Author Topic: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy  (Read 177 times)

Offline AstronautMikeDexter

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: 0
Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« on: January 15, 2020, 05:38:37 PM »
Hi all, I'm new here and excited to become a part of this community.

I've been working on this query for a while but I've received no bites from agents (though, I haven't sent it to too many yet). I'm working on the first few pages of the book as I'm aware that could be an issue as well. I'll probably post that shortly. In any case, any and all critiques are welcome on this. I want to get it as good as it can be so anything you think can be improved upon will get my attention.

I'm also happy to look at any of your queries so feel free to link me!

----

When Marissa Summers uses her secret telekinetic abilities to stop a criminal, footage from the incident goes viral. Though she did her best to conceal her identity, she is easily recognized by the one person she’s evaded for years: her emotionally abusive mother, Claire.

Claire contacts her with the enticing claim that she can bury the growing story. Desperate to maintain the quiet life she’s built for herself, Marissa reluctantly accepts Claire’s offer. As they start to reconcile, Marissa discovers that Claire has kept secret a power of her own: the ability to alter people’s memories.

This horrifying revelation makes Marissa question how much of her life has actually been hers to live and how much has been controlled by puppet master Claire. Now that she knows her mother’s secret, Marissa immediately cuts her out of her life again.

But Marissa refuses to abandon Claire’s surrogate family, a hodgepodge of people with super-abilities. Having grown close to them, she now fears they may not be in control of their actions. Marissa attempts to convince them to turn on her mother but, fiercely loyal to Claire, they refuse.

Stunned at their willingness to remain puppets for Claire, Marissa takes her mother on directly. In doing so, she risks inciting a war with Claire’s surrogate family, a war that if she loses will render Marissa nothing but another one of her mother’s mindless drones.

FORGOTTEN MONSTERS is an 80,000 word adult urban fantasy with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Offline tb.tallbird

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1077
  • Karma: 143
  • I live in a fairy tale world!
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2020, 09:54:52 PM »
WOW! That is intriguing. I have to say it sounds interesting. The only thing that I can think of is that I don't understand why Claire having the ability to alter people's memories makes her automatically a bad person. Maybe if you add what she's doing wrong, it might bring the query together a little better.

Just my thoughts. But again, it sounds really good.
Life is like a book. Some chapters are sad, some happy, some exciting. But if you never turn the page... you will never know what the next chapter holds.

Offline B_Johnson3

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: 1
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2020, 10:16:42 PM »
I agree with tb.tallbird that it's intriguing! But also that it doesn't fully drive home why Claire is evil. Maybe another sentence on that?

Two other things I noticed while reading:

1) Both "Claire" and "Marissa" get used a lot, especially in the second half of the query. It was frequent enough to distract me a bit from the overall plot hook.

2) The transition from "-cuts her out of her life again." to "But Marissa refuses to abandon-" doesn't feel very smooth. Maybe there's a way to mention the surrogate family a little earlier, or move between those sentences a bit more naturally?

I hope this helps!

Offline night

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 32
  • Karma: 8
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2020, 01:23:22 AM »
Great query. I can see the character wants, conflict, and stakes in it. I second B_Johnson3's comment about Both 'Claire and 'Marissa' gets used a lot and it also distracts me from reading as well. There are 9 instances where you use Claire and 9 instances where you use Marissa.

Also, I find this part of the sentence weird "how much has been controlled by puppet master Claire." Maybe change to "her puppet master mother."

The frequent use of the name Claire kind of detaches me that she's actually the protagonist's mother.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 01:32:16 AM by night »

Offline klclou

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Karma: 7
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2020, 10:01:45 PM »
I really like this query. I'd probably alter it like so (please note, just suggestions):

When Marissa Summers uses her secret telekinetic abilities to stop a criminal <<can anything else go here, like, stop a robbery, stop a murder etc. There's really no reason to stop a criminal if they're just having lunch or something>>, footage from the incident goes viral. Though she managed to conceal her identity from most, she is recognized by the person she most wants to avoid: her emotionally abusive mother, Claire.

Claire contacts her, claiming she can bury the growing story. Desperate to maintain the quiet life she’s built for herself, Marissa reluctantly accepts her offer and discovers Claire has a power of her own: the ability to alter memories.

This revelation forces Marissa to question how many of her memories are her own and how many have been created by puppet master Claire. Horrified, she cuts her mother out of her life again but she has grown close to Claire’s surrogate family, a hodgepodge of people with super-abilities. Fearing they are being manipulated, Marissa attempts to convince them to turn against her mother but they refuse.

Marissa decides to take her mother on directly. In doing so, she risks inciting war with Claire’s surrogate family and if she loses, she'll end up as one of her mother’s mindless drones.

FORGOTTEN MONSTERS is an 80,000 word adult urban fantasy with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Offline Lehcarjt

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: 0
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 04:05:24 PM »
Hi -

I'm new too, but I've been working on queries at QLH off and on for years (their website has been down for ages, and I've grown impatient!).  I'll make comments inline as I read along.  Everything is said with a smile.  Then general comments are at the end.


When Marissa Summers uses her secret telekinetic abilities to stop a criminal, footage from the incident goes viral. Though she did her best to conceal her identity, she is easily recognized by the one person she’s evaded for years: her emotionally abusive mother, Claire.

Claire contacts her with the enticing claim that she can bury the growing story.    Hmmm....  I guess I'm a little stumped at why Marissa would be worried about the video.  I assumed from the first paragraph that the concern was hiding from her mother.  But that appears not to be so and it really is the video.  But who would ever believe such a thing is real?  Everyone would assume its edited for effect.  Desperate to maintain the quiet life she’s built for herself, Marissa reluctantly accepts Claire’s offer. As they start to reconcile, Marissa discovers that Claire has kept secret a power of her own: the ability to alter people’s memories. Fun.

This horrifying revelation makes Marissa question how much of her life has actually been hers to live and how much has been controlled by puppet master Claire. Now that she knows her mother’s secret, Marissa immediately cuts her out of her life again.  What ever happened with the video?  By opening with it, there's a strong implication that this is what the story is about but now I'm thinking its kind of irrelevant beyond putting Marissa back in Claire's life.

But Marissa refuses to abandon Claire’s surrogate family, a hodgepodge of people with super-abilities. Having grown close to them, she now fears they may not be in control of their actions. Marissa attempts to convince them to turn on her mother but, fiercely loyal to Claire, they refuse.

Stunned at their willingness to remain puppets for Claire, Marissa takes her mother on directly. In doing so, she risks inciting a war with Claire’s surrogate family, a war that if she loses will render Marissa nothing but another one of her mother’s mindless drones.

FORGOTTEN MONSTERS Great title  is an 80,000 word adult urban fantasy with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Clever idea.  Marissa's conflict of not being able to trust her own self and/or memories is interesting.  I think there are several challenges to the query as it is currently written.

The first, I mentioned already...  The query is set up so that I assume Marissa's story problem is this video.  But then its never mentioned again.  You want to think of a query opening paragraph as doing three things:  Grounding the reader in the protagonist (you did this), grounding the reader in the world (the viral video actually does this; I know immediately the story is modern), grounding the reader in the problem/conflict that the protagonist faces for the course of the query.

Marissa's problem isn't the video.  It's that her mother wants (not sure of her mother's goals actually) and is manipulating Marissa's memories in order to get it.   Really though, you want to present this in the first paragraph as Marissa's goal.  Marissa wants __________________________________________.

Then from there, develop the conflict between Marissa and Claire by the actions they take to accomplish there goals.  Doing this lays out your plot.


The second is that there's a bunch of important things that don't show up until the end (the surrogate family to be specific and their hodge podge of abilities).  The end of the query is too late to start throwing in entirely new situations.  Either these people need to be part of the original set up paragraph or you can bring them in at the end as a twist to a problem you've already established..

Good luck and happy writing!

Offline AstronautMikeDexter

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: 0
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2020, 08:58:44 AM »
Wow, you all are awesome and gave such thoughtful replies! This gives me a lot to consider and work into my next draft. Thank you so much.

Offline MichelleG

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1001
  • Karma: 143
    • MICHELLE GWYNN JONES - NEW GRACE NEWS
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 12:17:44 PM »
I’m with lehcarjt - what about the video?

And there is a lot missing here. So what if her mother can manipulate memories? I need to know why she is suspicious of her mother. Some examples might be nice.  I haven’t read your novel, but was there a time things didn’t make sense and now knowing her memory might have been altered that time makes sense.  Does she witness something among the groups that the group now remembers differently?  Some reason to be suspicious

If I were Clair and could manipulate my daughter’s memories, wouldn’t I have manipulated the memory that’s caused the drift between us into a ‘my mom is the best memory’ years ago - I’m just saying.
"You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of isolation and the impunity with which crime may be committed there." - Sherlock Homes, The Copper Beeches - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline AstronautMikeDexter

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: 0
Re: Forgotten Monsters - Adult Urban Fantasy
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2020, 09:14:21 AM »
Thank you so much. These are all great points!