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Ask Daphne! About My Query LXXXV

brownleatherHappy Monday, all! Welcome back to another week of About My Query posts. Are your commenting fingers ready? Let’s go!

Dear Daphne Unfeasible,

I Closed my eyes is a completed 76,000 word urban fantasy/paranormal thriller.

In it, thirty-year-old Tina Sanford is perplexed over the global phenomenon baffling the experts. Beautiful and talented women are being found, having died in childbirth. Their pregnancies are accelerated to such a degree that no one knew that they had been pregnant, and the babies are never found. When an accident causes Tina to be telekinetic, she is careful not to let anyone know it. Then she begins to have seductive dreams of tall, dark, and handsome personified (Philip) and is disturbed by her unnatural attraction to this stranger. She doesn’t know he is the angel responsible for the deaths of all those women in his search for one like her. Tina is terrified when Philip appears for real but is enamored when rescued by Lucas, the angel that’s been watching her from the day of her birth. She is shocked to learn she is half nephilim, the strongest female in millennia and must be protected. Lucas and Tina fall in love as he helps her deal with her new realities. She panics when Philip threatens her best friend. Now Lucas must protect them both, a much harder task than it would seem.

Genesis chapter six refers to sons of God finding that the daughters of men were beautiful, and marrying any they chose. The children produced by these unions were the nephilim, also called heroes of old, men of renown. I believe the mythology of the Greek gods, witches, warlocks, and even superheroes evolved from them. Why would angels be interested in women? In the Bible, angels are all described as male.

In my story, angels have continued to breed with women up to modern day, who die giving birth to their nephilim offspring. The infants are taken to be trained in their various abilities. First and second-generation nephilim are also all male and weaker females aren’t strong enough, thus preventing the creation of a super race; until Tina is discovered. Nevertheless, all descendants have extra abilities, existing as the most powerful, beautiful, talented, and intelligent amongst us.

I Closed My Eyes is the first of a series; an introduction to this magical world, yet it stands alone. I’m not sure what to compare this to—I knew of nothing like it when I started writing—but it should be marketed to women age twenty-five and up. May I send you the completed manuscript?

Thank you for considering my work,

This definitely reads as a first draft of a query letter to me, so I hope our comments can be helpful in polishing it for you. First of all, I’m not surprised that your main character is “perplexed over the global phenomenon baffling the experts.” You’re telling me it’s confusing to experts, and Tina doesn’t seem to be one of those — what is she, actually? what does she do? — so her being perplexed is unnecessary. How widespread is this global phenomenon of women, not thought to be pregnant, dying in childbirth, their babies gone missing? Are we talking dozens of cases? Hundreds? Thousands? Some scale would be helpful, I think.

What point is there to Tina being telekinetic? Does her ability come back up again later? Is it useful to her in her attempt to get away from Philip? Especially on top of her having prophetic dreams, it seems a little much.

Is there a love triangle here? Does Tina’s attraction for Philip continue once Lucas appears? And why is Tina terrified that the hot guy she’s being seduced by in her dreams is real, if she “doesn’t know he is the angel responsible for the deaths of all those women”? What does she think when Lucas shows up? How does she feel about having a guardian angel? Is it Lucas who tells her she’s half-nephilim? How does she learn this?

I have a lot of questions partly because I think you throw a lot at the reader, but don’t set it up very well. By introducing Tina a little more fully — what she does, what she’s like — before you get into the plot, we’d have a better sense of how she might react to the events of the novel, and a stronger connection to her.

I think your paragraphs on the Biblical underpinings of the novel are unnecessary — though you say you “knew of nothing like it when I started writing”, there is in fact a ton of fiction out there about the offspring of angels — have you read more since you started writing? You should be able to pull out some comparisons — my own author Tom Sniegoski has written copiously on nephilim.

Readers, what do you think?

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