Query Entry # 2

Dear Agent,

When Scottish-Laird-Turned-Fallen-Angel Iain crashes through Arabella Hunter’s roof, she seriously considers tossing him out the window. She’s already promised her best friend to track and kill the demon that murdered the woman he loved, despite her self-imposed status as an ex-demon hunter, and has no plans to become further involved in the world she left behind three years ago.

Unfortunately for her, Iain is instrumental to this particular murder case, because he was assigned as a guardian angel to the murdered woman. Worse, he’s been convicted of the very crime he was supposed to prevent, hence his fallen angel status. Protocol dictates that she hand him over to the Archangels, but her instincts tell her that his pleas of innocence ring true. Honor-bound to find the real killer, she can’t simply ignore them. So when she offers to work with him, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s got the body of a god and the face of… well… an angel.

Iain doesn’t remember a damn thing—one minute he’s sleeping on his cloud in the Heavens, the next minute he’s being dragged off to trial and having his wings stripped. For whatever reason, fate smiled on him and opened a hole out from under his feet so that he ended up crashing into Arabella’s apartment instead of languishing in the prison he was meant for. The only thing he knows for sure is that someone has framed him, and he will do anything to bring them to justice so he can reclaim his rightful place in the Heavens.

The explosive chemistry between the two of them is as distracting as it is detrimental, because they both know that a relationship would never be possible if they still want to achieve their mission. But the more Iain gets to know Arabella, the less he is sure that Heaven would be preferable to this beautiful, headstrong and conflicted woman.

As they come closer to the truth, an unwelcome fate is placed at their feet that to refuse means the end of the world. Soon, it becomes clear that in order to survive this, they must face their pasts… or forfeit their futures.

TO CATCH A FALLING ANGEL is a paranormal romance, complete at 64,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jasmine

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17 comments on “Query Entry # 2

  1. You started off your letter with “Dear Agent” 😦 You should always address your letters to the person you’re writing. Your pitch is also very long. You want to get an agent interested in your novel, not give a synopsis. Based on the first paragraph, I’m confused as to the thrust of your novel and who is involved.

    “When Scottish-Laird-Turned-Fallen-Angel Iain crashes through Arabella Hunter’s roof, she seriously considers tossing him out the window. She’s already promised her best friend to track and kill the demon that murdered the woman he loved, despite her self-imposed status as an ex-demon hunter, and has no plans to become further involved in the world she left behind three years ago.”

    Here’s what I got: Iain is an angel. Arabella, an ex-demon hunter, is trying to track down the murderer of her male best friend’s wife. How does an angel showing up affect this? Is their relationship the main obstacle they have to overcome? That’s what I assume from the rest of the letter.

    Try to trim this down to just the meat of your query. Who is important in your novel, what is the set-up, and what obstacle must they overcome? Also, why are you querying this particular agent? Make a connection rather than being general.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks. The ‘Dear Agent’ thing was just dumb on my part, but I didn’t have enough time after I realized my mistake to get Jamie to change it, so I’m stuck there. The original query was much shorter than this but comments I’ve gotten on it before suggested that there wasn’t enough information, so I tried to fix it. Guess that didn’t work out so well. :/

  2. I think the meat of your query is solid… Iain is accused murderer – but also must be dead since he is a fallen angel. Arabella is a demon-hunter who feels compelled to help a friend, but can also help this new guy at the same time. They might both have a little bit more to their background. Sound storyline.

    So let’s look further at what tripped me up… I would say most of it was wordiness. I think you can still keep this fresh and attractive w/o the extras:

    “When Scottish-Laird-Turned-Fallen-Angel Iain crashes through Arabella Hunter’s roof, she seriously considers tossing him out the window. She’s already promised her best friend to track and kill the demon that murdered the woman he loved, despite her self-imposed status as an ex-demon hunter, and has no plans to become further involved in the world she left behind three years ago.” — That second sentence is overlong and had me confused trying to track what Arabella’s promise was. In other words, I had to read it twice. I think if you can break it into 2 sentences, that will solve your problem.

    “Unfortunately for her, Iain is instrumental to this particular murder case, because he was assigned as a guardian angel to the murdered woman. Worse, he’s been convicted of the very crime he was supposed to prevent, hence his fallen angel status. Protocol dictates that she hand him over to the Archangels, but her instincts tell her that his pleas of innocence ring true. Honor-bound to find the real killer, she can’t simply ignore them. So when she offers to work with him, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s got the body of a god and the face of… well… an angel.

    “Iain doesn’t remember a damnanything—one minute he’s sleeping on his cloud in the Heavens, the next minute he’s being dragged off to trial and having his wings stripped. For whatever reason, fate smiled on him, and opened a hole out from under his feet so that he ended up crashing into Arabella’s apartmentbringing him to Arabella instead of languishing in the prison he was meant for. The only thing he knows for sure is that someone has framed him, and he will do anything to bring them to justice so he can reclaim his rightful place in the Heavens.” These two paragraphs effectively give your characters their purpose, and can do so better as you reduce the extras.

    I don’t think you actually need this next paragraph at all:
    “The explosive chemistry between the two of them is as distracting as it is detrimental, because they both know that a relationship would never be possible if they still want to achieve their mission. But the more Iain gets to know Arabella, the less he is sure that Heaven would be preferable to this beautiful, headstrong and conflicted woman.”

    This last bit is good, except for I didn’t know that Arabella had a troublesome past – if she really does, I suppose you might want to put something about that earlier. I think this last bit is also where you could easily slip in a phrase that lends itself to the romance… although to be honest, I think I already assumed it from the first paragraph, so maybe not.

    As I will mention here and on everyone’s… it takes courage to open up your query to the world like this for feedback – thank you for sharing! I know I find it really helpful to see what others are doing so that I can improve my own.

    • Thanks so much! I can see how cutting out those things would tighten it up again. That last paragraph was to kind of give it a more romance-ey aspect, but I can see why it really just looks more like fluff and isn’t necessary. 🙂

  3. First, I’d totally want to read this book if I saw it on the shelf. It sounds very cool and romantic. Right up my alley.

    I agree with the other comments that say it’s a tad long, though. I don’t need to know half as much as I do in order to want to read it.

    I love the hook with a tiny modification: “When [s]Scottish-Laird-Turned-Fallen-Angel[/s] Iain crashes through Arabella Hunter’s roof, she seriously considers tossing him out the window.” I love the thought, but it gets bogged down by the character description. I’m more than happy to read a few more sentences to find out who he is and why he fell through the roof.

    I’d stick to the following details:
    -Arabella is trying to retire from demon-hunting (does that include angel-hunting? Are fallen angels considered demons?)
    -Ian is a fallen angel, convicted of the crime she’s investigating / seeking revenge for
    -The victim was Ian’s charge
    -WHY she’s still investigating a “solved” crime – is it just because she hasn’t killed him yet? Perhaps you can just say that now she has the chance to fulfill her vow to her friend?
    -Ian somehow convinces her that he’s innocent (perhaps a detail or two on how?)
    -She decides to help him clear his name
    -Sparks fly (read the back of romance novels for ideas on how to say this–you do it well, but stick it all in the same paragraph)
    -Their investigation leads them to a horrible choice between X and Y – that wasn’t really clear in the last sentence. Try writing it out as spoiler-y as possible and then removing the most spoilery details. As it is, I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Beta readers can be a huge help in summarizing the central conflict of your plot.

    Details I think you can leave out:
    -That she’s doing a favor for a friend whose love was killed (unless you REALLY feel you need to explain why she’s back–I think you can just handle this with “one last case” or something like that)
    -Ian’s cloud-trial-wings-hole-falling experience. Save it for the book. Tell me he’s an angel, he’s been convicted of a crime against the woman he was supposed to be guarding and leave it at that. Don’t confuse your query with varying POV’s.
    -That a relationship would be detrimental to the investigation–I’m totally confused by that and you probably don’t need to explain it here. Just go with Me-Angel-You-Human… unless there’s a quick and dirty way to tell me WHY the investigation would be compromised if they hooked up.
    -Any mention of fate. This is mostly personal preference, but it makes it sound like a destiny novel, which I don’t prefer. Who is the antagonist? Mention him instead. Fighting fate is boring and pointless.

    I think your book sounds awesome. Just trim the fat and tighten what’s left and you’re good. 🙂

    • Hm. How’d Janet figure out strikethrough? I meant, on the hook, that I want it to read “When Iain crashes through Arabella Hunter’s roof, she seriously considers tossing him out the window.”

      Come to think of it, it’s probably not necessary to mention that he’s Scottish, at all. ‘Cause, really, that’d be “Scottish-laird-turned-Angel-turned-Fallen-Angel” right? 😛

      • Not sure how she did the strike through– I’m awful with html, lol. You’re probably right; I just stuck it in there as an attempt to make him a little more than just a typical fallen angel. But then I don’t really attempt to explain why that even matters.

        I think part of the problem is that the storyline is fairly complex, and so I’m struggling with the details.

  4. I think you’ve gotten excellent feedback. Like they said, I’d probably pick this book up and read it if it were in front of me. The query just needs to be distilled down to the absolute bones – why is it important that they do what they do? What’s on the line for each of them?
    Good job!

  5. Most of the comments are dead on. The second sentence is a little run-on. It seems like you could break it up a bit. The overall query almost seems like a one page synopsis than a query. It’s a tad lengthy. Idk if someone touched on it already but I’ve always learned to shy away from being too descriptive like “explosive” etc. Just kinda stick to the facts about your story. It sounds like a good premise and can’t wait to read it. Best of luck 🙂

  6. Wow, love the story! And Robin & Janet could be agents themselves with all their savvy advice . . . can’t think of anything to add to it. Kuddos, girls:)

  7. Is this a historical paranormal? When you say Scottish laird, it made me think of a Highland romance—love those. And that aspect might set this book apart from other fallen angel/demon slayer books already on the market. But you don’t elaborate on this and I’m not sure if it is historical or not. The title is superb. You generate great chemistry between the characters and that’s excellent!

    • I wasn’t entirely sure how to work this into the query, but Iain is a 15th Century Highlander who was betrayed and killed by his brother who allowed a feuding clan to slaughter theirs. He became an angel afterward, and his brother became a demon and is the one who is framing him for the murder. I’m thinking I should probably have worked that in somehow, but I was trying to keep up some kind of suspense. Sorry to confuse you!

      Thank you for the praise; I’m glad you like the title and characters! 😀

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