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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

query #2

Here is Huntress' query - her FIRST query she wants you to know - for her fantasy, Rapier:

Dear Ms.

As a first time author, I am submitting a fantasy novel for your examination. I probably wouldn’t mention being a first time author. The fact that I’m not listing any publishing credits will clue the agent in on that fact and there’s no need to highlight the fact.

As a life-long enthusiast of fantasy, I am delighted the current market seems very hungry for books about the supernatural and paranormal. I’d  probably kill this, too; it’s unnecessary.

In your posting, you expressed interest in a strong heroine. I’d be more specific about the posting but I’d definitely include this as agents like to know you’re paying attention to what they want. I believe this woman is prepared to square her jaw and take on the world. I'd cut this but maybe insert it somewhere else in the query. In fact, I might start out my query with this first sentence and then move on to ‘Dragons have walked…’

My synopsis follows: This is a query letter, not a synopsis so I’d lose this.
Dragons have walked in the midst of human kind for thousands of years, their stolen human bodies blending in with the populace. I like this idea of dragons stealing human bodies; it’s intriguing and it begs the question: can they revert to dragon form? They have always been opposed by the Masters, men who have bonded in symbiotic partnership with a supernatural,  living? sword, the Rapier. Not sure if this added word works or not since I don’t know the whole story…

But Only this time, the new Master is not what the Dragon was expecting. This time, the Rapier has bonded with a woman.

When Lee hears the voice in her head telling her she is now the Master of a black and gold Rapier, she wonders why she should listen, especially when the tall black-eyed handsome stranger suddenly appears at her door. I’m not sure if I like this paragraph. I do like the first sentence but …hmm, maybe this instead: “When Lee hears the voice in her head telling her she’s now the Master of the Rapier, she ignores it – until a stranger suddenly appears at her door wanting to kill her.”

And the Rapier must adjust to the growing interest Lee has for the Dragon that has come to kill her. I’d cut this because I think ending on a more interesting note as above might pique an agent’s curiosity more. Instead, I’d probably try to wrap it up: Now Lee is going to have to figure out who to trust, a dragon or a sword. ‘Course, I don’t really like that either but obviously the story is about Lee trying to live with this new gift and finding her place in a world she might not be familiar with. Here’s where I might mention her strengths.

This is the first of an intended four novels. It is approximately 91,500 words with the title of, “Rapier”. I am currently writing the second novel and editing the outlines of the third and fourth novels. Thank you very much for your time and the opportunity of submitting a fantasy manuscript. The last thing I'll say is that I've heard it's difficult to get a fantasy series published unless it is very very good - think Rothfuss and Martin. I might consider trying to make book one stand alone with the possibility of more.


So now it's your turn. What do you think of this query? How could it be better? And if yopu would like your query critiqued, send it with 'unicorn bell query' in the subject line to : marcy@tidewater.net. I'd also like to know whether you're finding this helpful or whether you'd like something else critiqued. First page, perhaps? A scene you're having trouble with? Inquiring minds want to know. Really! And don't forget, the above purple comments are one person's opinion. Ultimately the author has to make the final decision about what works best.


Pk Hrezo said...

I feel like there needs to be a bit more about Lee. Who is she? Where does she come from? Why do I care about what happens to her? I need to know her goal and motivation, and what's at stake if she doesn't reach it.

I agree with the first para being cut. Unnecessary info. Just get right to the story. SOunds like a really cool story tho! :)

Huntress said...

*squeak, gag*
Since it is my first effort (I actually sent this thing out), I can dis it front and back. Bad grammar, no storyline or hook. Blech.
It has all the things you DON'T want in a query.
(seriously, I cringe looking at it)

After major re-writes, RAPIER evolved into OF OAK AND DRAGONS.

Brooke R. Busse said...

I would read this story most definitely. It's something I've never seen before. However, I agree with all of PK's comments. This query lacks many professional elements.

Charity Bradford said...

Carol, I'm so glad this story wasn't shelved! It sounds absolutely fascinating, even through the roughness of the query.

Thanks for being brave enough to offer up that first query for critiquing. I wasn't brave enough. I knew my "good" one had enough problems that I cringe at those first ones.

Huntress said...

*blush* thanks

It is my first 'baby'. Querying is on hold for now but two agents have the full and another has the partial.
Obviously, I did not use the above query to get their attention *shudder*