Author Topic: The Two Ravens (attempt 4)  (Read 57 times)

Offline Jub666

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 41
  • Karma: 3
The Two Ravens (attempt 4)
« on: January 14, 2022, 07:18:42 AM »
I've had a few months away from my query and have tackled it again to try and improve it. I would be most grateful to anyone that can help me get this tightened up! Thank you in advance. Jx


Dear Agent

Sixteen-year-old Raven Byrd sees glimpses into other people’s lives when she touches objects: a clandestine kiss, a walk along a moonlit beach, a severed hand lying in a pool of congealing blood. She also sees people, invisible to others, and voices whisper their secrets to her.

Following the death of her parents, Raven moves to Dunham Hall - a haunted manor house in rural Northumberland - to live with her estranged grandfather. Almost immediately, Raven finds herself besieged by spirits intent on attracting her attention. She keeps hoping her parents will be amongst them, but so far, no luck.

The sprits won’t leave her alone and their interference is affecting a blossoming relationship with Saul - the son of the hostile housekeeper. But there’s something bothering Raven about him too. Raven has flashes of memories when she touches him, yet in her visions, they are both adults. Saul knows more about this than he’s telling her, and Raven is determined to find out what these recollections mean.

Raven learns that her ability to communicate with these spirits is inherited from a long line of ancestors who are psychopomps: people who help lost souls to pass into the afterlife. If she wants any peace, the only thing Raven can do is knuckle down and learn how to help the spirits who seem intent on causing chaos for her.

With the support of her Great Grandmother, Enid, Raven masters the art of travelling through astral planes, where she learns more about the problems her persistent earthbound spirits have, and what help they need before they can move on. But guiding these spirits safely to the next dimension comes with its own set of problems – someone is trying to steal the souls that she’s trying to help, and she certainly didn’t expect to come face-to-face with herself in the afterlife.

THE TWO RAVENS is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance complete at 90,000 words with series potential.

Offline susan-louise

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 120
  • Karma: 26
Re: The Two Ravens (attempt 4)
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2022, 09:56:52 AM »
I've had a few months away from my query and have tackled it again to try and improve it. I would be most grateful to anyone that can help me get this tightened up! Thank you in advance. Jx

 For me, there's too  much telling, and the query needs some honing.  Love the premise, btw. My apologies for any butchering in the attempt to suggest a better flow etc.  Which may or may not work...

Dear Agent

Sixteen-year-old Raven Byrd sees glimpses into other people’s lives when she touches objects: a clandestine kiss, a walk along a moonlit beach, a severed hand lying in a pool of congealing blood. She also sees people, invisible to others, and voices whisper their secrets to her.  (This has the potential to be a great opening.  But when you talk about "objects"...how can a kiss be an object?  Or a walk along a beach?  The severed hand is obvious, but the rest needs adjusting for it to make sense.  For example (not perfect)

Sixteen-year-old Raven Byrd sees glimpses into other people’s lives when she touches objects - whether the lips from a clandestine kiss, the sand of  a moonlit beach, or a severed hand lying in a pool of congealing blood.  Worse, people, invisible to others, whisper their secrets to her.      This now hooks!

Following the death of her parents, When  Raven moves to haunted Dunham Hall - a haunted manor house in rural Northumberland - to live with her estranged grandfather. Almost immediately, Raven finds herself she is  besieged by spirits intent on desperate for attracting her attention. She keeps hoping her dead parents will be amongst them, but so far, no luck.

(You mention the estranged grandfather, but then the great grandmother, Enid, crops up later.  This confused me, until I realised (I think) that she too is a spirit?  If so, might need clarifying)


The sprits won’t leave her alone and their interference they affecting a blossoming relationship with Saul - the son of the hostile housekeeper.  But there’s something bothering Raven about him too. Soon Raven has disturbing flashes of memories when she touches him, yet in her visions, they are both adults. Saul knows more about this than he’s telling her, and Raven is determined to find out what these recollections mean.  (why?  What's important here?  It's great drama...but needs some tweaking to make us sit up..  Something about lost spirits I am guessing So if you honed the two sentences and added a little hook without telling, it could work brilliantly.)


The next two paragraphs read like a synopsis.  So in an attempt to move away from this, I cut deep into the next one,  to highlight that gripping action


Raven's ability to communicate with spirits is inherited from a long line of ancestors who are psychopomps: people who help lost souls to pass into the afterlife.   So if she wants peace, Raven must help her troubled spirits move on (or whatever) 

Unexpected help comes from her long-dead great grandmother as Raven masters the art of travelling through astral planes . But guiding her spirits safely to the next dimension comes with its own perils: someone is trying to steal the souls that she’s trying to help, and Raven certainly didn’t expect to come face-to-face with herself in the afterlife.  (This is such a great line!  But it seems that a phrase might be needed to wrap it up...or hint at further challenges??)

I stripped this down to its bones, and it probably retains elements of "telling" but look how amazing this story is. It makes me sit up and want to read it!  Which after all is the reaction you want from an agent.  You just need to put back all the critical elements that I removed! Again, sorry!

THE TWO RAVENS is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance complete at 90,000 words with series potential.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 10:02:43 AM by susan-louise »

Offline rivergirl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1625
  • Karma: 299
Re: The Two Ravens (attempt 4)
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 07:19:01 PM »
Dear Agent

Sixteen-year-old Raven Byrd sees glimpses into other people’s lives when she touches objects: a clandestine kiss,At first read I was wondering how she could touch a clandestine kiss. maybe a reword in case the agent makes the same mistake. there should be no thinking involved here a walk along a moonlit beach, a severed hand lying in a pool of congealing blood. She also sees people, invisible to others, and voices whisper their secrets to her. This is a good first para, though I'm wondering if it can be brought to the next level with a bit of background. Does she see things in her girl's school or in an African village. There's no stage for the reader to visualize. you might try to squeeze in a bit more color.

Following the death of her parents, Raven moves to Dunham Hall - a haunted manor house in rural Northumberland - why the em dashes here? They should be used for emphasis and this doesn't feel like the right place to live with her estranged grandfather. Almost immediately, Raven finds herself besieged by spirits intent on attracting her attention. She keeps hoping her parents will be amongst them, but so far, no luck.

The sprits won’t leave her alone comma and their interference is affecting a blossoming relationship with Saul - the son of the hostile housekeeper. maybe a bit more visual here? The spirits keep hovering around here, asking for favors, the the constant interruptions are affecting....But there’s something bothering Raven about him too. Raven has flashes of memories when she touches him, yet in her visions, they are both adults. Saul knows more about this put something better here in place of this pronoun. like: Saul know more about her gift (memories, visions) than he’s telling her, and Raven is determined to find out what these recollections mean. Without reading further, I feel like This is about the place the query should be wrapping up. After this you start to get "synopsisy". Come up with a clever ending here. I'm wondering if you can briefly pull in the danger of the spirits she is trying to help without pulling in all the details of the grandmother. With cutting the following para I'm hoping that will free up some valuable space to lay a delicious hook that will make the agent reach for your book The plot sounds great.

Raven learns that her ability to communicate with these spirits is inherited from a long line of ancestors who are psychopomps: people who help lost souls to pass into the afterlife. If she wants any peace, the only thing Raven can do is knuckle down and learn how to help the spirits who seem intent on causing chaos for her.

With the support of her Great Grandmother, Enid, Raven masters the art of travelling through astral planes, where she learns more about the problems her persistent earthbound spirits have, and what help they need before they can move on. But guiding these spirits safely to the next dimension comes with its own set of problems – someone is trying to steal the souls that she’s trying to help, and she certainly didn’t expect to come face-to-face with herself in the afterlife.

THE TWO RAVENS is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance complete at 90,000 words with series potential.