trials’ Mariposa has to go through, and I would spend more time trying to elaborate on their chemistry. A perfect sentence that encompasses their attraction to each other can go a long way, and make both characters likeable. You also need to tie in how Mariposa ended up on earth after her abduction, and why her memory was (presumably) wiped (It needs to be spelled out clearly.)
Hopefully that was helpful! Thank you again, Crystal and Erin, and here’s wishing you the best of luck in your querying adventure!
Stay tuned next week for another Punch My Query!