EVEN NEWER REVISIONS - QUERY - EXILED

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
mrmerrick
Posts: 14
Joined: May 3rd, 2010, 11:53 am
Location: Alberta, Canada
Contact:

EVEN NEWER REVISIONS - QUERY - EXILED

Post by mrmerrick » May 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Hey everyone,

I've been following Nathan's blog for some time but I've never taken advantage of the great feed back everybody has to offer here. Being new to the forum I thought this would be a great opportunity to offer up my query for your critique and hope to get some great feed back. I've written, and revised, then rewritten completely. Hopefully you all can help me polish it! Thanks in advance.

Dear Agent,

It has been three years since seventeen year old Chase was exiled from The Circle (a secret society of demon hunters) for not having any powers, but surviving the real world is proving to be more difficult than he imagined.

Between a full time job and dodging the Underworlds constant attacks, Chase has his hands full. When the demons most recent attempt on his life overwhelms him, Chase encounters Rayna; a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret – she’s part hunter too. Discovering The Circle’s plan to fulfill a prophecy and break the seal on a millennia old portal to the other worlds, they join forces to stop them. Fighting a slew of demons and hunters along their way, a strange turn of events gives Chase his own elemental powers. With fire and water in hand Chase finds a familiar face behind it all, which leads him to more questions about the prophecy than he can find answers.

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy that takes place in both the fictional city of Stonewall, NY and the world of Drakar. Completed at approximately 109,000 words, it stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for it as a future series. If you would like to view a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request.

Please note that I am submitting to multiple agents and editors whom I feel will have an interest in this novel. Thank you for taking the time to review my work, I look forward to hearing from you.
Last edited by mrmerrick on May 26th, 2010, 4:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
rainbowsheeps
Posts: 72
Joined: April 4th, 2010, 8:53 pm
Location: new york.
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by rainbowsheeps » May 3rd, 2010, 4:50 pm

mrmerrick wrote:Hey everyone,

I've been following Nathan's blog for some time but I've never taken advantage of the great feed back everybody has to offer here. Being new to the forum I thought this would be a great opportunity to offer up my query for your critique and hope to get some great feed back. I've written, and revised, then rewritten completely. Hopefully you all can help me polish it! Thanks in advance.

Dear Agent,

It has been three years since seventeen year old (seventeen-year-old. I don't blame you though. I don't like the way it looks with all those dashes.) Chase was exiled from The Circle (a secret society of demon hunters)(I personally don't like the use of parentheses here) for not having any powers, but surviving the real world is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. (The second clause of that sentence is extremely awkward. It doesn't seem to match with the first. What does his exclusion from the Circle have to do with surviving the real world?)

Between a full time job and dodging the Underworld's (Apostrophe indicates possessive. Without it, it means plural) constant attacks, Chase has his hands full. When the demons most recent attempt on his life overwhelms him, Chase encounters Rayna; a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret – she’s part hunter too. (A few things. 1) Tell us what the attack on his life was. It will improve this letter. 2) When you tell us what that attack is, don't just say it "overwhelms" him. If he nearly dies, say that instead. 3) "she's part hunter too"... as in, she's part hunter too (like Chase) or she's part hunter too(like half demon, aka hunted, and half hunter?) Discovering The Circle’s plan to fulfill a prophecy and break the seal on a millennia old portal to the other worlds, they join forces to stop them.(Too much, too condensed here. The plot and word heavy first clause kind of collapses the sentence, too, and ruins whatever flow you had. I'd say break this one up into two or three sentences to let these details breathe a little bit.) Fighting a slew of demons and hunters along their way, a strange turn of events gives Chase his own elemental powers. With fire and water in hand, (Missing comma) Chase finds a familiar face behind it all,(This likely needs to be more specific. A familiar face behind it all, as in someone he knows is pulling the strings behind this scheme? If the identity of this person remains a mystery for the entire story, don't tell it, but something probably needs to be done to make this a little more exciting and mysterious. We only have two characters in this query letter, and no single antagonist except the organization. I think you might want to give a better sense of who the antagonist will be in the end, even if you don't want to spoil the mystery entirely) which leads him to more questions about the prophecy than he can find answers. ("More questions than answers" sounds okay, "more questions than he can find answers" doesn't.)

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy that takes place in both the fictional city of Stonewall, NY and the world of Drakar. Completed at approximately 109,000 words, it stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for it as a future series. If you would like to view a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request.

Please note that I am submitting to multiple agents and editors whom I feel will have an interest in this novel. (Meh. Most agents don't require you tell them it's a multiple submission. I know some do. But still, meh. The good agents should be assuming you're not sending exclusively unless they explicitly ask for it. I know, that has nothing to do with your letter, I'm just babbling) Thank you for taking the time to review my work, I look forward to hearing from you.
Basically, uh, tighten tighten tighten. The first paragraph is one awkward sentence that can be fixed pretty easily. The second paragraph is a little too vague. I'd suggest shorter, more active sentences once you introduce the Rayna character. It glosses over the action a little too much.

It certainly has potential.

User avatar
HillaryJ
Posts: 434
Joined: February 3rd, 2010, 7:22 pm
Location: Alaska
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by HillaryJ » May 3rd, 2010, 6:58 pm

mrmerrick wrote:
Dear Agent,

It has been three years since seventeen-year-old Chase was exiled from The Circle (a secret society of demon hunters) for not having any powers, but surviving the real world is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. *More difficult than he imagined, and maybe more cliched and less specific than necessary. Also, the next paragraph tells us that, despite getting a presumably-regular job, he's still caught up in the world of the Circle, just on the periphery.*

Between a full time job and dodging the Underworld's *Why is this proper? Is it a thing, a gang, or the name for all the demonic things that go bump?* constant attacks, Chase has his hands full. When the demons most recent attempt on his life overwhelms him, Chase encounters Rayna: a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret – she’s part hunter too *I, also, stumbled - part hunter as well as part demon a part time hunter?*. Discovering The Circle’s plan to break the seal on a millennia-old portal to other worlds, they join forces to stop them. Fighting a slew of demons and hunters along their way, a strange turn of events gives Chase his own elemental powers. With fire and water in hand Chase finds a familiar face behind it all, which leads him to more questions about the prophecy than he can find answers. *NOOO...you were doing so good at specifics, and now we have a strange turn of events, familiar faces and more questions...none of which mean anything to someone who hasn't read your story. Give a brief, specific cause to the powers, a relationship (old teacher, previously-separated conjoined twin) to the familiar face and up the tension rather than mentioning "more questions".*

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy that takes place in both the fictional city of Stonewall, NY and the world of Drakar. Completed at approximately 109,000 words, it stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for it as a future series. If you would like a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request.

Please note that I am submitting to multiple agents and editors whom I feel will have an interest in this novel. Thank you for taking the time to review my work *this makes it sound like you've sent it out for a critique - maybe "thank you for your consideration (or) your time, instead*, I look forward to hearing from you.
Ah, the simultaneous submission line. I suggest using a bit of discretion on that. Most agents/editors will assume you are sending out simultaneous subs. Only a few require you to disclose that up front. So, unless asked to disclose, don't include that. If you've got an agent screening 50 queries a day and s/he's got yours and another he likes, and the other says "dear agent, I saw that you represent this client whom you adore, and have heard great things about you" and you saying "I'm sending this, potentially, all over God's green Earth", which do you think s/he'd be more likely to want to see more of?

Nice work. Have you checked out PYR as a direct market for UF?

Good luck!
Blog http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/hillaryjacques
CARNIEPUNK - http://books.simonandschuster.com/Carni ... 1476714158
as Regan Summers - The Night Runner series from Carina Press

User avatar
wilderness
Posts: 541
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 6:25 pm
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by wilderness » May 3rd, 2010, 7:05 pm

Hi -

I feel you haven't focused the query enough. Right now it reads somewhat episodically. I think you should focus on the following questions:

1. What is your unique hook? What makes it different from other books?
2. What is driving Chase?

I think the idea of Rayna, someone who is both a demon and a demon hunter, is a great twist, but she's not the main character. So what's cool and unique about Chase?

Hope that helps! Good luck.

User avatar
karenbb
Posts: 66
Joined: May 1st, 2010, 4:21 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by karenbb » May 3rd, 2010, 8:01 pm

My two cents...it left me wanting details, at least a handful, to give a defined sense of where the story goes and what happens along the way. It's very vague, which makes me feel like not much happens, but your word count certainly doesn't match a book without much happening.

I thought both line-by-line critiques were great--I would take as much from those as you can.

Good luck!

mrmerrick
Posts: 14
Joined: May 3rd, 2010, 11:53 am
Location: Alberta, Canada
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by mrmerrick » May 3rd, 2010, 8:16 pm

Thank you everybody for your excellent advice. I'm left wishing that after my first rejection I hadn't taken so much out of my query. I'm going to take all your suggestions and see if I can't put together something that's tighter, with plenty more details and still leaving enough so you want to read more. I found my previous query giving too many details and thus reading as a synopsis. I'll post a revision soon and hopefully with your help I'll be able to get a nice tight and to the point finished product. Thanks again, and I look forward to your thoughts on the revision!

mrmerrick
Posts: 14
Joined: May 3rd, 2010, 11:53 am
Location: Alberta, Canada
Contact:

REVISED QUERY - EXILED

Post by mrmerrick » May 3rd, 2010, 9:17 pm

Okay, so I have a revision, I've been working on (for much longer than since I posted my last comment) and I want to say thanks again for taking your time to help me. I truly appreciate it. So hopefully i'm closer now, I've tried to take my old query that was very detail ridden, and my new query which was missing too many details and combine them while adjusting it with the advice you guys were kind enough to give. I would also like to note that I will be adding a personal tidbit about the agents I'll be sending the query to, but I will add them in as I prepare to send each individual query. So without further ado, here is the revised query and I hope I'm getting closer with it.


Dear Agent,


In a world of magic and half-demons, Chase Williams is destined to be a demon hunter in the Circle – or so he thinks. After failing to develop an elemental power, he’s exiled by his father and forced to live in the real world, where he finds the line between good and evil is starting to blur.


Three years after his exile, seventeen-year-old Chase is in the middle of another attack on his life. The demons of the Underworld would love nothing more than to kill the son of notorious hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. Outnumbered and doubting his chances, Chase is saved by Rayna: a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret. Revealing that she’s part hunter with an element of her own, Chase is left wondering how she has the power that over looked him. His doubts are cast aside when he discovers The Circle’s plan to fulfill a millennia old prophecy. Breaking the seal on a portal, and unleashing pure blood demons into the world is something Chase won’t let happen. Pairing up with the only help he has, he and Rayna vow to stop them. Fighting a slew of demons and hunters along their way, Chase and Rayna’s differences disappear and they can’t help but rely on each other. But when a fight with the demons goes bad and risks Rayna’s life, Chase’s anger explodes and with it, his own elements are born. Fire and water in hand, Chase saves Rayna and moves in to stop the hunters, only to find his father is at the head of the conspiracy. Intending to do more than open the portal, Riley kidnaps Rayna to complete the prophecy, and Chase is left navigating a demonic dimension to save Rayna, and the world he learns he was born to protect.


EXILED is an Urban Fantasy that takes place in both the fictional city of Stonewall, NY and the world of Drakar. Completed at approximately 109,000 words, it stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for it as a future series. If you would like to view a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

mrmerrick
Posts: 14
Joined: May 3rd, 2010, 11:53 am
Location: Alberta, Canada
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by mrmerrick » May 4th, 2010, 5:43 pm

Hrmmm...Not sure if this is giving away too much now or not...maybe it's just enough. It doesn't tell the entire story but does give a lot of details away. However, I want to show the agent that I have crafted my plot well enough to tell a story that has 109,000 words and keep a reader turning the pages. What do you think, is this an improvement? Or have gone too far in the other direction from the original???

User avatar
HillaryJ
Posts: 434
Joined: February 3rd, 2010, 7:22 pm
Location: Alaska
Contact:

Re: REVISED QUERY - EXILED

Post by HillaryJ » May 4th, 2010, 10:45 pm

mrmerrick wrote:
Chase Williams believed that he was destined to become a hunter in The Circle, the group of humans who fight off half-demons who manage to break into the Earthly plane *I don't know if that's what they are. "Hunter" seems to be something other than a profession, if Rayna is half hunter*. Failing to develop a requisite elemental power, Chase is exiled by his father and forced to live in the real world. *I got snagged on this notion again on this version, and just figured out why. Many fantasies, especially urban fantasies do not call the regular world "the real world", because it is oblivious to the very real forces of darkness (whatever they are in that particular series), so I almost want to hear it called "the mundane world", or "among regular people"*


Three years after his exile, seventeen-year-old Chase is in the middle of another attack on his life. He might have been forbidden to hunt demons, but that hasn't stopped demons from coming after him, the son of notorious hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. Outnumbered, Chase is saved by Rayna: a sexy half-demon with an attitude and an elemental power of her own. Chase is left wondering how she has the power that over looked him. His doubts are cast aside when he discovers *this is passive. Does she tell him? Do they find out together? Any way to make them actively discover this?* The Circle plans to break the seal on a portal and unleash pure blood demons into the world, something Chase can’t in good conscience let happen. Pairing up with the only help he has, he and Rayna vow to stop them. Fighting demons and hunters along their way, Chase and Rayna’s differences disappear and they can’t help but rely on each other. *differences disappear...can't help but rely. I guess I'd like to see something stronger than them begrudgingly relying on one another take place* But when a fight goes bad and Rayna's life is jeopardized, Chase’s anger explodes and with it, his own elements are born. Fire and water in hand, Chase saves Rayna and moves in to stop the hunters, only to find his father is at the head of the conspiracy. Intending to do more than open the portal, Riley kidnaps Rayna to complete the prophecy, and Chase is left navigating a demonic dimension to save Rayna, and the world he learns he was born to protect. *Aah, too much, too much. Abort. Okay, we went from too little information to too much. I think that you can remove the kidnapping/saving of Rayna and focus on the navigation of the demonic dimension and the showdown with the father, which is EPIC, and then maybe say that if Chace succeeds he'll save Earth and Drakar, which is starting to feel more like home, or something like that.*


EXILED is an Urban Fantasy that takes place in both the fictional city of Stonewall, NY and the world of Drakar. Completed at approximately 109,000 words, it stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for it as a future series. If you would like to view a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I keep taking out the prophecy part, because while I'm sure it's integral to the book, without further explanation that you don't have space for in the query, it's not necessary - only the result of the prophecy is necessary. Unless their fulfilling the prophecy is something that, even though it unleashes demons on the world, is necessary to carry on the good fight. If that's the case, it needs to be better explained.

Not sure you need to specify which city the story is in, especially if it's fictional.

This is better. Watch out for cliches and sentences/parts of sentences that don't say anything. It seems to me that the middle of the second paragraph, about Chace and Rayna getting to know one another, could be abbreviated.

Good luck.
Blog http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/hillaryjacques
CARNIEPUNK - http://books.simonandschuster.com/Carni ... 1476714158
as Regan Summers - The Night Runner series from Carina Press

User avatar
rainbowsheeps
Posts: 72
Joined: April 4th, 2010, 8:53 pm
Location: new york.
Contact:

Re: REVISED QUERY - EXILED

Post by rainbowsheeps » May 4th, 2010, 11:35 pm

mrmerrick wrote:Okay, so I have a revision, I've been working on (for much longer than since I posted my last comment) and I want to say thanks again for taking your time to help me. I truly appreciate it. So hopefully i'm closer now, I've tried to take my old query that was very detail ridden, and my new query which was missing too many details and combine them while adjusting it with the advice you guys were kind enough to give. I would also like to note that I will be adding a personal tidbit about the agents I'll be sending the query to, but I will add them in as I prepare to send each individual query. So without further ado, here is the revised query and I hope I'm getting closer with it.


Dear Agent,


In a world of magic and half-demons, Chase Williams is destined to be a demon hunter in the Circle – or so he thinks. (I read the previous version of the query, of course, but I think I liked knowing what the Circle was here. I remember not liking the parentheses, though.) After failing to develop an elemental power, he’s exiled by his father and forced to live in the real world, where he finds the line between good and evil is starting to blur. (I admit, I'm a sucker for blurring lines. But I think this is interesting. I'm assuming that what you're hinting at is how his father, who Chase thought was a good demon hunter, actually has his own evil plan, which is blurring morality for him. I wanted to point out, though, that when I first read it I got the impression that something weird was going on with the world itself. I don't know if the initial confusion is necessarily a bad thing, though.)

That said, I think you could make the first paragraph tighter with some simple rearranging:

"In a world of magic and half-demons, Chase Williams is destined to be a demon hunter - or so he thinks. He wants to someday be a part of the Circle, a secret society of demon hunters, but after failing to develop an elemental power, he’s exiled by his father. and f Forced to live in the real world, where he finds the line between good and evil is starting to blur.

^ Note: The black is your words from this query, the purple is words from your previous query, and the blue words are mine.


Three years after his exile, seventeen-year-old Chase is in the middle of another attack on his life. (I would still prefer to know what exactly happens here to attack him. It seems like a good opportunity to hint at action, or at least tell us a little about the setting this is taking place in. For instance, if it's urban and Chase happened to be at a mall when demons came through the window for him, or if he was on his way to a castle or something to give us a sense it's historical. Something, maybe? But anyway, the sentence reads passive anyway. "Chase is in the middle of another attack on his life" doesn't sound exciting, and the stakes don't seem high. If there are demons throwing fireballs or sticking his head through glass windows or there's clanging of swords or something, you should say it here. Not just because it's action and it's interesting, but also because it shows us stakes pretty vividly. At least your previous query seemed to imply his life was really on the line here. I want to feel that from this sentence.) The demons of the Underworld would love nothing more than to kill the son of notorious hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. (Good.) Outnumbered and doubting his chances, Chase is saved by Rayna: a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret. (What I said before applies here too. If you replace "outnumbered and doubting his chances" with an image of Chase being cornered by a mob of angry demons getting ready to eat him alive or something, it would make this so much better, because: 1) it's specific, and we could picture that; 2) we might sympathize with Chase; 3) it raises the stakes because we won't want to see that happen to him; 4) increases tension, because we want to see if and how he gets out of it alive... which gives the character Rayna a more dramatic entrance. But that also brings me to the second half of the sentence. If she uses a gun to shoot one (or all of them) and scare them away, say that. If she runs in slashing a sword, or cracking a whip, or whatever, say that too. It shouldn't take up too much space and if done properly could make this crackle more. Whew.) Revealing that she’s part hunter with an element of her own, Chase is left wondering how she has the power that over looked him. (I have problems with the construction of this sentence. You don't need to say "revealing that..." You can just say, "Rayna is part(why is it only part, anyway?) hunter with an element of her own." You can say this bluntly because it ties in with the secret of the preceding sentence, and should be self-explanatory. "Chase is left wondering how she has the power that over looked(should be overlooked) him" is weak. Passive! I'd say make it more active, "Chase wonders..." but that still isn't strong enough. Is he jealous? Does it just make him even more disappointed in himself? Is he angry? If any of the above, use those instead.)

His doubts (doubts about what?) are cast aside when he discovers The Circle’s plan to fulfill a millennia old prophecy. (How does he discover this?) Breaking the seal on a portal, and unleashing pure blood demons into the world is something Chase won’t let happen. (I don't know if you need to say it's something he won't let happen. Unleashing blood demons into the world sounds like a crappy thing to do, that we can probably assume he wouldn't like. I think you could combine these two sentences, using whatever active means Chase uses to discover the plan, followed by what they plan to do (break the seal, etc.)) Pairing up with the only help he has, he and Rayna vow to stop them. Fighting a slew of demons and hunters along their way, Chase and Rayna’s differences disappear and they can’t help but rely on each other. (You didn't really illustrate their differences to begin with, except maybe their species and powers, so don't mention them here. I would prefer if you could talk about the changing dynamic in their relationship in a different way, too. Are they grateful for each other's help? Is attraction blooming between them? Anything like that?) But when a fight with the demons goes bad and risks Rayna’s life (You seem to want to avoid saying your characters might die. You should just say that, because it makes the tension more palpable), Chase’s anger explodes (His anger shouldn't explode. He should explode with anger) and with it, his own elements are born. Fire and water in hand (Are you saying he controls both fire and water now? Or is water Rayna's power? I assume he can control both, since she's apparently almost dying, but this needs clarification), Chase saves Rayna and moves in to stop the hunters, only to find his father is at the head of the conspiracy. Intending to do more than open the portal, Riley kidnaps Rayna to complete the prophecy, and Chase is left navigating a demonic dimension to save Rayna, and the world he learns he was born to protect. (The entire ending of the paragraph gets lost in the shuffle. I'm not going to go phrase-by-phrase. The story itself sounds good. The writing is too passive to do it justice. I like the fact you're saying he explodes with anger, and with it out comes the fire, and I like that you've connected it with the two characters to show there's a palpable bond between these two that goes deeper than your "they have to rely on each other" phrasing earlier would indicate. The rest of the query should read more like that. It's telling, though, that even that sentence you've managed to make it passive by making his anger the subject. Haha, this query in general would be fifty times stronger if you cut out the passive voice. Anyway, after he's saved her and "moves in to stop the hunters", it gets a little lost. Even if you exchange, "only to find his father is at the head of the conspiracy" with "only to find himself face-to-face with his own father trying to unleash the demons"... even simple wording like that hints at a stronger emotional punch. Little things like that don't just make it flashier, it tells us more about the characters and the themes. The last sentence where his father is "intending to do more than open the portal" could use clarification, but I like the idea that Chase has to basically navigate through the world to get Rayna back and save everything. The fact he's stranded in this dimension (presumably where he'll have to fight his way through some demons, too) with all this weight on the shoulders is probably a better hook than learning he's a prophesied hero, too. So maybe consider ending it with that instead.)


EXILED is an Urban Fantasy that takes place in both the fictional city of Stonewall, NY and the world of Drakar. Completed at approximately 109,000 words, it stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for it as a future series. If you would like to view a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.
*breathes in deep*

I wrote a lot. I know. I apologize. I do it because I care though. Your story sounds good. The writing needs to be more active and descriptive, though. Specifics, specifics, specifics! If you could paint us a picture of some of these key scenes, I think it wouldn't just sound better from a writing perspective, it would make us care more about the characters and feel the sheer weight of the stakes here. I think things like that would set your query apart from the rest of the pile and make this really sparkle.

mrmerrick
Posts: 14
Joined: May 3rd, 2010, 11:53 am
Location: Alberta, Canada
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by mrmerrick » May 5th, 2010, 2:56 pm

Thanks HilaryJ and Rainbow sheep for your thoughts.

Rainbow - Don't apologize for writing so much, you have some great feed back. I'm not sure why I can see the same problems with others queries, but when it comes to my own I'm oblivious. Maybe it's because i know the story too well, and I'd love to just write a whole synopsis for my query. I hope this next revision is tight, and detailed enough to force you to keep your blue font to a minimum. However, please don't hesitate to keep filling my page with advice, I don't have alot of access to other writers in my area so the advice I am receiving here is priceless to me.

So, after careful consideration and pounding of my keyboard, I'm hoping this next revision puts me closer to 'query completion.' I've added more 'specifics' and taken out as much of the passive writing as I could see. I pulled a few details out, that based on everybodys thoughts, were better left unsaid if I couldn't explain it futher, which is difficult in such a short letter. It needs to be detailed enough that you get the picture of the world and story I've created, but not so detailed that it's a play by play of all 109,000 words. So, hopefully this query does just that!



Dear Agent,

In a world of magic and half-demons, Chase Williams is destined to be a demon hunter – or so he thinks. Chase wants to be part of The Circle, a secret society of demon hunters, but failing to develop an elemental power leaves him exiled by his father. Forced to live among the mundane, he finds the line between good and evil starting to blur.

Three years after his exile, seventeen-year-old Chase is attacked by vampires on his way home from work. The demons of the Underworld would love nothing more than to kill the son of notorious hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. Fangs bore and talons sharp, the vampires are ready to rip out his throat, when a stranger and a silver stake save his life. Rayna’s a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret, she’s part hunter too. Her mother a witch and her fathers a hunter has left her demon magic and an earth element. Chase hates that she’s a demon, but the fact she has her own element puts the taste of jealousy in his mouth.

Stumbling upon hunters torturing demons for information, Chase learns the Circle plans to break the seal on a portal and unleash pure blood demons into the world. Putting his jealousy aside, he pairs up with Rayna, the only help he has. Fighting demons and hunters along their way, Chase and Rayna grow closer, an attraction sparking between them. When a fight with the demons goes bad and Rayna nearly dies, Chase explodes in anger and with it, his own elements are born. Able to create and control both fire and water, Chase meets face to face with the hunter behind it all; Riley Williams. Navigating a demonic dimension, Chase escapes goblins and battles trolls to stop his father. If he succeeds, he can save those close to him, and the world he was born to protect.

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy completed at approximately 109,000 words. It stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for a future series. If you would like to view a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Matthew R. Merrick

User avatar
HillaryJ
Posts: 434
Joined: February 3rd, 2010, 7:22 pm
Location: Alaska
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by HillaryJ » May 5th, 2010, 7:54 pm

mrmerrick wrote:


Dear Agent,

(In a world of magic and half-demons,)*I like this, but don't think it's necessary, because the remainder of this paragraph shows what you're telling us here. Maybe just take it into consideration if you're trying to cut word count* Chase Williams is destined to be a demon hunter – or so he thinks. Chase wants to be part of The Circle, a secret society of demon hunters, but failing to develop an elemental power leaves him exiled by his father. Forced to live among the mundane, he finds the line between good and evil starting to blur.

Three years after his exile, seventeen-year-old Chase is attacked by vampires on his way home from work. The demons of the Underworld would love nothing more than to kill the son of notorious hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. Chase is saved by Rayna, a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret: she’s part hunter, too. Her mother, a witch, and her father, a hunter, have left her demon magic and an earth element. Chase hates that she’s a demon, and the fact she has her own element puts the taste of jealousy in his mouth. *I'm using "and" rather than "but" because these both seem like negative things they will have to overcome in order to work together. Nice - adds tension*

Stumbling upon hunters torturing demons for information, Chase learns the Circle plans to break the seal on a portal and unleash pure blood demons into the world. Putting his jealousy aside, he begrudgingly pairs up with Rayna.*I know it's a dreaded "-ly" word, but I think it's smoother than "the only help he has"* Fighting demons and hunters along their way, Chase and Rayna grow closer. *She's sexy; he's seventeen. They're both outcast. Attraction is all but inevitable.* When a fight with the demons goes bad and Rayna nearly dies, Chase explodes in anger and with it, his own elements are born. Able to create and control both fire and water, Chase meets the hunter behind the Circle's plans: Riley Williams. Navigating a demon dimension, Chase escapes goblins and battles trolls to stop his father. *I stumble a bit with this sentence. Maybe if the demon dimension was introduced as existing on the other side of the portal earlier, this wouldn't have been so jarring.* If he succeeds, he can save those close to him, and the world he was born to protect.

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy complete at 109,000 words. It stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for a series. If you would like to see the full manuscript, it is available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Matthew R. Merrick
Watch your colons versus semi-colons. Might check your ms for those, if you use them at all in the story. You're so close, but check your word count. This was getting wordy. Try to keep it under 250.
Blog http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/hillaryjacques
CARNIEPUNK - http://books.simonandschuster.com/Carni ... 1476714158
as Regan Summers - The Night Runner series from Carina Press

User avatar
rainbowsheeps
Posts: 72
Joined: April 4th, 2010, 8:53 pm
Location: new york.
Contact:

Re: QUERY - EXILED

Post by rainbowsheeps » May 8th, 2010, 8:13 pm

mrmerrick wrote:Thanks HilaryJ and Rainbow sheep for your thoughts.

Rainbow - Don't apologize for writing so much, you have some great feed back. I'm not sure why I can see the same problems with others queries, but when it comes to my own I'm oblivious. Maybe it's because i know the story too well, and I'd love to just write a whole synopsis for my query. I hope this next revision is tight, and detailed enough to force you to keep your blue font to a minimum. However, please don't hesitate to keep filling my page with advice, I don't have alot of access to other writers in my area so the advice I am receiving here is priceless to me.

So, after careful consideration and pounding of my keyboard, I'm hoping this next revision puts me closer to 'query completion.' I've added more 'specifics' and taken out as much of the passive writing as I could see. I pulled a few details out, that based on everybodys thoughts, were better left unsaid if I couldn't explain it futher, which is difficult in such a short letter. It needs to be detailed enough that you get the picture of the world and story I've created, but not so detailed that it's a play by play of all 109,000 words. So, hopefully this query does just that!



Dear Agent,

In a world of magic and half-demons, Chase Williams is destined to be a demon hunter – or so he thinks. Chase wants to be part of The Circle, a secret society of demon hunters, but failing to develop an elemental power leaves him exiled by his father. Forced to live among the mundane ("living among the mundane" isn't as clear as what you said before (was it "in the real world"?) In the real world has problems because your query doesn't signify there's two worlds, the supernatural and 'normal' world. Saying that he's forced to live "among the mundane" still doesn't clarify what's happening enough. You don't have to explain the entire backstory of the incident exactly, but you need to explain what the mundane is. But also, there's another problem with this, which we'll get to in a second.), he finds the line between good and evil starting to blur. (I don't remember what I said about this before. I like blurring lines, but it's not clear when you first read this why these lines are being blurred. Presumably your previous sentence is saying he's spending time among "normal" people. The issue of ethics in everyday life isn't as clear when compared to battles for good vs evil, but I doubt that's what you had in mind when you wrote this line anyway. On the other hand, if you mean the lines being blurred because randomly supernatural creatures start attacking him... then you need to link this sentence and the next one together better.)

Three years after his exile later, seventeen-year-old Chase is attacked by vampires on his way home from work. The demons of the Underworld would love nothing more than to kill the son of notorious hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. (Why'd they wait three years to do this? But watch out, because if it's actually continuous attacks on his life which you're omitting to get to the Rayna introduction, that makes the usage of "mundane" in the first paragraph problematic.) Fangs bore and talons sharp, the vampires are ready to rip out his throat, when a stranger and with a silver stake saves his life. Rayna’s a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret:, she’s part hunter too. Her mother a witch and her fathers a hunter has left her demon magic and an earth element. (This isn't that for us.) Chase hates that she’s a demon, but and the fact she has her own element puts the taste of jealousy in his mouth. (And the fact she saved his life helps, too, right? I know Hillary covered some of these already, and rightly so.)

Stumbling upon hunters torturing demons for information (it seems just a little odd and convenient that's something they would just stumble upon, especially considering how Chase is "living among the mundane" now), Chase learns the Circle plans to break the seal on a portal and unleash pure blood demons into the world (the prophecy you invoked in the last one still makes no sense to me. If they're hunters, why release demons? Do they plan to release then kill them and take over the Underworld or something?). Putting his jealousy aside, he pairs up with Rayna, the only help he has (again, she's a supposedly sexy chick that saved his life, and he's a seventeen-year-old boy. He seems ungrateful.). Fighting demons and hunters along their way, Chase and Rayna grow closer, an attraction sparking between them (instead of saying this, I would take this from Chase's perspective and talk about the change in his feelings toward her. That might let you show this rather than tell it. Also it would flow better.). When a fight with the demons goes bad and Rayna nearly dies(!!! *parade* you said it!), Chase explodes in anger and with it, his own elements are born. (I think I have a small problem with "when a fight with the demons goes bad." It seems a little passive and nondescript. That might just be me. I still like that Chase is exploding with anger, and that's how his powers come to be. I like how that connects the relationship and the character arc together.) Able to create and control both fire and water, Chase meets comes (sounds more confrontational than "meets") face to face with the hunter behind it all; Riley Williams his father (we know it's his father because you put his name up there before, but saying his father makes it explicitly more personal. Calling his father by name makes it seem a little detached.). Navigating a demonic dimension, Chase escapes goblins and battles trolls to stop his father. If he succeeds, he can save those close to him, and the world he was born to protect. (I have problems with the last two sentences. I feel like you did it better the last time, when he was banished (again by his father) to the demonic world, and he'd have to fight his way out. Here you just say he's going through a dimension, but we don't know how he got there after his confrontation with his father. It's disjointed here. Also, if it's a demonic dimension, it strikes me as a little odd that there's goblins and trolls rather than demons. I don't read fantasy, but when I think goblins and trolls I think more Lord of the Rings than Hell. The last sentence, "if he succeeds" should be more like, "if he can't..." That's a more explicit way of setting the stakes. Also, don't say the people he's close. At least name Rayna, since we know about her.)

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy completed at approximately 109,000 words. It stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for a future series. If you would like to view a partial or full version of the manuscript, it is available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Matthew R. Merrick


It's better, but I don't think it's there just yet. A number of things I've pointed out have more to do with the story than the writing of the query. I don't think it's necessarily a big problem, though. If there's a reason the Circle wants to unleash demons even though they're demon hunters, you might want to mention if you can do so without convoluting the rest of the query too much. I somehow don't think agents typically care about the motivations behind evil plans to take over the world, but I think in this case it's better to show your reasoning makes sense then risk having it seem illogical.

Showing Chase's growing affection for Rayna will make the near-death incident stronger, help make the stakes more tangible and improve the flow. If you follow through on any of this questionable advice from me, I'd do that one if I were you.

I'd like to see it with some of these revisions. I think it's improving, though. Good work.

mrmerrick
Posts: 14
Joined: May 3rd, 2010, 11:53 am
Location: Alberta, Canada
Contact:

Re: NEW REVISIONS - QUERY - EXILED

Post by mrmerrick » May 9th, 2010, 1:20 pm

So here's the latest edition. The problem I'm having is I was under the impression, that this was more of a teaser, but the more people comment on it (which I value) it seems they want it to read more as a synopsis, which I thought I was supposed to avoid... Now my problem is, It's getting wordy, but if i start cutting and trimming it down, I risk taking out the motivations of the characters and themes...Anyways, here is my latest revision and hopefully I finally have it, but with your query critiques would you also consider the length? I know they say 250 words is good but i'm bordering 380 here although in size 12 font it still is only a single page (which is what most agency's I've researched like it to be).

If I haven't said it enough, thank you all very much for you help this has proven to be most valuable. I truly appreciate it, I just want to make sure I'm not over explaining things here.

Dear Agent,

The Circle’s a secret society of demon hunters and Chase Williams is destined to be part of it – or so he thinks. Failing to develop an elemental power, Chase is exiled by his father. Forced to live among the demons, Chase finds the line between the Underworld and the Circle starting to blur.

It’s been three years since seventeen-year-old Chase was exiled, and the attacks on his life haven’t stopped. The demons of the Underworld would love nothing more than to kill the son of notorious hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. When Chase is attacked by vampires on his way home from work, he’s saved by Rayna, a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret: she’s part hunter with an element of her own. Chase hates that she’s a demon. He would rather kill her than thank her, and the fact she has her own element puts the taste of jealousy in his mouth. When Chase catches hunters torturing demons for information, Chase learns the Circle plans to break the seal on a portal and unleash pure blood demons into the world. Putting his jealousy aside, he pairs up with Rayna. Fighting demons and hunters along their way, Chase begins to rely on Rayna, she’s not ‘just a demon’ anymore. When Rayna nearly dies in battle, Chase explodes in anger and with it, his own elements are born. Able to create and control both fire and water, Chase comes face to face with the hunter behind it all: his father. As Riley succeeds in opening the portal, Chase learns he has plans to invoke the demon God Ithreal and take control of his army. Disappearing through the portal, Chase follows him and navigates his way through the demonic dimension to stop him. If he can’t, he’ll lose Rayna, and the world he was born to protect.

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy complete at approximately 109,000 words. It stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for a series. If you would like to see the full manuscript, it is available at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

lexcade
Posts: 107
Joined: January 2nd, 2010, 12:57 am
Location: northern ky/cincinnati
Contact:

Re: REVISIONS - QUERY - EXILED

Post by lexcade » May 10th, 2010, 8:52 pm

Definitely an improvement from the previous incarnations! Great work :)

i've cut and reworded a few parts to help you get the word count down. hopefully i haven't butchered it, but i got the word count down to 254...

Dear Agent,

Three years ago seventeen-year-old Chase was exiled by his father, and the attacks on his life haven’t stopped. The demons of the Underworld would love nothing more than to kill the son of notorious demon hunter and fire elemental Riley Williams. When Chase is attacked by vampires on his way home from work, he’s saved by Rayna, a sexy half-demon with an attitude and a secret: she’s part hunter with her own element, which leaves a taste of jealousy in Chase’s mouth.

When Chase catches hunters torturing demons for information, he learns that the Circle of demon hunters plans to break the seal on a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Putting his jealousy aside, he pairs up with Rayna, whom he begins to see is not “just a demon.” When Rayna nearly dies in battle, Chase’s anger explodes and with it, his own elements are born. Now able to create and control both fire and water, Chase comes face to face with the hunter behind it all: his father. Riley opens the portal to invoke the demon God Ithreal and take control of his army. Disappearing through the portal, Chase follows him and navigates his way through the demonic dimension to stop him. If he can’t, he’ll lose Rayna and the world he was born to protect.

EXILED is an Urban Fantasy complete at approximately 109,000 words. It stands alone as a novel but I have an exciting vision for a series. Thank you for your time and consideration.
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests