Bond of Darkness Query

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sirfrodo13
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Bond of Darkness Query

Post by sirfrodo13 » June 18th, 2010, 4:24 pm

This has been outgoing to a few agents now and recently scored me a small partial from one agent. However, being a demanding field, I'll not keep my hopes up. Anyway, is this query all over the place or does it seem clear cut. I'm going for shorter and sweeter rather than stuffing it. Thanks!


Dear [agent],

When a deadly infection resurfaces, Valence becomes the pawn of a vicious conflict dating back to the first race of men, but the return of the infection also brings the resurrection of the Warlord who created it. Valence is thrown into the fires of war, but as revealed secrets amass, he cannot be sure if his motives are his own. With the Pearls of Mithrus, destructive tools of the Warlord, Valence is granted insight to the infection's history, and a possible way to stop it. Now, suspicious that he is linked to the Warlord, whether by blood or across time, Valence races to uncover the mystery of his involvement in the new war against the infection.

I have multiple publications with my undergraduate literary journal, to which I held a position as a board editor, and my undergraduate newspaper as a staff writer. I also contribute articles to the Franklinville Sentinel of Salem County.

I discovered you on Publishers Marketplace and compare my characters to the gritty personalities found in Brent Weeks' "Night Angel Trilogy." I hope we have the opportunity to work together.

BOND OF DARKNESS is set in a world of unforgivable secrets, clashing magic and murderous lineages. It is an Epic Fantasy and complete at 115,000 words.

Thank you for considering my manuscript.

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lightelement94
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by lightelement94 » June 18th, 2010, 9:32 pm

I'm no expert on queries, but I think it's definitely intriguing and explains well the world and sense of deadly duplicity you're trying to create. My only real complain is a bit of the order in the first paragraph. Valence being a pawn is restated in your hook and also in the second sentence, which feels a little redundant and separates the reader from the fact that the Warlord has returned. It also leaves me wondering what sort of world we're on. Earth? Another planet? What sort of time? If it's an epic fantasy, I'm sure you spent a lot of the novel world building...maybe let a hint of that world fall into your query and give the story context. But then again, if you've already scored a small partial, clearly you've got something good!

Best of luck, sorry it's not more specific...
Republic of Lions| bloody brilliant

notw
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by notw » June 18th, 2010, 10:22 pm

While I am no expert, I think you have a good query. I would have to agree with lightelement about it being unclear where this unfolds.Though I have a feeling it is taking place in another world? The other thing (not sure if this matters) is you may want to give some brief explanation about the "Pearls of Mithrus." Just a thought :) All in all I liked the query and I think the story sounds interesting.

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khanes
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by khanes » June 18th, 2010, 11:34 pm

I'm no query expert either - I'm still practicing my own - but I'll share what caught my eye and what didn't. I think the conflict of your book sounds interesting with lots of potential for drama! If I were you, I may try to think of another word for "infection" because it seems to be repeated a lot. Maybe sickness, disease? What exactly does this infection do to people? Kill them? Are people dying in droves?

Also, the below sentence seems sort of vague. I want to know a little more about the secrets and what his motive is, and why he's suddenly questioning it. Again, I'm no query expert so could be totally off base. I just feel like I need a little more clarity in order to get completely sucked into the book and want to read it.

Valence is thrown into the fires of war, but as revealed secrets amass, he cannot be sure if his motives are his own.

So far so good, though, and congrats on getting a request for a partial! You must be doing something right! Good luck :)

DarinKennedy
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by DarinKennedy » June 18th, 2010, 11:39 pm

I think it would be interesting to know what the infection does to people. Actually, I think that is a symptom (pardon the pun) of a lack of specificity in the query. I would find a way to be more specific about Valence, the Warlord, the infection, and other things mentioned in your letter. Otherwise, sounds interesting. DK

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Quill
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by Quill » June 19th, 2010, 3:05 pm

sirfrodo13 wrote:
When a deadly infection resurfaces,
Clarify. Where, in our hero's body? In the communities of the French Riviera? On Pluto?

Valence becomes the pawn of a vicious conflict
1. "pawn in a conflict"

2. "becomes a pawn" is cliche.

3. the phrase is very general where queries thrive on specificity.
dating back to the first race of men, but the return of the infection also brings the resurrection of the Warlord who created it.
Again, where are we? On earth? On another planet, in another dimension?
Valence is thrown into the fires of war,
"fires of war" is a bit melodramatic, a bit Conan-the-Barbarian. Is that what you are going for?
but as revealed secrets amass,
A bit of a tongue twister, and might make an fast-reading agent stumble. Not sure which is the verb and which is the noun at first.
he cannot be sure if his motives are his own.
What motives. Whose else would they be. Not the place to trigger questions. Maybe clarify.
With the Pearls of Mithrus, destructive tools of the Warlord, Valence is granted insight to the infection's history, and a possible way to stop it.
Okay, now we're getting somewhere. So, Valence is a sort of medical investigator?
Now, suspicious that he is linked to the Warlord, whether by blood or across time, Valence races to uncover the mystery of his involvement in the new war against the infection.
This, too, is too general. I'm getting that Valence may be related to the Warlord. Not sure who this Warlord is in relation to the infection, what sort of infection it is, what Valence intends to do about it, or what stands in his way. I think I would need to know some of this before requesting pages.
I have multiple publications with my undergraduate literary journal,
This too is very general. If any of those "publications" relate to writing fiction, especially long fiction, or if the journal is nationally distributed, do name them, otherwise consider not mentioning.
to which I held a position as a board editor, and my undergraduate newspaper as a staff writer. I also contribute articles to the Franklinville Sentinel of Salem County.
Not sure these relate to writing a novel and as such may not help your case. If the circulation is under 5,000, I think I have heard, or if those articles are non-fiction it may not help to mention. Sometimes better to not say if a credit is not directly supportive of your project and let the writing stand on its own. Your call, of course.
I discovered you on Publishers Marketplace and compare my characters to the gritty personalities found in Brent Weeks' "Night Angel Trilogy."
Good.
I hope we have the opportunity to work together.
I would omit.
BOND OF DARKNESS is set in a world of unforgivable secrets, clashing magic and murderous lineages. It is an Epic Fantasy and complete at 115,000 words.
Saying what it is usually isn't a good idea, as those things should ideally have been already conveyed in your description. As such maybe just say "BOND OF DARKNESS is an Epic Fantasy complete at 115,000 words."

sirfrodo13
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by sirfrodo13 » June 19th, 2010, 3:34 pm

Thank you for your feedback, Quill. You've pointed out some obvious things I should consider.

clara_w
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by clara_w » June 20th, 2010, 6:24 am

Ok, I´m usually a very critical person, but your query hooked me. A lot. It smells like fantasy, it speaks like fantasy, and, it feels like an interesting fantasy.
So, I´m sorry I can´t be more insightful. But on the other hand, way to go!

sirfrodo13
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by sirfrodo13 » June 20th, 2010, 7:52 am

Thanks for looking at my query Clara. Other than Quill's comments, it seems to be a trend. I will be posting a second query soon.

aswiebe
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by aswiebe » June 20th, 2010, 4:21 pm

I found the query intriguing, but I found the summary frustratingly vague as to what the "infection" actually is and how it ties to this seemingly unrelated conflict that she's suddenly a pawn in. I'd also like to know some personal motivation for the main character.

adamg73
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by adamg73 » July 29th, 2010, 12:40 pm

I think you do a good job of describing the circumstances surrounding the main character but I feel that it would strengthen your query to add some hints as to who this character is and what kind of world he's living in. I agree that it's a strong query though.

mfreivald
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Re: Bond of Darkness Query

Post by mfreivald » August 1st, 2010, 12:35 am

The main issue I see in this query, is that it needs more active and specific causes for Valence getting involved with things. "Becomes a pawn," "is thrown into," "secrets amass," and "is granted insight" are all very passive and very non-specific. You might get away with one, but as is, it's quite murky. It could be a lot stronger.

Best wishes,
Mark

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