Query Pitch Help


#1

I am currently drafting the body of my query letter. I would really appreciate some fresh eyes to read it. If something sticks out as confusing or unclear, please let me know! Thanks in advance:

When Willa DePott is left for dead in her swimming pool, she awakens to live another day. Gabriel, the boy who found her, breaks the news that she is a vampire, he is her brother, and that the only way to survive is to go underground.

Newborn Nests has revolutionized the vampire experience. 21st century vampires have traded Gothic traditions for a cold, subterranean existence. Willa and Gabriel are part of the new wave, a frightened generation at the mercy of solar-powered weapons. Humans are fighting back. And the world Willa once knew is now against her.

Willa cannot stay in Newborn Nests while her maker is still unaccounted for. She makes it her mission to find the woman who took everything from her. But first, Willa and Gabriel must partake in a quest to find the other vampires their maker has abandoned. This cross-country search shatters Willa’s worldview entirely, taking her into the heart of the rapidly changing underworld where no vampire is safe.

If she is to be successful, Willa must take her place in the vampire family. Her freedom depends entirely on her ability to play the role designed for her: the perfect daughter. This is a prison that may prove impossible to escape.


#2

Hey there,

I think you’ll have better luck in Industry Insider, so I’m going to move your thread there. Thanks for understanding.

Mo - Community Ambassador


#3

thank you! I wasn’t sure lol


#4

I would edit to something along the lines of…

After Willa DePott is left for dead in her swimming pool, she awakens to find a boy named Gabriel there. He breaks the news that she will live another day, and then for every day after that forevermore, as long as they go underground - because she’s a vampire, he’s her blood brother, and every human wants to kill her now.

Modern vampires have traded Gothic castles for subterranean existences. The frightened new wave, at the mercy of solar-powered weapons that humans are fighting back with, have sought shelter in something called Newborn Nests. Willa and Gabriel want to be a part of this revolutionized vampire experience, but they cannot stay in Newborn Nests while their maker is unaccounted for, and so their after-lives are on the line.

Willa makes it her mission to find the woman who made her humanity a thing of the past and left her vampirism a questionable future. This cross-country journey shatters Willa’s worldview entirely, as along the way she and Gabriel discover the other children that their maker abandoned. Ultimately to be successful, Willa must take her place in her vampire family. That means if she finds her mother she must be the perfect vampire daughter and kill or be killed.


#5

I reworked it too:

Willa DePott remembers drowning to death, and yet somehow she wakes up to see the sun shining. As she tried to understand what happened, a strange boy named Gabriel appears. She did in fact drown, but a vampire pulled WIlla’s soul back to the living and stranded her.

Willa is now a vampire and Gabriel tells her that the only way to survive is to go underground.

Gabriel reveals he is the blood brother of Willa (I suggest explaining quickly why she didn’t know he was her brother. Seems random in the query) and he takes her to the Newborn Nests - a revolutionized group of vampires that have traded Gothic traditions for a cold, subterranean existence. Willa discovers what is like to live as a vampire in a world where humans are turning technology against them.

It turns out vampires may be facing their extinction if the humans continue. (You really need to stress the stakes, as so far, they are not abundantly clear)

Willa doesn’t fit with the vampire community, and she unravels as she mourns for her humanity. She must find the vampire that turned her, so she can seek revenge. As Willa and Gabriel seek out the said vampire, they discover a trail of more abandoned humans-turned-vampire. She isn’t alone, and the picture of who is doing this and why only becomes murkier.

It is then that Willa faces the most difficult decision of her life - to be successful in her hunt, she must become a part of the vampire family, playing the role of a perfect daughter. She has to overcome it if she wants to seek her revenge.

I’ve seen a lot of advice on queries - you want to make sure you stress the character’s goal and the stakes they are in. What do they stand to lose, and what must they do to succeed?


#6

Gabriel is her vampire brother, which I suspected did not come through in my initial query. They are related strictly by the vampire who turned them. So yeah, I gotta make this clear.

I definitely like that your reworking has more of an urgency to it.


#7

OOOoooh! Yeah I didn’t get that at all! It’s so much more interesting now!

I would then re-write it as:

I am glad you like it! There always needs to be a sense of urgency/tension/suspense. Even if the story is about finding car keys. Write it so that the query makes the reader think “Dang, I need to know what happens!” Urgency helps inspire curiosity.


#8

Thank you very much :slight_smile: I think I was trying to avoid using “vampire” so frequently, but clearly that wasn’t the right move there haha


#9

I totally get wanting to avoid using that term!!! It definitely needs to be used with Gabriel, but maybe use it in a later description where it’s obvious. Like call them creatures of the night, or immortals, or something like that.

Glad to help! I am dreading getting to the query stage lol


#10

If I could bother you a bit more…

There’s a big reason why Willa is ostracized in the vampire community: Willa and her maker look identical and the maker has a terrible reputation in the underworld. I am debating whether to include it. Will it bog down the query or will the agent want to know? Confusion will kill any query because there’s so few space! Lol it’s stressful


#11

Oh no that is crucial!! Otherwise, her reasoning for not fitting in is vague.

As Willa attempts to embrace her new life, she learns that she is nearly identical to who turned her. She is shunned as others ostracize her for her likeness, and this leads Willa to unraveling as she mourns for her humanity. She must find the other immortal with her face, so she can seek revenge. As Willa and Gabriel seek out the said vampire, they discover a trail of more abandoned humans-turned-vampire. She isn’t alone, and the picture of who is doing this and why only becomes murkier.


#12

And yeah lol it is so stressful!!!

I am already starting to write my query so I have plenty of time to work on it :rofl: It’s so hard to tell what to add and what to leave out!


#13

Yes! That way I’m not selling Willa’s internal conflict short.

I agonize over this process. I’ve been listening to a podcast where lit agents evaluate random queries they have received. I am enjoying the researching parts of this business more than actually doing the query cries


#14

Edited to add that Willa looks like her creator.

After Willa DePott is left for dead in her swimming pool, she awakens to find a boy named Gabriel there. He breaks the news that she will live another day, and then every day forevermore, as long as they go underground - because she’s a vampire, he’s her blood brother, and every human wants to kill them now.

Modern vampires traded their Gothic castles for subterranean existences as the new wave, frightened by the solar-powered weapons that humans are fighting back with, sought shelter in something called Newborn Nests. Willa and Gabriel want to be a part of this revolutionized vampire experience, but they cannot stay in the Nests because Willa looks nearly identical to their much despised maker. Until they locate this unaccounted for creator, and prove Willa is who she says she is, they’re banished from safety and their after-lives are on the line above-ground.

Willa makes it her mission to find the monster who made her humanity a thing of the past and left her vampirism a questionable future. This cross-country journey shatters Willa’s worldview, as along the way she and Gabriel discover more abandoned siblings. Ultimately, to be successful Willa must take her place in her vampire family, and that means if she finds her mother she must be the perfect vampire daughter and kill or be killed.


#15

Honestly I think the variations that you and @charlottemallory are bandying back and forth are way too wordy.

Agents generally want a succinct 3 parts.

  1. What you’re selling - genre, word count, title
  2. Blurb/Hook/Meat of your story
  3. Any pertinent Bio facts (you’ve been published or won an award) and the personalization (why you chose this agent - you know they published something with a similar feel, maybe you met them at a conference, etc)

The hook or the meat of your story pitch should really be about 200 words (mine is 222 words so even a tad long).


#16

This edit was extremely helpful. Adding the identical maker detail makes the transition from Newborn Nests to the sibling hunt far more smoother.


#17

Trimming more - down to 203 words -

After Willa DePott is attacked and left for dead, she awakens to find a boy named Gabriel there. He breaks the news that she will live another day, and then every day forevermore, as long as they go underground - because she’s a vampire, he’s her blood brother, and every human wants to kill them now.

Modern vampires traded their Gothic castles for subterranean existences as the latest generation, frightened by the solar-powered weapons that humans are fighting back with, sought shelter in Newborn Nests there. Willa and Gabriel want to be a part of this revolutionized vampire experience, but cannot stay in the Nests because Willa looks nearly identical to their much-despised maker. Until they locate this unaccounted for creator, and prove Willa is who she says she is, they’re banished from safety and their after-lives are on the line above-ground.

Willa decides to find the monster who made her humanity a memory and her vampirism a questionable future. The cross-country journey shatters her worldview, as she and Gabriel discover more abandoned siblings. Ultimately, to be successful Willa must take her place in her vampire family, and that means becoming the perfect vampire daughter by killing anyone that gets in her way.