Query -- The Final King (YA/Fantasy)

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RoarShark
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Query -- The Final King (YA/Fantasy)

Post by RoarShark » August 2nd, 2010, 2:41 pm

Hi,

Below I have put a copy of my query that I have been working on and have sent to a few agents so far. I haven't gotten any replies so far, but I would like to know if there is anything I could add that would make this appeal more. Also is there anything else I should add?

Dear Agent,

The world of Saluron is diverse, immensely diverse. But Solomn has not ventured outside the kingdom of Azure, which he has lived in for twenty-two long years. Since his mother abandoned him at his birth, and his father's disappearance ten years ago, Solomn has lived alone. But one dark night the King and his guard showed up at his door accusing him of murder, murdering the Queen to be exact. After escaping the dungeon and clearing his name with the help of an elf named Roln, Solomn heads on a journey that will change everything. He and Roln journey across Saluron, meeting strange new people and creatures, all to find nine crystals to overcome the power of darkness. The crystals contain the power of light, and are known as Lightrix. But they are not alone in this quest, for the vile Drasa and Lhira are trying to stop them. Drasa and Lhira are on their own journey to find another set of crystals that contain the power of shadows, known as Shadowen. Can Solomn find all nine crystals before Lhira and Drasa kill him and his friends?

Lightrix the Final King is a 30,868 word adventurous young adult fantasy story that takes you to a world of good and evil, might and magic. It will appeal to fans of the lore of ancient Greece, as well as fans of Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings. It will also appeal to adults, young teens and children of all ages. The story is set up so that it could branch out into a series for years to come.

I have written several short stories and other manuscripts. In my search to further pursue my goals, I found your agency on the internet and I would appreciate any consideration you may provide.

Sincerely,
Me

Emily J
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Re: Query -- The Final King (YA/Fantasy)

Post by Emily J » August 2nd, 2010, 3:15 pm

RoarShark wrote:Hi,

Below I have put a copy of my query that I have been working on and have sent to a few agents so far. I haven't gotten any replies so far, but I would like to know if there is anything I could add that would make this appeal more. Also is there anything else I should add?

Dear Agent,

The world of Saluron is diverse, immensely diverse. But Solomn has not ventured outside the kingdom of Azure, which he has lived in for twenty-two long years. Since his mother abandoned him at his birth, and his father's disappearance ten years ago, Solomn has lived alone. But one dark night comma here and this is a bit cliched the King and his guard showed up at his door accusing him of murder, murdering the Queen to be exact. After escaping the dungeon and clearing his name with the help of an elf named Roln, and it seems like this is where the real story starts --> Solomn heads on a journey that will change everything. "change everything" is very vague He and Roln journey across Saluron, meeting strange new people and creatures, all to find nine crystals to overcome the power of darkness. this feels like the main plot, what is the power of darkness? i am assuming it is threatening Saluron or some such? how does Solomn know this? how does he know about the crystals, why is he searching for the crystals? (and what does this have to do with the murdered queen?) The crystals contain the power of light, the imagery is general and honestly, a bit cliched, light vs darkness in the most basic terms, what exactly is the power of light in your novel? and are known as Lightrix. But they are not alone in this quest, for the vile Drasa and Lhira and they are? we are given no characterization on these two, they are just names are trying to stop them. Drasa and Lhira are on their own journey to find another set of crystals sooo... they aren't on the same mission after all? that contain the power of shadows, known as Shadowen. Can Solomn find all nine crystals before Lhira and Drasa kill him and his friends? don't end in a question

Lightrix the Final King in a query the general form is to put the title in all caps is a 30,868 word should be 30,868-word, but even so, this is short, more fitting for MG than YA, YA should run 50,000 and upadventurous young adult fantasy story that takes you to a world of good and evil, might and magic. It will appeal to fans of the lore of ancient Greece, this is odd, I didn't get any hint of Greek mythology from your query? as well as fans of Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings. i think it is dangerous to compare yourself to Tolkien, setting the bar a little high there It will also appeal to adults, young teens and children of all ages. The story is set up so that it could branch out into a series for years to come.

I have written several short stories and other manuscripts. have any of them been published? if not I would leave these out completely, generally in your bio it is adviseable only to give writing credentials (a little personality is probably fine as well) In my search to further pursue my goals, I found your agency on the internet and I would appreciate any consideration you may provide. <-- that is not personalized enough, you should really research any agent you are submitting to and give a few reasons WHY you are submitting (ideally that your novel is in the vein of another published work, one that you have read) check out blogs and agency websites for more information

Sincerely,
Me
To me, there seem to be almost two stories queried here. One about a Queen's murder and being wrongfully accused, and the second about Light vs. Darkness. If you need to cover both elements of the story I think you should show how they are interconnected. Also, 30,000 words if awfully short for YA fantasy. The word count alone could be putting off agents.

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cheekychook
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Re: Query -- The Final King (YA/Fantasy)

Post by cheekychook » August 2nd, 2010, 3:19 pm

I, too, am new to the query process, but there are a few things that stand out about your query that you might want to consider changing.

You have a tremendous amount of information in your opening paragraph, which is good---it's important for the agent to find out what your book is about so he/she can decide if they want to take a closer look. So much information crammed into one paragraph makes for a somewhat tedious read. Consider breaking this into several more concise shorter paragraphs and try to keep the description as straightforward as possible.

There are a few pet peeves I have seen agents point out.... One is repetition ("diverse, immensely diverse" and "murder, murdering the Queen"). I realize you may have used repetition to reflect the style of your manuscript (and it's good to reflect style) but be aware that some agents dislike this type of emphasis. Another hotly debated pet peeve is the use of the rhetorical question ( "Can Solomn find all nine crystals before Lhira and Drasa kill him and his friends?") Seriously consider researching whether or not the use of rhetoricals gives the agents you are querying a major case of the willies and adjust accordingly. (The esteemed agent who runs this forum has a particularly strong opinion about rhetoricals in queries---http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2006/10 ... in-my.html )

Stylistically it's okay to start an occasional sentence with the word "But", however you start three sentences with "but" in the first paragraph. I'd recommend changing at least two of them to something else. It's never good to repeat the opening word too many times in a paragraph. Consider replacing with "When" or something similar.

Round your word count to the nearest thousand (31,000 word)....and leave out the word "story"---young adult fantasy is sufficient. There is mixed opinion about whether or not to list the themes (good and evil, might and magic)---generally it's thought to be better to show that in the meat of the query rather than tell it in a description. There's also mixed opinion about comparing your story to other works. Saying it will appeal to everyone is not a good idea, that's something the agent will decide, not something they want to hear from you. Also probably better not to mention the series potential---you're trying to pitch this project, if an agent sees series potential, they'll let you know, and that's when you can tell them you'd be open to that possibility.

Leave out your last paragraph. Agents don't need to know how you found them, they want to know why you're submitting to them in particular. Find something personal to say to each one---"I'm querying you because you currently represent so-and -so, who is one of my favorite authors."

Hope that's helpful. Good luck to you!
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RoarShark
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Re: Query -- The Final King (YA/Fantasy)

Post by RoarShark » August 2nd, 2010, 3:36 pm

Emily J wrote:
RoarShark wrote:Hi,

Below I have put a copy of my query that I have been working on and have sent to a few agents so far. I haven't gotten any replies so far, but I would like to know if there is anything I could add that would make this appeal more. Also is there anything else I should add?

Dear Agent,

The world of Saluron is diverse, immensely diverse. But Solomn has not ventured outside the kingdom of Azure, which he has lived in for twenty-two long years. Since his mother abandoned him at his birth, and his father's disappearance ten years ago, Solomn has lived alone. But one dark night comma here and this is a bit cliched the King and his guard showed up at his door accusing him of murder, murdering the Queen to be exact. After escaping the dungeon and clearing his name with the help of an elf named Roln, and it seems like this is where the real story starts --> Solomn heads on a journey that will change everything. "change everything" is very vague He and Roln journey across Saluron, meeting strange new people and creatures, all to find nine crystals to overcome the power of darkness. this feels like the main plot, what is the power of darkness? i am assuming it is threatening Saluron or some such? how does Solomn know this? how does he know about the crystals, why is he searching for the crystals? (and what does this have to do with the murdered queen?) The crystals contain the power of light, the imagery is general and honestly, a bit cliched, light vs darkness in the most basic terms, what exactly is the power of light in your novel? and are known as Lightrix. But they are not alone in this quest, for the vile Drasa and Lhira and they are? we are given no characterization on these two, they are just names are trying to stop them. Drasa and Lhira are on their own journey to find another set of crystals sooo... they aren't on the same mission after all? that contain the power of shadows, known as Shadowen. Can Solomn find all nine crystals before Lhira and Drasa kill him and his friends? don't end in a question

Lightrix the Final King in a query the general form is to put the title in all caps is a 30,868 word should be 30,868-word, but even so, this is short, more fitting for MG than YA, YA should run 50,000 and upadventurous young adult fantasy story that takes you to a world of good and evil, might and magic. It will appeal to fans of the lore of ancient Greece, this is odd, I didn't get any hint of Greek mythology from your query? as well as fans of Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings. i think it is dangerous to compare yourself to Tolkien, setting the bar a little high there It will also appeal to adults, young teens and children of all ages. The story is set up so that it could branch out into a series for years to come.

I have written several short stories and other manuscripts. have any of them been published? if not I would leave these out completely, generally in your bio it is adviseable only to give writing credentials (a little personality is probably fine as well) In my search to further pursue my goals, I found your agency on the internet and I would appreciate any consideration you may provide. <-- that is not personalized enough, you should really research any agent you are submitting to and give a few reasons WHY you are submitting (ideally that your novel is in the vein of another published work, one that you have read) check out blogs and agency websites for more information

Sincerely,
Me
To me, there seem to be almost two stories queried here. One about a Queen's murder and being wrongfully accused, and the second about Light vs. Darkness. If you need to cover both elements of the story I think you should show how they are interconnected. Also, 30,000 words if awfully short for YA fantasy. The word count alone could be putting off agents.
Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback. Should I go more in depth with the plot details? If so, should I also talk about characters personalities so that the agent can learn more about the characters rather than just what they do? Again thanks, and its not two stories, more of a small plot that gets you introduced into the world, which was not explained well in the paragraph shown. And the word count is not final, I expect it to grow tremendously as I edit it more.

Emily J
Posts: 250
Joined: March 31st, 2010, 2:20 pm
Contact:

Re: Query -- The Final King (YA/Fantasy)

Post by Emily J » August 2nd, 2010, 3:48 pm

RoarShark wrote:
Emily J wrote:
RoarShark wrote:Hi,

Below I have put a copy of my query that I have been working on and have sent to a few agents so far. I haven't gotten any replies so far, but I would like to know if there is anything I could add that would make this appeal more. Also is there anything else I should add?

Dear Agent,

The world of Saluron is diverse, immensely diverse. But Solomn has not ventured outside the kingdom of Azure, which he has lived in for twenty-two long years. Since his mother abandoned him at his birth, and his father's disappearance ten years ago, Solomn has lived alone. But one dark night comma here and this is a bit cliched the King and his guard showed up at his door accusing him of murder, murdering the Queen to be exact. After escaping the dungeon and clearing his name with the help of an elf named Roln, and it seems like this is where the real story starts --> Solomn heads on a journey that will change everything. "change everything" is very vague He and Roln journey across Saluron, meeting strange new people and creatures, all to find nine crystals to overcome the power of darkness. this feels like the main plot, what is the power of darkness? i am assuming it is threatening Saluron or some such? how does Solomn know this? how does he know about the crystals, why is he searching for the crystals? (and what does this have to do with the murdered queen?) The crystals contain the power of light, the imagery is general and honestly, a bit cliched, light vs darkness in the most basic terms, what exactly is the power of light in your novel? and are known as Lightrix. But they are not alone in this quest, for the vile Drasa and Lhira and they are? we are given no characterization on these two, they are just names are trying to stop them. Drasa and Lhira are on their own journey to find another set of crystals sooo... they aren't on the same mission after all? that contain the power of shadows, known as Shadowen. Can Solomn find all nine crystals before Lhira and Drasa kill him and his friends? don't end in a question

Lightrix the Final King in a query the general form is to put the title in all caps is a 30,868 word should be 30,868-word, but even so, this is short, more fitting for MG than YA, YA should run 50,000 and upadventurous young adult fantasy story that takes you to a world of good and evil, might and magic. It will appeal to fans of the lore of ancient Greece, this is odd, I didn't get any hint of Greek mythology from your query? as well as fans of Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings. i think it is dangerous to compare yourself to Tolkien, setting the bar a little high there It will also appeal to adults, young teens and children of all ages. The story is set up so that it could branch out into a series for years to come.

I have written several short stories and other manuscripts. have any of them been published? if not I would leave these out completely, generally in your bio it is adviseable only to give writing credentials (a little personality is probably fine as well) In my search to further pursue my goals, I found your agency on the internet and I would appreciate any consideration you may provide. <-- that is not personalized enough, you should really research any agent you are submitting to and give a few reasons WHY you are submitting (ideally that your novel is in the vein of another published work, one that you have read) check out blogs and agency websites for more information

Sincerely,
Me
To me, there seem to be almost two stories queried here. One about a Queen's murder and being wrongfully accused, and the second about Light vs. Darkness. If you need to cover both elements of the story I think you should show how they are interconnected. Also, 30,000 words if awfully short for YA fantasy. The word count alone could be putting off agents.
Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback. Should I go more in depth with the plot details? If so, should I also talk about characters personalities so that the agent can learn more about the characters rather than just what they do? Again thanks, and its not two stories, more of a small plot that gets you introduced into the world, which was not explained well in the paragraph shown. And the word count is not final, I expect it to grow tremendously as I edit it more.
Ultimately you will need to decide which plot details are important and which aren't. I haven't read your story, but my instincts say that all the plot about being accused of the Queen's murder could safely be excluded. You need to focus on the main conflict, the choice your main character has to make. Clearly the main plot involves the Light vs the Darkness. I do think you should give us a bit more about this. Why does Solomn start his quest for the nine crystals? What is at stake? What is the darkness going to do and how? Light and Darkness are some of the oldest tropes in existence, you need to give us the details that make your story unique. I think you can safely exclude the names of the antagonists and just call them the agents of darkness if that is what they are. And while you do give us some background on Solomn, I'm not sure if it helps us understand his character. If you want to give us maybe one sentence of characterization that would be fine.

But hang in there, queries are very difficult to write. Be prepared to draft and redraft until you have a strong query. They are, after all, the one chance for a first impression.

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wilderness
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Re: Query -- The Final King (YA/Fantasy)

Post by wilderness » August 5th, 2010, 1:34 pm

I agree with Emily's recommendations, especially the part about it being two queries.
But one dark night the King and his guard showed up at his door accusing him of murder, murdering the Queen to be exact. After escaping the dungeon and clearing his name
This is so jarring. In one sentence, there is high drama that he is accused of murdering the Queen, and in the very next sentence he has cleared his name? This is abrupt and feels like the story is rambling when you get to the crystals. It would be better if, perhaps, he escapes but he is on the run because he hasn't cleared his name. Then you can bring this part of the story back into the end. Also, why is HE the one after the crystals? We need more motivation here. It would be cool if the crystals would help him clear his name, or get a pardon or something. Basically, if these plotlines are interconnected in the novel, that needs to be shown here. If they are not interconnected in the novel...well, I hate to say it, but maybe they should be.

Also, rather than comparing your work to Tolkien, I would strive to make the story sound as different as possible. Show what is unique here, especially with the quest and the "Shadowmen".

Hope that helps. There's definitely potential here, but the plotlines should be more tightly integrated. Good luck!

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