Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice: My Entry

Several wonderful bloggers put together a contest called The Writer's Voice, which requires authors to submit their query letter and first 250 pages of their novel up for scrutiny.  I was very lucky to receive a slot...So, without further ado, my submission:


Dear Writer's Voice Judges,

Plagued by guilt for his role in the accident that claimed his sister’s life, Adrian Montgomery has spent most of his life trying to atone. That’s why he decided to be a social worker: so that he could help rebuild families that had fallen apart, just like his own.

His ex-wife calls it a “hero complex,” but Adrian never saw it that way. Then again, his wife never knew about his sister; nobody does, because Adrian hasn’t talked about her for twenty-five years. He’s never mentioned the nightmares, either – the nightmares about a cloaked man who’s coming to take him away. Over time, Adrian learned to forget his dreams and lock away his memories in carefully sealed rooms in his mind.

All of that changes when one of his clients, seven-year-old Nathaniel Weaver, disappears from his backyard. The only clue about his whereabouts is a drawing he left behind -- a drawing of a familiar tall, cloaked man.

Obsessed with solving the disappearance, Adrian visits Nathaniel’s home and finds a doorway where none should be. On the other side is Tagestraum, a faerie world built and occupied by human dreams. Here, the lines between dreams, memories and nightmares are blurred, and lingering too long can shred a human’s sanity.

In order to find Nathaniel and return home before the world tears them apart, Adrian must face his oldest, darkest memories…and they’re not happy about being forgotten.

TAGESTRAUM is a 77,000 word dark fantasy in the tradition of Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint. [information redacted]

Thank you for your time and consideration, 

--- 

The Nightmare Man came today.
That was what Nathaniel Weaver had said the first time he showed Adrian the drawing: a man, cloaked in black with two large blank white eyes and a gaping round mouth full of teeth like the maw of some deep-sea fish. The drawing stared up at him now from his coffee table.
What bothered Adrian about The Nightmare Man wasn’t his menacing appearance or Nathaniel’s insistence on his reality. It was the nagging feeling of familiarity, the feeling that Adrian had not only seen this creature, he actually knew him in some way. The first time Nathaniel had shown him a drawing, months ago now, a cold chill had crept up Adrian’s back, a sense of déjà vu that he could not entirely place. It bothered him. Now, with Nathaniel missing and the newest drawing staring up from its place on the coffee table, it bothered him a whole lot more.
In his hand, the cell phone was sweaty and the heat of the battery was uncomfortable against his palm. In his other hand, he turned the detective's business card over and between his fingers. Outside, the moon was high and pale in the sky. A dog barked, somewhere, but otherwise all was still.
He had been working with the Weavers for eight months, beginning just after Mr. Weaver was arrested for assaulting a prostitute – the last of many episodes and the first his wife couldn't forgive him for. 
 

71 comments:

  1. Ooooooh. I am so hooked. MOAR!

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    1. *eyebrow waggle* My job here is done :D

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  2. Sounds interesting.
    Stopping by to wish you luck in TWV. :)

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  3. Interesting title, especially for a MS with a first line about a Nightmare - is your MS set in a German-speaking country? Best of luck with the contest and thank you for stopping by my blog :)

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    1. I guiltily admit that I came up with the name by plugging word combinations into Babelfish until I found something that I liked the look of ;)

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    2. Ah, ok - well, it's definitely a good looking word :) And its unique, so it draws the reader in!

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  4. Woo hoo! Congrats on making it in! This definitely reminds me of Charles DeLint, which is awesome

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    1. Thank you :) I really need to read more of his books -- I discovered him entirely too late in my life and need to make up for lost time!

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  5. Guilt? Nightmarish faerie world? Memories that get mad when they're forgotten?

    I think I'm squarely in your target audience. This is awesome!

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  6. Already read it, already love it. ^^

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    1. You cheater ;) Making everybody jealous...

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  7. This sort of story usually isn't my cup of tea, but the writing is great and I really enjoyed what you posted. Good luck!

    -Sarah #146

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  8. I really like the "and their not happy about being forgotten" finish! Good luck!

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    1. Thank you :) It took me a long time to settle on that line, but I'm quite pleased with it.

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  9. It's me, Cara, from QT! I'm #41!

    Glad you made it in. I'm curious on where something like this will go...

    ...FAERIES. Sorry, FAERIES are evil little buggers in my book XP

    Best of Luck!

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    1. Oh hey! congrats for getting in! My faeries aren't very nice either ;) Or, anyway, some of them aren't.

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  10. This is AMAZING! I love the query and the opening line just totally hooked me! Good luck with the contest - I hope you get an agent because I WANT to read this!!

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  11. Great voice and premise. I really like it! Good luck! -#128

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  12. Interesting premise. Here's wishing you lots of luck!

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  13. Good luck, definitely interesting premise! -April, #61

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    1. Thank you :D And good luck to you as well!

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  14. What's not to like? I was hooked way before you mentioned the fae. This one is a definite goer.
    Good luck TL, and thanks for your comment.
    Jacky
    xxx

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  15. Oooh.. creepy (aren't the fae, though?)

    Curious to see where this leads and wishing you good luck!

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  16. Interesting premise. I would have like to hear about the Dark Fae a little earlier, maybe.

    Good luck!

    Tina (#194)

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    1. Thank you ^^ Luck to you as well friend

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  17. Love that first line of the 250 - Good luck!! :D

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    1. Thanks ^^ And good luck to you! Good things are coming your way, I can feel it!

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  18. Ooo, a story harking back to the old tales where fae weren't all sparkles and nicey-nice. Very good.
    Wish you luck.

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    1. Yep :D My fae run the gamut, actually: wicked, hedonistic, sexy, neurotic....The MC's "magical guide" (of which there should always be one in this type of story) is a total prude by faerie standards. It was important to me to create a race of people and a world that you could really believe existed (and lived perfectly normal lives) beyond the confines of the story. That's something that's always bothered me about these kinds of stories and something I wanted to avoid in my book.

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  19. Hi TL, I'm visiting your blog from the Writer's Voice Contest (entry #58), and I wanted to wish you the best of luck! Nice to meet you.

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    1. And good luck to you! It's awesome the sort of community the contest is fostering, isn't it?

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  20. Okay, I'm so new to this blogging business that I only just figured out that I can click on an entrants name to read their query. Having gotten that off my chest, how can I not love a query that uses two of my all-time fav authors in its comps? Completely stoked by your premise-- makes me think of Gaiman's Neverwhere. And it sounds like we both have a thing for doors.

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    1. Haha, Scott, you're hilarious. Your entry is in my top 10 favorites. I hope you'll keep up with the blogging -- I'm already following you in hope of updates. LOVE the premise and your voice and everything (and we clearly share impeccable taste in authors, just sayin).

      Neverwhere was definitely a HUGE influence.

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  21. Okay, I'm so new to this blogging business that I only now figured out that I could click on an contestants name to read their entry. Having gotten that off my chest, how can I not love a query that cites two of my all time fav authors in its comps? Completely stoked by your premise--kinda makes me think of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. And it appears we both have a thing for doors. (Don't know why my post is labeled as anonymous. Will have to figure that one out later. Scott Wilbanks #123)

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  22. Love the darkness of this entry. Best of luck! (#195)

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    1. Thanks so much :D Good luck to you!

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  23. I like it!! Dark and creepy, and absolutely intriguing!

    Good luck!

    Summer - #40

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    1. Thank you so much :D Best of luck to you!

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  24. Wow. This is a helluva setup - dark and creepy and crossing that reality line. I love it!

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    1. Thanks :D It gets darker, creepier, and weirder from here.

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  25. Ooh, love that there's this hint of the supernatural but we don't get to know exactly what it is just yet... Also, love the comparison to Neil Gaiman! And the spooky atmosphere of your 250 is great. Good luck. :)

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  26. This sounds really interesting. Good luck!

    ~Nicole, entry 68

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    1. Thanks so much! Good luck to you also

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  27. Sounds creepy! In a good way! Good luck!

    Brandi #199

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    1. That was my intent :D Thanks and good luck to you!

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  28. Nightmare Man - creepy and compelling! Dropped by to make your views an even 200 and realized I didn't comment before. Awesome entry - wish I could keep reading. I'm worried about the soon to be missing kid! BTW - I grew up in (the horrible) Hobbs (New Mexico). Loving your twitter updates. Best of luck - #197

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment! I really appreciate it. Good luck to you as well! And it's impressive how many New Mexicans and New Mexico transplants there are in this contest! Good to hear you escaped Hobbs ;)

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  29. Oo, nice and creepy. :) Best of luck, T.L.!

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  30. Very nice premise and first 250, btw I agree with lots of what you said in your post on prologues and non-mc opening characters. I firmly believe that fictional writing is an art – not a science – though heavens knows there are plenty of formula writers out there. Hold to your beliefs, many of which I share, and good luck!

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    1. Thank you for your comment, C.G., and beat of luck in your writing endeavors!

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  31. I. WANT. YOU!!!!!!!!

    You know I love YA lit. But somehow this adult entry grabbed me!! SO YAY!! I loved the mystery about the cloaked man, and I think that last line (…and they’re not happy about being forgotten.) is just GENIUS!!!

    I have a few nitpicks on the first page and the query--but they are not big. :)

    I'd LOVE to have TAGESTRAUM on my team!! :D

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    1. *faints*

      I had to read this several times before I was convinced that I wasn't dreaming. I am SO excited to work on revisions with you! Thank you so much for the opportunity!

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  32. So glad you made it onto #TeamMonica! I'm happy to be your teammate :)

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    1. Thank you! Congratulations to you as well! This is awesome! I'm using too many exclamation points!!!!

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  33. In the interest of returning the favor of crit, my one note is this: I'd dump the repetition in your query. "He’s never mentioned the nightmares, either – the nightmares about a cloaked man" and "The only clue about his whereabouts is a drawing he left behind -- a drawing of a familiar tall, cloaked man."

    In both of those places, you could easily just jump to the description without the repetition and it would tighten things up nicely. With a query you have so few words -- no point in wasting them by repeating yourself! And not only repeating the phrases, but the construction of the sentences, too. Otherwise, I think your writing is great!

    Good luck and congrats on being chosen!!

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    1. Quite right you are. That set's always bothered me, and it's been a victim of the dreaded "over-editing" that happens when you try to listen to too many crits at once. I definitely think I can pare down that whole area. Hopefully Monica and I can brainstorm it out?

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  34. Hey, you just won the Sunshine Award. Check it out on my blog http://aewelch.com/2012/05/10/and-the-sunshine-fell-upon-me/ I definitely think you're full of the sunshine :)

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    1. An award! ahh! My day just gets better and better :D Thank you!

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  35. Wait. Didn't i comment on your post? What the hell? I distinctly remember coming here and reading your entry and thinking about how it reminded me of a mix of Charles DeLint and House of Leaves, which totally makes me want to read it, btw, but now i see that my comment didn't save. Stupid blogger.
    Anyhoo, i'm so glad we're on the same team!!

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    1. Hah, I hate when that happens! *high five for fellow teammate*

      You know, I've never read House of Leaves, but I know someone who was absolutely obsessed over that book. She loved it sooooo much, it was this life-altering experience for her. I didn't pick it up because another friend thought it was really terrible, but I've seen it come up over and over again so I really should find a copy and check it out.

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