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  1. #1

    Smile Feedback on query EDEN FALLS

    hi everyone would appreciate suggestions or feedback on this. Still trying to get around and used to this site, I'm a newbie

    Dear . . .

    Sixteen-year-old Emma Blekybyrd prides herself as being the only girl immune to the hot, popular rugby captainís charms, Luke. Though, when a soul named Sam Wetherald, secretly possesses Lukeís body, Emma suddenly finds Luke irresistible and the two end up together.

    But Emma is kidnapped by an enraged ghostly manifestation of Lukeís soul who takes her to Eden Falls where an organisation called the TWAF Foundation accuses her of aiding Sam in the illegal possession of Luke's body. Emma is distraught for she doesnít know a boy called Sam or the possession. The Foundation wonít listen or believe her. Worse so, her family hasnít been contacted, and sheís left to feel alone in Eden Falls. Petrified when the Foundation prepares to give her body to Luke as a pre-punishment, Emma is elated at Samís timely arrival pleading for her freedom to await her trial.

    The time gives her the opportunity to know the boy she really fell foróSamóbut falling in love with him only makes her decision difficult. To fight for her body would increase the chance of Sam being condemned to the afterlife. She doesnít want to lose him, nor does she find it possible to find love like this again. But Sam offers a more challenging decision: to run away together in possession of new lives and never turn back, never see her family or friends ever again.

    Complete at 80,000 words, EDEN FALLS is a YA Paranormal Romance told from two POVís. I won first category in the Bessie Head Literature Awards for a novella which is due for publication in June. I am also a member of Petlo.

  2. #2
    Author and Game Designer Taramoc's Avatar
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    I think I get the gist of your plot, but I think you need to clean this up a bit.

    Most of all, it's not clear to me if the soul possession is a common occurrence in your world, or what Sam does is exceptional and unexpected.

    Also:

    Is Eden Falls a secret location? Is the TWAF (you should expand the name, btw) an organization that everybody knows about?

    I would say no on instinct, but when you say:

    Worse so, her family hasnít been contacted, and sheís left to feel alone in Eden Falls.
    It makes me think that there is a procedure in place for the TWAF to alert families of the kidnapped, making it a publicly known organization.

    Also, in the same vein, when you say:

    Emma is distraught for she doesnít know a boy called Sam or the possession.
    do you mean that Emma doesn't know of THAT specific possession, or she has no idea that bodies can be possessed by other souls?

    On top of this, you have some unusual constructions that you may want to look at. For example:

    sheís left to feel alone in Eden Falls
    "she's left to feel alone" doesn't really make sense, you can use "she's left alone" or "she feels lonely".

    Samís timely arrival pleading for her freedom to await her trial
    as it is you are saying that Sam is pleading for her to be free to await her trial, like someone is stopping her from having the right to wait for her trial.
    Either cut "to await her trial", or "she is pleading for her to be free while she wait for her trial", if that's the case.

    nor does she find it possible to find love like this again
    This sentence is structured like a question, and again you have an unusual choice of words. Try something like "as she doesn't believe she could ever love someone else"

    to run away together in possession of new lives
    "run away in possession" doesn't work. Try "run away possessing someone else body" (you possess bodies, not lives).

    I hope this help,

    Taramoc

  3. #3
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Welcome iBel! I like ghost stories, but right now, I'm afraid that my first reaction was -- poor Luke. Here he is, king of secondary school, and the evil Sam kills him, ejects Luke's soul into limbo, steals Luke's body and hooks up with the one girl who seemed immune to Luke's appeal. And then instead of facing up to what he did or having any guilt about it, Sam plans to run away with Luke's body, leaving Luke to either die fully and go into the afterlife or get stuck in another body, possibly a female one. Why would Emma fall for someone like Sam who does that and who asks her to abandon everyone else of importance to her and go on the run forever?

    So obviously, there must be more to the story, to the possession issue and to the ghost justice circumstances. Either that or the story is not a YA paranormal romance but instead a YA horror story about a teenage girl who loses any sense of her values when she becomes obsessed with an immoral murdering ghost and goes into a dark psychological downward spiral. Which could be good too.

    Then there is the setting -- where on Earth is it? Is it, as Taramoc asked, an alternative version of Earth where ghost possession is known as fact or is the Foundation a secret organization? A government organization? Does Emma's family know she is being held or just think her missing?

    There is the question of why Emma would be punished by the Foundation before she has an actual trial by being ejected from her body -- killed -- to give Luke temporary housing. That seems to indicate that what Sam did to Luke was not at all justified, was murder, and that Emma could pay for it with her life permanently if she's found guilty of being an accomplice. Emma does not want it to happen to her, so why does she excuse what Sam did to Luke? And why is the Foundation bothering with trials in the first place?

    So these are central issues that need to be dealt with in the description of the book so they can see what sort of story and characters they are actually dealing with. When you have a story of this type, if the love interest is say a vampire or werewolf, that person may have killed others, may have done bad things. But in a YA, usually that person will have regretted killing and evil acts in the past and resolved not to do so anymore and/or was not able to help himself or herself from killing or bad acts in the past because of being a vampire or werewolf. In some stories, both romances and those that just have romance sub-plots, the paranormal love interest may renege on good behavior for a voluntary or involuntary reason, and usually the main character then has to deal with that and with the love interest's past.

    In this case, Sam does not seem to have killed Luke because he could not help it, but instead, he makes a conscious, voluntary choice to do so, and he does not seem to regret the act. It's possible that Sam did this because Luke killed Sam or from other circumstances, and if so, that may make more sense of Sam's behavior. It's possible that Sam could not in fact help killing Luke and taking over his body. We don't know unless you tell us in the query letter.

  4. #4

    Eden falls ya paranormal

    thank you guys for your invaluable help, I have been struggling with queries for quite a while, I decided to take a long time fixing the query again, and kind of repositioning some of its paragraph, hopefully now it's close to being better.
    Here is the revision:

    Dear . . .

    Sixteen-year-old Emma Blekbyrd is haunted by a ghost that kidnaps her to an eerie island, Eden Falls, where a system allows humans to be hunted, according to rules, to allow souls and ghosts to possess them. Complete at 80,000 words, EDEN FALLS is a YA Paranormal Romance told from two POV’s.

    Emma prides herself as being the only girl immune to the hot, popular rugby captain’s charms, Luke. A soul named Sam secretly possesses Luke’s body, and Emma instantly finds Luke irresistible and the two end up together. Kidnapped to Eden Falls by Luke’s ghost, Emma is accused by the authority of aiding Sam in the possession for the sake of their illicit relationship. Emma is distraught for she doesn’t know Sam or of such possessions. The authority refuses to contact her family or believe her; Emma is frantic as they prepare to give her body to Luke’s ghost to compensate for his loss. She’s confused when Luke’s doppelganger, referred to as Sam, stops the process and the officials bend to him with reverence and release Emma on Sam’s commands.

    Disturbed to learn she fell for Sam and not Luke, Emma can’t fight how she still longs for Sam, who still possesses Luke’s body. Even though Sam’s hunted humans before and possessed them she unravels the tragic loss of his body. She is hesitant to accept Sam’s offer when he confesses that he’s working to exchange his life for her freedom. Either that, or to run away together possessing someone else’s body and never turn back, never see her family or friends ever again.

    I won first category in the Bessie Head Literature Awards for a novella which is due for publication in June. I am also a member of Petlo.
    Last edited by iBel29; January 26th, 2012 at 11:39 AM.

  5. #5
    Author and Game Designer Taramoc's Avatar
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    Definitively better, both in the plot and the constructions.

    I'd still like you to clarify a bit better how Eden Falls work. Is it a government sanctioned place? Is it a reality TV show? Is it just a secret spot where ghosts create their own rules? What are the officials you refer too? Arbiters? Older ghosts?

    Just a couple of more things:

    She’s confused when Luke’s doppelganger, referred to as Sam, stops the process and the officials bend to him with reverence and release Emma on Sam’s commands.
    A doppelganger is another thing (a copy of a person), so I wouldn't use the term here not to confuse matters even more. Just say something "when Luke, who now the officials refer to as Sam, stops the process..."

    Even though Sam’s hunted humans before and possessed them she unravels the tragic loss of his body.
    Not sure what you mean here. If there's a tragic story behind the reason why Sam possessed Luke's body, you should elaborate on it (as KatG says, we need a reason not to hate Sam for his despicable actions if you want to stay in the Paranormal Romance YA genre).

    You are on the right track, from my perspective, just a few more fixes and this should do it.
    Last edited by Taramoc; January 27th, 2012 at 11:44 AM.

  6. #6

    Thanks

    Thank you, I actually revamped my query, and even started altering my manuscript but it still ties to the story. Thank you for your advice, it helped me notice what I need to do to my query

  7. #7
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Okay, so the story is that there is this Foundation which runs a sort of cult-like operation where humans are hunted by disenfranchised souls and ghosts who take over their bodies? And Sam was hunted and killed, his body destroyed? And he was trying to break the cycle or something?

    If this is going to be a paranormal romance story, Sam's story is important too. And the system of the supernatural that is involved in the story needs to be explained. This description is better with more detail, but it's still rather confused. We don't understand why people are doing what you have them doing. So think about it, write it out much longer than a usual letter if you need to and then try to condense it.

  8. #8

    thanks

    Thanks KatG I did something similar to your suggestion and reposted it again, hopefully its better now

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